Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Testimony of a Fighter...and Survivor!

I can't even believe it's October! I was walking through the airport yesterday and inside the gift shops I could see the employees pulling out their boxes of Halloween decorations. They were stretching cobwebs and affixing spiders to the check out counters. My mom kept Rookie while I was gone and the night before I left, she sent me a text saying, "Rookie is going to be very very scared!!" with a photo of her pumpkins and ghosts she had spread throughout the house and front yard.

October-December flies by in an instant. It's Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas and before we know it we'll be eating black eyed peas, watching Ryan Seacrest and singing Auld Lang Syne.

Back to October...It's a great month full of pumpkins, cool weather, fall recipes and Halloween costumes. Until 6 years ago, one thing I always managed to overlook during the 10th month...or maybe just "underlook" was breast cancer awareness. Of course It's hard to miss the pink.

Pink Kitchen aid mixers, pink ribbons, Race for the Cure information, pink cupcakes...the thing is, it didn't affect me because it hadn't effected me.

Until it did.

Breast cancer rocked my world and changed my life. Forever. In late September of 2005 my mom found a lump in her breast doing her self breast exam. To make a long story short, she mentioned the lump to a few friends on the tennis court and by the grace of God and a few (very) persistent friends, she found herself in the doctor's office that very afternoon. (And those women will never know how grateful I am for their "we won't take no for an answer" attitude with my mom and for making that phone call and scheduling that appointment) Within 48 hours we had test results, and because of a dear friend who is a genius and wonderful Oncologist, he was able to tell us that things did not look good.

My beautiful mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation. She fought the fight against a savage beast and it took a lot out of her. She was tired, she was sick, and though she was physically weak she was mentally tough. And she will be the first to tell you that she never felt more peace than knowing she wasn't fighting it alone. Mom's faith carried her through. God carried her through. And she influenced so many lives as her friends and family saw her fight with grace, humor, strength and courage. She is a true testimony of grace and I am so honored to have her as on of my greatest influences and treasured gift.

Last week we had several individuals and several families participate in "cardboard testimonies" at church. It was wonderful, heartbreaking, encouraging, humbling and downright enlightening to see people, some I know well, get up in front of the church and share their story. We were able to see how God has lifted people out of the ashes and blessed their lives and the lives of those around them because of their journey. My mom was asked to participate, and as a first hand witness to her journey I can absolutely tell you her testimony has been far reaching.

It was SO incredible seeing her on that stage...completely healed. Cancer free. Praise God! I'm grateful for every day I have with her and I know that it's because of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the many other pioneers in breast cancer research, development and treatment. Without the hard work of these organizations, the funding and the fundraising we would not be where we are today in development and treatment. And my mom might not be here today.

So think pink!! Buy pink!! Donate to breast cancer research and one day (hopefully very, very soon) I will hold the biggest PINK PARTY you've ever seen when we get to celebrate a CURE! When we get to celebrate that no more women, men, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, friends...have to fight this ugly disease. Until then...fight like a girl.


Lynsey said...

As I am reading this post, my mom is currently undergoing a bilateral mastectomy. She was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer on Friday. A small lump was found during her annual mammogram. Thank you for posting this beautiful post. Like you, I will never underlook the pink again!


Praise God for all his goodness. Praise him for his healing powers. Praise him for your mom being cancer free!

KatiePerk said...

What a beautiful post. I will be thinking pink this October.

Katie said...

God bless your mom! What an inspiration.

I am also a supporter of Komen and am running in the Nashville race on 10/29- I wrote about it here:


Melinda and Jonathan said...

Wow. What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing this!

Jules said...

Your mom is my hero!! What a beautiful post :) Thanks for sharing... and I LOVE all the pink I'm seeing in support. Some of the kids I work with at an elementary school are sporting some pink bracelets this month- Awesome!

Liz said...

Why you gotta make me tear up, T-Rog?! You know I love me some V-Rog... she's a wonderful mom and you're an awesome daughter to her. :)

There's no place like hope!


melissa said...

What a strong, amazing mom you have. So happy that she is cancer free. How brave of her to stand in front of the church and share her story. I'm sure she inspired so many people.

megan said...

Wow - this post gave me goosebumps and watery eyes. So glad that your mom overcame that awful beast called cancer and she is still with you today. :)

annalee said...

so thankful your beautiful momma is here today to share her amazing story and touch lives in mighty ways!