I wrote a few weeks ago about story - how our story matters and that I was committing to share more of my own story - to write, because that's how God uses us, when we are willing to share our lives. Well, that just got real… so real and the ocean is deep.
Three weeks ago I got a phone call that rocked my world and threw us into the deep place where we are now - where all we can see is waves. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Literally the worst words… especially to her daughter who is 6 months pregnant with her first daughter. My heart is shattered. I wept. For five days - the day we found out, the entire travel day to get to Texas, the day we went to church and all of us prayed over her, the day we dropped her off to get on a plane to meet with the surgeon, the day of her surgery - all I did was cry. I wept for her, for my dad, for my grandma, for my brothers and sisters-in-law, for my nieces and nephews, for my husband, for myself, for my daughter. I wept for the dreams I have of my mom being at my daughter's wedding, for how this will wreck her body and make a very strong woman weak, for the dreams she has of years of being "YaYa" and loving her grandkids. When cancer is involved, the ocean gets deep and the waves quickly rise high around you.
We sat together as a family, waiting for the surgeon. Four and a half hours later, he came out to say that the tumor was self-contained and he was able to remove all traces of cancer. If you know anything about pancreatic cancer, you know this is not normal, not even close to normal. Sweet Jesus, we can see the lifeboat. It's coming. My mom has been given the gift of life - the chance to fight, many do not and we recognize how fortunate we are. We see the hand of God in so much of this story, but we still feel a bit like we're drowning.
This road is long - my mom had a major surgery where half of her stomach, two-thirds of her pancreas and her bile duct were removed. She was in the hospital for two weeks. Her recovery just from this surgery is no joke let alone the daunting road through chemo and radiation. When I think about the next 8 months of my mom's life, I weep. She knows she's not alone, but in the same breath, none of us can take this away from her or physically go through it for her. Just 3 weeks ago we were making plans for her to come the end of this month and help with our baby girl's room - and then plans two months later for her to come and stay for a bit when she's born. There's no one else I would rather have here when my daughter comes than my incredible mom. And now, we're deep in the waves not knowing much about two weeks from now, let alone two months from now. For now, she's home, she's recovering, she is handling this with so much grace and determination and she's loving being with family. But the journey is long.
There's a song called "Oceans" by Hillsong. This has been our anthem. My mom has been living in these truths for the last year as she's undergone numerous surgeries to prevent other types of cancer (ironically enough). I printed this and framed it for her - it's next to her bed. On the rough nights, the early mornings, during the times where sleep isn't coming, she can look at it and remember…
It's the wallpaper on my computer because I need the reminder multiple times a day that my faith will stand. God is for us, He is with us and this road is not being walked alone and everyday we choose to believe that He is Healer, He is Sustainer, He is Able, He is. And that He is all we need.