I don’t feel brave. I am one of those people who when told bad news immediately start thinking the worst and sometimes the fear paralyzes me. I start wondering all the “what if’s”. This summer I got to see how brave I really was and how I can face multiple health crises with God.
My husband has Crohn’s disease and has brushed death multiple times. This past summer he really struggled with his hemoglobin levels. My husband always pulls through and I manage to deal with the children, the household, and the reality that he might not make it this time. Our children watch him faithfully praise God in midst of consistent immobilizing pain and seek God no matter what. I see him as being brave; a wonderful example to our 3 sons.
This summer my baby, Smiles (4 months old at the time), needed surgery for his kidneys. While I was pregnant we knew that his kidneys were not functioning correctly. After he was born, we found out that his good kidney was functioning at 80%, while his bad one was only functioning at 20%. Amazingly, I had peace about the surgery and thought we would get through this and life will get back to our normal.
Hours before we left for his surgery I got a phone call from a surgeon who removed a cyst from my underarm earlier that summer. It had been there for over a year and I showed it to multiple doctors but none of them were concerned about it. He wanted me to come in right away. I had cancer, a very rare form of skin cancer that only 300 people worldwide has been documented as having.
I was scared. Cancer took my mom the fall of 2010. Both my husband and my baby were having health problems of their own. I was suppose to be the healthy one! I had 2 other sons to raise. I needed to be able to take care of my husband and the baby and the other boys. I had this lump for well over a year. Did it spread? What kind of treatment would I need? How will I tell my children, especially my oldest who knows how my mom died and understands this all? How will we manage?
I did not have time then to try to Google what little information was available because as soon as we left the office we had to leave to head to Columbus for our Smile’s surgery. His surgery was on a Friday and they kept him all weekend. I had a lot of time to think that weekend while in the hospital room with him. At night was the worst. That was when the fear started to creep in and made it hard to sleep. God gave me this verse, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He also brought to my attention that it is not my diagnosis that will affect my children as much as how they see me handle it. This was their only childhood and I am leaving them a legacy.
What they see from me has a great impact on how they will remember me. If I run from my fears and ball up and shut down- that is what they will see. If I embrace life and seek God and show that I am scared but I do not fear because I know who controls my destiny – that is what they will see. I want them to see mom seeking God, because that is what is important. I want them to know that they can be brave despite being afraid because God is in control. Showing my emotions of being sad or upset is okay, because it shows them you can be authentic. That being brave does not mean you can’t ask for help or that you need to do it on your own. But admitting that you cannot and seeking God and asking others for what you need. Thankfully, I am now cancer free and the bravery that came from my summer’s experiences are now part of the testimony I share.