My 4-year-old lay there napping peacefully, totally unaware of the mid-July sun beating down overhead. My body was ready to run as usual, but my mind was in a different place. A heavier place.
It had been 48 hours since I’d gotten the call, though it felt like seconds ago.
One minute you’re busy living your life, doing laundry and making lunches for your kids, and the next you’re being told you have cancer.
“What are you doing right now?” my doctor had asked me. “I’ve just gotten the results from your biopsy. Are you somewhere where you can sit for a minute?”
Shit. Oh shit. This is bad, I thought. “Yes. I can talk,” I said reluctantly. “But I’m nervous.”
“I understand. Just take a deep breath and try to hear me out, okay?”
“Yes,” I said, clutching the phone.
“I’ve just heard back from the pathologist, and it turns out that the cyst we removed from your shoulder wasn’t a cyst, but a dense and very questionable mass of cells containing tissue that looks to have originated from elsewhere in your body. We still can’t clearly identify exactly what it is, but it looks highly suspicious and you need to be seen by a specialist immediately.”
WTF?!? is all I could think.
As she continued to speak, my thoughts were interrupted by the twins shouting at each other from their cribs in the next room, alerting me that nap time was over.
I finally interrupted and said, “I’m so sorry, but I can’t even focus on what you’re saying right now, my mind is spinning. I’m going to have to call you back.”
I hung up the phone, dropped to my knees and started sobbing like a baby. I felt nauseous. I felt scared. I felt confused.
At that moment my 4-year-old walked into the guest room where I’d snuck away to take the call, and looking worried he said, “Mommy, why are you crying?” Then, hugging my leg, he whispered, “Mommy, don’t be sad, please, pleeaasse don’t be sad.”
I sat down on the bed, pulled him into my lap, and squeezed him tight. I wiped the tears from my eyes and said, “Mommy’s going to be fine. The doctor gave me some scary news today, but I’m going to be okay buddy. God and I have got this, okay?”
And here’s where my story changes.
I realized I had to pick one of two roads, and it had to be then. I have three little boys who need me, a husband who loves me, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to become a victim of circumstance.
I’ll be damned if I’m going to become a victim of circumstance.
The first path is the more conventional one — the one that typically comes to mind when you hear the word “cancer.” This road is generally paved with panic, fear, doubt, worry, confusion, complaining, dread and self-pity. It takes absolutely zero effort to choose this path — as your mind, body and emotions all begin heading in this direction without resistance.
The second path is everything the first one is not. This path is paved with trust, hope, courage, patience, grace, love, joy, gratitude and a peace that surpasses all understanding.
It is BY FAR the more difficult choice.
This path goes against everything that your friends, family, doctors, natural senses and the internet would have you believe otherwise. It defies logic. It flies in the face of reason, and carnality, and requires you to use a muscle that you cannot feel, touch or even see.
It requires faith.
Faith is best defined as the substance of things hoped for, and the EVIDENCE of things NOT seen. Things not yet visible, as they lie in the spiritual realm.
Which is why faith is usually accompanied by God, as it typically takes a higher power to guide you along this road. And as it turns out, this path speaks to me, because I like to think of God as my right-hand man. My BFF. My co-pilot.