It seems that the dust is settling and nearly four months after getting 19 cancerous tumors removed from her abdomen and being internally bathed in chemotherapy, my mama is somehow… thriving! Honestly, when the surgery was all said and done, when we were home from Moore’s Cancer Center in San Diego, when she was recovering near flawlessly, I felt numb.
I’m not sure if it was because I was so close to it. Sometimes when you’re involved in it, it doesn’t seem as big or dramatic as it is.
I’m not sure if it was because I was so physically burnt out, emotionally desperate, and spiritually thirsty… but I couldn’t quite accept it as a “miracle.”
Maybe I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. The cancer has had a history of coming back. We had gone from being told that mama was going to die of this cancer in January, to being told in May that this surgery and HIPEC could “cure” her. With seven re-occurrences of small-intestine cancer over the last 11 years, it’s hard not to expect it to come back.
God has been healing some of those parts of me that worry about things too far in advance. He’s given me the ability to appreciate and enjoy my time with my mom. She helps me in the morning at the flower shop now. My MS is taking a deep toll on my body these days. The weak leading the weaker. Can you believe it? We’re making it work and it’s more meaningful to me, this shop, than it ever has been. A gift. A gift of hope, and life, and so mysteriously blessed. Intertwined with this beautiful story made from ashes and brokenness.
Our lives will continue to include check-ups locally. Our last appointment with our Idaho cancer doctor was a few weeks ago. The blood work was amazing. He smiled after his physical exam of her belly. He was against us getting this big surgery. Against this chemotherapy. Yet, even he smiled when he saw her smiling. “Maybe you are a miracle.” He said it. His words.
Seven months ago things were so intense. We wanted to ease the burdens. I wanted to sell the shop. Detach from activities. We were facing death. This same doctor told us we were facing death.
Today we face life. This morning, mom and I ate oatmeal together, arranged flowers, blew up balloons. I listened to her chatter while she worked. Always busy. Energetic. The customers so enjoy seeing her when they come in. Some are shocked. Some expect to see her still in recovery. She’s healing with such grace. You wouldn’t know she was a cancer patient at all, the way she buzzes around helping me.
Her favorite thing to do? Deliver flowers. Make people smile. She loves it. I suppose that’s why my mom’s cancer story has made an impact on so many. Over the years, the core of her being has always been to make people feel loved and cared for. She’s been cranky a time or two, not going to start lying now – ha! But, the core of my heart is so thankful right now to be blessed with such an amazing woman to call my mama. I pray daily that the Lord will continue to let her be the miracle. So many watching her suffer. Let their prayers be heard. Let her life be a witness to the power of a Heavenly Father who deeply loves His daughter.