Have you ever really searched your heart and narrowed down all those who truly inspire you? That is a tough one because all throughout our lives we have and will encounter those that challenge us and inspire us in different ways. It’s hard to pick just one person or group of persons.
While thinking on this topic during this past week, I have to say that all those that have been affected by cancer inspire me. From the ones fighting the brave fight right now, to the ones that have conquered it and are considered “survivors,” to the ones that lost their lives while fighting with all of their might. There’s also the family and friends that have stood by their side every step of the way loving, caring for, encouraging, supporting, and cheering them on. They all inspire me more than mere words could ever say.
The word “cancer” has brought many family and friends to their knees upon hearing the diagnosis. I, personally, will never forget calling the doctor’s office as we were awaiting the results of the biopsy report of a close family member, only to be told that the results were in but not something any of us really prepared ourselves to hear. I gathered all of the information the best that I could at that moment in time and held myself together as much as possible after feeling as if I had been body slammed on a hard, concrete floor. I can recall rather vividly having to drive out to my family member’s house to break the news to him, at the doctor’s request, and to tell them when their consultation appointment was scheduled to find out the different treatment options. If I live to be a hundred, I do not see age removing that scene from my memory as I tried ever so gently to tell them that they had cancer. Then, seeing the look on their face when they heard the words coming out of my mouth. I never, ever want to be the bearer of bad news to any one that I am that close to ever again in my life. It was so incredibly hard keeping myself together at that moment when all I wanted to do was crumble. I knew that they would be relying on my strength to see them through, and I could not fail them. I would not. And I did not. I learned very early on in life to lean on God. In this situation, I was clinging to Him with all of my might.
This family member went through surgery and has celebrated over five years now being cancer-free. Praise God above!!
Just as we were celebrating this victory, though, cancer struck another close family member bringing us to our knees once more. This time, it was his wife that was diagnosed. She was told that she had breast cancer. Once more, we set out on consultation appointments with pen and paper in hand to take notes on the recommendations for treatment options. The result was surgery, radiation, and a maintenance pill for the next five years to lessen the chances of it coming back. We’ve prayed, hard and never ceasing. We’ve wrung our hand tightly in the other as we waited to hear that our loved one was in recovery and doing nicely after surgery. We’ve cried so many tears along the way. And, we have celebrated these victories with them as they have both been given good results at their latest checkups.
Among the many struck with this every year, there are two cancer survivors that are not only my co-workers but also my friends that I have the pleasure of interacting with daily. I worked with these wonderful people at this company for ten years, left for nine years thinking the grass would be greener at a big facility with a corner office with a nice view and comfortable chair, only to find that life was better at the smaller company that I left. God has allowed me to return to this smaller company for consulting work and to help out on an as-needed-basis, thus the daily interaction I have once again with these two precious people. While I was away during those nine years, the gentleman visited me at my new place of employment. It rather surprised me having him arrive at my work one day out of the blue. He did not say back then why he chose that particular day to visit when he had never done so before. However, today he told me … and I found myself at a loss for words. You see, he told me that he was diagnosed with cancer. Being that he had just started treatment just a little ways from the facility I worked at, he took a chance and decided to pay me a visit that day. He confided in me today that he thought he was dying back then and would not be able to recover. He even went out and purchased his own burial plot as he knew his time on this earth was drawing to an end. He said that he sought me out that day as he had to see me while he still had the chance. My throat tightens even now just writing this out to you as I choke back the tears. He thought of me. During what he thought would be his last days here on this earth, he had to see me. Why me? I don’t consider myself anything special. I’m just an ordinary Southern girl with a big heart and love for everyone with plenty of hugs to go around. Yet, he had to see me that day. He thought he was dying, and he sought me out. How humbling.
The other coworker that I spoke about above is currently recovering from chemotherapy. She has struggled after receiving treatments. She’s had several blood transfusions and has been hospitalized several times. She keeps on fighting, and she will look you square in the face and tell you that she is NOT going to die. She is a brave lady, and I have been blessed in this life by being able to call her my friend.
There is another young lady that has truly inspired me, and I had the pleasure of witnessing God performing a miracle in her life. This sweet girl was diagnosed with cancer in the Sixth Grade. I will never forget my oldest daughter coming home from school telling me all about her classmate and begging for us to help in any way we possibly could. My heart broke in two at the thought of my daughter’s friend, the same age as her, having been struck with this. We wracked our brains on how to help and then took our ideas to our pastor. He said he would support our efforts and back us 100% on anything we wanted to do. We set our plans into motion, and with my sweet daughter’s desire to help her friend, we were able to raise money for her family through a car wash fundraiser, a barbeque fundraiser, and a concert benefit where several churches in our community came together as a joint choir to sing God’s praises. We also had teams performing interpretive movement, sign art, and even mimes at this event. We raised several thousand dollars to help this little girl and her family. We watched her struggle through her treatments, losing the ability to walk at one point, but praise God her story does NOT end there. This precious child of God felt His Great and Mighty Hand upon her life as He provided strength for her to fight this with all of her might. This “little girl” now towers over me as she stands tall and smiles proudly for all of the world to see the face of a survivor. She is a walking, talking miracle … she is a living billboard for the Ultimate Physician, Christ Our Lord!
These, ladies and gentlemen, are the people that inspire me!
I celebrate and honor you all. Keep the faith, and fight on!
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