Monday, November 10, 2014

The Love of Friends and Family

         Sunday, August 24th, was a little crazy at church.  Lots of people saw my stitches on my neck the week before and they wanted to know what we found out.  It’s a little different being on the opposite end of the cancer conversation.  You can immediately see the fear that comes into people’s eyes when the word “cancer” is spoken.  It has affected almost everyone of us in one way or another— and most of us have experienced it with death.  In the last year alone in our previous stake, 3 young mothers lost their lives to cancer.  So I understood as I heard all of them say, “you’re going to make it and I know you can beat this” that the fear was still there.  

However, despite that fear I heard the phrase, “we are going to pray for you” over and over and I can’t tell you how much peace and strength that brought.  I knew that everyone was praying for me and I believe in the power of prayer.  I have seen its effects a million times since I was a little girl and I drew a lot of strength from those words that day. What a blessing to be apart of a ward family who loves and cares for me.  Everyone was immediately fighting to bring us meals, offering to watch our kids, and give me rides to doctor appointments. We have only been in this ward since March, but that day I felt like I had been a part of it for a lifetime as I experience each member opening their hearts and arms to us.  I knew I would never be alone or without help.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing!!  

  The next day my mom and dad went home.  I know Mom was dying and didn’t want to leave me.  I was so grateful they had been here with us during this  time. I am so blessed with amazing parents who care so much and have such great faith.  I have always drawn on that strength and faith and I was blessed by it again that weekend.  I think it was also good for Mom to see that I was ok and in good spirits.  I knew that the time would come that I would really need her, so I told her to go home and prepare for my full diagnosis. After that we would make a plan and she would be a big part of it.  However, there was still a part of me that screamed, “Don’t leave!” because in between all of these appointments, my pregnancy, and my emotional craziness, we still had our normal life to keep up with—-James’ soccer games and practices, Bryant and Mason’s football games and practices, young women’s, scouts, piano, Shaun keeping up at work, and homework. Plus we were in the middle of an uphill battle trying to get Bryant into an accelerated math class. I was hoping I could juggle all the balls that I had at this moment and not drop any. I was a little scared I might not be able to do it all.   

      That night we had two of our good friends come over, the Bastians and the Andersons.  It was fun to see them both. The Bastians brought us these stinking cute little BYU booties for our baby.  

I was so grateful for their gesture of faith and love.  As they expressed their desire to help and concern for our needs I felt their sincerity.  The Andersons had just moved to Idaho and were down on business so we were so excited to have them stay the next two nights at our house. I really needed to laugh, and if anyone has spent time around Justin and Amy you know they can always make you laugh.  In addition to the healing that comes through laughter, Amy created this great spreadsheet for us.  It had all our doctor appointments past and present,  all the doctors and natural healers we had heard about and a description of their methods, and all their phone numbers.  It also had a tab for foods I could eat and couldn’t eat, a recipes tab, and all the books and information we had obtained thus far about cancer.  It was amazing and a great resource that we have referred many many times.  It was also great for Shaun and I to see it all on one page. 

I don’t think I ever realized this before, but having family and friends who sincerely care brings a certain peace— knowing that even if things got really bad we would have so many to lean upon. The Andersons and Bastians are definitely those kinds of friends.  When Shaun gave me a blessing before my biopsy he said I would be blessed to know the love friends and family. Between the love of my ward family and the visits of concerned friends, I truly felt it that weekend.  What a blessing good friends are. 

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