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A year ago today: What cancer did not do.

One year ago today, my husband and I sat in a waiting room while a surgeon sliced into the right side of Goo’s head and scraped out a small piece of tissue. He removed some from her auditory canal. He made a frozen slide. He stitched her back up. And then he approached us.

I knew. I knew the minute I saw his face that it wasn’t good. I remember his voice as he said, “It looks like something called, ‘rhabdomyosarcoma.'” I remember my heart pounding, my husband and I searching each other’s eyes. I remember thinking, “You need to hear what he has to say. This is important, and you’re the one who understands the science jargon. Listen now. Cry later.”

And I did. I heard it all. I did not cry until he left the room. And then I collapsed into my husband’s arms as we wept uncontrollably. I shook all over. I put my head between my knees when the room started spinning.

And then I went to work. I made phone calls. I got angry. I lost 6 lbs in 5 days because there isn’t much time to eat when you’re fighting for your child’s life. I heard every single word the doctors said, and I can still recall much of it, verbatim. I fought through anger and doubt that nearly destroyed me.

Cancer, you sneaky, vile thing. You came like a thief in the night. You sought to devour.

But one year later, let me be clear: YOU LOST.

You did not destroy a life. Actually, you gave me an appreciation for all that I have in a way that wasn’t possible before this.

You did not shatter hopes and dreams. You fueled a dormant passion. You rekindled fire that had begun to fizzle. You reminded me that this isn’t the end – it’s only the beginning.

You did not tear a family apart. In fact, you expanded it. You brought people into our lives that we now stand beside as we continue the fight to defeat you.

You did not steal my baby’s childhood. You see, she doesn’t really remember you. She doesn’t remember your pain. She doesn’t remember the way you tore at her cranial nerve, leaving her face paralyzed on the right side. It’s hard to remember when that paralysis isn’t there any more. She doesn’t remember the spinal tap, the bone marrow biopsies, or the way you threatened to destroy her hearing. Which, by the way, you did not do. Let that be a reminder: You were beaten by a 5-year-old.

You did not leave us paralyzed by fear. I had a very small, very feisty warrior reminding me that fear is a choice, and it’s a choice she never made. So we do not fear you. We will not wait helplessly for you to return. We will press on, and we will continue to fight for those you are still seeking to devour. But we will not live in fear.

You did do a lot, though, in a year’s time. You taught me to love more deeply than I ever thought possible. You used a child to teach me what it means to fight. You created a love between 3 sisters that can never be broken. You took a rock solid marriage and made it even better, because there is a tremendous bond formed in the thick of battle. You taught people how to give, and how to do so selflessly. You forged friendships that will never be broken. You taught me to believe in a God that is greater than I could ever hope to understand, and certainly bigger than you. You taught me that in a matter of moments, there are people worldwide who lift us up in prayer, and believe me, I will never forget that. You taught me to hope, and that is something I had forgotten how to do.

Cancer. You did so much. But remember one very real thing you did not do:

You did not win.

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About Mediocre Mom

I am a wife to the man who was made for me, and mom to three amazing girls: Punkin is eight, Goo is four, and Smush is two. I'm a Christian, a science geek, and completely addicted to coffee. Trying to stay sane one day at a time. Lowering the bar for moms everywhere.

18 responses »

  1. Well its a good thing a read that before I put my makeup on. you and your family are amazing and I look to you all in wonderment. So many families would have crumbled, but you did not. So proud to say that I know you. May God bless you exponentially this year and all the years to come!

    Reply
  2. Congratulations to Goo!!! To you all!!! What a great way to start the new year!!! From my family to yours, we admire you and your family. You have been through so much this past year and you have come out on top! You have demonstrated the incredible power of prayer! In a moment when the world around you was falling apart you found the strength to hold on, & I truely believe that even in the midst of your struggle God was holding you. We wish your family health, joy, and prosperity! May 2014 be the most amazing year you’ve experienced to date!!!

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  3. I don’t know you personally, but I have been reading your blog this past year and I feel like I know you and your family. I have been praying for all of you, but most of all for that beautiful daughter of yours. I can’t imagine being at the doctor’s office and getting that diagnosis. It is so awesome how you guys took cancer and gave it the beating it deserves! I am so happy for all of you. That little girl deserves some very special treatment today….what are you guys doing to celelbrate?

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  4. I am friends with a friend of yours and have thought of you often this past year. I was so glad when she shared your post this morning to see that your little girl is cancer free! This has been a long few months for many pediatric cancer families I know or know of, so reading this made my day. Especially because of the discussion I have been having since last night with a cancer mom about how to keep getting the word out about research funding, the fact that ACS spends 8 times as much on admin costs as on pediatric cancer research, and the like. After her son has his next surgery this month we are going to be planning a St. Baldrick’s event by me in NY, would love to spread the word if you guys do one up there! Health & hope to you today & every day! Xoxo

    Reply
    • Thank you, KB. Spreading the word about funding is critical. I had no idea that in terms of federal and ACS funding, childhood cancer seems to not be important enough to address. I beg to differ. St. Baldrick’s is a favorite of mine, and we did one when the Nerd (and many others) shaved their heads in honor of Goo. Thank you for helping to spread the word and raise funds!!!

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  5. WAHOO!!! Suck it, Cancer!!! Thanks for the update and the uplifting post.

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  6. I believe Goo beat that cancer so bad that it will NEVER show up again!!!! Goo is so amazing to go through what she did and come out stronger than ever!!! Such an uplifting story and you all are so amazing, thank you for sharing. Pretty soon my boss is going to ask me why I’m crying, but they are happy tears for all of you. i know that going forward that your family is going to do extraordinary things for the Kingdom of God, praise God!!! Luv to you all! Julia

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  7. Beth…so blessed to call you friend. Even though many miles separate….our family has believed with you, and prayed fervently for this season of victory to come. You are so right in all you said. Cancer lost. Our God is greater and stronger. We win.

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    • Thank you so much for your prayers, Jenny. I honestly don’t know if I would have made it through, faith and sanity in tact, if it weren’t for the people we had praying for us worldwide. There were times when I thought I had hit my breaking point, and God stepped in and carried me. So grateful for friends who pray, and a God who hears.

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  8. I started reading your blog as an inspiration for mine and I don’t regret any moment spend reading about you and your family. You have teach me how to be strong, perseverant and keep calm in time of darkness.
    And I must say that I felt sooooo happy when you told us when your little one was cancer free.
    Keep on writing. All of you are awesome!

    Reply
  9. I am so happy to see this post. I have been following your blog for inspiration as we too are “in the fight” with our 7 year old daughter. So thankful for your miracle! Keep the updates coming
    Kim from Kentucky.

    Reply
    • Kim, I am thrilled you are following our story, and so sorry to hear about your little girl. Our family would love to pray for her, as so many did for us. Praying for strength and the “cancer free” post from you in the future!

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  10. I just found your blog today, and I am so glad I did. This is beautiful. Congratulations to Goo and to you, and prayers for the future!

    Reply
  11. I’m reading this with tears streaming down my cheeks. CONGRATS TO GOO!! What a brave girl!!!

    I just wanted to thank you for your words. My son, now 7, was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 3 (medulloblastoma), and has been in remission for 2 years, now. Your words resonate with me, especially the part where you talked about her not remembering it all. Throughout my son’s treatments, I was so sad for him, because I just KNEW he would always remember what a horrible time it was. But the funny thing is that he hardly remembers it now. He asks me to tell him about his treatment, because he can’t remember most of it. It’s amazing how strong and resilient these kids are!

    Reply
    • I am SO UNBELIEVABLY HAPPY to hear that your son is in remission!! We are coming up on our 3 month scans, and even though she’s doing so well, it’s always nerve wracking. But it’s really true, they don’t remember. Kids are so good at forgiving, forgetting, and moving on. I am continually blown away by her strength. Sounds like you have the same kind of little hero in your house. ❤

      Reply

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