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June 20, 2014

When Mom Has Cancer (Part 3)

Sarah Headshot Oct2013 HDR

Seven months ago, Sarah Holley was diagnosed with cancer. She’s learned a few lessons along the way that she is sharing in this series of articles. To read Part 1, click here. To read Part 2, click here.

My family is a family of faith…faith in a real, living God. I simply cannot imagine going through any difficult experience, much less cancer, without a deep faith. And my faith teaches me that even if the worst comes true, my family will not be alone.

I fully believe that “my” illness is not just about me; it’s about my entire family, and they have the opportunity to grow deeper in their own personal relationships with God. In fact, I can’t “make” them have faith; it’s personal, and this experience allows them the chance to see God in a new light. So, two lessons I’ve learned in this arena of life are to really embrace faith and to embrace the community of faith.

One of the biggest blessings I’ve received during the last few months has been the number of folks who’ve offered to help in some way. One of my sweet friends set up an online meal calendar and within no time, I had meals being brought to me six times a week for a month following my surgery. It was so overwhelming that I was almost embarrassed. Can I tell you something, though? I desperately needed it! My post-surgery recovery was harder than I expected, so just knowing that my family had healthy meals brought me such a sense of peace. I could focus on resting and recovering. And something else I learned — my friends wanted to help. As one friend told me, “If you don’t let us help, you are robbing us of the chance to love you.” Is it humbling to rely on others? Yes! But it allows me to be the recipient of their love. It’s not a burden to them; it brings them joy. And it brought me unbelievable blessings. See, another entry in my gratitude journal!

Another lesson?  Be funny and have fun! I love to laugh, and I love being around people who are funny. So, how cool is it to know that there is scientific proof that laughter is healing! While there is so much negativity and pain around cancer, it’s important to find ways to connect positively with loved ones. Watch a funny movie, play games, or go to a comedy club. Enjoy life!

One last lesson: Take care of yourself. One of the key principles of ScreamFree Parenting is Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First. It’s obviously based on the counter-intuitive idea that the airlines preach. After all, if I’m out of breath, then I can’t help anyone else. And in a very real sense, having a serious illness forces me to take the time to take care of myself. And that meant making some hard choices to let some important things take a backseat. In the end, though, taking care of myself is a very real way to love my family because if I don’t take care of myself, I might not be around to love them one day at all.

While I certainly would not have chosen to have cancer, I wouldn’t trade for a second the blessings that have come to me and my family as a result.

4 thoughts on “When Mom Has Cancer (Part 3)

  1. Sarah,
    Thank you for sharing your story…and your lessons and blessings along your journey. You are a true inspiration and a reminder to live each day fully and be grateful for each and every blessing. Sending you healing hugs and prayers for a continued recovery.

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