On October 25, 2010, I was about to leave for my oldest child’s 1st grade parent-teacher conference when my phone rang.
It was THE call from the radiologist who had performed the biopsy the week before. I was expecting to hear that it was either breast cancer or not breast cancer, but instead he was talking about a rare cancer that I had never heard of called angiosarcoma. I had to ask him to spell it as I wrote it down and stared at the strange new word.
Stunned, I said to him, “I’m not sure if you’re telling me I have one year or five years or what.” His answer was not reassuring: “We just don’t know yet.”
What does anyone do when they’ve just been diagnosed with a cancer they’ve never heard of? I Googled it, of course. And one of the first things I read was that only 30% of those diagnosed with angiosarcoma live five years past the diagnosis. I slammed the laptop shut and burst into tears.
Then my confused brain struggled to do some mental math and fast-forward five years. All I could think was that in five years my 18-month-old daughter would be just 6 years old – first grade. That there was a 70% chance that my baby girl wouldn’t have me with her when she walked into her first day of first grade.
First grade become my earnest plea to the Lord. I spent many weepy nights begging Him for more years with all three of my children. But for my baby, I wanted time for her remember me. In my mind, walking her into 1st grade would mean not only that I survived angiosarcoma for 5 years. It would mean having five years of making memories with my children and being part of their childhood.
As the years passed and it looked more likely that I would survive five years, my prayers became bolder. Now I look past first grade and ask for the privilege of parenting teenagers, seeing them graduate, attending their weddings, holding their babies. I continue to plead for more time and for the faith to trust the Lord with our future. But I don’t want to let this answered prayer pass by unnoticed . . .
On Tuesday, I will hold my daughter’s hand as she walks into her first day of first grade.
Praise the Lord! To Him alone be the glory!
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