Family and friends, below is a story that we would like to share how an unexpected journey has changed our family's lives.
The Backstory: Up until nine months ago my mom, Patricia Driskill, was a very energetic, vibrant and healthy woman. She would faithfully attend church, Wednesday night bible study, walked often, worked three days a week and took care of seeing to it that her grandsons made it to school on time. After January 2016, my mom had many physical aches and pains. After a long road of trials, tests and workups, we discovered she had stage 4 breast cancer. Praise the Lord we have journeyed this far and for this long. In the medical world they say, "Oh, so this is a recent diagnosis?" While they say that to us it feels like eons ago. We weren't ready to hear, "This is cancer." We were definitely unprepared for the rarity of this cancer as well. Though the journey has been difficult and we are aware of the future afflictions we may face, we want to keep in mind the words we are reminded of in Matthew 11:28-30, 28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
As a family our goal is not to let cancer define who we are, or let it control us, but rather allow this disease to bring others to Christ and as a family draw closer to Him. I recently asked my brother, Jamie, what verse he would pick as the theme for this adventure with mom and like any good pastor he nailed it, and said Hebrews 4:16, 16 "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
The Fight: Cancer has taken right a hold of my mom's body and squeezed down on her like a vice. From the agonizing wait for numbers, results or tests, to debilitating her body causing her to be home-bound. Now we sit and we wait for doctors to tell us what is wrong and how to fix it. Her body has been broken, pinched, drained, radiated, scanned, stabbed, contrasted and more. In nine months we have been through, what seems like, insurmountable setbacks on the road to remission. No matter the setbacks each time my mom has fought graciously and with integrity. She has clutched her encouraging scripture verse of choice on a Post-It note at each doctor's visit, always keeping her eyes on the Lord. She rejoices at good news and recovers from the bad news. She has tried to continue to attend church when she can and makes as many of her grandchildren's events as she possibly can, even when she is exhausted. When she has the ability to make it to work, at Lenco Credit Union she hands out dog biscuits to her favorite 4-legged customers when she is physically able to be there. I can't think of a better faith-driven role model than my mother. She continues to lead us, and teach us, even as she lays in a bed unable to move. Jamie and Heidi, along with Joe and I, are blessed beyond measure to have her as a role model. Her grandchildren, Ellie, Chloe, Tanner and Tyson are blessed to have her as their loving grandmother. We can all agree that Jim was blessed with an amazing wife! Cancer has not defined my mom, yet it has enhanced her earthly journey until the Lord calls her home.
The Future: We don't know what God has in store for my mom and our family. Medically they are informing us that she needs to recover from the setbacks of; fluid retention, heart problem, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue and overall poor health. While we once thought she had all of these problems because of a reaction to one of her chemo drugs, University of Michigan is now saying that most likely the cause is the cancer itself. No matter the outcome, we will turn our eyes upon Him and wait. While we wait, we will learn from our Lord what is necessary. To watch a loved one suffer, changes your life, it changes your perspective and it can create doubt. In Corinthians 15:58 it says, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." This verse tells us to stay the course and not doubt, even in the darkest of times. As for our family decisions, we will continue to do what is best for my mom and seek the best treatment for her.
A Verse for My Mom: Proverbs 31:25-29, 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:29 Many women have done excellently,but you surpass them all.”