Six years ago today I was sitting in a hospital bed with stitches, aching as I held and said good bye to my fourth born son. February 22, 2008 was one of the most remarkable days of my life. The loss was great, but the LOVE was so much greater. I had never felt such tangible love, by my Heavenly Father through all of the people around us. I miss that boy terribly and can't help but wonder what a six year old Asher would be like, but I am so very grateful he got to be mine at all. He blessed me in ways I never could have imagined. My life is different because he lived.
Today, six years later I sit in my bed with stitches, aching from surgery last week. I have a large incision on my outer left arm and one under my arm where the lymph nodes were taken for biopsy. So much has happened in the last six years but God's goodness remains the same. I never imagined I'd be sitting here writing about my cancer, but God knew. Last night around 7:40 pm my cell phone rang and I looked and saw that it was the doctor. I answered with a lump in my throat wondering why they'd call so late on a Friday. The physician's assistant explained that my pathology report was in and that they showed clear margins (meaning they got all the cancer) and that my lymph nodes showed no signs of cancer.
I think I breathed for the first time in almost a month. I immediately began to cry and thank her. She said,"I am so glad you are happy, and you should be but please know this is not over. We still need you to come in this week to see the oncologist, we are going to have to STAY ahead of this cancer." Melanoma will be something I live with forever. I will have frequent scans and check ups and while it is scary, I am grateful. I am grateful for the shift in perspective, the renewed gratitude for life and all the little things, and the awakening that I need to take care of myself.
We got GOOD news. The best news we could have asked for and I am so grateful, but I am determined not to waste this opportunity. I intend to let this experience continue to shape me and grow me and I need to show you something. It is tough to look at and not for the faint of heart, but THIS was the result of a mole no bigger than a pencil eraser....it had regular borders but was a little "dark"...and it could have cost me my life...and still could come back to haunt me and I pray we are armed and ready.
Today, as a way to honor my sweet Asher, I am asking you....to NOT let this happen to you. GET your skin checked and protect your skin. IT is your largest organ...take care of it. While SOME sun is good for us, sunburn is not, stay out of the tanning bed. PLEASE make an appointment with your dermatologist and prevent this from happening to you. Melanoma is VERY treatable when caught early, and very deadly when it isn't. Today I celebrate Asher's life and also my own, I pray I am able to live it to the fullest....and I pray you are too. Life is a gift...open it and live it!