Ever just stare at a blank page trying to get yourself to write but you just can’t seem to get words out or do it. That has been me with this for these past 5 months. I can’t even keep count of how many times I have came back to this same draft… started writing things, cried, deleted it all, cried, wrote again, cried, deleted again, now to just start on a white blank page again. This has been really hard to write about, but I’m sharing a personal story with you all. One so close to my heart. By no means am I a good writer, but here it goes.

I hope to help others with remembering to have FAITH, HOPE and TRUST during REALLY hard times. During times when you feel so numb. To continue to have Faith and Trust, not just Faith and Trust, but Faith and Trust in our awesome God. He can do big things. During this time of feeling so lost, helpless, heartbroken and scared I gave it ALL to God. I knew that he is in control. He has shown me his presence, his strength for me to be strong when I didn’t think I could hold myself up and the guidance as my mom goes through the hardest thing in life that anyone could go through. He has protected us, he gave my mom the strength when she could barely walk, and he continues to give her strength to fight this cancer. She has improved and I feel forever grateful, thankful and blessed to have such an amazing God and such a strong mom that loves so hard. Thank you God for everything and for giving my mom the strength to fight this aggressive cancer. I pray you watch over her and she can get through this.

This is about our journey of finding out that my mom has Stage IV Cancer and her journey of fighting cancer.

I am still trying to write this, honestly and I am still trying to process everything that has happened. There has been lots of tears put into this post, and lots of random tears at random places, lots of sleepless nights, lots of nights crying till I fell asleep- but I still THANK God for his presence during this time, for his guidance over my mom during this, for him giving my mom strength to fight this cancer, for us seeing my mom improve, and for his help of going through this hard time. Our God is so good.

Never lose your faith or your hope going through something hard. God will be your rock, your guidance, your help, and your strength.  Isiah 41:10. Philippians 4:6.

My family was on vacation and I wasn’t able to go this time due to starting work. I so wish I went with them. (Advice– never turn down a vacation with your family if you can go). I face-timed my mom one night and she told me that she hadn’t been feeling well on vacation, she didn’t look like she was that well either. But, I didn’t know how extremely bad she felt till they got home and I was able to see her. I got there shortly after they got home from the airport and she was so sick. I could tell something was badly wrong. 

She had been to the dermatologist and a regular physician before vacation and they had told her that it might be a stomach bug. Along with the rash she had… they told her that it was probably a bad case of chiggers. Well, nothing was getting better and she got worse on vacation and even more worse when she got home.

I asked her “Mom, why did you not catch a flight home being this sick?” She said: “I knew that something was really wrong. I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted your sister to enjoy the trip and us to make memories with her.”

My mom has ALWAYS put us first. She is so selfless, so kind, so strong, and has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. I hope to be half as great as a mom as she is to us. I can’t even explain how much my mom has been through in life, being a single parent for a long period of time, but STILL being so amazing and ALWAYS making sure we were taken care of before herself. She deserves the world.

Anyways, they get back from vacation. I tried to get my mom to eat and to drink. She wasn’t into having much of anything. Finally, she ate a grilled cheese I made for her. She ate it like it was the first thing she ate in weeks… well it really was the first thing she did eat in a few days. I was so scared. I just knew something wasn’t right. I tried to take her to the hospital, but if you know my mama you know that she is so strong and tough. She insisted on just waiting till tomorrow.

The next morning I called Mercy Hospital and they told me no one could get her in for another 3 weeks. Well, that wasn’t going to work for me or for my mom. So, I called numerous times (I would say approximately 12 times speaking to different people at all times-crazy I know. But this is my mom we are talking about) until they fit her into the schedule that day without taking her to the ER. (Advice– when you know a scenario isn’t good, don’t take no for an answer, be PERSISTENT. I promise you will work your way in on anything).

My mom couldn’t walk. She wasn’t well at all. We finally got into the hospital where they were doing scans on her and she was going to see the doctor. I just sat there with such a heavy heart. My heart ached for how bad my mom was feeling and I was so scared, I felt so helpless. But, I knew that God was in control.

After she had her scans, the doctor called us in. I can’t even explain how I felt hearing “Mrs. Shelly”. My thoughts were everywhere. I was just hoping that it would be something she could get well soon.

Here we all were in the doctors office on September 19th, 2018. I was sitting on the floor just holding my moms hand while she sat in the chair. My brother and stepdad were there as well. The doctor looked like he was dreading what he was about to say to all of us in that tiny office. He said it, “I believe this is a bad case of cancer and it looks very aggressive.”

CANCER? CANCER? Really? Is this real? My mom, my best friend has cancer.– what went through my head. Then I just lost it. I knew she was really sick but I didn’t know it was this bad. As the doctor showed us her scans, it didn’t look good. He told us that we have a long road ahead of us and that we need to make quick moves to help my mom. We were back at the hospital about every day that week. She had 2 biopsy’s, 3 cat scans, a PET scan, a colonoscopy and an EGD. Can you imagine having ALL of that done in one week? My mom is SO strong. They wanted to make sure they knew what they were dealing with. I watched my mom get poked and stabbed so many times. Just thinking how sick she was and how strong she was being, how did she get this (for how healthy she has been- didn’t really EVER drink, never smoked, was active)– this will be a thought always, but I know God is in control, just feeling so numb, just praying so hard God will heal her.

By that next week we were sitting in the oncology clinic waiting to see her soon to be Cancer Doctor. This all still felt like such a blur, that it wasn’t real, but it was. My brother, his wife, my stepdad and I were there. My papa and mimi came and even 2 of my mom’s good friends came by to see her at the doctors. My aunt and uncle the next day. We are so thankful to have family nearby.

They called us back. The doctor told us it was Stage IV Cancer that he believes it originated in the stomach and spread to the liver. He told us that if we didn’t start treatment, that he would give it about six months. My heart dropped. I felt so numb, so scared, so helpless, but I knew that God was in control. We planned to get treatment started that next day. You would never hope for cancer, but when you know its cancer already, you at least hope its not Stage IV Cancer. I was such a mess. We all were. My mom was so so sick, but she still seemed so strong in that office like she knew it was coming and that she was ready to fight it. I could just tell that she just wanted to feel well again.

As everyone left the office, I couldn’t get myself to get up from the floor. I am sure everyone heard my cry thinking back on it… I was stuck. I just sat there thinking, why my mom? Why someone who has been through so much get this? Is this real? Please just get better, mama. My mom has been my rock (besides God), she has raised me my whole life, then pretty much raised me by herself from 8 years old and up, after my parents got divorced. She’s not only the world’s best super mom, but she is my bestfriend now as I am 23 years old. It’s hard thinking about loosing your loved ones in general, although we never know when its God’s time to bring one of us home. But, what would I do if I lost her this early? (Looking back, this has really taught me to never take a day for granted. Time is SO precious with Loved ones. To pray more & harder. To rely more on God and to always look to grow closer to him. To give God my troubles. To thank God during the good and hard times. To know that God is always in control. To always say “I love you” to loved ones, to hug tightly, to cherish the times you get with loved ones, and to live like you don’t know what the next day will hold.— Because, we really don’t know).

My brother sat there with me and my mom was sitting above us. I looked at my mom and just said “God can do miracles mom. I love you so much.” I just knew that all we could do was pray and that this was all in God’s hands. We never know what the future holds and we never know what each day holds. Before I knew that I would have to get out of that office because someone else that is probably going through something really hard would have to be in there, I said “Mom, we need to pray”. Everyone else had already walked into the lobby so it was just me, my brother and my mom. Some of you that know us really well are probably wondering where my sister was… Well she is younger, (only 14 at that time), and my mom didn’t want to tell her until we really knew what was going on. So, I prayed. Right by that doctor’s office we were in. It was such a blur and I honestly don’t remember what all I prayed, I just prayed that God would be with my mom during this time, to give her strength and to have a miracle. I believe God does Miracles.

We all left and went back home. It was all so quiet and so many tears. My mom was so sick that she was laying on the couch, talking to us a little bit. She mainly rested though. I knew that she was dreading telling my sister, because she was the youngest and we didn’t know how she would handle it. Also, my mom raised my sister by herself her whole life until my step dad adopted her. I could tell my mom was worried and scared, but she was so sick. I knew that I needed to be strong, for my mom and for my younger sister. I just told her it would be okay and we just have to pray.

She started treatment the next day on October 2nd, 2018 and besides my mom being so sick, that was the hardest thing I ever watched. We were in the chemo center for 8 hours that day. Her treatments are long and she takes chemo meds every day besides the chemo IV. Its a lot. I basically moved back home for almost 2 months to help take care of my mom and I didn’t really want to be far from her. She slept with me when I asked her too, so that was like a sleepover. — Never think your to old to have girls night/sleepovers with family. I cherish those times and I was so thankful I lived close to be able to be with my mom.

During this time, we felt so LOVED. I was not on my phone much during the first month of all of this, but I hopefully eventually got back to every single one of you that texted, called, said they will be Praying, brought dinners/gifts, sent letters, sent flowers, cooked dinner for my mom, came by to see my mom and us, sat with us, called me, listened to me just talk, checking in, anything and everything. I can’t tell you how much that means to my family and I. Especially my mom. We were all so overwhelmed and thankful for ALL of the help and kindness during that time. So, THANK YOU so much from the bottom of our hearts if you were one of those people and you are reading this. — Even when you hear of something going on, and sending a simple text: “Praying for you.” even if you haven’t talked to them in a while or you don’t know them that well, it can mean SO much to someone, so never be afraid to do that!

The first few months of chemo were really tough and we had lots of bumps in the road. My mom ended up getting a port and that has helped her a lot. I know that God has been with my mom and us EVERY step of the way. He has shown that he is here and he can do powerful and wonderful things.

Thankfully, and all praise to God my mom has improved since September. We have seen her tumor markers go down which is amazing and the doctor was pleasantly surprised. There are still scary things ahead of us that we are unsure of, what could be next, but we know that God is in control and that all of this is in his hands. For now I am just praying God will continue to give her strength, that he and this medicine will continue working, that there will be something amazing ahead that will help my mom or that will let the cancer be gone, or maybe she could have surgery to remove the rest. I am praying for a miracle. I believe that prayer is SO powerful and I still pray everyday. Thank you for ALL of the prayers and please continue to pray for my strong, amazing beautiful, mom. She is so strong. Please pray for the cancer doctors that are helping my mom and all of the other patients. They have a tough job, and my moms doctor has been great to us.

I have lots of pictures from all of this, but from my beautiful mama she requested only a few be shared. 🙂 I had asked her if I could share our story before I wrote this.

My brother and I are trying to get something worked out for my mom that could maybe help her. Please pray that we are able to get this worked out. We still have things ahead of us and I pray that God will heal my mom and she will be well. That would be the best day.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that this gives you Faith, Hope and Trust in whatever it may be that you are going through or have been through, that this will remind you to lean on God, to trust his plan, to have Faith, to give thanks, to never take a day for granted and to pray always.

I have taken lots of pictures throughout this… It has been hard, but these pictures are a part of this journey and they have became so precious to me as I look back at them as my mom is fighting cancer. I am so thankful I get to take these and go through this with my mom. These are just a few of all of the pictures that I have. I have more that have more family in them, my step dad and my moms friends that have came with her to treatment. I feel so thankful.

My moms first chemo treatment. October 2, 2018.
My moms second chemo treatment. October 23, 2018.
My moms third chemo treatment. November 13, 2018.
My mom getting a port. She was so brave to do this… She didn’t want to originally, but it has helped so much. November 29, 2018.
My moms fourth chemo treatment. December 4, 2018.
My moms fifth chemo treatment. January 2, 2019. This was my sisters first time to go with my mom. I think it was really special for her.
My moms sixth chemo treatment. January 22, 2019.
My mom is so beautiful and so strong. Her sixth treatment. January 22, 2019.
My moms seventh chemo treatment. February 12, 2019. I am so proud of her and so thankful for God giving her the strength to fight this.
My moms seventh chemo treatment. February 12, 2019.
Mom, you are so amazing and so strong. I hope to be half as great as a mom one day as you are to me. I love you so much and I am so thankful and blessed that you are MY mom.

Much Love,

Raka’.

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