“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” I love that movie. And it’s so true! We can never truly prepare for what the future holds. I thought that I was really good at planning and organizing, multi-tasking and getting things done and yet it wasn’t enough. I was blindsided. Everything became a blur. I questioned myself as a mother and wondered if it was my fault. My to do list was irrelevant, my accomplishments for the day or even for the last 38 years were null and void. Paisley was diagnosed as an epileptic and 6 months later I heard the most horrific words a parent could hear “Paisley has a very rare and aggressive form of cancer.”
My 2 year old daughter, Paisley, was diagnosed with Malignant Myoepithelioma Carcinoma On December 13, 2016. I’ve been asked so many times how we got through it. I believe that God allowed me to see someone else live this tragic story out triumphantly. 6 months before my daughter was diagnosed I began watching, almost stalking a woman on social media whose child was in cancer treatment for leukemia. And I was in awe of the strength of her marriage and how she never derailed from the hope she had in the Lord. I was inspired by her fight and drive to go beyond what the medical system can provide and to help her child not only live but to THRIVE through treatment.
Their motto was derived from scripture (1 Peter 1:6-9) “choose joy.” Happiness is achieved by how something else makes you feel, but JOY…. Now that’s a choice! So, that is what we did. We chose joy. Every day. Every minute. And still try to. My job during treatment was to make her smile and laugh, to make the scary more fun, and to turn things like our mandatory hall walks into a dance party. My husband was better at this than I was, but we were a team. Jesus always met us in the hallways. We would have music bumping from her IV pole (maybe too loud and too late for some), doing lunges and dancing even after 15 bags of chemotherapy had been flushed through her little body. My warrior’s favorite attire was her Doctor coat. And when she made her rounds she made sure to give every nurse a pretend shot (payback I guess). Dr. Paisley was always pleased with herself, her gentle technique and her ability to make it pain free. The laughter, the love and the new friends that we met while in those hallways were just beautiful. Yes, there was beauty. Paisley roamed those hallways with such pride and a free spirit. “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
Our Pathway Through
In return of choosing joy for HER, I laughed more and loved harder than ever. Was it easy? No way! I’m still healing emotionally, but I could not imagine our story looking any different. Being angry or bitter would have hardened my heart to all the beauty that took place in between.
As of April 7, 2017, Paisley was declared in remission!!!! I’m a proud mommy of a sassy 4 year old who is small but mighty, a force to be reckoned with. In these 4 short years of life, she has been so brave, resilient and a true warrior against Epilepsy and cancer. She fought and conquered both beasts! The end of this journey is not always the same for everyone. Paisley has lost some friends along the way who gained their little wings and won their battle as they entered heaven’s gate. It doesn’t always look the same, but one thing we have learned is that LOVE always beats cancer, every time.
Blessed to be a Blessing
We could not have made it through, the WAY we did, without the support of KICKcancER and CHOC’s integrative healthcare including MaxLove Project and Open Mind Modalities. Because of them, I have gone back to school to further my education in holistic and integrative care to support my daughter physically and emotionally. I will work alongside other families struck by childhood cancer. I want to support, encourage, and to teach integrative healthcare to the parents so that THEIR children may thrive during and after treatment as well. As a cancer community, we will continue to fight! We will continue to research and we will continue to love despite cancer and its persistence. Choose JOY and flourish!
“It is through the most difficult trials that God often brings the sweetest discoveries of himself.” I feel like some of our greatest trials began after her treatment. We truly have been tested. Some say the most precious metals are put through the hottest fires…. And if that is true, then yes! I am a hot mess right now, but God believes that I can be one of his most precious metals! And I will rest in that.