24 February 2012

I Choose HOPE

Two nights ago we got a call from family - the kind you never want to get.  Danny's sister, Laurie, has breast cancer.  She's 39, a mother of 7 children, the Stake Young Women's president, and the founder of the Great Artist Program.  She very well could be one of the most amazing women you'd ever meet. You'll see why when you read this post.  She wanted to record some of her thoughts while the emotions are still so raw.  Be prepared to be inspired....
mother with breast cancer

My name is Laurie, I am a 39 year-old wife and mother of 7 awesome kids, and barely 48 hours ago I learned I have Breast Cancer.  It may sound strange to say this, but I have had the most amazing two days, especially considering the potential for fear and uncertainty associated with this diagnosis.  But instead of fear, I feel full of life, HOPE, love, and gratitude for what is to come.

I have always had an optimistic nature about me, and am an idealist as well as a romantic.  But, I know that my ability to look at this trial and challenge with hope and peace is due in part to the lessons I have learned from my little brother and his awesome wife.  I feel that I have been prepared for this difficult time.  I have had so many insights and “ah-ha” moments in the past few months as I’ve read along with all of you.  And I’ve been applying what they share to my day to day “practice trials” which has taught me so much about choosing a better perspective and really living the way we should.  I feel in doing so, I’ve come to better know God and His mercies, and I’ve learned to embrace more fully Jesus Christ and his ability not only to save, but to comfort and give us hope.

Everyone keeps asking if I’m OK, and I tell them...I AM GREAT! I feel alive, I feel blessed, I feel happy.  Today, there are dozens of people praying and fasting on my behalf, and I FEEL it!  I have had so many texts and phone calls from loving friends and family, and could open up a flower shop with all the beautiful bouquets!  I am in awe at the love and support from everyone around me.  I feel like I am walking on a cloud of hope and love.

I know there will be hard times ahead, things and feelings and hurts that I have never experienced.  I know it will be rough, but I look forward to what I will learn from this, and for the personal growth I know will come.  I know Danny and Mara have had an influence on many of you, but I feel like what they have been sharing (and what I’ve been applying) has personally been preparing me to fight this battle in a better way.  So many of their posts have touched my soul, and since I’m family, I have also had many heart to heart conversations with them, and I've thought long and hard over our topics.  I have opened my heart, mind, and soul to their message of CHOOSING hope, love, and faith over their opposites of doubt, anger, and fear.  I'm doing that right now, in what is most certainly the biggest trial of my life....and it is making all the difference.  A whole different kind of completeness, of peace and love and hope is building up inside of me.

Danny and Mara are sharing a message as old as the world, but they do it in a way many of us are listening to.  So, tomorrow as I head to my doctor for my first appointment as a cancer patient, I leave fear behind, and I go with HOPE.  I go with peace in my heart and an immense gratitude for all of my many blessings and for all those who love and support me and my precious family.

22 comments:

  1. Wow! What a wonderful message and teaching for all of us! She should know by now that all the reader's of this blog will be cheering, hoping and praying for her too! I am sure she will win this trial and that great things will come for her and her family! Danny and Mara, hang in there too... you have a wonderful way to face life, but still seeing a loved one suffer phisically can be hard...although it opens even more our heart (yes, it is possible!) and compassion to the loved one and to all people going through through health trials on this world. Danny's sister, may you feel surrounded by love at each and every moment!

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  2. You will be in my thoughts and prayers daily for you, as well as your family. Thank you for sharing your message of great hope and faith. You will be blessed.

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  3. You'll be in my Boston prayers. I hope you continue to feel strength and hope and love from your family and friends (and strangers -- like me!).

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  4. What an inspiring post to read! Laurie, we are all pulling for you and your family.

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  5. what a great outlook.
    keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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  6. what an inspiring and exciting take on illness. Thank you Laurie for sharing.

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  7. Can't imagine a better way to demonstrate that you can CHOOSE to live in peace rather than fear. Laurie is so inspiring with this message, as are you all, Danny and Mara! Thank you for continually sharing. I will keep Laurie and your family in my prayers.

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  8. Oh My goodness. I just stumbled on your blog from another blog and I cannot believe this. Laurie was my young women's president. She leaves two streets away from my parents. We absolutely AODRE her and he family. I was a teenager when Weston was a little guy and I used to love seeing him come to church all dressed up. Laurie was a fantastic art teacher to my younger sister. My Mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago (she is in Laurie's stake as well) and had her first round of Chemo last night. We will definetly be praying and fasting for Laurie and her adorable family!

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    1. So fun to hear you know Laurie. All the best to you & your family during this time !

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  9. Thanks so much to everyone for all their well-wishing and prayers. I am so overwhelmed with the kindness and concern from family, friends, and even lovely bloggers whom i've never met! The DR appointment went great, and the cancer is really small. We are not sure what surgery option we will choose, or if the therapy after will be radiation or chemo, but it doesn't matter. Either way, I will be OK!!!! We'll keep on smiling and I hope all of you will be blessed for your kind words and prayers. xoxo

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    1. Laurie, thanks for the message of hope! You know I have always looked up to you! You know that cancer is no respector of persons and I appreciate your attitude and love of life like you have always had. Just know your friends in Georgia are praying for you. Recently I had a tender mercy of my own and wanted to share this from Elder Hales..

      "I have often pondered, Why is it that the Son of God and His holy prophets and all the faithful Saints have trials and tribulations, even when they are trying to do Heavenly Father’s will? Why is it so hard, especially for them?

      As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord.”12 Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, “all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good.”13

      Does this mean we will always understand our challenges? Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, “O God, where art thou?”14 Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When financial hardship befalls a family, a father will ask. When children wander from the path, a mother and father will cry out in sorrow. Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”15 Then, in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying, “Thy will be done.”16

      What, then, does it mean to wait upon the Lord? In the scriptures, the word wait means to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, long-suffering, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end.

      To wait upon the Lord means planting the seed of faith and nourishing it “with great diligence, and … patience.

      Love you Laurie

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    2. Perfect advice and council, thank you so much Tina! love you too!

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  10. Thank you so much for this. You have taught me so very much in this post. I've studied this topic extensively (out of fear, really--because I wanted to know what to do if the worst happened and how to prevent it if I can.) So here, in a nutshell is the best advice most cancer patients don't get: Nutrition is KEY. Stay away from sugars. Sugar is the food of cancer. No natural sugar, refined sugar, even fruit. Juice wheat grass and take it two or three times per day. Whole foods are ideal. No junk. Nothing refined. Eat so many raw organic vegetables. Doctors won't tell you how important nutrition is. I don't know why. They just don't. Your beautiful attitude will be healing as well, I should think. May God bless you with added strength and comfort and a happy outcome.

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  11. Laurie - I'm sorry to hear about being diagnosed with cancer, but what an amazing attitude to have! I'm a cancer survivor, I'm coming up on my two year mark of being cancer free (I had lymphoma) and I have to say though it was the most difficult time of my life it was also one of the most beautiful times of my life. I did 6 months of chemo while my husband was working full time and in night school and I had a two year old boy to be mom to. I feel so blessed because I was able to see God's hand directly in my life everyday. I learned things from that experience that I would have never learned any other way, and I am a much different person now because of it. I cherish the moments that I have with my family, everyday is such a blessing. I'm able to let the little things go more and focus on the people in my life rather than the "things" in my life. I have a better relationship with Heavenly Father than I did before and I feel like I'm much more focused as to what is important in this life and what is not. And I too have been very blessed by the message that your brother and sister in law have been blogging about as I've been trying to put my life (and myself) back together after this experience. It's hard to focus on the negative parts of cancer when there is so much good and blessings that come from an experience like this. I wish you the very very best as you embark on this journey. My prayers will be with you and your family.

    Meg

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    1. thank you Meg. I so appreciate your perspective. I am looking forward to the many blessing that will come through this trial. I know it will be difficult, but somehow I think i needed a reminder of what's most important. Everything else can just fall by the wayside. Family and loving others, finding JOY in the journey, learning from trials, patience and charity: that's what I am hoping to focus on.

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  12. my best to laurie! my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while my dad and i were hiking the jungles of mexico a couple years ago. talk about helpless! i had a good long time to think about how the next piece of our lives were going to play out. by nature, we're not "freaker-outers", but everyone around us made up for where we lacked. i looked at it this way: the surgery was scheduled, the doctors had a plan, i said my prayers, we let the plan play out... surgery, recovery, radiation, rinse and repeat if necessary. and then, as amazing as she ever was, she dove back into the real world, operating as the most important woman in the world.

    we came to earth to do hard things. we signed up for this. i have this vague idea of how it went when we were in the grand council - sitting together in a giant room, dolling out our lots in life. my mom {and like 1 out of every 8 women in the room} raised their hands and signed up for breast cancer. looking at the history of the women in my family, i'm pretty sure i did too... among all the fun, happy moments we signed up for, we voluteered for some pretty serious trials, too.

    we can do hard things. we were meant to. it's all a part of the plan!

    good luck, laurie! i'm adding you to my prayers.

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  13. Thank you! I believe we knew what we were getting into before we came to earth as well. Thanks for reminding me :)

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  14. Laurie, I just read all of this wow! Are you an inspiration or what. You are an amazing person so thankful for your perspective. Thanks for helping me face my trials as well. Good luck! When I first heard this news I thought, "We all have to help her with ther family and needs so you can get through this without worry!" I am more than willing to help with kids, meals, cleaning whatever you need. Hang in there. You are so loved! Don't know why it is showing me as Sir Knight??? This is Macey. Love you!

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  15. Laurie!
    You have influenced so many lives. You're optimism is as contagious as your fabulous smile. My family is eternally blessed by you and your family's example in every way. You are a keeper!
    Love you, Lori

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  16. Laurie,
    I just this hour learned of your journey. I began a 6 month mission with my husband to Heber Valley Girls Camp last week and am home for a few minutes to get internet so time is short. As I have read through your blog and the support you are receiving from others, I am filled with happiness and hope for you also.
    I read one post about nutrition and I can add some of what I have gained over many years of researching nutrition. Our bodies strive to maintain a ph of 7-7.2 which is essential to staying alive!! Foods contribute directly to that ph. They range from highly acidic to highly alkaline. The acidic foods stress our bodies as it tries to nuetralize the acid. Viruses, bacteria and cancers thrive in an acid environment and are almost impossible to grow in an alkaline one. It takes only a few clicks to find acid-alkaline food lists on the web.
    Raw foods still contain their full spectrum of nutrients before they are cooked/processed and loose the majority of their health giving benefits. The micronutrients in food are in the thousands and no amount of store bought (processed) suppliments can compensate for what God placed in food. Organic is the most wholesome since the herbicides and pesticides on grocery store produce is another toxin our bodies must deal with.
    Sorry to be so scientific but Father has given us knowledge to use in wisdom for this temporal estate!! This is the briefest of summaries but I felt impressed to share it. I want to recommend a book I bought at the Bosch Kitchen Center on 7th East that is excellent called "Original Fast Foods" and has amazing information and testimonials. This is a time of nurturing your body with the best out there. My association with you through Young Women has been brief but you are one whose light shines BRIGHT and blesses everyone you meet.
    The Lord is watching over every detail of your life and His hands are providing the path to become who He wants you to become. Love, Kerry Harkness

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  17. Inspiring words from an amazing person. I looked up to Laurie when I was a small girl. She hasn't changed a bit.

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  18. I know I'm a year late to this post. But I beg of you to watch the documentary Food Matters on Netflix. Eating a mostly plant based diet, at least 50% organic fruits and vegetables, can save your life if you have a disease such as cancer. I just saw it and I wish more people knew about it. Only 6% of doctors have taken a class in nutrition which is a shame because nutrition and good food is literally the best medicine we can give ourselves. I'm serious. Please. Please. Watch this.

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