Written by Samantha Lewis
So, what is your word?
Disclaimer: No names have been changed to protect the identity of anyone referenced in this post because they deserve all the credit.
Upon diagnosis, my God-fearing, Jesus-loving, eccentric friend Jacki Jo asked me what my word was?
I was like “Huh? What word?”
She said “The one God gave you. He told me He gave you a word.”
I was like “Ummmm no, I don’t think so, but thanks.”
We talked a while and her devout faith and constant nudging got me to praying for my word.
Readers’ Digest version goes like this:
Me: God, what is my word? I don’t even know what I am asking for, but I need a word and it isn’t the ones I use when I have to put money in the jar.
Me: That’s basic. I need a real word, one that is inspiring and allows You to use me for the greater purpose.
God: Again kid, Hope
Me: But I don’t like that word, can I get a new one, can I pick it?
Guardian Angel: <shaking his head>
God: No, it’s Hope. Figure it out, would you, and we’ll talk about it.
Me: How will I know?
God: You’ll know when you know.
Moving on . . .
Just a few days after I was first diagnosed, my friend Tammy took me to meet my neighbor Lacey at her home before a women’s bible study.
We talked and Lacey shared her story of diagnosis.
I must have had the ‘deer in the headlights’ look and eyes glazed over because I did not retain one thing she said other than–
“Good things will come from this if you let it.”
If you know my sweet neighbor and friend Lacey, you’ll know she’s as sweet, endearing and kind as the day is long, but on that day I thought she was smoking crack.
And in the words of a certain Whitney Houston, crack is whack.
The last year has been a blur.
The business has grown by nearly 400% and I’m hanging on the back of that train flopping in the wind like a rag doll. Just trying to keep my parts of it on the rails while going through active cancer treatment. As I’m flailing from side to side back there on the caboose, I see everyone is smiling so it must be ok, right?
Sixteen straight cancer treatments, a double mastectomy two weeks later, thirty-three rounds of radiation, with six months on oral chemo as the cherry on top.
It’s been a busy year to say the least.
In the middle of this, my sweet cutting mare, Caddy, is in a freak accident and breaks 6 vertebra in her withers. So I purchased another cutting horse because my dream has always been to show in the Will Rogers Coliseum since I attended my first NCHA cutting finals there 4 years ago.
Y’all, I did it!
The first day I was shittin’ kittens (money just went into the jar) but the second day was some of the most fun I have ever had in my life. A very angry Charolais heifer that did not want to play nice ruined our day but I squealed with delight every time Eddie hit that stop and turned that cow.
Cat Killer, aka Eddie, is a true blessing. I guess he was one of those good things, huh?
Throughout the past year, I see the word Hope everywhere, literally everywhere. Almost annoyingly everywhere. I’ll spare you another conversation I had with God but I finally allowed my hard head to accept that Hope is my word.
I was recently at a funeral for our business partner’s father, who passed away unexpectedly. My first thought as we walked in the chapel was “I hope this service brings hope to Dean’s family.”
As I am walking in, Dean’s wife Sandy takes my arm and introduces me to her bestie Denise who just the day before was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The timing of a recent diagnosis and attending a funeral did not fall short of recognition by my empathetic heart. All the feels I had when I found out came rushing back, a feather could have pushed me over …
Put a pin in this a story for a minute.
For those that know me, you know I am not a crowd person, I don’t like social gatherings and I am a huge huge huge introvert. I never get mad when people cancel plans on me, ever. Simply, I like to stand in the corner or leave, unless it’s about horses, in which case I’ll look for the most crazy horse person and be drawn to them. (So if we’re horse friends, at one point you were the craziest horse person in the room.)
Back to the story. Denise is telling me what she does know and that her breast cancer is hormone-based and she meets with her surgical oncologist that same week.
Remember Lacey? (stay with me here) When we met she gave me so much information, I did not retain most any of it. Except the good things part.
Back to Denise, I recognized that similar ‘deer in the headlights’ look on Denise’s face and it brought back all the emotions of my own diagnosis. (By the way, I was driving in my car when the nurse called to tell me. Taking Jentri to get an outfit for her National Honor Society Induction ceremony the next evening. To be honest, I knew before I knew that I had cancer. But I digress.)
I overwhelm Denise with information, what will most likely happen next, she should request a genetic test, blah blah blah. I tell her that I have thrown a lot of information at her in a short amount of time and to get my number from Sandy and text me later because she will have questions.
Denise thanked me later that night in a text for giving her Hope and asked more questions.
There it is God. Your word. My purpose.
Kayla, my oldest daughter, has moved to Texas (another one of the GREAT things) and on the move down, she reveals that her friend Shawna’s mom was just diagnosed through a Telehealth appointment. Freaking Covid. It got me to thinking how hard it must be on a child to hear that their foundation, their rock, has a life-threatening health crisis.
Long story short so I keep your attention, I reached out to Shawna tonight and she thanked me for giving her hope and promised to keep us posted on her mom’s treatment plan.
There’s that word again.
My grandfather is in the active stage of dying. It’s heartbreaking to see the strongest man I have known have the sparkle go out of his eyes.
As I was sitting on the bed this past week, holding his hand, knowing it will most likely be the last time I see him on this earth, I have Hope that I will see him someday. I hope my sweet David and my best doggo, Freddy, is waiting for him at the gates to walk him in.
But they’re gonna have to wait a hot minute for me because I’m not done yet.