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Finding the Elusive "Bright Side"

We’ve all been taught that when hit with bad moments in life, we’re supposed to “look on the bright side.” Well, how about when life smacks you upside the head and leaves you for dead? Then, it’s not always so easy to see that elusive silver lining.

But it’s there, and although finding the silver lining has become increasingly challenging in the past few months, it’s one of the biggest things getting me through this tough time.

It all started back in May. My mother had a cold that ended with an annoying and persistent cough. In June, her doctor sent her to get an x-ray to check for fluid in her lungs.

There was no fluid, but the x-ray did find something on the top of her left lung. It was scary, for sure, but the doctors assured us that we shouldn’t panic. It might not be anything to worry about.

But it was.

The tumor was tiny, but unfortunately, it necessitated the removal of the top half of my mother’s lung. This was a huge surgery, but the bright side was clear. The cancer hadn’t spread and, thank the Lord, wasn’t in her lymph nodes. We were told that she shouldn’t have to go through chemo, which was the one thing my mother had been most worried about during this whole process.

The first few hours after the surgery were excruciating, but Mom was a trooper. The remainder of her lung expanded to fill the rest of the lung cavity. She walked laps around our house and religiously blew into her spirometer (we all learned what a spirometer is). A week later, Mom felt great.

So, we were absolutely shocked when we had her surgical follow-up. The pathology showed that the tumor was small cell cancer, so the doctors recommended chemo after all.

Despite the bad news, the bright side here was easy to see. Mom’s case was a miracle in the works. If she hadn’t had that annoying cough and then the x-ray, it might have been too late to do anything about the cancer.

But even knowing that, it’s hard to stay bright with chemo in your future.

Mom’s first round of chemo was last week. She was super-nervous, as expected, but she did great. She had IV chemo on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and although she was tired, the anti-nausea medications they gave her really did their job. More to be thankful for.

My new book, Tide of Deceit, was released that Tuesday. I don’t say that to make any of this about me. It’s more of a reminder that in the midst of all of this craziness, life goes on. Work continues, my kids went back to school, my niece came down for a visit, and we even got rear-ended on our way home from chemo class. It’s been a busy time.

And it’s not over yet.

Mom has three more rounds of chemo. Her PETSCAN revealed that she has a tiny lump in her breast. She’ll have surgery to remove that just before Christmas and then radiation the first week of January.

Sure there’s plenty of downside in just about every diagnosis Mom has received. But we can’t dwell on the bad. Finding the bright side of each doctor visit is what’s getting us through this trying time. And during these next few months, I’ll thank God every day that Mom had that cough. Turns out it wasn’t so annoying after all.

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