I think an infectious smile is one of the best features someone can have. A joy-filled smile can bring hope to the hearts of all who see it. I first met Crissy a few years ago and her smile was one of the first things I noticed about her. It was bright and beautiful, and something she also passed on to her daughter (my soon-to-be sister-in-law). As long as I have known her, Crissy has had a wonderfully positive outlook on life. So when she was diagnosed with breast cancer early in 2014, I prayed that she would be able to continue smiling through all of it. Here is a little bit of her story...
Friday, February 21, 2014 will be a day forever etched into my memory and the memories of my family. That was the day the doctor told me, my daughter, and my future son-in-law that they were 95% sure the spot found earlier in the week on a mammogram was cancerous. A biopsy later would indeed confirm that suspicion. The next few days were spent making serious decisions in short amounts of time. I decided to undergo a double mastectomy with lymph node removal on March 17th and began a grueling chemotherapy regimen in April. Side effects plagued me and eventually I had to stop additional chemo treatments due to heart failure resulting from the chemo drugs. Today, I have my heart monitored weekly and I have begun daily radiation treatments for the next 7 weeks. But I hope to be back to normal very soon!
When the breast cancer diagnosis happened, I was praying to God one day about the “Why” question. I felt that the words "Beauty for Ashes" kept circling in my mind. I grabbed a Bible and found the verse God was speaking to me in this situation. Isaiah 61:3 says “..to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."
I know God has a plan after cancer and He promises to give me a crown of beauty for these ashes. Through it all I will be stronger, like a mighty oak planted for His glory. I strive daily to find the Beauty in the Ashes and can’t wait to see just how God will use my testimony in the days to come. You can follow my journey on the Crissy’s Journey 2014 Facebook page.
To me, Crissy is a picture of strength despite hardships. And she truly has found the beauty in the ashes. Shortly after Crissy started chemo and had to shave off her beautiful hair, I saw a picture of her on Facebook that captivated me. I wasn't drawn to it by the fact that she had no hair or that she was wearing a scarf on her head. What captured me was her beautiful smile, the same beautiful smile I had seen long before the words "cancer" and "chemo" were ever in the picture. And it was at that moment, I knew that Crissy was going to fight. And she was going to win. Not just in the sense of beating cancer but beating the lie that says she is defeated.
Help others like Crissy continue to fight by donating to the Breast Cancer Fund or other organizations helping women across the country!