We drove 4 hours to Seattle for a quick...but necessary appointment to give Azlan clearance for his big surgery coming up. With his scoliosis they needed new X-rays to show he's ready to go for mouth surgery.
His medical assistant...she walked in and said 'hi'...but there was something special.
We chatted briefly about seeing the doctor and she left. As she stepped back in, little Nazara was walking around the room and caught her eye. She said how cute this little baby was and then commented on her own babies.
She has two. One 3 year old and one just a month older than Nazara.
When she came back again we had a few more minutes to chat. She softened every time she mentioned her two baby girls.
Conversation somehow turned to family and life and future. She spoke up and said she can't have more children because of brain cancer. Um. Yes. That stopped me in my tracks. Brain cancer? Who? The baby...? You...?
She's sitting in front of me and I'm trying to process and stay with the conversation. She's so young. She has two little baby girls. She has brain cancer...?
The more she talked ... the more awestruck I was. She was diagnosed in pregnancy with her youngest daughter. They waited til it was safe to deliver her and then treatment and surgery. This was a cancer "normally found in 55 year old men". Ok. I've heard of that before. Christina. That's the cancer Christina had.
She showed me her scar ... which was barely visible. From her forehead all the way down her head into her hair. She's so young. She's beautiful. She's sitting in front of me and as she's telling me how they got all the cancer but she gets scans every 3 months to look for a sign of it...
She said this. "They gave me 3-5 years". Everything in me wanted to say..."for...?" but I knew what she meant. For life.
She's 28, if I remember correctly. 28 years old. Married. A mom of 2 little babies. 3-5 years.
I found the words to say I didn't believe our meeting was by chance. She agreed. She spoke openly of faith and courage and hope.
Three to Five years.
She had so much joy. We spoke of how none of us are invincible...yet we live as if ... we are. How she is trying to live every day as the gift it is.
That day. In that room. Having driven 8 hours round trip with 10 children for this 30 minute orthopedic appointment. I realized the gift I had been given.
The gift of being challenged to live my life...thinking I have a 3-5 year lifespan.
What would I do differently? I would love purer. Deeper. With great abandon.
I would seize every moment. Every day would matter. Every single day...would matter. Nothing would feel mundane. Breakfast with my children...? A gift. Another day...another gift. Bedtime prayers and kisses and hugs...times ten...? A gift.
I would live. I would make a conscious choice to live. To live with purpose. To live building memories to last a lifetime for my family. To live with passion. To live...without fear.
I walked out of that clinic room...different. Lighter. Free-er.
I was given a gift. A huge gift. The gift of living with a 3-5 year lifespan. The gift of perspective. The gift of courage. The gift of realizing...again...I'm not invincible.
The gift of Whitney.