April 11, 2017. This is the day that changed our lives. This is the day that my mother, Nova Lea Short, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. You never think that cancer will ever happen to you or to your family. You never think that you would be that 1 in 8 but unfortunately it happens and what matters more then the diagnosis is what you do next. How you handle that, how you accept it, and how you fight. My mother had an awful child hood and early adult hood filled with abuse and pain. She had fought through all of that raised her daughters to be strong, independent women, who knew her strength and admired her more than she could imagine only to be faced with the biggest fight she had ever been handed. I firmly believe in the saying that God only gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers because everything that my mom has been through to finally find her happiness being a newly wed for not even 5 months and then being diagnosed with breast cancer has halted her happiness. You hear the word cancer and you immediately think death even if the doctors tell you its the most common, its easily treatable and that you will make it through your mind associates this disease with death. I am hoping sharing my mothers story with you that association will change in your mind and instead of hearing cancer and thinking death you hear cancer and think strength, determination, and fight.
We all knew what was to come, chemotherapy, radiation, pain, sickness, surgeries, a constant battle within herself but nothing could truly prepare us for the days to come. Appointments started immediately with surgeons and oncologist, we got second opinions, options, and plans and what felt like would take a life time to get through seems like it has been a life time since we started. We are so blessed by God that she had found this lump so early, it hadn’t spread, and that the Doctors were able to come up with a very aggressive plan to get rid of it. For any women out there that have been told that breast cancer lumps can’t hurt my mothers pain was excruciating and that is the only reason she went to get a mammogram that day was because of the pain itself. Chemo started and my step-dad and I took my mom to her first treatment which was a long process of course, it was painful, she got sick, and we felt helpless. After she got home is when it really started though. After each treatment my moms face has swollen almost to the point she can’t see, shes gotten uncontrollably sick, and she has had such severe bone pain we have had to sit there and watch her scream and cry. There is nothing that helps bone pain and we tried everything. But she never gave up and has gotten through all of her chemo treatments! We couldn’t be more thankful and proud of her!
The day my moms hair started falling out by the hand full was the hardest day mentally and emotionally. This was her biggest fear to be “ugly” so she asked me to shave her head and get it over with and I had planned on going over to her house that evening but then she video called me crying because she was so angry about her hair that cancer wasn’t taking it she was doing it on her own terms and had tried to shave it. I’m laughing typing this because she did so terribly and she couldn’t stop laughing because she went all “Britney spears 2007” and shaved her own head. What we thought was going to be the most painful thing because once you lose your hair you can’t ignore the sickness anymore you are literally faced with seeing cancer in the mirror became the funniest moment of her cancer journey. This is the day I decided we would do a photo shoot with her to show her the beauty behind this illness and how beautiful she is bald. We got up one morning as the men from our church were putting a roof on her house and went into the field and danced and took photos. At that moment cancer didn’t matter, it didn’t exist to us. All that mattered was the sunrise and the cold dew on our feet. I made sure my mom looked beautiful and felt beautiful in every picture. In one picture you can see as she danced God touched her hand through the sunlight for that I am thankful. She couldn’t get through this without God on her side.
Today I sit here knowing my mom has survived this illness with only one more step to being completely cancer free and all I can do is thank God that we get another tomorrow with her. My babies and my nieces get to grow up knowing their Nana and knowing the strength it has taken for her to overcome something that not every family is blessed enough to come out of with their loved one. When I asked her for a quote for this story she said the same thing she has said from day one “Cancer is no joke but you have to fight. Find it within yourself and never give up because God is bigger than this.”