Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Lisa's Battle

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I met Lisa Hamrick for the first time last year in a middle school gym as we volunteered on Picture Day.  I had never seen or met her before but she made me feel like we had been friends for years.  As she handed out cards to the students, she treated them like they were her own.  In between classes coming in, she told me her story.  With a joy in her voice, she said how much God loves her and watches over her and her family as she told me her breast cancer story.  Afterwards, we learned that we both attend SMC!   Lisa's a hero. She has a heart for other women who have battled cancer.  She has a heart for people!  She's more than willing to tell her story to anyone about how God carried her through her battles.  We're privileged to hear it today.  Thank you Lisa!

 

My name is Lisa and I’m married to Dave.  Our grandson, Preston, has lived with us since he was a baby and we adopted him last year.

It was January 29, 2008.  I got a dreadful call.  Dave had been in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico.  He was piloting the plane and had one passenger.  Both were critically injured and it was likely that Dave wouldn’t live.  He was airlifted by a helicopter to a trauma center in Miami.  He fought hard and against all odds, we returned to North Carolina six weeks later.

The next two years were constant rehab and physical therapy.  Not once did he complain.  We had started attending SMC just before the crash and didn’t know many people there.  Sometimes when Dave was having a good day, we would sneak in after the service started on Sunday evenings and leave early because he couldn’t last through the entire service.  Often I would get CD’s of the services for us to listen to at home.  They were such a comfort to us!

Then, in December 2009 I had my annual mammogram.  I was told more pictures and an ultrasound were needed. Then a needle biopsy.  They were unable to get to the mass they saw with a needle, so I found a surgeon I loved and he immediately decided to do a lumpectomy.

It was almost Christmas so the doctor and I scheduled the procedure for January 7, 2010.  I was happy with this because the lump would be gone and we would know what it was.  God had been so good to our little family.  He had allowed my husband to live and I felt sure I had a cyst.

After the lumpectomy I went back for my follow up visit and pathology report.  I couldn't believe it but yes, it was cancer.  The surgery didn’t get clear margins, meaning there was still cancer present.

I was not expecting to hear that.  I was sure it was going to be a cyst.  I cried.  I felt overwhelmed.  My cancer was aggressive so I had to make decisions quickly and that was scary.

My family and friends were quick to offer a strong support system and it was incredible to see.  I was never really angry - just overwhelmed that we had to face cancer after almost losing Dave.

I went to two oncologists and found I needed a mastectomy.  I chose to have the same doctor do this surgery at ARMC.  Preston was so young and had been through so much with the crash that we knew it was important that we stay close.  {Big hugs to Cindy Jordan and Debbie Seagraves who were Preston’s teachers for two really tough years.  Thank you for the love you gave our child.}

January 27, 2010 was mastectomy day.  I was ready to go to surgery when an emergency came in and I was put in a holding room and had to wait three and a half hours with no drugs.

God showed Himself that morning – my friend Lynn showed up unexpectedly and prayed with us, then took Dave to the waiting area.  She knew I couldn’t hold it together for three more hours and needed to be alone.

The surgery went great and I went home two days later.  I started chemotherapy in March.  The next seven months were tough.  Dave and Preston were wonderful caregivers.  The Sundays I was too sick to go to church they would go get CD’s and we would have church in bed.  Honestly, I slept through most of it because I was still sick.  On days I was feeling better, a few times they would sneak me into the sanctuary after the service started.  I could barely talk because the chemo took my voice so we would leave early so I didn’t have to speak to anyone.

I started attending the Nancy Emerson Breast Cancer Support Group at SMC and I still do.  It’s an incredible group of women and we laugh and cry and pray together.  We now meet at Little Pink Houses of Hope.

In 2011, I had to have a second mastectomy.  My father died that same week.  I was crushed but so thankful the Lord took him home.  He had been battling colon cancer and had been so very sick.

Four and a half years later I am doing well and am cancer free!  Three months ago I was talking to my friend and pink sister – Jeanine Patten-Coble, founder of Little Pink Houses, after the evening SMC service and I mentioned that my husband knew Bob Disher from the YMCA. But having sneaked around SMC for over six years, I had never met Bob.  She took my hand and pulled me across the Atrium and introduced me to him and Susan.  I finally know the two people who helped my family keep our faith during six hard years.  The services, Facebook posts Susan shared and most of all those CD’s, made it possible for us to hang on and we are grateful!  We are grateful for the support system of family, friends and other "pink sisters".  God puts special people in our lives for a reason.

If we are seen sneaking around the church, now you may know who we are!

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