I learned one year ago… that I mattered. That not only did I matter to those near, I mattered to those far, those I encountered briefly and more importantly I mattered to the creator of the universe.
I remember waiting to go back for my surgery, my parents fighting back tears as their youngest daughter just shy of her twenty seventh birthday was being taken back to have her cancer removed.
I however remember feeling encouraged, calm and ready. But I remember looking in my parents eyes and was unsure if they were going to be ok. I wrote my parents a card to open when I went back for my surgery. I wanted them to be encouraged as I was. In more than a few words I reminded them that they raised me to be strong. That I was their daughter after all and this moment while nothing we planned for was something I was going to be able to do. I wanted them to trust that everything was going to be ok and that I knew that I was loved. I wanted them to know that I was so sure of my future as I ever had been and that even if the surgery did not go as we had hoped, that their were plans laid out for me that were far more than I could have ever imagined.
Those words have remained true to this day. The journey at times seems long. But I feel incredibly honored and humbled that I was chosen to walk the story of cancer, and now wear the badge of survivor. This past weekend a college football player from Southeast Missouri wore my name on the back of his jersey after some of my dearest guy friends from high school raised money for breast cancer in my honor. I cannot say enough how grateful I am. Thank you. Though this player may not know me, I certainly hope he knows how much it meant to me.
This day more than the diagnosis day will forever hold special meaning. The day as I look back had very little to do with being cancer free but had everything to do with for the first time believing that I truly mattered. The waiting room was filled with dear friends to sit and pray with my parents while they waited. College students in California stood holding a sign that said “we heart kris” and I only new one student in the picture. My high school teachers, nearly 25 of them gathered out front of my high school to pose with a sign saying “We heart Kris”. (I graduated almost 10 years ago). Distant friends showed up with food, meals, cards and offered their prayers. Two strangers next me on a plane bought me a drink and toasted to my journey just days before. The Crossfit Bluegrass (Louisville, KY) morning WOD ended by taking a photo holding a sign honoring me. Hundreds showed their love and support by taking to the world of social media to make it clear that I mattered. Girlfriends gathered at my church on Saturday mornings to pray over me. Spending an hour in prayer over my name. My second grade class down in Honduras (at the time in fourth grade) wished me well via video. Please know I look back almost daily. Thank you.
I say all of this today because I know how hard it is to believe that you matter. Some days harder than others. But please hear it from me. You do. You matter.
Tomorrow morning I am going in for what I call Phase 2 of my reconstruction. My plastic surgeon is going to work on my breasts to work on both their shape and my scars. Your prayers are appreciated.
Below are some pictures from last weekend of my high school friend,s Andrew and Philip with the player wearing my name.
From the very depths of my heart…. thank you for everything you did this time last year and continue to do for me today.