Saturday, March 14, 2009
I Got a Hug From Robin Roberts!! Godincidences Galore!!
Hello Prayer Warriors!
Your prayers worked! I made it to the Women's Expo and if I had to sum it up in one word I would say INCREDIBLE!
It wasn't easy getting to the expo. Thanks to some very special friends and family members I made it. My wonderful husband Randy drove all over town Friday trying to find Robin's book which was a noble (and not so easy) quest. Along with me I took some GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN CANCER shirts that traded hands four times Friday afternoon before ultimately geting to me. (Thank you to the couriers Melony, Melissa, Felicia & Shannon).
When my sister Shannon and I set out it was cold and rainy. Several parking lots (which charged fees) were full but a free one right across the convention center was empty. We grabbed our spot (quite proud of ourselves) and ran through the rain inside.
No sooner did Shannon and I get out of the rain into the convention center than we ran into Angela. She is the breast cancer survivor I met a couple weeks ago. I had given her one of our shirts just after she finished an MRI to see if her cancer had reoccurred. She said that the cancer has come back and she is having a bilateral mastectomy on Tuesday. We shared some hugs and told her we'd be praying for her. Her smile and positive attitude were as strong as ever.
Inside we looked around the expo. We bought ourselves some flashing breast cancer pins for a $5 donation to the cause. (We brought one home for you Mitzi. It is so flashy I promise we will never loose sight of each other over sister's weekend).
At 12:30 pm Robin Roberts took the stage. We got there early but by that time all the seats were taken. We stood way in the back but fortunately they had two large screens on either side of the stage so we could see her. Robin's speech was inspirational and very down to earth as well. She talked about how her parents brought her up with to follow the three D's: Determination, Dedication and "D" Lord. She talked about her coworker Joel Siegel (the movie reviewer's) battle with colon cancer and how, before his death, he urged others to get checked because it would have saved his life had his cancer been caught earlier. She mentioned that she found her breast cancer lump right after his funeral and talked about her whole journey through treatment. Originally she was not going to go public with her condition but her mother said she should take her MESS and make it her MESSAGE. I thought that was a powerful statement. She also said you should always put yourself in a positive position of influence to reach others and to get that message out. Everything she said was very encouraging to me because it fit right into my beliefs about God being so much bigger than cancer and being able to take something so awful and turn it into something positive.
Following the speech Shannon and I hustled over to the book signing line. There I met a 20 year cancer survivor named Charlotte and her friend Pat as well as a girl whose sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. I gave them and others in line some of my extra shirts. As we waited we got lots of questions about the shirts and a woman from the Knoxville News Sentinel came and interviewed me. An article discusses it in today (Sunday's) local section. Here is the link. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/mar/14/roberts-summitt-highlight-saturdays-women-today-ex/
We stood in line for over 45 minutes and it soon became apparent that we weren't going to make it to see Robin. We passed close to her at one point and I asked one of the women helping her to put my shirt and note for her into her personal box just to make sure she got it. 2:15 came and the book signing ended. You could hear the mumbles of disappointment from everyone around us as it looked like she was leaving. We were only about 10-15 people away from her. But you know what? As she left, she headed down towards the line. She kept shaking hands and signing books. I grabbed mine back out of my bag and she came right up to me. She graciously signed my book. I told her that the first thing my kids said about my diagnosis and loosing my hair was "You're just like Robin." She smiled and gave me a big hug. I wish I'd had a chance to get my picture with her and tell her about the shirts, but I bet she'll make the connection when she reads the note inside her own gift shirt. We were so close to missing Robin that Charlotte right behind me got her signature but her friend with her did not. Whew! That was a close one!
Remember the chemo nurse who hates ghost stories and told me that running into the same people during my treatments was not a coincidence? I ran into her and got a big hug from her too.
As we were leaving I had the pleasant surprise of running into Deborah, a wonderful survior from my church who has been a huge encouragement to me. I asked her if she'd like the last shirt I had but it wasn't her size. No sooner did we leave than we ran into two other women who wanted to know about the shirts. One of them was named Missy. She is my age exactly and dealing with advanced breast cancer in her spine and liver. She'd had a reoccurance. Pregnancy and breast feeding had masked her cancer for several months. She is an incredible lady. She had just finished her third chemo treatment with the TAC medicine just like me. We traded each other's web site information and said we'd be praying for one another. I know she's in a tougher fight and I was humbled and inspired by her spirit. I gave her my last shirt. It was just her size.
So this was my day. What do you think? Incredible right!! Thank you all so much for your prayers and all your support. My "mess" continues to grow into a fantastic "MESSAGE"! I know our GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN CANCER message got out at the Women's Expo yesterday!! Lots of love,