A Real Gift


Have you ever had someone come into your life that you know was placed there by God?

This summer while I was at the ACC walk in North Carolina there was a dinner for ACC fighters, survivors and our families. Our seats were assigned and we were placed with someone I had met through our ACC group on fb who has a heart of gold and a great sense of humor.  There was also a couple at the table with us that we didn’t know.

We all introduced ourselves and over the course of the dinner we learned more and more about one another.

In my book, Our Struggles Have Purpose, I talk about Divine Appointments God has orchestrated in my cancer journey.  Well, he’s still at work.

Shalil and her husband Frank’s story couldn’t be more parallel to ours.  Shalil and I both had tumors in our palates and we were able to bond over things no one else understands such how our voices don’t project as well with an obturator, how drinking from a straw doesn’t always work to our husbands now checking their own palates on a regular basis for lumps or bumps.   

You may be thinking that all of us with ACC have our tumors in our palates.  But the truth is, in that room of 20+ of us, I believe we were the only ones with it in our palates.  ACC is unpredictable and others have had their tumors in their scalp, eyes, ears, sinuses, tongue, jaw, breast, lung, and more.  So the fact Shalil and I were randomly placed together was more unique than one may initially expect. 

Plus, it wasn’t just the two of us that had a lot in common, our husbands had a ridiculous amount in common as well.  Both are Navy veterans, they had the same jobs on nuclear submarines, both had wives with ACC and both have been pillars of support to us during our walks with cancer to name a few.

This week Shalil and Frank were up in Connecticut visiting their son, Matthew😊, who is too a sailor and stationed in Groton where Stephen was based.

We were able to connect again in person and the four of us spoke for hours about things most others don’t understand like the zingers of nerve pain we both get, having trouble puckering our lips depending on how the obturator fits that day to what life is like after treatments end and living life the best we can both not having had clear margins and the uncertainty of a reoccurrence of ACC.

I share this with you today because there are people who understand us and our story at a richness and depth others don’t.

I wholeheartedly believe God places people next to us in life for a reason.  Yes, we were placed at the same table at an ACC event but maybe someone is placed beside you in line today at the grocery store, post office or the person is your co-worker you sit beside every day.

I invite you to join me today to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

May we keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to the divine appointments God has waiting for us today.  May we engage in conversations with new people placed along our paths. Who knows, we may make friends for life who understand us like no one else does.  

With love and hope,