A week and a half ago, I was told that I have cancer.

How could a backache in December turn into cancer by February? After some emotional time with my husband, we sent out the word to friends and family and asked for prayer. The outpouring of love that came back to me through emails and phone calls was so touching to me. The number of people praying for me grew each day and it was an amazing thing to experience. As I’ve said before, I’m pretty shy and have never felt like I have a very large group of friends, but this has shown me otherwise!

Obviously, my husband and I made a vow “through sickness and health” but the degree with which my husband dropped everything to take care of me was phenomenal. He took care of everything from becoming the “information coordinator” and medical secretary to making my meals and helping me get around as the pain medication made me sleepy and light headed. He filled out a million medical forms for me as the shaking in my hands would barely allow me to sign my own name, let alone anything else. I moved from place to place every night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in and he never complained. My children also showed extreme tenderness and I often found small symbols of love in unexpected places. My daughter even drew a heart for me to find in the lotion covered lid of my face cream. My sons sat with me in the evenings just holding my hand while we watched tv.

But I was to be blessed again when the biopsy came back several days later NEGATIVE for cancer! I don’t know how many people rejoice and celebrate when they hear that they have sarcoidosis, but this family sure did! Since December, I have been “diagnosed” with a compressed nerve, then gallstones, then pancreatitis, then cancer, then sarcoidosis. I even missed 2 days of the 3 day Roots Tech conference because I thought I had food poisoning! (If any of the Kentucky Researchers group I missed having dinner with Friday night are reading this – please accept my apology for missing out!)

When I got over the initial shock of hearing that I had cancer, my thoughts about my genealogy research were “who cares????” I didn’t think I’d ever feel that way, but if I’m being honest, I thought about my filing cabinet of files and thought “what a waste of time and paper!” But by that evening, my thoughts turned more toward thinking about the easiest way to donating the information to the Russell County genealogy society or something. Would they even want it?

That led me to begin thinking about what I’d want future generations to know about me.  I’d want them to know how important my relationship with Jesus Christ is as well as my relationships with my family. I’d want them to know how much I enjoy teaching and that I think there’s so much more to it than teaching math procedures. Again, it’s about building relationships and helping others see how to keep priorities straight in life. And this time of sickness has helped me to see my priorities in a new light.

I was surprised to see how quickly my genealogy research priorities changed. Now, I don’t feel quite as compelled to find the next date or name for my chart, but I now have a deeper desire to try to find out more about the lives of my ancestors and what relationships they built during their lives. Exactly how I’m going to do that, I’m not sure, but when I get my strength back, it will be fun trying!