When the doctor says the word “cancer,” it feels as if the world has stopped and you’ll never be able to get back on it properly again. And then some time passes, and you realize you really can, and frankly, you must, carry on with some semblance of a life, especially if you have children at home. Moms are the heartbeat of their homes, sick or not.

So, if you’re like me, you have to figure out how to continue on with some things while letting other things go. We have a wonderful church family that has stepped up to help us. The past two weeks, people have cleaned our house. We’ve had lots of food appear at our door, filling our refrigerator and our freezer. We’ve been given gift cards to restaurants and, ahem, Starbucks. Not having to clean my house or cook has been an enormous blessing.

If you have a friend who has been diagnosed with any kind of serious or chronic disease, even a small gesture of help and encouragement is very much appreciated. I’ve gotten notes from the teachers at Henry’s school telling me they are looking after him. They have no idea what that means to me.

I am still playing the piano, although there may be weeks I have to miss a rehearsal. I am still leading my Kidz Choir, although there will definitely be weeks that my assistants have to take over for me. On the weeks I feel good, Henry doesn’t go to daycare or the babysitter, and I try to plan some fun things we can do together.

I am still keeping up with my Hello Mornings Bible study group, although some days I don’t have enough mental energy to do more than just read through the Scripture passage for the day. Chemo brain is a real thing, and I’m thankful for this blog, my music, and my Bible study group for keeping me active and thinking.

The thing is, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We are trusting God for a full and complete recovery, and I am already planning for the day when we hear those magic words from Dr. Ridenhour – cancer free. But there are a lot of steps on this journey before we get to that place. If you want to continue the marathon illustration, we are only a couple of miles in this race.

So, to our real-life friends, thank you for everything you have done to take care of our physical needs. You are enabling me to use my limited energy to do the things that I really enjoy. To my online friends, thank you for your encouragement and prayers. Every email, every Facebook message, every text has been sent at just the right time.

If you know of a person or a family going through a crisis, I can’t say strongly enough how important it is to reach out and offer encouragement and help. Offers of, “Call me if I can help” are nice and appreciated, but the truth is it’s hard to pick up the phone and ask someone to help with something you used to be able to do yourself. The most helpful people offer something specific – “I will clean your house this week,” “Would Henry like to go to a movie with us?”, “Can I bring supper to you tonight?”

So, this is a very poorly written thank you to everyone who is carrying a bit of our load for us. We appreciate you.