Survivor since 2003

Some say faith is a gift we have to remind us there is a God.  I believe you cannot really have faith, until at one point, your concept of faith is truly tested.  Then, at that particular moment, God steps in and faith steps up.  Any faith without a test, is just merely coincidence. For me, my life, and my faith, began in May of 2003.

“Alisa, I’ve never had to make a telephone call like this in my life, but you have to begin fasting tonight at midnight, so we don’t have much time.  Your surgery is set for tomorrow- you have cancer……”.  The ringing in my ear and the sound waves coming from the phone will be a memory that stands with me forever.  I can’t tell you what Dr. Robinson said to be after that.  It all sounded so Charlie-Brown-like.  Remember the teacher? The one who we never heard speak during all the years of the show?  The one that just said “wah wah wah wah wah wah”?  There I was, stuck in the Charlie-Brown series that didn’t seem to end, but there I was, the punch line too!  Funny, just a few nights before, I had sat in bed knowing I was going to die- after all, who has a lump appear out of nowhere without redness, irritation, bruising or pain?  There I was remembering the first time my daughter (at this point 2 years old) fell.  The doctors always said if there’s swelling, bruising and a bump that goes out, it’s a good thing….. what now doc?  What if there’s no swelling or bruising, and what if the bump is going in?  Can’t be good I thought.  Can’t be good.

The next year of my life, I’d like to say, was a blur.  But it wasn’t.  Doctors and chemo, and radiation and doctors.  Anti-nausea pills, suppositories, CBC’s, MRI’s, CT’s- funny, as the treatments continue, you actually get used to being referred to in third person.   Family visits that made me happy, the sounds of my daughter laughing that, until she left the room, made me smile.  The alone time that made me cry.  The husband that married me just 9 weeks before diagnosis.  The love for his strength, the hate for his strength. The fight for my life.  The fight for my rights to just be.  The bitterness.  The sorrow.  The belief that there’d be tomorrow.

Today, 5 years later this month, the field calls it remission.  Today, whenever someone says the word chemo, I can still taste it in my mouth.  Today, I look back and hate that time.  Today, I look back and remember- that’s the day I started living.  Today, I remember, my life started when I realized it could all be gone.  Today, I know, my life started in May of 2003.

I am a survivor.  I am a mother, I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a wife.


  1. Aunt Nancy says:

    Alisa – we are thankful for your faith and you are in our thoughts and prayers everyday. I love you. Aunt Nancy.

  2. Peggy Rome says:

    Dear Alisa, You have made through some very tough times in your life but none has hard as the last 5 years. I, too, believe that faith is what gets us through those times. Had it not been for my faith, I would not have survived the illness and finally death of my husband. There were times that I questioned God, refused to speak to him, and down right cursed him. But something kept bringing me back to him. When I came to terms with my life altering situation, I found God again. Knowing you, I know that is where you are today. See you for Thanksgiving.

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