What will I wear when I don’t have any hair?

Will my smile fade when the chemo invades?

How do I talk to those who’ve been through it when I don’t even know how I’m going to do it?

How will I keep feeling inspired when I feel incessantly tired?

Which side effect will be the worst for me… the nausea, the vomiting, the neuropathy?

Will people stare or look out of sorts when they spot the bump from my port?

How will I feel when the camera flashes after the treatment takes my lashes?

Will I need to hide my face from the crowds when I’ve lost all my brows?

How will I blog or write a book when I won’t have energy to even clean or cook?

Will I never again have a full night’s sleep because I’m terrified and thinking too deep?

How will my parents, in-laws, and family deal as I have to receive treatment to heal?

When my nails start to peel and groove how will my beauty find its way to you?

How can I go out and be in public with the constant threat of getting sick?

Will people feel awkward and sorry for me because I got cancer when I was thirty-three?

How will our boys’ lives be transformed because this is so different from the norm?

How will the intensity of my fear ever really disappear?

What will my before-life become when this cancer treatment is done?

How will my people react to me when I still have fears but am cancer-free?

How will my husband do it all when I just want to curl up in a ball?

What will I think of the rest of me when they take my breasts from me?

How will I ever find beauty in life when my innocence is taken by this strife?

Will I ever be myself again? Will I lose my family and my friends?

What if it goes away and comes back and then there’s no science left for attack?

Is there cancer everywhere? Will I die within the year?

How will my boys make it through if they lose the mother who first they knew?

Who will become their new mom and see them at graduation and prom?

I asked all these questions and hoped for the answers when I was first diagnosed with cancer. 

But now I’m not scared every day. Now I live in the fullest way. I know that my boys love me just the same. I know that my beauty lies inside my frame. I know that my husband can take the reigns. And we can all help one another through emotional pains. I know that it truly takes a team to rip apart cancer at the seams. I know that sharing is my best way to make it and be grateful for each beautiful day. I know my doctors and team are the best to take on this visitor in my breast. I know that the side effects have to go on in order to get the cancer gone. I know that my friends, family, and more will drop everything to be at my door. I know that this thing that might seem life-messing is oddly bringing me goodness and blessings. I now know that a diagnosis can’t steal my smile. And I hope upon hopes I’ll be around for awhile. I know I can always sit and pray when I feel I can’t handle the hardest of days. The worry, the fear, and all the unknowns, I now know I don’t have to face alone. 

I’ve learned that each and every day is a beautiful thing and no one knows what any will bring. So now I can see so much I couldn’t before when I started this journey and fell deep to the floor. I will laugh. I will smile. I will have good and bad days. My Mister and I will take whatever comes our way. I will dance. I will write. I will tell people how I feel. I will love. I will thrive. I will always be real. 

But the most important thing I didn’t know the day of my first test and the thing that has changed and is the best of the best…

I now can say that I believe there will be… a me that is me but cancer-free. 

If you’re just starting your journey and you feel terrified. If you’re certain it’s everywhere and that you will die. If you are going through tests and are waiting to hear the words “malignant” or “you’re in the clear.” If you are scared, and sad, and feel so alone… and never pictured this is how your life would go… I’ve been where you are… I’ve sat in your seat… I’ve taken the tests… and felt defeat. I’ve received call after call that were all bad news. I’ve felt broken inside and emotionally bruised. 

It gets better from the place you’re in… the sky will look clear and brighter again. You will wake up each day, you will get out of bed. You will first go through the motions and then one day, instead… you will find yourself kicking it, rocking it, thriving. And you will realize even before it’s even gone, you’re surviving.

You can do this, survivor. I believe in you. You may have cancer. But it can’t have you.


You Can Do This, Survivor   www.herviewfromhome.com

You Can Do This, Survivor   www.herviewfromhome.com

You Can Do This, Survivor   www.herviewfromhome.com

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast. Follow me at http://babyonthebrehm.com/

Cancer Taught Me to Open My Hand

In: Cancer, Faith, Motherhood
Woman in cancer treatment holding a young child's hand

When I thought I was going to die, grief blinded me. Not really for myself. I’ve had a pretty good run. Reflecting on my life, it’s easy for me to see that my stroll into adulthood was leisurely. In college, I studied literature, a luxurious indulgence. Even as a naive 20-year-old, I understood the extravagance of being able to sit under a tree and read, albeit in sweltering Missouri heat. I studied the world’s literary masterpieces while sweat trickled down my back, mosquitoes nipped at hard-to-reach places, and the MBA students on campus wondered what I was doing. But those...

Keep Reading

“Wear It Anyway, You Never Know When You’ll Get Another Chance.”

In: Cancer, Friendship, Living
Two women holding up dresses, color photo

“It’s way too fancy,” I told my husband. “I’d be overdressed.” My new outfit was a beauty—white and lacy, perfect for a summer cocktail party, but too much for a school function on a Tuesday evening. In the back of my head, though, I heard my friend’s voice. Wear it anyway. You never know when you’ll get another chance. The last time I saw Shalean, I was bloated from chemo drugs, and both of us wondered if it would be the last time we’d see each other. My prognosis was bad: triple negative breast cancer, already spread to my lymph...

Keep Reading

This Is How to Show Up for a Friend Who Has Cancer

In: Cancer, Friendship, Living
Bald woman during cancer treatments and same woman in remission, color photo

One moment I was wrestling with my toddler and rocking my 3-month-old to sleep, and the next I was staring blankly at the doctor who just told me I had stage four cancer that had metastasized from my uterus to my left lung and spleen. “Well, I didn’t see that coming,” I smiled at the young doctor who had clearly never given this kind of news to anyone before. I looked over at my husband’s shell-shocked face as he rocked our baby back and forth in the baby carrier because I was still nursing, and we knew we’d be at...

Keep Reading

I Never Wanted to Be a Hospital Mom

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Toddler standing with IV pole, black-and-white photo

Life as a hospital mom is not a life for just anyone. You have no other choice, there is no get-out-free card you can just put down and say, “Nope, Lord, I do not want this, take it back.” My heart hurts 99 percent of the time. My heart hurts for my child and the pain he is suffering. A necessary evil to keep him on the side of Heaven’s gates.  My heart hurts from the unknown of each day. Will he eat? Will he thrive today? What utter chaos will be thrown our way today? Will there be vomit...

Keep Reading

Cancer Is Weird

In: Cancer, Living
Woman smiling, color photo

Cancer is weird. For 3.5 years I looked into the mirror and didn’t recognize the person looking at me.  First, it was scared eyes. My eyes had lost the look in them that made me feel invincible. I had learned I wasn’t.  A week or so later, I saw the cut on my chest for my port. Then it was a bald head. Then a bald, steroid filled, and puffed up faced person looking at me. RELATED: This is What Cancer Looks Like Sometimes it was a teary-eyed, defeated person. Someone who had been up all night in pain.  I...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Let My Baby Die

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Toddler boy lying in hospital bed, color photo

I wasn’t made for this.  I am not strong enough. Lord, where are you taking me? Why does this joyful time, filled with our last baby’s firsts, have to be this way? Why did the doctors look at me that way? They know what’s coming, and deep down inside, so do I. The inevitable word that is about to come out of their mouths.  The C-word.  Cancer. It’s life-changing.  Almost as if it were a car accident. Believe me, I know about that. To be the reason behind a grown man hanging onto a thread. Completely unintentional. I just needed...

Keep Reading

The Art of Showing Up

In: Cancer, Kids
Dad hugging young son

As a father of four boys, you may imagine that life is hectic from time to time for me.  While it truly is, in fact, quite crazy sometimes, it isn’t always because of the reasons you might think.  I have four boys, ages 11, 4, 3, and almost 2, and that certainly makes for an interesting daily living experience for my wife and me.  We do our best to remain patient and lean on God’s strength and peace to fill us on the days that seem overly daunting and occasionally even downright impossible, but we are human.  Therefore, we fail...

Keep Reading

No One Prepares You for When Your Husband Has Cancer

In: Baby, Cancer, Marriage
Family sitting by window

No one ever prepares you for the moment you hear your spouse has cancer.   More so, no one prepares for you to hear this when you have a 5-month-old at home. “Mom, they said the tumor is cancerous, and they need to enucleate his eye on Thursday,” I say quietly into the phone as I pump in a dirty bathroom stall at the eye hospital.   Whir. Whir. Whir. Whir. Gosh, I hate pumping.  Today is my first day being away from my daughter. My mom is watching her while I made the trip to the eye hospital with...

Keep Reading

l Will Never Stop Missing My Sister

In: Cancer, Grief, Loss
Woman in red shirt

It might be 16 years too late to properly depict the depressive senses that engulfed my whole being when I lost my only sister Aurora to colon cancer in 2006. Painful flashbacks continue to fill my everyday life at the most inopportune moments that  writing about it might somehow alleviate my grief. I remember getting that random phone call from her one sunny day in September 2006 and how guilt automatically hit me. It had been a while since I last saw her. “It’s positive,” she said. Backed with years of joking around and playing tricks on her since childhood,...

Keep Reading

Having Cancer at 34 Taught Me How to Live

In: Cancer
Husband and wife on boat, color photo

This picture came up in my Facebook memories today. It took my breath away for a moment, just like it has for nine years now. It was the last picture taken of me before my midwife found the lump and my life changed forever.  The first time I saw that photo, I realized I didn’t know that woman anymore. She was naive. Laying there in the sun without any inkling that a cancer was growing inside her. Look at her—unafraid and without anxiety. Less than 48 hours later, she would be gone, replaced by someone who was afraid of each...

Keep Reading