An encounter helps paint the 'big picture' for cancer survivor

Tri-City HeraldJanuary 3, 2013 

A new year is like a blank canvas, ready for life’s picture. Stretched before us are 365 days to “color our lives beautiful.”

But every so often, fate brushes away our imagined Norman Rockwell scene.

A local young woman named Amie vividly remembers the day in 2011 when the image of a perfect life changed.

Tan from a recent Hawaiian vacation, the 36-year-old wife and working mom had spent the morning putting the final touches on a picturesque Christmas party for her two young daughters and their friends. Soon gingerbread houses and a plethora of little girls would fill her home with the sound of joy.

A voicemail from her doctor could wait - at least until every detail for the children’s get-together was in place.

Life was a picture of happiness - until she returned the call.

“I felt an immediate pit in my stomach,” Amie recalls about the moment she learned her biopsy had revealed breast cancer, “like something had just knocked the air out of me.”

With her world collapsing around her, Amie took control in the days that followed. Her copious research led to a bi-lateral mastectomy, with doctors recommending chemo and radiation treatments once Amie recovered from the surgery.

It would be a daunting journey; a calendar filled with appointments - and only one car.

She and her husband, Jeff, had sold Amie's vehicle with the intention of getting another that had “all the whistles and bells.” Now though, priorities had changed.

For weeks, Jeff searched for the "right" vehicle. Then one day in late January, a salesman in Portland, Ore., who had been contacted a couple of weeks prior called unexpectedly. The dealership had a new Mazda that met their specifications at an exceptionally good price.

Weary from a trip to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance earlier in the week - and discouraged about the impending chemo treatments - Amie reluctantly agreed to make the trip. Little did she know her "blue day" would turn golden.

As the couple waited on paperwork, their salesman, Tom, showed them a photo of his “miracle grandbaby,” now 10 years old. Countless prayers, the graying grandfather assured them, had brought healing in the womb to the unborn child, previously diagnosed with a life-threatening heart defect.

“You know,” the kindly Tom said with wisdom in his eyes, “the eagle can’t soar without wind. Amie, God gives us wind so we may soar like eagles.”

Stunned, Amie began to weep at the words that brought comfort and strength to her tired and somewhat fearful heart. As Jeff related her story, the salesman bowed with them in a quiet prayer.

Then, as Tom turned to go, he paused.

“Amos, it’s going to be O.K.”

No one had ever called her by that endearing name except her late grandfather.

In that unforeseen moment, Amie caught a glimpse of the “big picture” - and it was beautiful. Call it a touch by the Master’s hand.

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