A few weeks ago, I sat scrolling through social media in the mindless way that I sometimes do. Exhausted with kids, overwhelmed with work, dreading the morning, I just wanted a few minutes of thoughtless entertainment to numb everything out. Instead, I ran head first into an update that rocked my world.
It was a post about a friend I’m not particularly close to, but care for all the same. Her sister had reopened a group I thought — and hoped — would be forever buried in the depths of the World Wide Web. The shocking, devastating news that cancer had returned boomed like thunder across the silent Internet.
Three years ago, Christy Currie was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. A lump in her armpit turned out to be almost a year of chemo, radiation and surgery. I followed along from a distance — praying, hoping and willing her to get better. When news that she was cancer-free was announced, I cheered and rejoiced with her and her family.
A mom of three, Christy celebrated her 15th wedding anniversary shortly after a CT scan confirmed cancer had returned. This time stage 4, and it was in her hips, spine, lungs and liver. What she had initially thought was a pulled muscle in her back became a diagnosis she never saw coming.
Tears immediately poured from my eyes as I read her story through simply typed words that could not begin to convey the pain of their reality.
I had bumped into her a year ago at a baby shower for a mutual friend of ours. She was healthy then. She was happy to announce she was cancer-free. It was so good to see her, to know she had beaten the monster that threatened her health, her happiness and her family.
Only a year later, she’s headed back to battle. She’s forced to fight for her life all over again.
And yet, I’ve watched in awe as she’s lifted her chin and stared down this horrific crisis with grit and grace. Every one of her posts and blogs testifies a message of hope despite her diagnosis. Where I expect to read pain and tragedy, Christy speaks of love and optimism.
While fear is real — she is the first to admit that the unknown future is truly scary — she clings to her faith and looks for God in every appointment, in every treatment. Her diagnosis is daunting, but she is miraculously unshaken by it.
In recent years, Christy has traveled nationwide to high schools, conferences and events to speak about her cancer experience through Youth for Christ, a worldwide organization that ministers to young people. Both Christy and her husband, Jason, work for the organization.
Through these speaking opportunities, Christy continues to empower people across the country to have hope no matter how difficult their circumstances may be. But her work with Youth for Christ isn’t the only way she reaches people. Her story has impacted the Omaha community and beyond.
Her Facebook posts, which are humbly honest about the fear she is facing and the physical pain she’s experiencing, have been shared thousands of times. The message she shares is clearly of strength, of beauty in this ugly situation and of hope — always hope.
Cancer is her diagnosis, but she refuses to let it define her. Fear is her reality, but she refuses to let it rule her. The unknown outcome of harsh, extensive treatment would be enough to crush anyone, and yet she has held onto her poise and her dignity, changing the narrative of her story from despair to hope.
I have been moved by her story already. I’ve begun to rearrange my schedule to focus more on my family and the things that truly matter. After all, we’re promised only today; tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. Christy has reminded me of how true that is.
While I stand in awe of how she deals with her illness, I pray for her recovery and complete healing. I also hold my kids tighter, kiss my husband more often and make the most of this one day I know I have.
Rachel Higginson is a married mom to five kids. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has received a Utopia Award for Best Contemporary Romance and Penned Con Award for Best Novella Series. She lives in Omaha.