“It’s Cancer” my mom said. The words rang in my head, but I had no time to think. Although I was only 17 and was still recovering from my own medical battle with brain surgery, I held my mom tight. I reassured her that God had Lauren in His hands.
How bad could bone cancer be anyways?
Lauren slept like an angel, unaware of the news she would get at 8 years old in a few long hours. Fast forward a few weeks and I sat in my living room waiting for my ride to school and listening to Jamie Grace on YouTube. My mom was with Lauren at Shands Hospital in Gainesville getting chemotherapy. Things weren’t looking good, but we held onto hope. In the suggestions section, I saw another song by her labeled “Fighter.” It definitely seemed like something I could relate to. as the third chorus came, tears streamed down my face. Every single word was Lauren. [It was like] Jamie wrote the song for her.
“She’s been here before and she’s only 8 years old, but she knows the name of every nurse she sees. And though she don’t like the Chemo, she waits it out, never loosing hope that someday soon she’ll be cancer free.”
I called my mom and had her listen immediately. I posted it all over Facebook. By the time Lauren got home from that round of chemo, she knew every word. It would be her anthem for this tough battle.
A few months later, the doctors said we had a choice. She could either get the mass taken out and replaced with a metal rod, but need numerous other surgeries and barely be able to walk, or she could have a partial amputation and eventually get back to sports. The cancer was called Osteosarcoma and we had to act fast. Lauren decided that she wanted the rotationplasty that would turn her ankle backwards where her knee once was. This was a major surgery, and Lauren would never be “normal” again. But I told her Jamie Grace’s story with Tourette. No one in life is really “normal.”
A backwards ankle would be the best option for Lauren due to her love of sports. Eventually, the cancer was “gone” and her backwards ankle was now being walked on with a cool camo prosthetic. I helped set up a Make A Wish trip to Disney for her. That was last week. She broke her Tibia on the backwards foot the FIRST night and the trip was cancelled. Although things are tough again, Lauren remembers that she’s a fighter and sings along all day every day.
I thank God for Jamie Grace and the positive effect that she’s had on our whole family. We love you!
In the picture, Lauren (9) is in the middle, Kaitlyn (13) is to the left, and I, Shannon McGarry (18) am to the right. This was the first day of the Make A Wish trip before the broken ankle.