11 years…

I’m 30 years old, 7 months pregnant, I dress up for Halloween wearing an orange shirt with a pumpkin drawn on my big round belly.  Our little two year old dinosaur trick or treats for the first time with his monkey and princess friends.

Three pregnant mamas – Halloween 2007

I am planning the McWane Science Center annual fundraiser,  Beaker Bash.  This year, in collaboration with our new dinosaur exhibit, the theme is “Bad to the Bone.” I connect with a local motorcycle gang who agrees to  line the red carpet/valet drop off with their Harleys to welcome guests.

We are living in a rental house while we renovate our historic little 2 bedroom/1 bath into a two story, 5 bedroom/3 bath home for our growing family.  I design our kitchen and pick out countertop.

I run the three mile loop on Wednesday night, a little winded at 7 months pregnant, but feeling great.

I go to my 7 month check up with Dr. Sharp.  Running through my list of pregnancy questions, the last one being the pain in my left breast… a little bit of blood.   The Dr. is immediately suspicious and sends me the same day for a biopsy.   Slightly annoyed to miss my Target run, I agree.

Two days later I am sitting in a salon with Wills teetering on my pregnant lap as he gets his blond curls trimmed.  My phone rings. I answer it.

The next I know I am looking into the mirror at a tear streaked face I barely recognize.  Wills puts his pudgy baby hands to my face and asks, “mama, you have a boo-boo?”

That was 11 years ago.  11 years today.

What an amazing rollercoaster of love, laughter, adventure and sadness these 11 years have been.  I’m grateful that there have been more smiles than tears. While cancer has taken a lot from me.  My breasts, my hair, my ovaries, my invincibility…  Cancer has given me an enhanced appreciation of the joy of being alive.

In 2014 – every cancer survivors worst fear… reoccurrence.  Metastatic, stage iv breast cancer.  I experience a deep, dark depression, anxiety, fear.

We came to understand that when the timeline is shortened – you savor moments even more.  We doubled down on hope.

Today, as I think back to that young mom terrified with the news of a cancer diagnosis and everything she endured… I am proud of her.

I could never have imagined the chapters that would follow in my story.  As I think back on the past eleven years I think the strongest theme is acceptance.  Accepting the heartache, the disease, the loss of what I expected for our life.  In each acceptance, a little light is sparked in the darkness.  A tiny prick at first.  But, then it grew stronger.

I read once that eternity is found in the moment of acceptance.

For a sentimental person, with a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) this is everything.

It hasn’t been easy and I know there will be hard things to accept in the future.  But, I’m grateful I have come to this place. I’m grateful for today.

Turning heartbreak into love.  For 11 years and counting… My hopeful life.

Our family of 3. December 2007


In the thick of treatment. Spring 2008


Bennett’s baptism, 2008


My brother’s wedding, summer 2018



11 replies
  1. Cindy Burns
    Cindy Burns says:

    Thank you for sharing and being a light of inspiration. I’ll take one day at a time. Can’t do anything about yesterday and God is in charge of tomorrow. God bless you.

  2. Debbie R
    Debbie R says:

    Beautiful story and a positive spirit to accept and be thankful for life’s little moments. Cancer has taught me that too, although some days kicking and screaming. But always thankful for God’s presence with us in the storms.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Lara MacGregor
      Lara MacGregor says:

      For sure kicking and screaming. On those days we just dig in and make it through. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. that’s for sure.

  3. Anna Young
    Anna Young says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Lara, and for the ministry you have through Hope Scarves. I have learned so much since being diagnosed with breast cancer and enduring conventional treatments in 2016 and it is making a big difference in my life. If you haven’t heard about Chris Wark, check out his website: ChrisBeatCancer.org. He has taught me so much and has connected me with many others who have made radical lifestyle changes and reversed cancer-even Stage 4 cancer! I no longer believe that it is inevitable that I will be diagnosed again, in spite of having a BRCA-2 mutation. I feel empowered to actively fight and/or prevent cancer by giving my body the fuel it was designed to have to operate the most efficiently. And if a second diagnosis ever does come, I know I have options beyond conventional therapies that I had before; options that are not toxic or cancer-causing. May God bless your healing and give you long life!

    • Lara MacGregor
      Lara MacGregor says:

      I’m so glad you have found strength in your wellness. I couldn’t agree more – each person’s experience is unique and we find strength in the way that builds us up. Every day is a gift. Thank you for sharing!

    • Lara MacGregor
      Lara MacGregor says:

      I know… it really has been. I’m so grateful you and our other (crazy) college friends have stepped up to be such a big role in my joy.

  4. lynda smith
    lynda smith says:

    My heart is tenderly wrapped all over you after reading this post. I am a 9 yr. survivor and so very grateful to God for the gift of life. I had left breast cancer, lumpectomy and lymphectomy showing no cancer in the nodes. I proudly have a scarf of courage and display the logo on my car window. We made scarves in my art class at Gilda’s Club during the summer. Such a wonderful thing to be able to do!! I so love my sister survivors, and am sad when I hear of a new diagnosis, or cancer returning to other areas. I am grateful for the protocols and treatments that send that horrible disease where it belongs! Please know you will be thought of and prayed for often.
    Thank you for blessing my spirit today.



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