I dedicated this book to my sister Monica Morris. She embodies the word caregiver. She is a nurse. She was married to a doctor. A doctor who was revered by his patients. When Edward (her husband) exhibited more and more of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, she said to me one day, “I have come to know that my sole purpose in life is to take care of Edward.” Come Home Alive was written to celebrate caregivers everywhere.
In the book, I talk of six homes that I run by. That served as the idea for the cover with home #3 bursting forth with vibrancy and color. It was about beating the odds to make it through, in essence, to come home alive. Today, statistics show that one in every three females and one in every two males will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. According to the six houses that means: yes, no, yes, yes, yes, no. With those statistics, someone most certainly will need to step into the role of caregiver. Being a caregiver is hard work. What you do day and night matters. I listened to the situations that unfolded as my brother needed to care for my sister-in-law as she was dealing with colon cancer treatments right in the middle of a hurricane coming through Wilmington, NC. I wanted others to know that situations will occur, decisions will need to be made, and action most certainly will have to happen. When you are in the thick of it, not every decision or action lands the dismount, but you did your best with what you had at that moment. In the words of my friend Rob, “I have admired from afar your extraordinary efforts…” Thank you to caregivers everywhere for your gift of self–when oftentimes your own vessel is empty.
Secondly, I wrote the book to give cancer patients everywhere hope. I wanted to provide words of encouragement, inspiration, and a six-point plan to use as a guidepost. Pray, believe, know the patient, know the caregiver, be grateful and thankful, and expect a miracle! Today in the United State alone there are over 17 million cancer survivors. This is in part because of early detection practices and treatment advances. In meeting with two different people, one male and one female currently involved in treatment, my message to them was, “they are building track while you are in the train.” New advances are occurring routinely. Years ago, what may have been a fatal diagnosis now is much more treatable.
Thirdly, I wrote the book to focus on relationships. “We need our relationships. And we need those relationships to work—especially in our marriages. There is probably no one person that you will spend more years of your life living with than your spouse. We fall in love, that’s easy. The tough part is living together and making it work,” words from Come Home Alive. When a cancer diagnosis comes, and it most certainly will, a relationship will be tested. What do you got? I wanted to give others the advantage that we had of knowing ourselves through the lens of the Kolbe A™ Index. “Kolbe provides understanding and gives language for the environment each person will need to thrive, the type of communication that will resonate with his or her needs, and the best way for the person to handle specific tasks and requirements that this diagnosis may bring,” I wrote.
Finally, I wrote the book to raise awareness around HPV cancer of the throat and mouth. My husband, Chris is a casualty, and now carries the consequences of the HPV virus that turned into full-on Stage Four squamous cell carcinoma in his throat when he was diagnosed back in 2013. While receiving promptings from the Holy Spirit in 2016 to share our story of recovery and healing, I had a flat tire just as I was leaving our home. I headed to the KIA dealership less than a mile away to hopefully get it repaired. As I waited for them to fix the tire, an article from our local paper dated October 20, 2016, was there for the reading. It said, “health officials want kids to get HPV vaccinations at age 11 or 12, well before most first have sex and before they could be infected.” And then I read, “vaccine proponents were cheered by the sharp rise in vaccinations among boys, who as adults could be at greater risk for certain cancers.”
In my journal on that day I wrote, “this was never going to be about HPV, but now it can’t not be!” I knew immediately that I must include this portion for “people yet unborn” (Psalms 22:31). We want to share our story so that through prevention, vaccination of our next generation, and early detection of oral, head and neck cancers caused by this virus, that lives can be saved. That in fact, you can Come Home Alive.