Updates on Kathy's battle with breast cancer.

Monday, September 12, 2016

#TheBethEffect

On Saturday, we celebrated the life of my dear friend, Beth Mowrey.  She taught me how to live life at its fullest, especially during times of adversity.  She battled against breast cancer for 8 years.  She and her husband, Alan, were brutally honest and witty as they recorded their first round of battling cancer and then years later, shared with all of us how to face the end of life with courage, faith, humor, and most of all love.  Their blog is inspiring: The Gift

Courtney photoshopped this photo of Beth, our hero.
I became friends with Beth in Indiana.  We both lived in Manhattan Beach, California, at different times, and are good friends with the same people, so I feel like I’ve known her longer.  A little over 4 years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,  Beth was the first non-family member that I called, seeking advice about going through breast cancer.  She is the reason I kept this blog.  She said it was a great way to keep everyone informed without having to tell the same news over and over again to every person that asked.  Beth's advice on facing cancer: “It can either be one of the most wonderful experiences you’ve ever been through, growing closer as a family, with a few bumps along the way, OR it can be the most miserable experience you’ve ever been  through with a few bright spots.  It’s a choice you have to make.   We’ve chosen to make it a wonderful experience.“  That advice is definitely what the Mowrey family has lived by. 

On my first day of chemo, Beth and her sister Christi (another close friend) came to the cancer center to visit.  They brought treats and made my first chemo treatment into a party.  At the time, my husband was working out of town, commuting to Detroit after my Monday treatments, and returning to Indy on the weekends.  After Beth and Christi made my first treatment so positive and fun, he felt at peace having to leave town, knowing that I was in good hands if I needed anything. 

After surviving chemo and looking back on that experience, I now have a greater appreciation for the sacrifice Beth made to visit me during that first day of chemo.  Now, every time I walk into a cancer center, I get a sick feeling inside, reminding me of chemo and how anxious we were about each treatment.  I remember how crummy I felt each time as I left.  In cancer centers, I also feel bad for all of the people there, knowing how scared they are, and how much anxiety they are feeling.  I know that Beth had to feel that same sickness as she arrived to celebrate my first dose of chemo, bringing fun and making me feel loved.  She set her own feelings and emotions aside to help me feel loved and supported. 

For my birthday, almost a year later, Beth baked and delivered the most amazing cake I’ve ever eaten, beautifully presented on a yellow glass cake stand, which was part of the gift.  The cake was made with lime curd filling and coconut.  It had luscious layers.  I felt so loved.  This cake was also baked and prepared during Beth’s 2nd round of cancer.  She had to be low on energy, and couldn’t eat any of the cake because she was eating a very strict clean and healthy diet. 

Years later, the Mowrey’s started posting on their blog again to keep everyone informed.  It was so helpful.  Reading their posts strengthened my faith and helped me know of specific things I could pray for.  It was so nice getting daily updates, without having to intrude on their precious family time as Beth’s health declined.  Though the blog informed us that her time was short, the news of her passing still hit very hard.  Life isn’t fair.  She prepared me to fight my own battle.  We had battled together, at the same time for a year.  She never received news that she was cancer free.  She was younger and had younger kids.  Sadly, her battle started years before and went on a lot longer, with a lot more bumps in the road.  For eight years she courageously dealt with constant pain and physical frustrations.  She rarely talked about her pain.  She kept herself busy ministering to others. 


Through her entire journey, she and Alan kept a positive and thankful attitude, using humor and love to make it through.  The Mowreys have touched so many lives and taught us all so much about finding joy in the journey and trusting in God and His eternal plan.  

I was not able to fly to Cleveland for her funeral, but thankfully friends made it possible for others to be a part of her celebration through the internet.  I am so thankful that my life has been blessed by #theBethEffect.  As the song, “For Good,” from Wicked says, “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

3 comments:

  1. I loved reading this and learning from two amazing examples of courageous, faithful women in times of very difficult trials! Thanks for sharing your experiences and being a light to so many of us!

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  2. This. All. Of. This! What a great way to describe what #thebetheffect has done for many of us. Thank you for your example of love and friendship, courage and faith in the midst of great trials. You and Beth are wonderful women who have touched lives through your examples and service. Love you!

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