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On a Personal Note … Brain Cancer Sucks!

I know it is out of the ordinary for me to post things that have nothing to do with furniture, upcycling, painting or DIY, but since you all are such wonderfully supportive people who read my blog, I know you’ll agree that sometimes we just have to get things off our chest. In fact, come to think of it, this does actually have something to do with my business and the running of it, so bear with me …

A couple of weeks ago, my beautiful mum had a CT scan after symptoms of memory loss, along with mixing up words & pronouns, began to get worse. Our family GP looked shocked as she read the results, and announced to mum & dad that there was a large tumor on the left, top side of mum’s brain. What the?! Brain cancer?

How does that happen, that one day life is normal … and the next day – it is SO NOT!

Mum working on couch cover

Mum helping me sew a couch cushion cover.

Mum, My Hero:

If you’ve been to my workshops, you know my mum LOVES to help out and enjoys chatting to each of you as we have morning tea, or as she lends a hand to someone needing help finishing off a piece of furniture. She has such a love for people.

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She is and always has been, such a cheerleader and major supporter of anything involving each of her 5 children, our spouses AND her 20 grandchildren (yes, TWENTY)! As many of you know, when I needed an extra hand with my bookkeeping as my little business grew, I hired my mum to do this. She’s been amazing, learning new skills and rocking our online accounting system like a pro! She’s followed me to markets and helped with setting up and making cups of tea and all the important stuff. Mum, if I haven’t told you enough, I LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOU AND ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME!

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Mum, helping at market stalls.

The Journey so far:

Mum was admitted to hospital immediately, but before leaving, mum and dad called together the five of their adult children (of whom I am the oldest), and we gathered at their house to do the one thing that we always do as a family when a crisis arises – PRAY!

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Laying on the hospital bed with mum before her surgery. Still able to crack a few jokes!

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

I grew up in a family that taught the teachings of Jesus, read the Bible often and were encouraged to attend church regularly. Our faith in God has strengthened us, given us courage to face the journey ahead, and emboldened us to believe for miracles, because I believe they still happen today.

And rather than take this time to lash out at God, as may be a valid, human response, we have felt a compelling need to draw closer to Him. We have had so many moments in the last couple of weeks where we have literally felt His peace and known without a doubt that He has been with us. Check this out:

Here’s an example:

One such time was on the Sunday at the hospital, while Mum was waiting to have surgery, booked for the following morning, my sisters and I were downstairs in the hospital foyer, taking a break from the ward and giving mum a needed rest. One of my sisters recognized a song coming from Starbucks across from where we were sitting. It was a worship song by Chris Tomlin, called “Good Good Father”. Were we hearing right?

“I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide,

But I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide

Because you know just what we need before we say a word

You’re a Good, Good Father – It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are

and I’m loved by you – It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am”

I had to go and ask the staff about the song, because it seemed fairly unusual to have a church song coming from a random cafe. I said to the lady at the counter, “I love this song, who’s in charge of the music?” to which she replied, “Oh, it’s some digital machine out the back that just plays random stuff, sometimes you get good music and then on comes a jazz song or something random.” You know, we never heard another song like it coming from Starbucks for the rest of the week that we frequented the coffee shop.

Then later that afternoon, we took mum down to the Hospital worship centre (chapel) as we knew she would love singing some songs together and praying before her scheduled surgery the following day. We asked her what she’d like to sing, if there was anything on her iphone music app that she’d like us to play. The first song she requested was Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father”!

Later that night, I was back home and messaging my son’s girlfriend who was asking how grandma was doing. Incidentally, her own mother is undergoing treatment for a brain tumour also. I told her we had taken mum down to the hospital chapel for a sing-a-long that she really enjoyed. She messaged me back with a link, saying “This is my favourite worship song at the moment if you need another one for the chapel.” Yes, it was a link to a video of Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father”. I think God was trying to tell us something … (feelin’ the LOVE like a great big hug!!)

The Journey Ahead

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Mum’s post MRI celebration selfie with a couple of my sisters. These were a big fear for her – she’s a bit of a pro now!

Well, now we have a journey ahead of us. Mum’s surgery went well, without complications, but they were unable to take margins due to the dangers of doing so in the brain area. She will undergo radiation and chemo in the next few months to treat the remaining cells of the tumor.

We have been overwhelmed with all the love poured out to mum and to our family from literally all over the world. She is an amazing woman, and there’s so much more to her story. She has affected the lives of so many in positive ways, SHE has no idea! Dad & Mum have hosted countless people in their home, including long and short term boarders who she would often counsel and advise, and continue to call her their second “mum”. She has volunteered most of her life, for community and church projects, more recently assisting women who have been having a hard time in life, to be pampered via their “Pamper the Princess” program. Her and dad have taken missions trips to the Solomon Islands for the last 10 years, giving of their time to help another nation less prosperous than ours. I could go on, but needless to say, I love her, her friends and family love her, and we believe she still has great purpose left to fulfill!

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you. I know there are so many out there who are affected by this horrible disease, and it is not until it happens to someone close to you, that you begin to treat life and loved ones with a little more tenderness.

Restoration …

Meanwhile, I Restore Stuff will continue to function, grow and spread RESTORATION LOVE all over the world, by painting and restoring forgotten pieces one brush stroke at a time. Painting is so relaxing and almost therapeutic for me. When my husband finds me in the workshop, he’ll often come in saying, “oh, there you are, in your Happy Place.” It’s so true.

Our sales of Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint have really taken off here in Australia, as people catch on to the benefits of using non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives for updating their homes. We have recently added Cling On! paint brushes to our range of products and you can read more about them here. And of course, Sandi Hands sanding gloves are continuing to sell well. The founder of Sandi Hands, Mum’s youngest sister, Jenny, will be travelling with her hubby, Steve, in 2016, promoting their product, visiting stockists (including Mitre 10 stores), and a part of their vision is to help our Aussie Farmers who have been doing it tough.

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Mum helping me figure out how to make a horse tail from a wig. Click on the picture to view the blog post about this rocking horse.

I will drop a line or two every so often, to let you know how mum is going.

I would love to hear any encouraging stories, if you or someone you love has been through the trauma and treatment of cancer. How did you find strength, peace and hope? What were the biggest “keys” that you took or used through the experience?

Please use the comment section below …

Much love,

Sharon.

xx

We are authorised retailers for Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Australia. This blog post may contain affiliate links.

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Elisabeth
    January 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Oh Sharon, thanks for sharing your family’s story. What a shock for you all, and then all the fear sets in. Yes, Someone ‘higher up’ certainly was sending you a message….. gotta love that!

    Once many, many years ago my life was in absolute turmoil – overwhelming grief and fear. Alone and in the quiet of the night, and over my constant sobbing and gasps, there was suddenly this amazing silence, and then a voice, steady and strong, said simply, ‘Float and Trust’ My response was not, ‘Oh right, yes I will’, but more like, ‘Oh great! Thanks a lot! And what’s THAT supposed to mean! I get a message from above and that’s all You can say??’ But when I really stopped to consider those words, I realised my main issue was that I had absolutely no control of what was happening to me, and it was the fear of how I would ever go on, and everything which it affected.

    When all is said and done, ‘Float and Trust’ was all I needed to hear. Float and Trust is all any of us can do. I hope you can Float and Trust through this.

    Sending lots of love to your family. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.
    Liz xxxx

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      January 30, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      Oh Liz, that’s beautiful! Thank you for sharing. “Floating and Trusting” indeed! xx

  • Reply
    Jenny
    January 30, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Beautiful Sharon – Perfect actually! Would have taken so much courage but God spoke through your beautiful heart. My gorgeous, loving & ever faithful sister has produced the most amazing family – we stand proud of you all – God has a plan & a massive testimony to come! Love you sweetheart – so so much !!!

    “Watch My Hands at Work !”

  • Reply
    Jane
    January 31, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Gosh that sounds really hard! So encouraging hearing how God is present in the midst of it all. Thinking of you and praying for your family!

  • Reply
    Megan from The Junk Wave
    February 1, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    What a BEAUTIFUL post. Thank you for sharing…and it is all about restoration – restoration of your Mum. Many blessings to you all. Mxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    PS: My favourite is Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      February 1, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Oh thanks so much Megan. It is a restoration story I hadn’t thought of it that way. That Matt Redman song is another one that mum loves!! Blessings to you!

      • Reply
        Jenny
        February 2, 2016 at 10:01 am

        Wow – what a great analogy – really reflects your purpose Sharon – so beautiful !

  • Reply
    Paula Hankins Fennelle
    February 1, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Beautiful sis! Love you and praying for you and your mum and family. That’s one of Rich’s favorite songs too! Hugs!!

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      February 1, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Thank you sis from across the miles! Wishing we were closer. Xx

  • Reply
    Janet bidewell
    February 1, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Love and prayers to you and your family. I have been thru a rough patch this week and feeling sorry for my self. Until I read your story as my mum would say I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet. May Gods blessings pour upon your and your family my he give your all the strength in the world to soldier on. Love to your mum even though I do not know her but I feel in my bones she will survive and keeping spreading her wonderful love 😍

  • Reply
    Linda
    February 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing something that is such a huge part of your life experience and how your family is coping with devastating news. Just be there to hold her hand and lift up to God the wonderful ways she has been, and still is, a part of your life’s blessings. Help her remember the moments she has impacted your life and growth as a human being. That’s all any mom wants, to be known, loved and appreciated.

  • Reply
    Mercia
    February 1, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Dear Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing and I will keep you, your mum and family in my prayers.
    Blessings to you and your family!

  • Reply
    Mercedes Milne
    February 2, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. My friend Gwen who has also been to the workshop last Saturday with me have also experienced a life wrenching experience like yours. You are not alone. We will pray for your Mum and her recovery. We also pray for strength for her children as you continue this journey with her. Wishing her a God-speed recovery.

  • Reply
    Joanne Rodino
    February 2, 2016 at 5:24 am

    I am so sorry for your diagnosis. I know all to well how life can change in a minute. My father after never being sick was diagnosed with brain cancer. A glioblatoma. I send you and your family, and especially your mom much love, strength and good wishes and prayers.

  • Reply
    Maggie Kerr
    February 2, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Take strength from your restoring family and friends for the long journey ahead,thoughts and prays for you all.A journey I have been on so give each other lots of hugs everyday.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Thanks for your beautiful post. Someone up there is looking after your Mum and I have no doubt that God will stear you through your journey together.
    x

  • Reply
    Sue
    February 2, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Dear Sharon,
    Thankyou for sharing your story. Wishing your mum all the very best on her journey to a full recovery. Wishing you and all your family much strength, courage, love and prayers.xoxo

  • Reply
    Deborah
    February 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Sharon, I happened upon your site today and will continue to pop in 🙂 I lost a friend to a brain tumour a mere 12 months ago after a long and courageous battle for just on seven years and like your Mum she was a helper and communicator and believer in God. She also managed to write a book of hope and living with cancer.
    “Three quotes from a plumber” is the book
    Sally White the author
    It is an inspiring “adventure” which may be of some use to your family.
    Good luck in your journey forward:)

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      February 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks so much, Deborah. I’ll have to look up your friend’s book. Thanks for letting me know about it.

  • Reply
    Sam
    February 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    I really hope that your mum responds well to treatment and feels the love surrounding her. She sounds like an extraordinary woman.
    As you already know I’ve taken a little break from Revamped Painted Furniture. Like your mum, I’ve had a tumor removed. I am still recovering so I’m not able to paint at the moment which is so frustrating because I find it therapeutic too! So, I understand that feeling of having your world turned upside down. I feel so lucky that surgery is the end of the journey for me. Cancer does suck. Fight it, beat it. And then give it the middle finger!

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      February 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Oh Sam, so sorry to hear this is the reason you are having a break from Revamped. So glad that they were able to remove the tumor and I hope you recover well, in full strength, ready to do what you love again. xx

  • Reply
    Nancy Chancey
    March 1, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Dear Sharon and Family,
    Keeping you in my heart and prayers and sending a scripture that I hope you find comforting.
    Jeremiah 29:11
    “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
    Sincerely,
    Nancy
    P.S. I believe in miracles!

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      March 1, 2016 at 7:28 am

      Thank you Nancy. Beautiful verse. One of my favourites! xx

  • Reply
    Sharon
    March 1, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Hello, I’m in the US and sometimes we forget about people in all parts of the world having crises within their families. The most beautiful part of this is how all of us depend on the Lord to encourage and hold us up during these times. My husband has had brain issues for 9 years and is doing fine now. Mothers are so special. She (and your family) will be in our prayers. Thanks for sharing. Blessings from another Sharon

    • Reply
      IRestoreStuff
      March 3, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you Sharon, how beautiful that you are willing to pray for us from across the world! xx

  • Reply
    Our Trip to Melbourne - Family, Coffee & Antique Stores!
    July 17, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    […] Our reason for going down was family related. Do you remember I posted about my mum’s health about 18 months ago when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor? If you’re new to following my blog and want to check out that story, you can read about it HERE. […]

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