It's never expected. Never planned for. Never wanted. The diagnosis. For Sarah and Eric Conley it was in September 2018. She was also 20 weeks pregnant with their 4th child. A surprise blessing baby girl after having 3 beautiful boys. They had just committed to a major job/life change and recently moved to a different state with very little community and no idea of what the future would hold. Except that it would now include cancer.
There was no time for shock to set in because within a week she had multiple tests and biopsies performed, a port put in, and chemo began. Amazingly chemotherapy was safe for the baby and they didn’t have to make a hard choice between saving mom or saving the baby. After 12 weeks of chemo their sweet baby girl, Grace, was induced to be born early. "By God’s glorious grace (hence the name ) our daughter was born without a single problem." says Sarah.
After Grace's birth, Sarah had to resume a second chemotherapy ASAP. "For 12 more weeks we just tried to survive each day with our sanity intact. The Lord brought new friends and family at just the right times to meet every need, big and small, through this crazy journey."
After chemo was complete, Sarah had a lumpectomy and radiation. "Just as we thought our journey was coming to an end we were told that the biopsy of the tumor they removed did not look the way they wanted it to." she explained. Sarah would have to do six more months of chemo then go into a medically induced menopause. "Our hearts were broken. The effects of chemo are difficult to endure and our lives would have to go on hold that much longer. Yet once again the Lord provided just the right help at just the right times throughout everything, using people that only He could use in ways only He could pull off."
In the last 3 weeks she completed chemo and with the counsel of doctors they chose for Sarah to have a prophylactic hysterectomy. "Our battle with cancer finally has a much needed break and our prayer is that it never returns!" With lots of help, Eric has continued to not only provide for his family, but to selflessly and lovingly take care of his kids and wife. In celebration of the end of this hard battle, Eric arranged a surprise weekend where many of Sarah's friends, past and present, met up for a weekend of girl talk, pampering, good food, and lots of laughs!
What a perfect opportunity to have a photoshoot with her tribe. Her support. Her prayer warriors. So where the story started with the "serious about conquering cancer" faces, now her tribe wears the "hopeful for tomorrow" faces. When asked what Sarah wants to do next, she replied "I want to use my experience as a physical therapist and a cancer survivor to help encourage others who are going through the same battle. And to share how my faith in God carried me through." We're excited to see how her story continues and encourages others!
Special thanks to Katy Mobile Studio for doing Sarah's hair and makeup, to the Cravens for letting us use their truck (and accidentally getting it stuck in the mud!), and to the Johnstons for being so generous with the use of their land.