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Reader Spotlight – Leah Dickinson

Reader Spotlight is one of my favorite series here on Lil Light O’ Mine. It’s a chance for me to spotlight the readers that come here so often – that write!  My regular contributors are dear friends, but there are mounds of awesome moms out there – stories, insights, ideas and tales that need to be told. This is a special one because Leah is a sorority sister of mine that beat the odds. And it’s breast cancer awareness month. Go Leah! And to thousands more including our GRAMMY! Proud of your fight and courage. – Courtney


We’re Going Into Overtime People!

by Leah Dickinson




August 28, 2008

Dear Diary,

Dr. S told me I wouldn’t live to see my 39th birthday today. Why me? Why again?

Why, Why, Why? 

God, where were you when this happened?  WHERE ARE YOU now? Why would you do this to my children? They aren’t even going to remember me.


A lost soul



When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27 I knew I would survive.  There was no question in my mind.  Perhaps it was because I was younger and invincible or maybe because I didn’t have kids yet. But this new death sentence, this was different. According to my doctors, my heart was failing because of the chemo I took five years prior.

Did you catch that?  FAILING.

What an awful word to hear.  I mean, I had gone to the doctor because I thought I had asthma. I thought I would walk away with an inhaler and instead I was wheeled out of the hospital a week after being resuscitated.  My body was turning on me, again.

I had been given a time limit.  It’s unthinkable.  I wouldn’t live to see 40.  My kids weren’t going to remember me.  My kids weren’t going to remember me!  I couldn’t shake that awful thought.  I was more debilitated by this notion than the actual heart issue that was killing me softly. 


My sweet boys were toddlers at the time. I would watch them play from my bed and sob. At this point, my failing heart and the strong meds forced me to sleep 18 hours a day. It was like watching a movie, I felt like an outsider looking in. I longed for silly tickle fights or to chase after them, catch them and giggle. But I couldn’t.  It’s something that no mother should ever have to feel.

So I froze up. I withdrew.  I got angry.  I escaped in unhealthy ways. It wasn’t pretty.  I was so focused on dying that I wasn’t living.



God can handle all our anger, all our fear.  All of it. It took me a while to figure it out but once I did, it was so freeing.  During the following months, I drifted further and further away into a sea of sadness and despair.  I’m stubborn, y’all.  I mean, He healed me of breast cancer (and my mom too) and I still didn’t trust Him. I wasn’t willing to surrender.

To make matters worse, my marriage quickly headed south after I was diagnosed. WAY south. My core was shaken and my soul was stirred. What a gunky, heavy, empty, miserable pit. I remember falling to my knees and crying out in desperation…this is it? This is our new life? How could you do this to our kids? I had lost all hope. If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t, I hope and pray you never have to go there.

The good news is even though I wasn’t able to seek Him at this point or see any light whatsoever, God was there waiting all along and His plan was in motion.  To this day, I often visualize God’s giant yet gentle arms cradling my lifeless body and scooping me up as I laid in the downward dog position bawling crying, in shackles and gasping for air. He had me, I just hadn’t figured it out yet.



God is present everywhere.  No matter how big or small the situation or how far apart from Him you have grown, He’s there and can handle anything you dish out. Just close your eyes and imagine a massive pummeling bag dangling from the heavens and go for it…punch it. Boom! Let ‘er rip. I get goose bumps thinking about how mighty He is.

Over the coming months, I’ll share heartbreaking, uplifting and amusing tales of how I managed to trudge out of that dark, deep place toward the light. I hope that by sharing my story, your trek will be lessened and you’ll laugh at little while we’re at it.

Today IS the first day of the rest of our lives. I’m gonna live mine OT style – sometimes frolicking, sometimes trudging. And the best part about it is I’m not alone. I never was and I never will be.



Leah is a fighter, a mom and a friend. I am so proud of her and thrilled to share her story with you today. Maybe she represents your friend or mom or you! Please honor someone you know that is fighting or lost their fight to breast cancer below. Cancer is cancer – doesn’t have to be breast cancer. If you are hurting or know someone that needs prayer. List them below. Or, if you want to praise a survivor. This is a place to do all of that. The good and the bad. God is in it all.

Tell us a little about their story. We’d love to pray for them or their family through this post.

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  1. I myself am fighting breast cancer. I’m 31. I have hopefully my last round of chemo tomorrow! This has by far been the hardest thing my body has ever had to go through. I’ve submitted to my illness and I know God will make something beautiful out of my pain. I just have to trust and wait…

    1. Hey Lori. Praying for you this morning. Hooray for LAST ROUND!!! I cannot imagine how hard this has been. And it sounds like you have a wonderful perspective. Trusting with you.

  2. My favorite cancer survivor is GRAMMY! Ron’s mom was diagnosed with cancer when we were engaged and we’ve been married 11 years! She’s so positive, so sweet, so hopeful and never complains. She’s had every scare, every side effect that you can imagine. I admire her so much and we are grateful for every single minute we have. It’s all overtime.

  3. A friend of some blog friends named Manda is 33 and fighting cancer for the 3rd time. She too has heart issues due to past treatments and is not able to do the traditional chemo this time, so nothing will be covered by insurance. She has a 5 year old boy and a 1 year old girl and a husband to fight with. T-shirts are going on sale Wed with 100% proceeds going to the family. You can find more info on her story and the T-shirt link on the following blog. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Leah. My heart is just breaking this morning. I cry out to God that he encourage you and your family today. http://www.shullfamily.blogspot.com/

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