I wanted to pass along this story in October since it is breast cancer awareness month...and, as I usually do, I have waited until the last minute.  I ask that you please read this story of my mom...I believe you will find it uplifting and a great testimony to the power of prayer.

My mom turned 74 in June...it was a birthday she wasn't expected to have.

In 1992, Antonia Merrell was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Luckily, doctors caught the disease before it spread, but just to be safe, they ordered radiation and a right breast mastectomy.  After undergoing all this, my mom was given a clean bill of health and returned to her job working as a teacher's aide.

Then, in 2007, the cancer returned to her other breast and we heard the two words we feared...stage 4.

Incurable...that's what stage 4 cancer means.  The disease had already spread to the bones in her back, neck, pelvis, and leg.  And, the doctor told my mom as my wife and I gathered in the room that the average survival with such a diagnosis is about 18 months to 2 years.

Devastated?   Yes, we were.   Defeated?  Never.

When you have the power of prayer in your favor, many things in life may work against you, even death, but with God on your side, you will never be defeated for eternity.

Let's flash forward to earlier this year.  Spring 2011 - my mom has continued with off and on chemotherapy since the 2007 diagnosis and she never stopped working at the school.  She continued volunteering at her church and thankfully she finally agreed to retire at the end of this last school year.

We wanted her to move in with us so that we could take care of her better, plus, since she lived 4 hours away near Austin, this would be a great chance to spend more time with her grand kids.  And, we would just continue her cancer treatments here.

With just 4 weeks left of the school year before her retirement, while boarding a school bus set for a field trip, my mom lost her balance in the stairwell and fell awkwardly backwards.  She suffered a major fracture of her femur just below her hip.

The ongoing cancer and now this!!??  My mom is the humblest of the humble and the nicest of the nice.  Wasn't the cross she was bearing heavy enough? Of course, that's my thoughts...certainly not hers.  This just gave her something else to pray about.

After the surgery and hospital stay, she was placed in a nursing home for several weeks for in-patient physical therapy.  (I could go off on a huge expose' on the sporadic mistreatment at this facility, but now is not the time).

Let's jump forward to present time.

My mom is now retired and living with us.  She is undergoing some new treatments at MD Anderson Hospital and even her doctors there have said 'you can throw out the textbooks with her' because of her long survival and good prognosis.  The cancer is still there, but it has been kept at bay.  And, my mom continues to get around much better following the broken leg.

The power of prayer is amazing.  Let me give you one example that can exemplify how amazing prayer can be and this will also show you what kind of person and Christian my mom is...

One of the things my mom has been praying hardest for over the past several months is to regain her ability to kneel again, so that she could pay the proper homage and respect to God.  Last week, she awoke me in the middle of the night with tears in her eyes.  "I can kneel again" she whispered through her tears.  "God has done it."

I don't know exactly what the future holds for my mom and her continuing battle against breast cancer.  I pray she lives to be 100, but whenever the Good Lord calls her, my mom has been and will always be victorious in my family's eyes --- just like she was at church this past Sunday when she knelt down to pray for the first time since April...I wish I could be so strong.

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