By Kayla Lutes, Features Editor
Sophomore Brooke Way’s plans to use her music and worship arts double majors for God’s glory.
“I’m going to go wherever God tells me to go,” Way said. Hearing the story of the darker places she’s been, it is clear that Way’s statement is sincere.
In 2013, Way’s junior year of high school, her mother found a lump that had come up within a few hours. She later found out that the lump was brought on by stage three breast cancer. Of the four stages of cancer, the fourth is the worst, and Way’s mom’s cancer was closer to four than three on the scale.
“It was hard at first,” Way said. “I had been homeschooled until high school. I was going to public school, and I would always feel bad for being away when she needed me.”
Her mother began with three to four months of chemotherapy and underwent a successful surgery. She then received chemo treatment every day for two months and then radiation for two months.
“I remember the night we cut her hair before it started falling out,” Way said. “It was hard, that feeling of not knowing what could happen, but still knowing that God had us in his hands.”
“I became the master of ‘conceal don’t feel,’” Way said of that time, sharing fears of burdening her parents with her own concerns.
She told me every day she was healed by the Lord and she would be fine.
Her mom’s healing process, which occurred during the summer between Way’s junior and senior year of high school, was slow. “It wasn’t an immediate healing, and if there was a side effect, she would have it, plus more,” she said.
As her mom got better, Way learned to enjoy the simple times shared with her “best bud.” Way said, “It was really cool to spend time with her. Sometimes you take for granted the little things like going to the grocery store or watching a movie.”
After Way’s birthday in September, her mother told her that there was still a spot that had remained where the lump had been. “The first time around I didn’t know what to expect, but when she said that, relapse hit me,” she said. “I was devastated.”
Way’s mother’s faith stayed strong even then. Way said, “She told me every day she was healed by the Lord and she would be fine.”
Way’s mother had to go through a procedure that could be life-or-death since she had undergone so much chemotherapy. “Right before they took her back to do the procedure she just looked at me like she knew they weren’t going to find anything and she would be fine,” she said. “At first in the waiting room, there was dread, but then there was that amazing sense of peace that the Lord brings.
“One of the nurses came out and said everything went fine, but they couldn’t do the biopsy. We were like ‘Well crap,’ and then the nurse told us ‘because the spots were not there anymore,’” Way said. “The Lord does amazing things in amazing ways.”
Way’s mother is doing better now, though she still deals with side effects and takes a pill to keep down her estrogen levels since her cancer had been estrogen fed. Even in this process, Way has seen God’s hand. Since Way is at college, she knew her mom would be less likely to stay active, but on a ride home from Walmart, God provided.
“God does the craziest things,” Way said. “We saw these two kids dumping a puppy on the side of the rode. By the time we turned around the puppy was in the street. We saved him, and slowly but surely, he became a part of our family. And now she has a reason to get up and walk.”
Way has been inspired by her journey to raise awareness for cancer. She wears pink for #pinkpantsfriday and has a Facebook and Instagram page with the same name. She wears pink to remind people to do self-exams.
“In most circumstances, you can catch cancer really fast [through self-exams],” Way said. “I don’t want anyone to go through what my mom has gone through. To help someone else’s mom have a better quality of life is what I’m so passionate about.”