Cathy (CJ) Pipkins


I remember that dreaded day 11 years ago when my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and given a five percent chance to make it. At the age of 11 my life got turned upside down; I thought for sure I was going to lose my mother, comforter, and best friend. I expected everything I knew about my life to change, and while some aspects did, my mother did not. She was still the same positive, upbeat caring woman she always was, who constantly put everyone else before herself. She would be as sick as one could possibly be and yet still continued smiling and telling me “It’s your choice what you make of life; you choose between happiness or drowning in your pain and sorrows.” Never have I seen my mother shed a tear regarding the situation she is in or the pain she must endure, rather only when she is sympathizing and showing compassion for others and their situations. She shows the most selfless love I have ever seen a human being display.

Her cancer has returned twice, but you would never be able to tell through her positive attitude and constant service to others in need. She always says she looks forward to chemo days, and yes you read that correctly, it is not a typo. She enjoys going and being able to talk to the other people in treatment and getting to show love to the ones who need it the most. She is still fighting the battle and blessing everyone around her with her presence. She knows that life, rather every day, is a gift that is not to be wasted. I have never met a single person who has faced as much adversity as my mother with such faith and perseverance. She has never wavered.

I recently found out that I have the same deleterious BRCA1 gene that my mother has. I now know that I have a real possibility of facing the same trials and tribulations that she has for the past 11 years, but I know that I am better equipped than most on how to handle the situation because my mother has been such a good role model throughout her whole ordeal and has constantly reminded me that everything happens for a reason. I hope one day to be just half the woman that she is.

Below is my mother’s favorite scripture with her description added in parentheses of how she applies it to her daily life:

Philippians 4:4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always (even when I am sick). I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all (this is why I try so hard not to complain, I want others to see Him in me). The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything (even when doctors only give you 6 months to live), but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (I know that peace).