By: Shanda Hoover, Mountaineer News Contributor
Posted: February 26, 2020 | 09:40 EST
“Being diagnosed with cancer will change you, most of the time for the better. I quickly learned what was most important in this life. It’s certainly not the cars we drive, big, fancy or perfect houses, brand name clothes, or chasing after things we don’t need. When you’re faced with death, you only think about those that you love. You think about how much that you loved. You think about memories that you’ve made. You hope with everything in you that you’ll have a chance to make more of those memories. For tomorrow is not promised. Live for the day you are in and live it well!”
- Shanda Hoover from her book, 'The Mountains We Climb'.
Hello friends! I’m Shanda Hoover, long-time resident of Buckhannon. I’m married to my husband, James and we have two children, Nathan and Catie. I’m a self-taught photographer and built my business from the ground-up ten years ago.
September 24, 2015, at the age of 33 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, that, within three weeks advanced to Stage 3. It was a very aggressive type. Chemo was started quickly and lasted roughly five months. Not too long after finishing chemo, I had surgery to remove the residual cancer.
I am often asked, “Shanda, how did you make it through? Especially at a young age! How did your family, husband and children cope with this? My answer, every time, is simply- JESUS. He deserves that bold recognition!
Not long after recovering, I started praying and asking God- “What’s next?” “How can I help others who are hurting, suffering or need to know you and your love?”. I will admit that I was growing impatient when not hearing an answer and I tried to figure it out for myself. I thought, well maybe writing devotionals and printing them on a newsletter at my church, or maybe writing a blog? Maybe a book about my cancer journey? I was a little confused, also still sorting out my feelings and emotions with life after cancer. I wasn’t letting God take the reins.
Last June I fell and broke my foot. It was very upsetting and I started questioning, “Why me Lord?” “Why is this happening? Especially at the start of my children’s summer break?” After a week of feeling bad for myself I heard Him say “Write. Write that book. I’m giving you the time.”So, I quickly put pen to paper and did just that! I finished my book titled, “The Mountains We Climb” the week my kids started back to school in August and self-published on Amazon the first week in September. I now know that God’s timing is always perfect. Never early or never late. I fully believe he was giving me those years after cancer to grow and learn before jumping in and doing this work for Him.
If you are going through a tough time and dealing with sickness, discouraged, have anxiety or anything else life is throwing your way, please give my book a read or check out my blog at www.shepaintslove.com.
“For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”~ 2 Chronicles 20:15
Shanda is the Owner of Shanda's Photography here in Buckhannon. Her book may be purchased at amazon.com or checked out at the Upshur County Public Library.