The Love of This Momma in My Own Suit of Armor

9 months and 25 days ago my life was forever changed; it was the day I found out that one of my babies was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis was a very rare and aggressive cancer usually found in children or young adults called Ewing’s Sarcoma. For those of you who have had a child with cancer or any other serious illness, you know what I’m talking about: the tears, the pain and the frustrations that we go through.


The love of a mother has for her child is like no other; it is a love that can’t be explained. A love that makes you wish you could take all of the sickness and pain away so that your child would be ok. But unfortunately life doesn’t work that way; you can love your child with everything you have, but you can’t take away their pain. You can only endure it with them, love them and never let them feel that they are alone.

In Dr. Mo’s clinic, Zach’s nurse, Wendee would tell me to put up my ‘armor’ when I was having a bad day. That thought really spoke to me because as moms we wear many suits of armor on a regular day, yet the armor changes when you have a child with cancer. Some days my armor held my heart in my body or some days my armor held me together because everything inside of me felt like it was coming undone. Some days my armor kept my knees from buckling beneath me and kept me from falling apart.

However, this past year I’ve also found that I have another suit of armor and that is my faith in God. Over the past nine months we have experienced more emotions then we thought were possible for one human being to endure.

This journey has made me see so many things so differently: remember to be kind to others, surround yourself with loving people, and please donate blood! I always knew life was so precious, but really didn’t appreciate the fact that the rug could be pulled out from under your feet in a blink of an eye. So, my armor has really become a way of dealing with all of the emotions of Zach’s illness and his recovery.

July 30 Deb Painter Pic 2

One night on our way home from a long stay at the hospital the song “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” by Gary Allen came on the radio. So many things in life aren’t fair, but so many more things are so amazingly beautiful and we are truly blessed. Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.

Team Painter is still standing together, still standing strong. Zach is a true warrior and my rock star along with his brothers. This is one proud Momma wearing her own suit of armor!

July 30 Deb Painter Pic 1

Update: Zach had scans in late July and the results came back free of cancer.




4 thoughts on “The Love of This Momma in My Own Suit of Armor

  1. Your story is very moving and as a mother I would want to take that cancer away from my child in a heartbeat. You would do anything for your child. You are blessed to have Mo and his staff in your corner. What would we do without him and the university of Iowa. Wonderful place!
    Claire Barnhouse

  2. I have always said we are all one phone call away from being on our knees and who knows how many of those phone calls we will receive in our lives, but on that day you definitely received one Deb. Your strength, faith in God, words of wisdom and love have inspired me and made me love you and your family even more. Keep the faith girlfriend, if your like me. . .you have gotten sick of hearing how strong you are! I know through my own struggles I was so sick of hearing that I could have screamed! But looking back, we are strong, but only through the strength that God lovingly gives us. Love you all!, Laurie

  3. I want you to know I am so moved by your words. I was diagnosed with cancer April 15th, so my chemo is every 2 weeks. My mom and dad have been there from the beginning and I couldn’t imagine this journey without them. It sounds like your son is as blessed as I am. I’m so happy to hear he is cancer free!!! Hugs to you all!!!

  4. Dr. Mo and Wendee. Live angels. Don’t know what we would have done without them.m So glad your son’s came back clear. God’s blessings to all of you.

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