Yesterday God received another angel. One of my classmates, Michelle Tull Bynum, passed away from Breast Cancer. I knew of Michelle in high school. She was on the dance team and friend with several of my friends. But I did not really get to know Michelle until Julie got sick. As soon as she found out I get this message from this feisty woman with this amazing story about how she was in remission from Cancer and Julie can beat it too! She had taken God into her life (see Video Below) and he has been with her every step of the way in her battle against cancer. Michelle told me she was an avid speaker about her battle with cancer and her faith and she offered to help in any way possible. She even offered to speak at our annual BTHO Melanoma Event (but we had scheduling issues).
Unfortunately as Julie continued her fight against cancer, Michelle found out her cancer was back. Michelle then reached out to us to ask, “What did you tell your kids?” This was toward the end of Julie’s battle and I shared with her the name of a Children’s book Julie & Brendan had found. She was really worried about making sure her son was okay. But, even as she was facing her own trials, she continued to say Yay God and support Julie’s fight.
Julie, Michelle and a dear friend of mine, Kathy, were all featured in an amazing news story called Classmates with Cancer. If you haven’t seen it you can see it here. (Be careful…it’s a tear jerker).
In this video you can see Michelle’s spunk. Much like Julie, she had this amazing attitude, smile and faith. Julie had her Army of Ants…Michelle had her Angels. Both women had similar stories: you know your body – you have to take your health into your own hands, don’t be afraid to question a doctor’s opinion; don’t be afraid to be your own patient advocate. Both women inspired a whole world of people they never even met. And now, both women are Angels in heaven. I can only imagine what kind of Army of Angels they have amassed in heaven to continue their fight against Cancer.
When I got the word Michelle was in the hospital on Friday and not expected to make it through the weekend it brought me back to the final days with Julie. I had an awful day because it forced to me to remember. (Blogged about that day here). Like Julie, she was expected to go into a coma. I can remember praying that God would let me get to that hospital before she was gone. Julie never woke up while I was there, but I think she knew I was there. I think about those hours after Julie died and how we felt. Just standing in the hospital waiting for them to take the body..it was heartbreaking. But then it got better…slowly, but it did get better. Soon we started to focus on the life lead, not the life lost. We focused on the lessons learned, and the gifts received. As I have always said, I was truly blessed to go through life with a Best Friend for 28 year and be able to be by her side as she died. And I was blessed to know Michelle. She showed me the power of Faith and a Positive Outlook. I only hope that Michelle’s family and friends can find peace in her passing. I ask you all to keep them in your prayers.
As Julie would say: Yay God.
As Michelle would say: Eat Life with a Big Spoon.
As I am reminded: Every Day is a Gift, Don’t Waste It.
Michelle’s Own Words about her Faith and Cancer