Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday the 13th

July 13, 2007, Friday the 13th,  I was diagnosed with cancer. It's been 4 years and 2 babies later and I couldn't be more delighted about where I am in life!

I have a folder in my email account of 108 emails of encouragement. I didn't save them at first and I wish I had. There were moments in my cancer journey that I wasn't receptive to encouragement or discussion of "the c word" at all and other times when I relished it. Anyone who describes cancer as a roller coaster journey emotionally and physically is right on the money!

Tonight I went back and read through them and this time, they were different. What I noticed this time, 4 years removed, was my mom's desperation in her update emails she sent out. My mom campaigned for prayers like politicians campaign for votes. Now, as a mom myself, I understand her emails on a deeper level. The poor grammar, the misspelled words, the incomplete sentences... poor thing was a wreck but she did a pretty good job of putting on her cheery Mary Sunshine face for me. I can only imagine if either of my babies went through cancer I would just fall apart. I'd go through it 10 times over myself so neither of my babies ever had to experience it. I'm so grateful for the updates she sent so I didn't have to, the people she rallied around us in prayer and the sores she developed on her knees petitioning for my healing.

I found an email I wrote that I wanted to share with you that I feel reveals more about me and my journey than pretty much any other post I have written or will write. Sorry this post is looonnnng and not super funny or picture filled BUT, it is a part of me that I do feel is important to share. A little background info. I was diagnosed on July 13, 2007, By January 31st, 2008, I finished my last chemo treatment. In May, I went for a routine scan and was shocked to know the cancer had returned SO quickly. I wrote this email and sent it to my mom in hopes she would send it out to our prayer warriors. She did. They prayed. God healed!

Mom, Thanks for forwarding this to everyone who has been on your update list. I know God heard their prayers and I want to make sure everyone knows how thankful I am for that. Sorry it’s long but it’s so hard to shorten such joy!
Mark 9:23 states that God can make anything possible to those who believe. I truly feel that we are living this verse.
Last Tuesday when I got the confirmation that the cancer was back, I was devastated. No 23 year old, newly wed wants to hear she has less than 50% chance of beating this cancer again. Having just lost a friend’s wife to the same disease only one week prior, I felt like I was given a death sentence. I was told I would likely never have children and if I beat this and it came back a 3rd time, there was really nothing they could do. The treatment would include nasty chemo, radiation, a bone marrow transplant and week living at Duke. I already felt defeated. After taking it in, I knew I needed to be strong for my parents so I put on my game face and decided that “I” could beat it again. For 3 days I kept reassuring myself that “I” could do this, thinking that I was having a positive attitude until I went to my small group and rediscovered 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18. Even though I thought I was being positive, in actuality, I was trying to take control of my own destiny. You all began praying and believing with me that God still heals and He has 100% control of this situation. It was so difficult at first to ignore the 2 PET scans that 3 doctors had confirmed were reoccurrences of the cancer but we all kept our eyes not on what we saw on the scans but what we believed God could do.
May 12th I went into a biopsy truly believing that the doctors would find nothing. At 9pm that night, my doctor called me with the “unfortunate” news that despite taking 6 samples, they must not have gotten it and she’s sorry that they would need to do another one on Thursday (tomorrow morning). I know God healed me. I was awake for the biopsy and I watched them take GREAT samples out of the tumor. I can’t wait for this biopsy tomorrow to prove to the doctors yet again that God works miracles! I know He also heals through doctors but I truly believed that He has healed me as a testament of everyone’s faith so that I can be a living example of Christ’s compassion, grace, mercy, wisdom, power, love, and all other characteristics that He has shown me. Thank you so much for each of your faith, prayers and words of encouragement. You will never know how much I appreciate each of you and what you have invested in my life. I would like to ask for continued prayers that each test bewilders the doctors and that they will eventually realize that I am healed and not a human pin cushion! Tomorrow’s biopsy is a little riskier as it’s with a bigger needle which increases the chances of deflating my lung.  I also pray that God gives me the words and boldness to continue to share my message of God’s miracle in my life and that people’s hearts would be open to receiving it (95% of my co-workers currently think I’m crazy).  I’ll leave you with the words of the popular Christian song “Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns which has been my anthem this time around and I hope they remind you, as they have me, that God has never forgotten or left us. Everything is for a reason, hardships are a temporary season of life that builds character and strength and nothing is ever as bad or scary as it seems. Praise God!
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

My hope in sharing this is that you are encouraged by God's faithfulness, His power, compassion, love and vastness. Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think may benefit. I truly believe that I have been charged with using my experiences to encourage others or help others walk through their cancer journey. Know that I'm an open book to talk about my cancer and am always willing to talk with "your husband's cousin's best friend's sister." I was introduced to a friend, Kimberly, that way and she was a huge help to me throughout my cancer journey.

Can you believe that 4 years ago, that was my life? ...And now my post and emails are filled with pictures of the children I'm not supposed to have, trips to the beach, play dates and baby giggles!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

1 comment: