Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Never Knew the Fight Would Be This Hard

When I was first diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer I never knew the fight would be this long or this hard. Even after I was told the Cancer had metastasized to two other places in my body, and had begun to travel elsewhere I still never knew how much fight I would need to not be defeated, and I had no idea the pain would be this strong, the loss so great, or the fight so permeable into the rest of my existence. We all live in chapters, and this next chapter I am beginning is a scary one, and maybe the hardest part yet is finding where you fit in after treading water for such an extensive period of time.

I am waiting on results from a CT scan on a spot found on my Thyroid. Yesterday on my way to a job interview I heard on the radio that there is an increase in Thyroid Cancer in women as a result of all the radiation given to individuals through CT scans and X rays. I am sure you know where my head was after wrestling with that fun fact, and recalling all the radiation I've been given. After my interview my phone rang  while I was getting into my car. It was the chemo nurse telling me my white cell counts and hemo-something(jk) were really good. I asked about my Thyroid scan. She said there is definitely something there, but doesn't necessarily appear Cancerous. Her final thoughts on the matter was that my Oncologist would need to call me after reviewing the pictures.

After getting home I received word that although my job interview went well they would be requiring second interviews. Something I should probably rejoice in, but ultimately brings on an overwhelming since of defeat. You see, the Chinese proverb of "when you get knocked down seven times you stand up eight", is being fully realized in my quest to find where I fit in while I still have time on this Earth. My friend reminded me today that there are many who would give anything for the opportunity to continue to fight, and so for those without that opportunity, and for myself, that is exactly what I plan to do. It's hard to deal with the feelings that come when something feels right, but  continues to come up wrong, but I am repeatedly given the opportunity to relearn the lesson of letting Him be Enough in the experiences we face whether filled with light or darkness.

 I  continually remind myself that God is the one who gives me the strength to keep standing  even when I am persistently knocked down, and will prove He is the source of my fighting spirit as I face the chemo room for another round today.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Life as I See it Now

Enjoying the perks of life. Benjamin and I at the Phil Harmonics
on the 4th of July

To update all those who have followed this journey I am feeling much better these days. It is amazing what a little peach fuzz, eyebrows that aren't painted on, and more than three eyelashes can do for a girl. In addition, I have also thoroughly enjoyed this transition period where food actually sounds good and I can keep it down, so much so that I have gained twenty pounds since May. This does not bring me back to my original weight before Cancer, but definitely allows me to feel a little more attractive, and not so gaunt and sickly.

Items I handed out to patients
at the Cancer center that have helped me.
My Cancer counts are hanging between a one and two right now, and I will have blood draws to check my tumor indicators every week through April. I also continue to go to chemo once every three weeks. I have found with maintenance chemo that I don't get nearly as sick as I did when chemo was pumped directly into my abdomen, but I do experience some flu like symptoms for a couple days after each infusion, and arthritic pain on a daily basis. My next chemotherapy treatment is scheduled for Tuesday 7/30, and you can bet I will bring several goodie bags for other Cancer patients with me, which I do each time I go to the Cancer center.

It is nice to feel a little more whole again, but the battle is still not over.I still have adjustments I have to make and deal with everyday as a result of being diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer, and the persistent concern of Cancer returning is something that continually tests my faith. Despite what may come in the future I know God loves both my husband and I, and as a friend said at dinner tonight "He can make something beautiful out of the biggest messes". I hope my journey is a testament of the rainbow that can shine even after a devastating storm.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I was forever changed on July 18th 2003, and it's hard to believe that it was ten years ago. My first day at Point Loma Nazarene University I met Allison Carley Dahm. A girl from Michigan and someone who I quickly learned loved God, loved life, knew how to have fun, and became one of my dearest friends.
 Looking back on my almost 30 years of life Allison’s friendship is one of the most treasured blessings I have been given. We enjoyed our freshmen and sophomore year as roommates  and relied on each other to get through those early years of being broke college kids.
Allison is always on my heart, but there has been an increase in my thoughts about her on this day. On 7/18/2003, Allison was on her way to pick our mutual friend Barbara from the airport in her hometown of Holland, MI. I was scheduled to fly out two days later on July 20th for the three of us to spend a week discovering the sights around Michigan. However, instead of the memories of three college kids spending a week of summer together Barbara and I share the memory of attending Allison’s funeral after the car accident that occurred while Allison was on her way to pick Barbara up from the airport.  The aftermath was devastation and true realization that peace on this Earth can be shaken no matter how good life seems to be going.
Initially that devastation fueled my anger towards God, and justified acting out and living life for what pleased me moment by moment. Anger eventually turned into submission after realizing how fragile this life is and learning that God is there to personally and individually reach out to us even in the midst of some of our darkest times.
I have come to believe whole-heartedly that Allison left this world for Heaven, a place where I am confident she will greet me when my time on this Earth is over. A place where peace cannot be shaken, and  there will be no more goodbyes, no more tears, and no more pain or suffering. Heaven, a place where we can all reunite with the one's we love, and others who believed and followed Jesus during the short amount of time we are allotted to make a difference on this Earth. Allison made a difference in my life. On the ten year anniversary of her death I remember many wonderful things about her; I remember her smile, her sense of humor, her positive attitude, her love for her family and friends, her desire to use her talents for good and the betterment of others, but most importantly I remember the love she displayed for God and those around here no matter what day of the week it was! 
I will always dearly love my friend Allison and treasure the memories we made together, and  I cannot wait until the day when we can rejoice in  reward of Heaven together!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Deep Rooted

Faith is tough. It is one thing to believe in a God who created Earth and the people who are sustained by its' goodness, and another to keep your heart full of faith that assures your soul you are ushered through life both in good times and in bad by a creator who loves each of us. In fact He loves us so much that he sent His son to die on a cross for the sins of humanity, and has prepared a place better than the most exotic destinations of this world. For me I guess it's easy and entertaining to grapple with the creation piece of faith, but believing in a God who loves us, goodness, I for one see how easy it is for non believers to understand God's love with so much sadness and evil that seemingly often conquers good. 

I will be vulnerable and disclose that lately it has been hard for me to continually remember the love God has for me. I hate to admit it but I've been maintaining like a city without walls, freely letting darkness erode faith, hope, and love. Questions of dark origin filtrate through my mind, Cancer returning, loved ones becoming sick, not living up to the potential I can only wish to be, being a better wife, and worst of all, someday if I do pass how will those I love carry on, better off perhaps? 

Fears, worry, anxieties run deep. They pop up in our minds quicker then dandelions on a summer day, and root themselves in our heart at the depths of lifelines which sustain the strongest trees. Despite my mind and body not functioning how it did before Cancer luckily my heart reminds me that even in the darkest times I can whisper His name, "Jesus", and feel His presence, which gives me the ability to "conduct myself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ" constantly remembering my reward both in this life and after for doing just that. 

For the prayer warriors I'm so lucky to have in my life please prayer as I plan to share some of my story at my dads church in Brookings, OR on 7/13/13, and for my body and mind to feel stronger. My next chemo is on 7/9, the day before I fly to Oregon. 
Still fighting Like A Girl,

PS let us all live as cities with the tallest, strongest walls, and keep in mind that in God's world, good will always conquer evil. It's the fee will piece of life that we must fight to overcome.