Saturday, February 28, 2015
Finding out I could die while my children are still so young was devastating. I’d never felt so hopeless and out of control. The reason I am dealing with this so well now, is because God gives me comfort through his word. I am nothing without Him. When I am weak, He carries me. When I handed my worries over to him, I felt relief. Why am I so sure I’m going to beat this? Aside from having total faith in God and in prayer, I am sure because I have to be. What other option do we have, in a situation like this? We can’t curl up and wait for death to take us. We must be courageous. I thank God that He gives me courage. We must fight. I thank God that He gives me strength. I can’t imagine my children growing up without their mother. I have to be here for them! I have to be there for the scraped knees and broken hearts. I have to be there when they go to prom, graduate, go to college, get married, and have children of their own. I have to know my grandchildren. Why do I believe God is going to heal me? Because when I read those healing scriptures, I believe with my whole heart that He is speaking to me through those verses. I believe because he poured his peace and love upon me. I believe because 100’s of people are praying for me every day and I have an amazing support system. When I am sitting in that chair, hooked up to the chemo…I know God is there. There is more than medicine coursing through my veins!
We are tested through fire. With faith, God will bring us through it!
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God,come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
My story is being shared on manninglive.com, and this was something my Daddy wrote in the comments. I thought it was really nice and wanted to share...
Thank you for supporting my daughter with your prayers and encouragement. While awaiting a scheduled biopsy on a swollen lymph node, my wife encouraged Whitney to keep an appointment she had previously made with her gynecologist. Her doctor found that her liver was enlarged and had a CT scan done that same afternoon. My wife and I waited anxiously for the result as we tended to the children. Whitney’s voice was strong as she explained she would need an immediate biopsy, but the words “numerous tumors” and “cancer” were too dreadful for her to utter without breaking down. We immediately called my mother-in-law to come watch the babies as we rushed to be with her so she would not have to drive home alone. We live about an hour away from her doctor’s office…actually, we live about an hour from everywhere. As you may imagine, my wife and I were crushed as we felt our daughter had been handed a death sentence. I had “googled” enough in the days since her supraclavicular lymph node had swollen to 3 cm’s to know what metastasis to the liver meant. We were almost to her doctor’s office when she called and said the surgeon had looked at the scan and thought it was lymphoma. Lymphoma has a high cure rate even in the 4th stage. What a relief! But even so, this brush with death had changed everything about how we looked at life…and death. So, the fight was on! We had hope from the doctors that this cancer could be beaten. That was Thursday. Then the call came late Tuesday evening that the pathologists were “puzzled”. It was not lymphoma. I took the call and I knew what the doctor was saying without him saying it. I quickly adopted his avoidance of certain words as I explained more “tests” were needed. Two days later the oncologist would lay it out in more certain language that left no hope for a cure…”months without chemo” and a not-very-convincing performance of “with chemo…years”. It was a knock out in round 1. Whitney had already lost 12 pounds in as many days and the all we could do was pray as she cried in pain. And I’ve found that mothers who have gone through child birth can take a lot of pain. The hydrocodone would have helped if she could have kept it down, but the cycle of nausea and vomiting would not allow her to keep any food down for long. The catch being you need to take the pain meds with food or you will get nausea and vomit….a cruel dilemma indeed. I took the next week off from work since she had a doctor’s appointment almost everyday for a port-a-cath implantation, brain MRI, upper and lower GI’s and her first round of chemo. And we crammed in an emergency room visit for a couple of IV’s in between as she was becoming dehydrated. It was during this week-specifically, after Tuesday’s brain MRI that I witnessed the fighter arise. The fight was back on! She took herself off the pain meds and faced the pain head on—pain that had ruled her life for weeks. Within 12 hours the pain was down from a “10” plus to a “5”. By the next evening it was gone. Round 1, Whitney. The nausea subsided as the pain meds lost their influence on her body. She was eating chic-filet–of all things this is her craving during this ordeal–on the same afternoon of her first chemo treatment. Then, the effects of the chemo threatened to take round 2. That’s when the gloves came off. Whitney was raised in a Christian home thanks to her mother, Ramona. She held up the family until I found, discovered, accepted, received, surrendered to salvation about 9 years ago..not sure what word fits. Perhaps, they all do. Whitney had been a Christian for years and I had witnessed the change in her life and her faith. But now I was witnessing a star being born. Not the Kristofferson/Streisand kind of star, but a star rising into a sky of stars that we look to in awe and wonder. We all have those stars in our lives as God displays His love, hope, and power through those who take hold of faith and shine through the night to a world that has too quickly forgotten to simply look up. Whitney is my star. I will always look up. Thank you again for sharing her story.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
I have good news for you! You don't have to go through something extreme to change your perspective. We can change at any given moment, that's the beautiful thing. We have the opportunity every day to change the rest of our lives! I recommend reading the Bible, there is some great stuff in there. You'll find so much encouragement for any situation. It's important to talk to God every day. He is listening, I promise you that. Think about it.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
When we do God's work, the devil is angry! He will slither into our minds just like the serpent in the Garden of Eden. He may try to tempt us into disobedience. Or he might try to weaken our faith, like he tried to do with me today. I had a great day and I felt really good. Suddenly, Satan puts these thoughts in my head "You may feel good now, but this cancer will catch up with you." "Treatable but not curable." "This cancer is going to kill you." However, I am reminded that my God IS the cure. The devil is a LIAR. God has given me peace. I have had so many people tell me that when they pray for me they feel peace, and that they know I'm going to be ok. This is confirmation! I should not feel this good, but I do, because God is working miracles in me. There is no circumstance too extreme and nothing too big for my God!
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
This is one of my favorite verses right now. This verse makes me feel so much peace and love! I will never lose my faith. I'm sure this will make that nasty old devil work harder to bring me down, but guess what? He can't do it. I have too many people praying, too much support, too much confirmation, and too much faith in the almighty God to be defeated.
Sooo I'm thinking (sometimes this is dangerous lol). And I ask myself "What do I want people to get from my testimony?"
First and foremost, I want people to share my faith in God. There is so much ugliness going on in the world right now, and we need Him more than ever!! I want people to know the power of prayer. I cried out to God and he gave me the courage, strength, and peace I need to get through this battle! He heard my prayers and he gave me answers. I want people to realize how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us. I want them to value their time on this earth with their families. I want them to hug their children a little tighter. I want them to believe in miracles, because I will get my miracle. You will see! I feel it in my bones. If I'm getting this across to you, then I am doing what I believe God wants me to do. And it makes this battle worth the fight. This is my blessing. I am blessed!
A lady who works at Belk in Georgetown touched my heart so good today! She came around the counter and held me and prayed for me. She declared that my next scan will show that I am clean! I've been claiming healing over my body from the beginning of this, but so soon? Why not? I'm claiming it! My next scan will show no cancer. Nothing is too big for my God!
I've gotta say, having a bald head feels pretty good! And it sure saves me a lot of time in the morning. I still shock myself a little when I walk by the mirror. But I am so relieved that I didn't wake up to a pile of hair on my pillow. That's the part that upset me, watching it come out in my hands. This is much easier than I thought it would be. I was planning on getting a wig as soon as possible after having my head shaved. I mentioned this to my husband the other night and he asked me "why?" Well, I didn't really have an answer for that. After all, it's what's on the inside that really matters. Who cares if I'm bald? Who cares if it's a little more obvious that I'm a cancer patient? I'm not ashamed. So no wig for me! Come as you are.
I was very optimistic about Hodgkins. My age, symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, it all fit. There was no doubt in my mind I was going to survive this- no problem. I had never been put to sleep before, and yet all of a sudden doctors were putting me under every other day it seemed for a biopsy or procedure. I came to like it, actually. I knew in just a minute I wouldn't be feeling any pain. I just wanted to sleep. The pain in my back had been excruciating from tumors pressing on nerves and whatever else. Praise God that pain is almost nonexistent on most days!! (Hello, miracle.) I got so sick, a reaction from the pain medicine, I lost almost 15 lbs in 2 weeks. But the cure rate for Hodgkins is wonderful and I didn't let any of that get me down. Well, we found out it wasn't Hodgkins. When we finally met my oncologist, my parents, brother, and Patrick were all with me. She came in and informed us that they weren't sure about where this cancer originated from yet, but it is very aggressive and fast spreading. It is in my liver, lungs, and lymph nodes. She says it is stage 4 and it's treatable, but not curable. I broke. I was scared. I cried. Patrick held me as he cried. That's when the question of "how much time am I going to lose from this?" came up. Six months or less without chemo. Five years is very optimistic with the chemo. My poor parents, Ryan, Patrick. All I could say was "I don't want to die." A million things could have run through my mind, but all I saw were my children. I am not leaving them. I will beat these numbers. God knows my heart and he knows my desire to stay with my family. I believe he will give that to me and I will forever glorify His name because of this. I don't think about dying now. My faith is strong and God has given me peace. The sickness, probably losing my hair, all of that- I will take gladly! Because I'm going to live.
I was on the way to a routine obgyn visit. I had a few days off and I'd been in and out of the doctor's office anyway for nausea, fatigue, and a lump I found after the Christmas church service. I was scheduled for a biopsy the following week and things seemed to be moving pretty slowly. I thought about it all the time, wondering what could be wrong inside of me. I did my research and knew there was a possibility that it was cancer. I never focused on cancer though. I'm only 27, cancer doesn't really run in my family. I've always been healthy. I just had a baby! My bloodwork was fine.
I brought up how I'd been feeling to my obgyn, Dr. Martha, and she immediately took action. She noticed my liver felt enlarged and sent me to the hospital for a cat scan. After a few hours at the hospital I was sent back to my obgyn's office for them to discuss the results with me. Dr. Martin, my doctor who delivered Luke, came into the room and immediately my red flags flew up. He sat down across from me and told me how hard it was for him to tell me what he had seen. My cat scan was very discouraging. My abdomen was full of tumors. He said it had to be cancer. I felt the tears start, then stop as I went back into shock. How do I tell my husband this? My parents? They were all waiting on the results from the scan. Dr. Martin asked if I would like him to pray with me. I said yes and he did. How wonderful, to have a doctor who will pray with you! I went to my car, called my parents, and broke down. They kept passing the phone back and forth, scurrying about. They immediately came to me. I called my husband, Patrick, at work. All he could do was repeat "there's no way, it can't be." Of course he was just as shocked as I was.
I met with Dr. Martin's recommended surgeon who was very optimistic. He was certain it was Hodgkins lymphoma and I was going to be just fine. I'd have my biopsy the next day. I rode home, not sure how I felt. I was just thankful that nobody gave me a number. I was going to live, that was the most important thing to me. I never felt bitter towards God. I trust him completely. If anything, it was a wake up call. He needed my attention. He certainly has it now!