Today is the ONE-year anniversary of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Carcinoid Cancer.
I remember the vivid details as when my son was born, the Challenger blew up, the Twin Towers collapsed and my Mom died.
I was alone that night at Banner Hospital. I was told the news about 10 p.m. and my dear friend, Kathy, came and sat with me until the wee hours of the night, followed by my daughter-in-law and granddaughter, as my husband was out of town. The next day, they transferred me to MD Anderson and the journey started.
If you’ve never experienced a cancer diagnosis, you will never understand the toll it takes, both mentally and physically. You may “think” you know how you’ll deal with it, but you really don’t know until you’re walking it.
I truly believe the mental aspect has been harder than the physical aspect – though I’ve spent countless days in the hospital and even more time in bed recovering from surgeries, chemo and radiation. Oh, and that COVID thing hasn’t helped me much.
But … here’s the deal, my friends…
I’ve finally embraced the fact that the doctors are my fact-checkers and report-readers and while they’re amazing humans, Jesus is my oldest, ancient healer and He says, “By my stripes you are healed”.
That means me.
He hasn’t wasted a moment chasing me.
Whispering sweet nothings to me.
Comforting me, and relentlessly pursuing ALL of me…weaving every painful second into a beautiful story I could write a book about.
As a result, my love affair with Him has grown and I’m filled to the brim with hope, strength and determination.
It’s been a difficult year, but if given the chance to trade this journey to be able to say I was never diagnosed with cancer, I’d choose to be diagnosed all over again.
This past year cultivated my personal growth, required me to step into the woman God intended me to be and has shown me in so many ways just how many people truly care for me and love me with a richness I’ve not realized until now.
We’re simply not wired to accept the genuine love of others, but rather wired to feel unworthy, unloved and alone.
My husband has stepped up on so many levels, caring for me with such committed love and gentleness, yet pushing me on the days I felt sorry for myself.
He’s let me share my deepest fears and brings me back to my senses, helping me to overcome (sometimes wagging his finger to hone in on certain points) and finds a way to make me laugh no matter how I feel.
I know he’s scared at times, but he has actually helped me grow in MY OWN faith which is such a blessing to my heart. He’s been my ROCK.
We’ve been broken into thousands of pieces multiple times during our 39 year journey, but our brokenness has led us to a beautiful place I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Last night he and some of my friends hosted a “drive by parade” where dozens of people drove by my house, cars decorated, honking horns, ringing bells, passing gifts, balloons and flowers out the windows as I sobbed like a baby.
They came from ALL OVER the Phoenix Valley FOR ME in celebration of my last day of radiation this week. July 20th I’ll have an MRI to measure the results and I’m believing we obliviated that tumor!
Trailing near the end of the parade was a final surprise, my kids, with this princess in the back seat.
Naturally, she stole the show. My Brylee has been such a huge part of my healing journey and I can’t wait to watch her grow up with me by her side cheering her on.
A year ago, after researching Carcinoid Cancer, the “average” lifespan was apparently 2.5 years, but that came from the fact-checkers, not taking into account the crown of glory from my Savior.
It sometimes takes hitting rock bottom and being scared shitless on a cold, hard table – alone with Jesus – to have a breakthrough that no matter WHAT, He is still on the throne!
For the 14 straight days of daily radiation, that’s what happened.
I walked through the doors wrapped in a cocoon of fear and came out like a beautiful butterfly.
I believe I am healed. I’m living as though I’m healed. I’m claiming healing.
Jesus has the ultimate say, and it brings me peace, knowing I don’t have to fear any longer.
I feel empowered, unstoppable, and feel as though I’m aging backwards. I’m 58 years old and feel younger than I’ve felt in 10 years.
If Jesus can do this for me, he can do it for you!
Say His name. He’s there to comfort you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. – Joshua 1:9
My heartfelt thanks to EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has contributed to my well-being this past year. The cards, texts, gifted healing sessions, daily inspirational videos from friends, radical prayer, thoughtful gifts, meals, time spent with me, visits to the hospital, financial contributions that provided much peace at a time when I needed to focus on my healing vs. worrying about finances. I could go on and on and on … I owe hundreds of thank-you notes, but finally had to give up the notion that they were going to happen.
Please know that I’ve felt your LOVE. I’ve heard your prayers. YOU comforted me and you comforted my family.
I’ve seen the looks on your faces that tell me you’ve been scared, too. I’m sorry for that, but life can throw us curve balls sometimes and none of us are promised tomorrow.
We must seize every single moment to have faith, hope and love for others.
All that to say …
Life … is … good.
“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”.