One year ago tonight, I was laying in Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center with complications from my second targeted Chemo Embolization to my liver. I was sick. Really sick. My body weight jumped from 142 lbs. to 158 lbs. from all the fluid my angry liver dumped into my lower extremities. I was running fevers. My legs were swollen. I felt like a balloon ready to pop.
The unfortunate part was the fact that it was the second Chemo Embolization I had received, and the first one nearly killed me. When my liver dumped fluid into my plural cavity the first time around, I was kept almost two weeks with pneumonia, fevers, mouth sores and received three separate procedures to drain fluid from my chest. Banner was hell-bent on discharging me on the third day this time, despite the fact that I could hardly get my jeans over my calves.
I no sooner got home, and within a few hours I was back in the E.R. where they spent a solid 24 hours dumping 16 lbs. of fluid off me (that’s a lot of trips to the bathroom). The radical fluid loss threw my system into a tail-spin and I ended up staying in the hospital until they could get my potassium and sodium back into range.
I stopped writing on this blog about nine months ago. I spent more time documenting my life on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithtoflourish/ and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.shangle/. The Covid-19 quarantine threw me for a loop, everything takes energy, and radiation zapped (no pun intended) my energy in June and it hasn’t returned yet.
I’ve worked hard at balancing my life – throwing out what no longer serves me, and adding in what does. I live for the moments with my granddaughter, with sleep-overs the highlights of my life. My husband has been such an amazing support, without him I couldn’t manage such quality time with her.
Tonight, I find myself filled with GRATITUDE.
2020 was a tough year with Chemo, Radiation and being told that liver resection was not possible. Losing loved ones in our family, having loved ones suffering with other illnesses and the state of our country has been difficult for not only me, but likely you, too.
This last year has allowed my faith to be tested and refined. What could have been a bitter heart is a heart filled with such joy and gratitude, it could sometimes burst.
John Hagee said, “The greatest test of faith is when you don’t get what you want, but still you are able to say Thank You Lord.”
Gosh, it is such a beautiful journey to get older… wiser… more content with the little things. God is so sweet and so good. He has bestowed so many blessings upon me this year. In less than one week I’ll be 59 years old. There have been so many obstacles to climb and so many disappointments, but one think I know is true … God is on the throne. His ways are the best ways. I may not know his plan, but I trust his grace and mercy.
One of the greatest blessings has been gifting this HOPE necklace to hundreds of women undergoing Cancer treatment. Not only in Arizona, but also at MD Anderson, Houston.
I’m currently writing a book about all the incredible encounters with dozens of patients. Encounters God orchestrated. He has used me as a conduit in my weakest moments. The worse I felt, the more he used me. These necklaces have given me a purpose SO GREAT, it has been a privilege to walk through the doors of the Cancer Center.
This Cancer will not win. God’s plan for my life will win. Last week was the first week I walked through those doors empty-handed. I was out of necklaces for the first time since my “Hope Dealer” ministry was born. There were so many women I could have touched and blessed.
If you would like to help me bless women undergoing Cancer treatment, consider purchasing yourself a HOPE necklace. 100% of the proceeds will be used to purchase necklaces for Cancer patients. Just click “HOPE NECKLACE” on the home page of this blog to order, or click here: https://bit.ly/Hopenecklace
Meanwhile, count your blessings. Don’t take a day for granted. Make a difference in the lives of others.
“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”.
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