Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye Decade...Specifically 2009

So, looking back at New Years Eve last year, I would have never imagined that my 2009would have started or ended the way that it has. I think we all view the beginning of a new year as a fresh start with a clean slate. We all go into January 1st believing that better things are to come. But what if that doesn't happen to be the case? What if you were diagnosed with cancer like I was, lost a child like a few friends did, lost a job like our neighbors, or just had a crappy year in general...nothing major happened, but you were hoping for it to.
Well, I'm here to tell you that there is HOPE for ALL circumstances that we are placed in. I'm going to be honest and raw in some of the following statements, but will show you how the Lord responded to me...

1. When I was first diagnosed my heart was hurting so fiercely and God supplied this: Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

2. When I had my mastectomy and they were checking lymph nodes for cancer, I just knew that Jesus was going to clear out my lymph nodes and have them come back negative. I seriously KNEW it. I had more confidence in this than I could even explain, but for some reason, that was not in His ultimate plan for me. But he showed me this during that time Psalm 57:7 - My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! and... Romans 4:18a - Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping; believing.

3. When nothing was moving fast enough in terms of getting test back so chemo could be started, I was literally ready to throw my hands up in the air, scream and hit someone, God gently reminded me... Isaiah 55:8-9 says: My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts and my ways are far beyond anything you could ever imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts

4. When I was becoming anxious about how God was going to use me and this cancer to minister to others. I felt like I should be doing something/anything, but my body just couldn't do it through the chemo. That's when I was reminded of Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God.

5. In May when my body was hurting from all of the chemo and I started wondering if this was going to be my path for the rest of my life. God reminded me of a verse that He showed me on the day of my first chemo treatment. Exodus 14:13-14..."Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." The Egyptians in my life are cancer cells.

6. During chemo and radiation, when I needed to remember that He is all that I need and I don't have to do this thing called cancer alone, He reminded me of this: 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10...I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down, what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty. At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that and then he told me, My grace is enough for you. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

7. When I needed the faith in my Lord that he would restore my health and happiness and would probably not only restore it, but give me more of it He gave me this: Psalm 62:5-8 says...Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation my fortress where I cannot be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge and my rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.

I welcome you 2010 with hope, confidence, and trust that Jesus is going to continue to be faithful to me. I trust that 2010 will be one of the brightest years to date for me as with all of my heart I shine forth the light of Jesus. Bring on the New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Baby Changes Everything...

Last Sunday at church, this was the name of my very favorite song that was sang. Of course the baby they are referring to is Jesus and this got me to reflecting on how much THIS baby in particular REALLY DID CHANGE EVERYTHING. He changed our pasts before we ever had a past, He changes our present daily lives, and praise Him that He has changed our futures!!!
This time of the year especially just gets me almost giddy that we celebrate our Saviour's birth. Those who know me, know that I LOVE birthdays! Seriously...I love them. I go out of my way and bend over backwards to make sure David and the children have amazing birthdays. I get so much joy out of the planning, and surprising that goes into it that others' birthdays are more fun for me than my own.
So, yesterday on Christmas, I was a little taken aback as I was cooking dinner and getting ready for the birthday cake celebration we would have afterwards. My thoughts started drifting back to you-know-where...that dirty little 6 letter word C-A-N-C-E-R. I started thinking back to the pictures we took last year and how everything was so perfect. Brody was finally better from his surgery and milk allergies, Chloe had just finally started talking, it was getting closer to my brother coming back from Iraq, and truly all was wonderful. I see myself in those pictures with a head full of hair, a thinner smiling face, and excitement to see what my next year would bring. I just all of a sudden became sad that life went from perfect to miserable in the drop of a hat. Maybe it's because my diagnosis was made shortly after the holidays and that's why it affected me so weird yesterday. I don't know.
Then I started thinking and wondering if this would be my last Christmas with my family (as I'm sure most cancer patients initially do with each big holiday). And then something strange happened. And I know you guys will totally think this is weird but I think it was God. All of a sudden my thoughts changed to "wow...what a rockin' birthday party that they are having in Heaven right now. I bet Debbie (my friend who lost her life to cancer a month ago), my 2 grandfathers, and other friends are seriously at the best birthday party ever! How awesome is that?!? Can you imagine being there and being a part of those festivities? I so hope that Jesus will just let me be in charge of His balloons! OK - so now I'm getting a little too excited, but I'm just sayin'...
Just think friends, it is so true when Paul says "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain."
As we begin to start thinking of ushering in another new year, my prayer for you all is that you will allow Christ to be your everything. That you will be as sold out for Him as He was for us when he chose to leave heaven, be born to imperfect people, and then chose to die on the cross for imperfect me, you, and everyone else.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Results Are In

Things have been so crazy at my house for the past 10 days that I have barely had time to catch my breath for even one minute. However, there are some things that I am dying to share with every one of you my sweet friends.
First and foremost, I won't keep you thyroid biopsy came back BENIGN!!! Yes, that's right. I am still cancer free. I will just be followed by my endocrinologist every 6 months for ultrasounds on the nodule to check for growth. If it gets bigger and becomes bothersome, I will have surgery to remove it. If it remains the same, then I am good to go. So, praise the Lord with me that I do not have to add the walk through thyroid cancer to my medical chart.
Next, I want to share what the Lord has been putting on my heart lately. Well, technically it's been more than just "lately" but that's beside the point. Let's just say that I have now termed Him, in the most loving and respectful way possible, my "Divine Stalker." He has been keeping me up late at night and waking me up at all hours of the night with this. He has been introducing me to new people who can help answer questions for me regarding this, and he has shown me that I am not the only one who He has placed this desire upon. So, you now are asking WHAT is this girl talking about?!? I am talking about not a "what", but a "who." THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Have any of you ever stopped to just think about who the Holy Spirit is. I mean beyond the Spirit of God. Have you ever stopped to think about the POWER of the Holy Spirit? The power that came upon the disciples at Pentecost when the Spirit came and rested on them? Have you ever stopped and thought about the gifts of the Holy Spirit? How about being baptized in the Holy Spirit? My friends, THESE are the things that the Lord has placed ever so firmly on my heart and these are the things that I am sorting through, praying through, and learning about. I am beyond intrigued and just cannot get enough of it. Now, please know that I am not a new Christian. I have been saved since I was a child, but about 2 years ago I came to really learn about the Holy Spirit and His power. Since my diagnosis 11 months ago, I came to really understand and experience His power in my life. Maybe it wasn't that I didn't know about it, but that I had finally surrendered to it. Regardless, it has been a glorious experience and I just want the point that I don't think I will ever get enough of God and I hope that I don't.
If any of you are interested in learning more, there are several books I would love to recommend that have helped me and only increased my hunger for more. Here's the list:
1. The Shack
2. Crazy Love
3. Forgotten God
4. The books of Acts and Ephesians in the Bible
5. Embracing the Spirit of God
If any of you read or have read these books, let me know. Send me an email ( ) with your thoughts, questions, and opinions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Left You Hanging

So sorry about that. I really don't have that much to update on regarding my thyroid. I did meet with my endocrinologist at Vanderbilt last week. Dr Jagasia is her name and may I just say that I LOVE her! She is awesome and amazing and again, I feel like God placed me with the perfect doctor. Anyways, the mass definitely has to be biopsied because the size of it is double the cutoff for biospy. She confirmed that only about 15% of these are cancerous and that even if mine is, that it is 99% curable with surgery and radioactive iodine pills. She did try to get me in for a biopsy that day, but had no luck. So...I head back to Vandy on Wednesday for the test. She said the results usually take 4 days to get back so I should know a few days before Christmas. Promise to update the results as soon as I know them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OK - Update On Me

Well, I have no idea when was the last time I updated on my health or what I last updated because I was too lazy to look back and read (it's late and I so should be sleeping). So, here's the short version.
Last month, I was having tingling in my back and of course my paranoia set in and I mentioned it to my oncologist several times. In order to allay my fears of metastasis to the spine, she ordered a spine MRI. It came back totally normal showing no cancer in the spine, but they happened to see a pretty large nodule on my thyroid. My oncologist told me that she was not at all concerned about it from a cancer standpoint, but wanted my PCP to follow up on it. He ordered blood-work and several diagnostic tests and I had them done the week of Thanksgiving.
Fast-forward to yesterday and my phone rang while I was driving to was my doctor calling. Immediately when I heard his voice and not his nurse's, I kind of knew that the news was going to be less than perfect. He told me that the ultrasound had come back showing a partially fluid filled and partially solid mass on one side of the thyroid. Then he told me that the thyroid re-uptake scan had come back showing a "cold nodule" and those are the types that could be cancerous. He told me to call my nurse at Vanderbilt and see if she could get me in with an endocrinologist faster than he could for a biopsy to see if this is benign or malignant. I politely thanked him, wished him a great day, and hung up the phone to call my momma. Sometimes I just need my momma - no matter how old I get. Tears flowed at first and I thought "I cannot do this again. I CANNOT do this again LORD! Please do not make me go through this again!!! Haven't I been through enough? Hasn't my family suffered enough because of me?" And then, after talking to my mom and probably several prayers later (thank you prayer warriors) I had an overwhelming peace. It was truly the peace that passes all understanding. I heard the Lord tell me that I was right, that I could NOT do this again...not by myself at least, but that if I had to do it again, that HE COULD do it for me - like He did the first time. And then today I thought about Paul and how in the Bible he gives an account of the thorn in his side and how he asked the Lord to remove it 3 times but He never did. And then Paul goes on to say that God's response to him was "My grace is all that you need. My power works best in your weakness." Then Paul came to realize that when he was weak, then he was really strong.
I know I have a long way to go, but I am really seeing that Paul's realization is a realization that I have made in my life this year too. I have been weak emotionally, physically, and mentally this year, but boy when I admitted that I just couldn't do it and instead relied on Christ and His ability, I became strong. God's grace is all that I need - all that any of us need.
So, to sum it all up, I did some research and found that a "cold nodule" 85% of the time is not cancer. I am NOT worrying about it (surprise surprise), I have NOT lost sleep over it, and I have NOT let satan take over my thoughts but have instead clung to the Voice of Truth. If you so feel compelled, I would love your prayers because I am not naive enough to think that just because the stats are in my favor that I couldn't be one of the 15%. But I am trusting 100% that whatever the outcome that there is a greater purpose and plan and that the Lord is sovereign.
My appointment is next Tuesday and I am hoping that the endocrinologist will go ahead and biopsy the mass that day so that I can get results and put this behind me before the holidays.

Psalm 66:8-10...Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing His praises. Our lives are in his hands and he keeps our feet from stumbling. You have tested us O God; you have purified us like silver.