Tag Archives: diagnosis

Denial – That Land That Leads To Hurting And Hope

Standard

Recently, I have had much time to thing. Ponder things. One such thing includes the much sought after question – WHY!?

The other day, I was having a particularly emotional day. I talked with several people – just because I have found the value in both connecting as well as asking for help. The help, in this case, was pretty much in the form of prayer. Nothing would change the exact scenario at hand, but prayer would bring the peace and courage to face it.

As I was chatting with a friend, I was speaking about my daughter. A friend of ours is also young (she’s 10) and fighting a battle with cancer. She is losing that battle, and has only been given a short time of life left this side of Heaven. That was particularly hard for me. I looked at the similarities with my daughter’s cancer and it got to me. My heart was broken, realizing the possibility that lies ahead with us. As I was chatting with my friend, it was noted that when I spoke about this, I simply could not talk about the possibility of her dying. I would mention it and say that “things might not go how we want” or “if one day she doesn’t make it” but it was pointed out that I didn’t seem able to face it head on and talk about it. My friend asked what I thought would help to get to the point where I could look at her situation, see similarities in other situations that might not be going well, and not get upset. How could I watch a friend with a daughter who is dying, and not let it bring me down to the point that it’s depressing because I liken it to our own situation.

It was a hard thing to ponder, much less identify. I did come to the realization that I was attempting to live in a land of denial. In my head, I realized that the cancer she is dealing with does not hold a good prognosis. She may or may not live and have the opportunity to grow up. However, I never have really dwelt on that. Nor had I ever allowed it go to from my head to my heart. I only saw it as a possibility. What I did not see it as was a possible reality. I had some pretty in depth conversations. Just looking at the facts, and realizing there is a possibility she could die was extremely hard. However, it has been helpful in that way to not live in denial. To not think and dwell on it to a point it brings me down is hard, but necessary. Well, it’s not necessary to dwell, so much as realize the possibility.

One huge thing for me to realize – even though I knew it – was that just because another child is dying (or even that seven or more children die every single day) as a result of childhood cancer, does not mean that will be the end of our story. Yes, my four year old daughter could die. However, having cancer is NOT an automatic death sentence.

The hardest part is to realize that death is a possibility. It is hard to fathom, and impossible to understand. However, just because it is possible doesn’t make it probable. We will pray for God’s will. I seriously hope His will includes her being completely healed – from the inside out. I hope His will includes her living, not dying – and going on to grow up and live a long life. I will not, however, live in fear and dread of the opposite. If, for whatever reason, my daughter does not “win” this battle with cancer the way we want to see it won, it does not mean God isn’t in control. My faith and prayer is for her healing. I pray that healing takes place while she is on earth. If not, my joy will come from knowing she beat me to Heaven, and will be able to spend time and be in the arms of Jesus. That’s actually a sweet and heartwarming thought. No, I don’t want it to happen, and I’m certainly not rushing to get there myself. It’s just a beautiful thought when you are able to look at death as not the final goodbye, and instead as the next segment of a beautiful journey in a different place.

If you are facing this, or any other similar medical diagnosis and just don’t know how to handle it, please feel free to connect with me. I have, by no means, got this all figured out. What I do have is peace. I have peace knowing that the outcome isn’t guaranteed – good or bad. I have peace knowing that my life, the life of every member of my family, is in His hands. The maker of the entire universe has us in His hands.

Regardless of your situation, I pray you can come to know the same peace. May the God of all creation hold you today.

Advertisements

Support And Love In The Midst Of Uncertainty

Standard

Support and Love. These are two things I’ve always known about, and always “preached” about helping others out with in whatever times of need they have. Not until what we have going on medically with my daughter did I have the occasion to feel this side (the receiving end) of said love and support.

If you know someone who is going through something you consider to be unimaginable, please reach out in love. What you don’t realize is that it will likely mean the world. I can speak from experience on this topic.

As we are walking down this road we don’t want to be on, awaiting a definitive diagnosis on what may be going on with my daughter, I thank God for His hand in this entire situation. It is evident in so many ways. My gratitude is for the people God has in my life, and for the friendships and relationships that are being cultivated, even in the midst of everything going on. God’s love, and His heart is surrounding my family. My faith and strength from God through all this literally sustains me.

There are moments, and there are times that I wonder where the strength to keep going will come from. It is during those moments where God’s presence becomes so real to me. It isn’t because of anything I’ve done, but rather because He has me surrounded by people who care. I’m learning that I’m not in this – any of this thing called life – alone. Instead, I’m surrounded by much love and support. Like I have said many times before, it’s okay to not always be okay. It’s okay to need help, and it’s okay to reach out. I step out of my comfort zone when I do, but I’m grateful that God has given me the gift of friendship and relationship.

With regards to what all is going on, several people have asked if there is anything new, or if there is any specific way to pray. Right now, we are still waiting on a definitive answer. What we know is that my four year old daughter had a high grade polyphenotypic brain tumor. She had surgery two weeks ago, and both the pathology as well as genetic results are still not giving a full and complete answer. They are leaning towards either medulloblastoma or anaplastic ependymoma. The problem is, is that her results don’t fit either one specifically. It has been said that her situation medically has presented like this before, but rarely. So, samples have been sent for additional specialist consultation, and we should have those results soon. What we know is that we are essentially looking at our worst case scenario, but with some sort of rare twist. She will be starting chemo and radiation within the next two weeks or so.

As bad as all that sounds, I want you to know a couple of things. First, we are standing in faith for her complete healing and full recovery. That said, we realize that healing comes in many forms. All of that in mind, the one thing I want to stress is that no matter what the situation, and how dire it may look at times, God is still God, and He is still Good. With that, He IS in control. I don’t always understand why, or like what is going on, but my daughter is in His hands. It is out of my control…but the beauty of it not being in my control is that it IS in His capable hands.

Thanks for your continued love and support. It’s an honor to do life alongside all of you.

Trusting God Right Where You Are

Standard

I wanted to share something that I thought you’d appreciate. Lately has been pretty difficult for me. No question there. However, I’m learning so many things — one is to be grateful for today. With that said, I am. Today was the first day in a while that I can honestly say that I’ve had a really good day. As such, I’m remembering to thank God for just giving me today – and especially being grateful for it being a really good day.

There is something beautiful in surrender – and trusting God in the midst of a storm. This situation is clearly beyond my control. Period. However, my new answer when people have been asking how I am is that “I’m doing okay…I don’t actually fear a diagnosis..and I serve a God larger than life…and I KNOW that he knows exactly how to take care of me.” Which is usually then followed by a “but of course I want to know…and I’m tired of not knowing, etc.” And, when I say people – I don’t limit my “God” replies to just church people or other Christians. It has become a unique opportunity to share His love with whoever, wherever…medical staff, friends, family, etc. I can tell you this. It has prompted some pretty interesting conversations.

I have been praying for God’s heart for people. To love them as He loves them…and to have a level of boldness to take His love into this community and beyond it. The thing I’m coming to realize is I’ve always been a voice of hope and “you’re not alone” etc to other people…but rarely have I ever allowed or reached out and asked others to be that same thing for me — as if I’m somehow not worthy of the same things I firmly believe for others….but I am. And so are you.

Along the lines of living life — I’ve also come to realize that life is just too short to be skin deep in our relationships. No matter what the situation, there is always capacity to love God, love people, and to make a difference. I was recently thinking about life and death. God forbid, if I were to die tomorrow – I would hope to be remembered by how I lived, and thus how I LOVED.

No matter the situation, no matter the storm, KNOW that God’s got this. His hands are holding you, and in Him you are safe. Reach out. You ARE worth it! Always remember that when times are dark, and you have trouble seeing the sun glistening through the rain, the storm is temporary. No matter how dark it looks now, there is a promise of brighter times ahead. Live life intentionally! Love God, love people, and make a difference!!

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Standard

Bearing one another’s burdens…I’d like to dive right into this topic – right after a bit of background and catching up we have to do.

The past few days have been exhausting – both mentally as well as physically. I had a doctor’s appointment this past Thursday that was much less than fun. To recap, I left the doctor’s office with the necessity to have a tetanus shot, another referral to see cardiologist, and surgery scheduled for three weeks from then.

The tetanus shot was because a crafting (cutting) tool rolled right off of my desk, and into my leg. Since there was a puncture wound, the doctor thought it prudent.

The referral to cardiology is to see if they can rule out my heart as cause for some other medical concerns they cannot pinpoint the cause of.

The surgery scheduled is to remove a lump/mass from my back (and possibly one from my stomach) and then sending to pathology to determine what it’s made of. We are, of course, praying it is not cancerous, and nothing else to be concerned with.

I’m also semi-looking forward to the appointment with the breast surgeon to hopefully have answers on that front. All this waiting without having answers is bothering me.

I would like to stress something though. I do not fear a diagnosis, even of cancer. No, I do not WANT one – but nor do I live in fear of it. The absolute truth is that I serve a God larger than life, and He knows exactly how to take care of me – regardless of the outcome. It is His peace and strength that continues to sustain me. Even when there are days I feel like losing hope, I know that He is holding me. The God that holds this entire universe also holds me in the palm of His hand. What a loving and safe place to be!

What has truly made a difference, especially recently, is people. The people that God has in my life have really made a huge difference. As I keep saying, God created us to be community people. We all need other people, myself included. We are not meant to walk through life alone. Not me, and not you. This past week though, God has truly shown His love in such a real way through the compassion and love from friends. As I was discussing everything that is unraveling in my life of recent history, I remarked at how much I’m learning to reach out and connect with people. The reflective response made me think. “Imagine if this had all been going on a year ago, think of how different it would be” and that was so right. I was at a relatively dark place at times, and I cannot say how it would be different – other than really not good.

Another instance of God in action through the heart of friends was to hear a friend’s reaction to my most recent doctor’s appointment. A few days after having explained the situation, we were talking. Not sounding particularly chipper, I asked how the week had gone, or what was going on. The compassion that they probably didn’t even realize they spoke with really illuminated God’s love for me in a real way. It was shared that there was just a lot on their mind, a week full of life unfolding before their eyes, and that they also were struggling with me on the news and/or possibilities of these current medical concerns. At first, it made me sad because I had (especially without intending to) made another person upset or sad themselves. Not my goal. However, as I thought on it, I was appreciative that God has people in my life that are walking through life, and through this situation with me. I truly am NOT alone. This person and particular situation isn’t isolated. There are other people carrying this with me, and I am grateful. I don’t want them to have to, but blessed that they are.

Yesterday, in fact, I was out eating lunch with my children. As I stood up to leave, I was light headed, and spoke with my son about it briefly. Another couple who was nearby heard, and asked if I was alright. Complete strangers. They asked if it was a medical condition. I explained briefly that it was, but I’d been seen by doctors, so far with no answer to explain why this happens. I knew it would be over within minutes, so wasn’t worried too much. What happened next was a phenomenal display of God’s love in human form. The man asked my name. Not sure where this was going, I told him my first name. His response was that they would pray for me tomorrow when their small group Bible study meets before church. It didn’t stop there. They asked if there was anything else, and I felt a strange peace in sharing (very briefly) what’s going on with regards to the unknowns with me medically right now. With compassion they said they would pray, and would continue. They would pray for peace that only God can give. After we spoke, I asked where they went to church, said thank you, and we went on about our day. I was, however, blessed by such a small thing. No, it wasn’t earth-shattering. It was two complete strangers following the heart of God in a little way that made a huge difference.

There have been many people I have reached out to, and who have reached back to me – in prayer and friendship. I could tell you story after story about the people who God has used to bless me in small and large ways. God is faithful – 100% of the time.

The title of this blog post is what I set out to write about here — how, as Christians, we are called (Galations 6:2) to bear/carry one another’s burdens. This passage of scripture may not be directly speaking of carrying situations such as my own, but God used it to speak directly to my heart, to show His love in a real way through the body of Christ, and through such a variety of friends who care. I strive to be that person that people lean on when times are happy, and when times are tough. I’m not, however, used to being that person needing the same.

The entire point I am trying to point out through this entire post is that God loves us with a crazy love. It doesn’t always make sense, but it is real. He calls us to walk through life together. Just as I am finding how not alone I am, you are also not alone. No matter what situation you are facing, you are not alone. You are loved. The God who holds the universe has you safely in His hands. Trust Him with your life, and don’t be shocked when He acts on your behalf – when He shows you love in ways generally unfamiliar. He is a God of love, and a God who cares about even the most minute detail of your life. Allow God to be God, and watch how He takes care of you!!

Beyond A Diagnosis

Standard

****I want to share this part of me with the world. This is something I have not ever shared openly – online or in person. However, the more and more I figure out how to accept myself as a child of the Most High God, I realize that this is something attached to a stigma, but not who I am. I am more. To those of you who know me in real life, and will find these things out for the first time, please understand I have had many reasons for keeping this to myself. Not many people – until today – know what I am about to share. It’s not a secret, nor is it anything I am ashamed of. My story is something I pray God can and will use to share His love and hope with the world. If you have ANY questions, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my desire that my transparency show you His love is real, and hope truly is real. I’m honored to walk through life with each of you. Please feel free to post below or to send me a message via my “contact me” page.****

The idea that I am worthy of grace simply because I’m alive seems sometimes foreign to me. Yet it’s what I’m coming to understand more and more each day. Inside me is a kid who was hurting, a teen who questioned too much, a young adult who explored and got lost, and ultimately a human being in need of grace and forgiveness.

My life has had good times, and bad times, and really bad times. The value of my life, to others and to God, never made sense to me. I wasn’t suicidal, but I also didn’t care if I lived or died.

One day, I realized the need for tangible help. I visited a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I did not like – nor want – this diagnosis. And yet, there it was. I learned to cling to it. It explained why things were how they were. It became who I was. I was told I would need medications forever. My life would never again be med-free. It quickly consumed me, and became what I saw when I looked at myself.

But, it wasn’t me. It was a diagnosis. A shoe size. A hair color. A condition. But not me.

I finally came to realize that no diagnosis would define me. It may be a part of who I am, but it is not all I am. God’s grace and love defines me more than a disorder ever will.

With the help of people who let me know I mattered, I was able to see hope – one day (or hour) at a time. And today, when it sometimes feels like my heart is breaking into a thousand little pieces, I listen to the message and words of hope and I truly know that my life matters. God’s grace is sufficient to reach even me.

To anyone else who is hurting – please know that there IS hope. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever accept a lie and be labeled something you are not. You are important, and you matter. You are not a past. You are not a reputation. You are not a diagnosis.

You ARE a child of God.