Tag Archives: fighting cancer

Issuing A Challenge – Remembering How To Smile

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I was just browsing through some pictures of my sweet girl. For those of you who might be unaware, my little girl passed away three and a half years ago after fighting a one of a kind brain cancer. I have shared previously on this blog, and I’m fairly certain I will share again in the future.

11026172_803042006452078_6786944172042754938_nThis one, like so many, captured her personality. Sweet and dainty, yet fierce and vibrant.

She wasn’t afraid to wear what she wanted, when she wanted, simply because she wanted. She wasn’t afraid to go against the grain. She wasn’t held back by societal norms. She was authentic. She was real. She loved people well, and she was loved.

I write this because the thought grabbed my heart. Why aren’t we all a little more like Janet – a little more like an innocent child? Yes, we live in a broken world, and it’s easy to become jaded in the face of the polar opposite of love.

When we hurt, when we walk through trauma – through hell on Earth, it’s easy to grow calloused and protect the vulnerable interior.

But, I want to challenge you today. Just as I seem to need to challenge myself.

Let’s take a look at my little girl. Take a look at your own child. Maybe take a look at yourself as a child. Go back to a time where there was innocence. Remember a time where happy existed. Remember the moments where you’d go outside and play, or perhaps beg for ice cream from the ever sounding ice cream truck.

Think on times that society had not yet set “norms” and expect you to adhere to. Think on love. Think about what would happen if you allowed yourself to abandon all those preconceived notions on what life could or should be like, only if…Allow yourself to simply, be.

Give yourself permission to be who you are, who you are right now, to feel how you feel in this moment, and to know that somehow – that has to be okay.

Recognize that it truly is okay to not always be okay. Just try, even moment by moment, to not live in that place forever. Try to see the beauty. Know that even when hope may seem to be playing an epic game of hide and seek – it is only hiding, not missing. It isn’t gone. Drill that fact into your head and heart. For, know this. There will be times that your head and your heart are at war.

If you can teach yourself some simple truths, to hold onto during those rocky times – those broken fragmented moments will pass, or you’ll at least be closer to enduring them with even slightly more strength.

I wrote all that to say this – all hope is not lost. It may be the hardest thing you do today, but think of something that makes you smile. If you are not happy right now, if you are hurting – think back to even just one thing, to one time you were happy. Allow yourself to smile, even laugh. It may not last forever, but allow it to last for this moment. This moment matters. You matter. You are worth it. Your continued story is worth it. You are valued. Just as you are. Here and now. Take the time you need to simply, be. And know that it is enough for this moment. And for the next moment. Strength is grown moment by moment.

If you are hurting today, know that you are not alone. I am too, and I understand the sting of pain. I understand missing a child, a brother, a cousin, a friend, and many others. But, I also know the value in reaching out. In community. In being part of a tribe.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of my story – my journey. I need people in my life, and I know you do as well. It is part of the human condition. We are created as community people. To do life alongside each other. Thank you for giving me that gift. To those who continue to share your love, and your thoughts and/or prayers – know you have my continued gratitude. Please, never stop.

If this resonates with you, and you would like to further discuss, please feel free to reach out – either in the comments below, or you can always feel free to send me a message. I love connecting with this beautiful community. A community founded on love.

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The Last Six Weeks In Review – Fighting Cancer – Standing In Faith

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This morning I received a very sweet email from a friend and regular visitor of my blog. It served as a reminder that I have not been active on this blog in several weeks. Yes, I have had ample reasons, and quite honestly, I just haven’t felt up to writing as much as I had. With renewed strength, I am here.

As I have mentioned previously, we found out in April that my daughter had a brain tumor. In a long drawn out process that is not yet over, we have come to find out that the tumor was a high grade polyphenotypic malignant (cancerous) brain tumor. It is still apparently one of a kind, and doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis – yet! They are currently doing full genome sequencing to get to the DNA of it and discover more about the cell(s) of origin, etc…as that has continued to baffle her medical team and extended network of medical professionals. This thing is unique, aggressive and quite annoying. However, we’re not giving up OR losing hope. We have created both Caringbridge and a praying Facebook page for her. If you are interested in links to either, please comment below or send me a message via the contact me page.

These last weeks have been some of the most difficult of my life. Never in a billion years did I ever imagine I’d be walking a road and journey that included the words aggressive cancer – let alone with my four year old little girl. Many things have transpired, medically speaking, and it’s just all been exhausting – physically and mentally. We’re nearing the end of a six week (every weekday) radiation treatment with her, and then will have a few weeks off, only to start an aggressive chemo treatment for many months. As I have pondered all of this, I have done much soul searching, heart-checking, and digging deeper in and with my faith.

You see, it is my faith that has, in large part, sustained me through this process. I will admit though – my faith has had some rocky moments lately. It hasn’t been shaken to a point of falling, but I have had ample opportunity to question many things. Never once have I blamed God. Never once have I been mad at God, per se. I say it like that, because I have found myself mad just kind of at the world. A four year old should not have to fight for her life. Period. At one point, though, I realized that it’s actually healthy to question things. I felt almost guilty and like I lacked faith because I was frustrated basically. Not frustrated with God, but with the entire situation.

I’m going to be brutally honest here. I found myself asking some scary questions – as it pertains to faith. When I put my daughters situation in a little bubble, and thought of it alone (instead of everything else in my life) I found myself wondering why I even bother praying…why I even bother having a relationship with God when it changes nothing. My thought process took me to the line of reasoning (or rather lack thereof) that my prayers and my relationship with Him meant nothing – that, int he great scheme of things, the situation was still going on, she was still fighting cancer, and there was still all this stuff going on – even if I do pray. But, let me explain what point this all brought me to.

First, God doesn’t NEED me to be faithful. He is faithful, 100% of the time. His idea and mine aren’t always the same, but it doesn’t mean His plan isn’t already in action. Back to me. No, He doesn’t NEED me – however, He does DESIRE me. Just as I am a child of God, His precious daughter – I was reminded — my daughter is also. For reasons that still remain unclear, she is dealing with this. We are all walking through this journey. No, it is not a path anyone would choose for themselves, but here we are. But, what I have found is that my prayers, and my continuous seeking Him is not only important, but it is vital. Again – No, God doesn’t NEED my prayers to accomplish His mission. However, I do. I need the strength that comes from Him, and Him alone.

Even through all my soul searching, I have not walked away from God. In fact, even through the questions, I have opened my heart and allowed Him to shine. People continuously ask how I’m so strong, etc. In my own strength, I’m clearly not strong. In Him, His grace sustains me. His love is poured out in so many different ways – in large part through the people he has blessed me by having as a part of my life. It is with such heartfelt gratitude that I say thank you to God – then to each and every person in our lives right now who are allowing us to see His love. The gratitude we have for the love, support and encouragement we’ve gotten during this cannot be quantified with words. Like I said from the very beginning, this is not a road I wanted to walk alone — and I don’t have to. We are sincerely grateful for that.

So, while times have been tough to comprehend, walk through, or stand in faith on — I am still here, standing on faith and knowing that God’s got this whole entire situation. Even if things don’t go as we hope or plan, I STILL Know God is in control. I rest in the knowledge that He is still God, He is still good, and He IS in control…even when we don’t like or understand it.

Thank you to each and every one of you who support us in any way, shape or form. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. It is through all of you that I smile and have my faith continuously renewed.