Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year

We made it through 2011 and I have some hair left, too! I can't believe how long ago last New Year's seems. Despite the circumstances, I am confident that 2012 will be the best year of my life. I normally have a long list of resolutions and goals, but this year I just plan to be healed, and to be the most amazing mother, daughter, wife, friend, and sister I can be.

Some people have asked for specific prayers and as we only have a week before traveling to Houston I thought I'd put them out there. I suspect I will have a PET scan or another way of searching for cancer, so we're praying specifically that it will show supernatural healing in my spine. Chemotherapy can not destroy the cancer there, so this is asking for a miracle. James 5:15 says, "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up."  Of course, we also are praying for the doctors to be wise and that we will have clarity about what recommendations (if any), and other steps to take. Proverbs 3:7-8 says, "Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."

They say you need to keep a sense of humor during these tough times, so I'll end 2011 on a lighter note. I have been doing some silly things lately which I blame on a phenomenon people call "Chemo Brain". Hopefully you can see the humor in my ditziness--here's a list of the goofiest moves I've made since my diagnosis:
--used the men's room at the Mayo Clinic (without noticing until hours later)
--put baby Naomi in her big sister's carseat and drove down the road with her tiny peanut head peeking at me from the forward facing chair.
--put 2011 on Abigail's 2012 birthday invtations
--forgot where I hid all the Christmas gifts (found them hours later)
--wrote a bunch of thank-you notes that disappeared...we'll see if they reach their destinations!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nail -scarred Hands

Well, hello there. The last time I posted I was talking about God's fatherly love. Right after that I ran out on an errand and caught 5 minutes of a sermon about that exact issue. It took me this long to sit down and catch the whole thing, and I'm so glad I did. God definitely set it up so I would catch that as confirmation of that type of love.

The sermon was by Adrian Rogers and it's called the Stars and Scars of Christmas.
There was a ton of good stuff in it, but the part that goes with Fatherly love is that Christ experienced so much pain on earth, and not only was Jesus fully God, God is also the father who had to watch it.

Something else I found very applicable to this situation is that Dr. Rogers mentioned when we have physical pain, our whole body compensates and comes to the rescue. Like if you break your arm your other arm and muscles help to let the bad one recover. I strongly believe that is going on with the body of believers (and tons of nonbelievers) helping our family right now. I have never seen a community reach out like this and it's amazing. Romans 12:4-5 says, "Just as each of us has one body with any members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." This is really big to me because I've been wondering why God is putting us on so many people's hearts. There may be many other reasons, but demonstrating truth from the Word is a good one. It reminds me that the rest of it is true, too. I've said it before, but my family and I are so grateful for the outpouring of love and concern from everyone. Next to the stage 4 diagnosis it is the biggest surprise of my life. And it is definitely the best one.

Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

God the Father

Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Last night Naomi was sleeping in my arms while I was sad. I couldn't wipe the tears from my eyes for fear of waking her, so I let them fall off my face and felt them land at the same time as hairs that were falling out of my head. Just as I inhaled to really lose it, God enveloped me with His love instead. I had been in the middle of praying for Naomi--that she wouldn't go through this pain with or because of me--and felt His answer so clearly. Instead of assurance that she won't suffer from this, I received what He knew I needed--a reminder that He is looking down at me the same way I look at her. I felt strongly that it pains Him as much to see me hurting as it does for me to think of my girls hurting. More, probably. 

I know that God is love, and that He created me in His image. But somehow it's really hard to see and accept this fatherly-style of love. I don't know if everyone struggles with this, or why it's an issue with me, but it is. I hope I can retain this one in my long term memory for once. This cancer issue is part of His plan, but that doesn't mean He has turned off the sensitivity meter and left me to free fall. Pain and trials are difficult to go through for us and for Him as our Father. I am so grateful to have my loving sovereign father (as well as an awesome earthly one!)!

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 :Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I'm so excited, I can't sleep until I get this out. And yes, I do consider 9:35 bedtime these days. Anyway, I just had a serious breakthrough about the willing sacrifice issue I blogged about earlier. Such a huge weight has been lifted because I finally get it. ..

It's not about cancer, it's not about me, this is about God. Heb 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." If I have any faith at all, I will trust Him through this. I will follow Him. Willingly. With joy. No matter what the cost. God is supreme. He is the inventor of all things, and if He thinks it's a good idea for me to go through this stage of cancer at this time of my life, I will go. With glee. He picked me for this job! He knows best.

How arrogant of me to say what is good or bad, what should or shouldn't be! How quickly I forgot all the amazing things He's done for me, and stopped praising Him so I could complain about Him. To think basically that I am smarter than Him and my plan is better than His. How ridiculous and embarrassing.

I thought about editing my last post to account for this breakthrough because it's Christmas and no one probably read it yet anyway. But I want to be real, and I really was being that ungrateful and prideful for the past few weeks. That burden of stupidity is gone now though. I am relieved that I don't have any say in who lives or dies. I don't even have the burden of going through this on my own. I am not trudging alone to the grave, God is carrying me to the place I need to go. Deut 1:31 says "There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." In His arms is exactly where I want and need to be.

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding."

Immanuel- God with Us

Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, (14) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

He is with us. He came to live among us, and left His Holy Spirit as our counselor, who gives us wisdom and understanding. These are things I need.

I'm about to get pretty deep and possibly confusing. But I've been wrestling with this for weeks and feel like getting it out there. I feel that God is asking me to be a "willing" sacrifice for Him. The point of Jesus coming and dying for us was so He would be the sacrificial lamb, and He doesn't require sacrifices now (Hebrews 10:5), so it's a little unexpected. I'm thinking of it as not being required, just requested. Of course, anything He requests I will do my best to perform. I feel like He's telling me this is an issue of getting my heart right. Not that I would try to die or stop trying to live, but I suppose more of a willingness to go through this no matter what the cost.

Obviously, I don't have a choice in whether I die from this disease, so I feel like I'm currently trudging along to the grave, hoping to get pulled out alive. And now I'm supposed to keep walking that way because He wants me to, or sort of because I want to do it for Him. Not because I have to.

I want to want to please God. If I knew this experience would result in my healing--that I would live on earth and raise my girls--I would joyfully and willingly go through a short cancer/chemo trial for His purposes. But not knowing the exact purpose, and not knowing if I will live or die from it makes it really hard to do this joyously. I hate that my willingness to please God is still dependent on "if's" and "buts", and I guess that's the evidence that my heart is wrong in the first place.

If I didn't have kids I'd die if that meant someone would turn to Christ and spend eternity in heaven. But what if the whole reason behind this cancer stuff is just to get some stranger to know more about Christ, and then they still reject Him? Do I want my children to grow up without their mom for a stranger's missed opportunity? Nope. I just don't. I'm trying though.

It all looks like a non-issue on the surface, because I cannot control when I will die. God does that, and He controls or allows every issue on earth, whether it's my advanced cancer or someone else's stubbed toe. Below the surface, though, is a matter of the heart that I need to resolve. This is the anniversary of Jesus' birth, and He struggled with the same thing when He asked God to take the cup from Him. It was much harder in that case, because Jesus had the power to actually stop what was going on, and couldn't demonstrate it. Mine is a perceived control issue but I actually have no say in it.

In the end, I trust God. I just need to put on my happy pants and push away the "if's" and "but's". He has an awesome plan and I am still honored to be a part of it. I just wish it didn't make me feel so nauseated!

Ecc 3:11b-14 He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Romans 12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Friday, December 23, 2011

All States Have Prayer Coverage!

Thank-you all so much for your help finding people to pray for us in every single state. There are a ton of international pray-ers as well. I'll paste the colored map below and am so very grateful. I know God hears all our prayers.

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
John 15:7 
But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted.



What in the world is God doing? The Bible is full of all these warnings about how believers on earth will be hated and all that. But in what should be the darkest, loneliest time of my life He is showing me nothing but love. Love through His people. Through people like you, who read this, stop me at stores, call me, leave or send me things. People who I know and maybe even moreso from those I don't.

When I first had children I thought I got a pretty good handle on God's love. He loves us even more than we love our kids, and that amount is far beyond measure. I get that, cognitively. But it's hard to process. Like right now, I feel like if I'm going to go through this storm, I should be isolated, miserable and despised. I should be feeling like Job when he's lost it all. But instead I've never felt so complete. I am showered with blessings and feel so loved. What kind of storm is filled with love? But that's what this is. A love storm. I have to remember this. To embrace it instead of questioning it. I don't need to wonder about the ending, just to enjoy today.

Deuteronomy 8:14-17 "be sure you do not feel self-important and forget the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery, and who brought you through the great fearful desert of venomous serpents and scorpions, an arid place with no water. He made water flow from a flint rock and fed you in the desert with manna (which your ancestors had never before known) so that he might by humbling you test you and eventually bring good to you. Be careful not to say, “My own ability and skill have gotten me this wealth.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chemo Treatment #2

Abigail has become afraid that I'm going to leave and never come back. I have no idea where that idea came from, but it could not be timed worse. I guess none of us should ever promise that won't happen, because we can't control everything. James 4:13-16 says, "Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” I'm really aware of all that right now. I want to promise and assure her that I'll always return, but I just can't. Now or after I'm healed. I will settle for promising her that I would never purposely stay or go away from her.

The second chemo treatment went well and if I wasn't so tired I would be encouraged. The chemo nurse says I seem much better than the other people she gives these drugs (Thank-you, the Lord is my healer, Ex 15:26 and strength, Ex 15:2). Dr. Rassam noted my lump is much smaller, which means the chemo is working on the other parts of my body as well. He is really concerned about my going to Texas, thinks I should just do that as a last resort after standard treatment doesn't work. I see his point, but I know God wants me to go there. So maybe I'll get better results than the standard treatment. Or maybe I'll go and glorify God to all the people who need to hear about Him there. Maybe I'll be so humble that I'll get out of His way and He can use me in the most amazing ways that none of us would ever expect. All these options are amazing blessings, and I can't wait to see how He works. The appointment isn't scheduled just yet but it will be the week of January 9.

Romans 15:5-7 "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Sunday, December 18, 2011


We're baaaack! We had an amazing vacation. It was much more relaxing than any we had in the past, because we focused on bonding and hanging out instead of doing a lot. My relationship with Naomi had been a little off since weaning her, and we completely got it back this weekend. I am happy to report that when my mom held her earlier today, Naomi looked over at me and cried. Because she wanted her mommy. Needed her mommy. And I need her. We must get through this.

My mom came to town from Michigan a week early because I have my next chemo treatment on Tuesday and need help with the girls. The last treatment really wasn't bad but I'm preparing for a tough week anyway. Abigail loves when Grandma comes to town so I should be able to rest without feeling too guilty.

Anyway, I think I've moved past the denial stage of this ordeal and have accepted that I really have advanced breast cancer. I sort of miss the denial stage. It was more of a roller coaster but the ups were really fun. I'm in a bit of a depression now, even though I am not going to accept the death sentence that comes along with my diagnosis.

God does not like for us to be lukewarm about Him (Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth). But, that's where I am right now. I don't want to be, but it's hard to find motivation to burst at the seams with joy, or even to seethe with anger. I'm just "blah".

I'm not going to make any more excuses, I'm going to remember amazing things He has done for me, and for all of us. The biggest thing He did lately was to have us get insurance approval for MD Anderson. I can't express to you how clearly I know it was Him who set up the whole thing. In the past, we would have done tons of research to identify the best center, then worked on getting in, etc. But God set this up 100%. Just shoved the program and all the details at us until we couldn't help but want to go there. If you're not a believer you would have a hard time getting past the 100 "coincidences" that lined up for it. Anyway, I wasn't that worried about the approval (yet), because so little time had passed. When I got the call that we were approved, my whole body started shaking and I could barely speak or breathe. Yaacov and I started screaming and we had a family dance. Abi immediately asked if it meant I wasn't sick anymore, and I definitely believed the answer was that I won't be soon. All of this is to say that when I got that call I felt the same joy I would have expected to feel weeks ago when I was falsely told I didn't have cancer. But both of the times I was misdiagnosed I felt numb instead of relief. I believe God did that to protect me from false hope, whereas this time He allowed it, even gave it as a gift of real hope.
Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I want to look beyond myself so I don't get wrapped up and stuck in my own depression. I've been thinking a lot about Esther lately, and maybe one day I'll blog about why. But in the meantime, she set a great example for me. God used her for great things, just like He will for me either during this season, or once I'm refined and strong from living through it. In Esther 4:16 she said, "When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." She was braver than I could ever be--she had a choice and risked her life for what she believed in. It wasn't thrust upon her like my diagnosis. She knowingly and prayerfully broke the law to approach the king, even though she legally should have been put to death for that. She did it anyway, and it happened to work out for her.

Before this cancer mess I never bothered to wonder if I would have made the same choice as Esther. I would have told you I'd do it in a heartbeat. But I would have been wrong. At the very least it would have been an enormous decision. I only think it's easy now because I know the ending--she lives! But if you really didn't know you would live, would you risk losing your life to save your people? Your distant relatives? Close family? Who, or what is worth dying for? I have a pretty short list, which I guess is why God didn't leave it up to me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Hi Friends - This is Yaacov and I've hijacked her blog for some amazing news. Erin has been approved by Capital Health Plan to go to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center!! God is exceedingly abundant in His grace and provision.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Updated Map, Need 8 More States

Just wanted to post the updated map because I can't add that as a comment on any others. The states we still need are: AR, IA, MO, MT, NM, ND, SD, and WY. Only 8 more! I have a big prayer request coming up (don't know the date yet but hope to find out next week), and hope to have someone in all the states praying by then. Remember to note who says they'll pray so you can tell them the great news about how God answered their prayers later!

The countries we have are: China, Argentina, Spain, England, Jamaica, Korea, Peru, Dubai, Guatemala, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Columbia, Lebanon, Ireland and India. I am so grateful to you all!

Jennifer Litton!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

That is Yaacov's favorite "Christmas" verse. At Christmas, we celebrate the greatest gift God could give--His only son. He gave it freely to us, without even asking, despite all the crummy things we were doing, still do, and will do in the future. You might think I'm talking about this because of December 25 coming around the corner. But you would be WRONG!

I'm talking about God's awesome gifts because He has blessed me so much, in His own timing, and on His own terms. He keeps me on my toes but that just makes me a better dancer. You should see me spinning around right now! To get to the point, He is doing SO MUCH to get us to the MD Anderson program in Texas and just put one of the final dots on the line. So, before I had any interest in going there, we started having people offering help us go. To summarize, we already have had: people donating money for the trip(s), people offering us places to stay there, people telling us they can expedite my case to be seen in a timely manner, people telling us they can get us in to see any of the doctors there, doctors calling my insurance company to find out exactly how to finagle it, and doctors writing letters to the company on my behalf. So, all we need now is insurance, and the insurance head told us all she needs is the name of the doctor I want to work with there. Easier said than done, as no one looked perfect. I tried all the avenues I would think of on my own to figure out who could be best. I tried calling them directly, checking out all the doctors people have mentioned, reading the vitae online, and having doctors ask their friends. There were no clinical trials of interest so I couldn't do it that way, and none of the leads seemed like a match. I was uneasy about it all and unsure how to proceed, so I was just going to settle on one. But then it happened--In an unrelated issue I decided to go through all my backlog of email before we leave town, and saw that someone (thank-you Ann Spitzer!) sent me a link to a news story about a promising cancer finding. I thought it would be about untouchable treatments but read it anyway. There it was--a story about some great findings for people similar to me at MD Anderson. With Jennifer Litton as the head of a promising clinical trial. I don't know if I missed her vita the other day or what, but upon reading it tonight I see she has serious interests in cases similar to mine. Just looking at her little bio gives me goosebumps. She is definitely the doctor we've been looking for. God is the healer but she is one of the players. It is SUCH a load off, and I'm so excited to finally have a name and move on to the next step toward the airport.

This is really big to me, but I'm not sure if it'll make much sense to everyone else. It shows conclusively that God is working and helping me, and He does it for His glory and His name, not in the ways that would leave me room to boast. But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord" 2 Cor 10:17. God set it up. If I found a doctor there I might have started thinking I was in control, and I was finding the right doctors. But He knew it was this doctor from the beginning and hid the her from me until the perfect time.

I am really happy for the gift of Jesus, and really happy for the gifts like this that Jesus brings.

I would stop here, but we're going out of town and I just know you all want more. So I'm going to brag about more amazing things God is doing.

I realized I have the world's greatest husband. Literally. He is amazing, so thoughtful, so dedicated, never complains or worries. He is my rock and, even though I whine and complain about almost everything he does, he never actually does anything wrong. He takes the kids all the time, let's me rest when I need it, talk when I need it, cry when I need it. He is perfect for me and I will do all I can to be considerably more perfect for him.

Our friends, loved ones, family, and absolute strangers have been SO kind to us. It's actually so kind that I have had a really hard time coming to terms with it. I'm not sure if it's a pride thing because I've never been a "charity case" before, or what. I know people like to do things in private ("Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.", Mth 6:1), so I want to keep things anonymous, but I have never seen love at work like this before. I am so humbled to be a part of it. I hope and pray that we won't need all the things people have given us, and if that's the case I'll get it back to you or donate it in your name. But for now we're accepting it because I figure if God put it on people's hearts to give us things, He knows we need it. Anyway, among many other things, we have had care packages from people I haven't spoken to in 15+ years, money from people we've never met, even a tiny Christmas tree! Oh, and in January a group of Yaacov's friends are running a relay and raising money through it to donate to us. To top it all off, a complete stranger is lending us her beach house for the weekend, and a ton of people contributed with money and gift cards so we can truly relax. I am so looking forward to it. We leave tomorrow afternoon.

I feel sort of odd posting this blog, because it's just bragging about all this awesome stuff. Who wants to hear about all the great things someone else has? Unless it's out of jealousy, I mean. But I've been praying about this blog and when it came time to write I could not stop these feelings of awesomeness for what God is doing through His people. I'm so excited to be able to share it with you!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Someone still cares

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" --Matthew 6:27

The chemo effects hit my mouth yesterday so I'm having difficulty speaking, eating, and swallowing. From what I can tell, it will be at least 9 weeks before this improves, so of course I spent the morning ruminating on how I can raise my children without a voice and the difficulty of a long-term liquid diet.
A quiet voice reminded me, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." With some difficulty, I let it go.

Next, Yaacov was supposed to leave town for a short business trip. That means both of us would be out of town tomorrow because I need to be at a monthly job I do, leaving my children in the hands of my overwhelmed 70 year old father for the entire day.
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."
Okay, God.

My doctor's office wants a bunch of paperwork for our appeal to go to MD Anderson in Texas by tomorrow. The phone calls I have to make for it run me ragged and I get nowhere.
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."
Got it.

These are the types of concerns I typically think NEED to be worried about, or they just won't get taken care of. But for once, I took the hint and let them go. Instead of everything falling apart, God took over. Yaacov's trip was canceled so he can help with the girls tomorrow. The Mayo clinic called me three times, (instead of my having to call them) and the doctor agreed to write a letter I need. Then a friend dropped off dinner--soup! It felt great on my mouth and is so much more satisfying than the all-juice diet I had started planning.

Perhaps God's word is alive and well. Perhaps he does find me more valuable than a bird of the air. Perhaps I need to stop trying to do His job and just do my own.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


It's seems like it's been so long since I posted a proper blog, I don't know where to start anymore. Yaacov and I are struggling a little with all the sickness stuff. I think we've gotten ahead of ourselves in believing I'll be healed, because instead of focusing on how awesome that part will be, we're getting ticked off about all the permanent issues cancer is going to do to my life. We definitely need to take a step back and remember that it will be an honor if God chooses to spare me, and if He does that, He will also help us with any repercussions.

I love the holidays. I mean, really love them. My illness doesn't even put a damper on them, I'm just so glad to have a chance to spend time with family and express and share some of God's love with those I love. But I'm struggling with the temporal aspect of everything. If this is my last Christmas, will it be good enough as a grand finale? Will showing my love for Christmas now make it harder on my family to enjoy themselves if I'm not around? In movies you see families sitting around dinner tables saying, "Oh, Mom would have loved this", or whatever. I don't want anyone to ever say that about me. I want them to just be happy and love things themselves, instead of feeling sad and thinking about someone who isn't there anymore. I know that sounds weird, but it tortures me.

It's important to say that I don't blame God for this death sentence. Instead I have this guilt and fear I can't get rid of. Everyone says I need to stay positive, fight, do or eat certain thing, whatever. It can be very encouraging in many cases, so don't stop. But at times like this my mind twists that into the going the other way too. As in, if I die it's because I wasn't positive enough, didn't fight hard enough, did something wrong. It wouldn't make it true that I caused my own death, but it hurts me to think people think that. And secretly it makes me wonder if they're right. Maybe if I die it'll be because I didn't try enough. Couldn't figure out how to love my precious children enough to live for them.

Whether or not a person could have beaten death in reality, other people they can. I might have posted about this before, but when my dad's mom was dying of breast cancer many years ago, someone snuck her a piece of candy. She got caught with it, and the doctors told her that would cause her death. I don't know if she believed it, but she was already having to leave behind her 10- and 5- year old little boys, and then she was blamed for it. It's too much. I can't handle it.

I guess this is why I spent all yesterday repeating, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble all its own." Mth 6:34. Today definitely has enough of its own trouble, so I need to stay focused on it. If I'm blessed to survive tomorrow, I will submit myself to the Lord, present my requests, and wait with eager expectation for my miracle. For His Miracle. I have to remember, this is for His Glory, His Purpose. It's not about me.

Well, I actually wrote the post above, and before I could submit it I lost the internet connection and had to leave to take care of our homeless people. I was still crying when I arrived, and seeing them all lined up waiting for food just ticked me off instead of making me focus on God and His plans. But as I pulled up, this great song I'd never heard came on the radio. I'm ashamed to say I already forgot the lyrics and can't find them online, but the gist was a complete answer to what I'd just written. Something about, "all you have to do is try, then let Jesus do the rest". It was such a kind and loving answer from a kind and loving savior. From a savior who already brought me out of the depths of hell and redeemed me so I could spend some time on earth worshiping Him. From a savior who has blessed me with 7 amazing years with my perfect match, who he created just for me. From a savior who allowed me to give birth and raise the funniest, most joyous and wise 4 year old the world has ever seen. From a savior who knit beautiful Naomi in my womb and let her bring me indescribable joy for 8 perfect months. If I believe God did all this for me, why would I believe He would suddenly stop loving me now? More importantly, how could I not trust Him to take care of my perfect family that HE CREATED if by some chance I don't make it?

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and carry
heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."

Matthew 11:28-30

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Maps and Such

Thanks to Joy who showed me the interactive map! I put the states we need prayer for in a comment on the 50 states blog, but couldn't upload this map. I just wanted you to be able to look and see what God is doing. There are also people in tons of countries praying (full list in comment on 50 states). This prayer for his people is spreading like wildfire, and everyone who's praying is being obedient and awesome for His Kingdom. 1Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." That's what you're all doing for me, and most of you don't even know me. I don't even know people in most of the states where people are praying. I am so humbled by your kindness, I would love to beg you to stop and focus on other things. But I really desire healing for the sake of my babies, and I really want to see whatever awesome plans God has for this big experience. It's so fun to be a part of it. I've never personally seen God work in this way, with the spreading of prayer and concern for someone like me to go so far and wide.

Am I the only one pumped about this? Throughout the drama, I haven't done much wondering of "why me?", but I have wondered just "why for anyone?". I know it's for growth and glorifying Him. I have a few thoughts of how God is going to use this for my own growth (which I'm too blind still to see the specific areas He might be focusing on), and for some family members who just don't know Him. I've gone so far to consider pounding on them until they accept Christ because maybe that would mean the mission is accomplished and God could heal me. I'm relatively certain that isn't the way to go though. Regardless, I see without any doubt now that this movement from God to get so many people concerned and praying is way beyond me. I have complete strangers emailing me, stopping me in stores, etc. He's moving on these people's hearts. It's about Him and His people, who He's mobilizing and unifying for His purposes. It's similar to the time in Genesis when the people got together and decided to build a tower to heaven. They were not doing the right things so in that case God confused their language to keep them from working together. But now that we live by grace and are focused on God, we can work toward the common good of His people and His name instead.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm so glad for all who are on this fast-moving God train with me. God can do whatever He wants, with whomever He wants. He doesn't NEED us to do His work (remember, He hardened Pharaoh's heart multiple times, got a donkey to speak truth to a prophet, etc.He's not waiting around for a few good men to enlist). But we're invited to join Him and it's an honor to do so. Big things are going to happen, and big blessings and valuable experiences come from such things. Thank-you for coming aboard!

Friday, December 9, 2011

How do tears fall without eyelashes?

I've tried really hard not to focus on the vain aspects that go with cancer and chemo, but the time has come and I'm consumed by them. I pray for total, supernatural healing, but let's face it, if God wants to sustain me for many years on chemo, that would still be an enormous blessing. Unfortunately, that would mean spending the rest of my life without hair. Or eyebrows. Or eyelashes. It's all off-putting, but there's something just so ridiculous about having no eyelashes during the crummiest part of your life. Eyelashes serve a purpose--to protect your eyes. Seriously, God? THIS is the time of my life that I don't deserve an eyelash to direct my tears?!!

As I write I realize that this is all part of it. If cancer was easy it wouldn't be an issue. But I got word that I do have the mutant jewish gene, BRCA1, that caused the cancer, and I will soon look like a mutant on the outside to match. Recommendations because of that gene are to have my ovaries and breasts removed (combined with the hormones this will make me look like a round ball), and of course I'll be bald. I know I can still be beautiful on the inside, but who cares if I look like that gross bald monster from the Fantastic Four on the outside? And God definitely knows I don't have the personality to pull off looking like that. I don't have the personality to pull off looking like I do NOW!

As always, God is teaching me, growing me, stretching me. I know before even posting this that the answer about my tears is in various parts of the Bible. One example is that "The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth." Isaiah 25:8. I also know that He doesn't want me to live in sackcloth and ashes, so I don't need to be crying all the time. I need to be rejoicing about the amazing things He has done and will be doing in my life and in yours.So, I'm going to take off my sackcloth now and stop mourning for myself. Time to put on some makeup and my big girl pants. I have some living to do.

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 says, "I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The fight

Yesterday I called Abi's school to tell them she was sick, and the woman who answered knew my story. She just finished chemo herself and encouraged me to, "fight, girl, fight!". I hung up serenely, rejoicing that the joy of the Lord is my strength, and agreeing silently about how hard I'll fight when it's time..

I had no idea that time was about to start. Within minutes of hanging up the phone, it started. The nausea, the pain, dizziness and exhaustion. I could barely lift my head or open my eyes, let alone continue playing Super Mom. It was particularly difficult because Abi was so sick and needed her mommy to be 100%. Just when I needed reinforcements my dad showed up. I expected Abi's doctor appointment to take hours but it was quick. Naomi was so amenable all day that I was able to cuddle and rest with Abigail. It would have been a tough day if I was healthy, because Abi was about as sick as she's ever been. If I was even one degree sicker, or didn't have people who could help there's just no way I could have done it. I feel like I did okay with the mental part of the fight, but it leaves me wondering about the physical part. Does fighting mean you don't let yourself rest, just drag yourself around the world? Or do I rest so I can do better the next day? Sleeping doesn't seem like fighting, but it sure seemed like what I needed yesterday.

I guess I need to pray more about how to behave during these fights. I feel much better this morning, but part of the issue is it's all so unpredictable, so I need to ready for war at all times. I might not have learned how to fight yesterday, but I remembered what I'm fighting for. The bittersweet moments with my amazing family. Laying down, nose to nose, with Abigail--her crazy curls strewn about and her stinky breath blowing warmly into my face is the ultimate victory for any fight. I will pray for countless more moments like that.

Psalm 18:2 "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reality Check

I had so much I wanted to blog about last night, but pastors, elders, and loved ones from the church came over to pray for us, and when they left we discovered Abigail was sick. I think it's an ear infection, which is poorly timed because it's her first school play tonight and she might have to miss it. But this stuff happens. It is real life. I'm so fortunate to have the type of schedule and lifestyle that I can stay up all night with her, cancel everything scheduled for the day at the drop of the hat, and have no repercussions. Not only is it a great reminder that God is taking care of us, but it makes me so grateful that I'm the sick one instead of Yaacov or one of my precious babies. Thank-you, Lord, for your ultimate wisdom and for the lessons we're all learning through it.

God showed me a little more about Him while I laid with Abigail last night. She was so sick and upset, crying out for comfort. But no matter how hard I tried to break through her discomfort with my hugs and snuggles, she couldn't get past her feelings to accept it. Even when I silenced her she woke again shortly and was in the same state of mind. I wonder how much I do that to God. I think I want His help, but am I really ready to receive it? Or am I going through the motions but really wanting to stay wrapped up in my personal tragedy?

I don't want to be wrapped up in myself and even though I try to focus on God, most of that still ends up with what He's doing about my situation. I am so touched and honored by all these people praying for us, I'm trying to get better about praying for all of you as well. We might not be going through the same thing but there's no reason you don't deserve some love and prayer for your own struggles. So, if you have issues you'd like my family and me to pray for, please let me know through a comment on here or private email to I would be touched for the opportunity to pray for your circumstances.

The exciting note I wanted to make is that a few days ago I mentioned my difficulty getting satan and his influence out of my life. Then, what do you know? Yesterday I flipped through the radio and Joyce Meyer was ranting about something. I was looking for a great song, not a message, so almost changed the station. God didn't let me though, and it turned out she was talking about that exact issue. Coincidence? I think not. She was talking about James 4:7, that says to "Submit yourselves therefore to God and the devil will flee from you". The key I was missing was the submission part. I need to live in a constant state of submission anyway, but if I still find myself in a bind with his influence around me, I need to stop, pray, release any of my own desires, and get that loser devil out of here.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Today was so weird. I felt like an outsider, looking in on all these poor, pathetic cancer patients. I was a hundred years younger than the spring chickens, and on some sick level I sort of look/ed at them like they deserve their cancer. Because clearly, once you're old you don't deserve to be healthy. I forced myself to  empathize and finally noticed they were sitting there pitying me. With "righteous indignation" I thought, "you don't know I'm not really going through this. I'm going to be healed. I'm not one of you." Then the nurse came over and switched my nausea medication for the real thing. And suddenly I was one of them.

As surely as I knew this would not happen, I stubbornly waited the entire 3 hours to be rescued. I envisioned this old man in a long white robe and long beard bursting through the doors and announcing there had been a mistake, mysterious paperwork came through that revealed I was actually healthy as a horse. In other scenarios, Dr. Rassam would quietly pull me aside, and with shame try to explain that the original, cancer-free, findings had been the accurate ones. I angelically decided I wouldn't sue for the emotional distress I'd gone through with the recent nightmare.

I have to say I wasn't rescued in that way today. My dad got on my case just for hoping for it.

I realize that people who do not have a relationship with God, or who knew me before I did, probably think it's pretty crazy, or even stupid, for me to put all my trust and hope into Him healing me. Maybe you think my time would be served better trying to find a magical cure for the situation, or ruminating on all the would-be's, could-be's, and should-have-been's. But it's different once you know Christ, and I can say that because I've lived my life both ways. If you knew me before you probably thought I was pretty tough. But that was founded in faith in myself instead of someone infinitely smarter. When I was faced with adversity back then I depended on me to get through it. If I was incapable, I had to find someone to blame. In this case I would have been so angry. So out of sorts when doctors told me there was no hope for me. I would have alternated between a deep depression and seeking vengeance.

Now the world, doctors, and statistics tell me there is no hope for me, but the truth is that there was NEVER any hope for me without God. If you choose not to believe in Him, it doesn't mean He's not there. Just that you don't receive the relief He offers. So I will keep on hoping and trusting in Him, just like I did before cancer. Because He's always been the same. He knit me in my mother's womb and knew my life story before I was ever born. I wish I knew the ending to it, but I will trust in Him for a beautiful end that serves its purposes.

To summarize, I will not give up hope of such a rescue, because Romans 15:13  says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.".

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.


Today's the day! This is it. No turning back, but I wouldn't want to anyway. I feel SO much better about everything today. I somehow lost my focus over the weekend and got caught up in worldly things that don't matter. By yesterday morning I felt dead inside. I woke up telling God that I'm just a kid, and this was too much of a burden for me. Then He reminded me this is the same age Jesus was when He ministered to everyone, then took on all the sins of the world. How dare I complain about my petty issues?

We've been praying a bit about how to thwart satan in his tracks. Ephesians 6 gives us some clues, but it feels like often when I leave him a foothold I can't figure out a practical way to get it back. Obviously I shouldn't let him in in the first place, but it happens. Regardless, God brought me out of it in a very different way than usual--PEOPLE! Instead of crawling into a hole of depression like I wanted to, the events of the day required me to be around lots of supportive and loving people. It culminated with our fellowship group having a special night discussing cancer. I left with no fears, no feelings of mourning, no tears. Chemo is the next step in my healing process. The next chapter of the amazing life God has blessed me with. And even if I don't always feel His presence in times of trouble (Ps 46:1), He is with me and set up my days to help me through them.

As I prepare for what I thought of as "dooms day" just 24 hours ago, I will rejoice in this place as it is and will be filled with joy instead of mourning. I am so blessed to have the opportunity for good treatment, people to take care of my family and me in these times of need, and prayers from various parts of the entire world. I will praise His name despite my circumstances, today, tomorrow and beyond.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Ps 150:6

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One More Day Until Chemo

I'm freaking out about chemo and everything right now. I had a great weekend (I don't think I mentioned yesterday that we had a dance party at church! In our pajamas!), and Yaacov and I just watched a movie, which is the first entertainment I've had since the diagnosis.

There were crummy parts to the weekend too and I'm having a hard time getting past them. We learned our Mayo visit won't be covered by insurance, which is okay except that means Texas definitely wouldn't be, and I thought we'd get into a clinical trial there. Even with massive fundraisers it wouldn't be possible to pay out of pocket for all the treatment and whatnot to be done there. And I took off some of my bandages from the surgery and I literally have holes in my neck and chest. Anyone walking by can see them. This is seriously happening. I can feel the tube in my neck when I cough, and when I laugh it feels all gurgly. This is really happening. God can still heal me but it probably won't be before chemo. Before an earth-sized dose of hell.

Abi asked me last night how many days until we go to heaven and meet God and Jesus.

We'll be okay. Somehow. Psalm 34:18 says "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." I guess I wish there was a due date in with that promise.

50 States

Well, I tried to find an interactive map to keep on here and mark off the states where there are people praying for us, but it was easier said than done. However, I have been so moved by hearing about all the prayer chains and lists we're on that I really want to track it. Our goal will be to have at least one person in every state praying for us, so that when God heals me we can spread the good news back out and the entire land will hear of His glorious deeds!

We would really appreciate you asking people in various states to pray, and tracking who they are to make sure they rejoice along with us later. Hopefully we can get at least 5 people in each state praying, in case priorities change over time. Anyway, please let Yaacov, me, or Susan know if you secure prayer in a new state so we can track it (commenting on this page works best, but any other method is great too). The states I am certain of right now are: FL, AL, AZ, GA, MI, OH, NY (and Guatemala).

Friday, December 2, 2011


I wish I had this computer setup to type what I dictate, because there's so much I want to spit out. But it's not and I'm in a good amount of pain so will just update everyone.

As we were running out the door for the hospital I realized I was going to get scared and did a quick Google search for "Bible safety". Some really nice but not applicable psalm came up and  I didn't have time to look for more. I put the computer down and ran to my room to grab something and noticed Psalm 4:8, which I have posted on the wall. 'I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone O Lord make me dwell in safety.". I was really encouraged by that because it used the exact term, 'safety' that I had on my heart, and was the type of encouragement I was looking for. When I did get scared later I recited it to myself.

Yaacov and Naomi kept me company all day. He was going to just keep the girls but at the last minute called the Wellmans who graciously went to Abi's school to pick her up and watched her all afternoon. I know it was a big deal, especially because it could not have been later notice. It was so kind and I'm very grateful.

There was a lot of waiting for the surgery and all that was fine. Then it felt very sudden when the raced in and whisked me to the pre-op room without my amazing husband and precious baby. There was no time for a prayer or anything. The pre-op room is where I got scared and sad, but God helped me through it. I thought I held it together but must have been repressing it, because when they awoke me from the anesthesia I was sobbing and yelling, "my baby, my baby!" and a bunch of nurses ran over to distract and comfort me. On a normal day I would find this mortifying, but now it's just par for the course. After I calmed down everyone went back to work like nothing had happened.

Surgery went well. Had a power port installed, which includes a foreign object of sorts in my chest (that's the part that hurts and runs down my arm), and something in my neck. That part doesn't hurt. Also got a marker in my tumor in case it gets so small during chemo that they can't find it for the progress scans. Awesome problem to have!

I start chemo Monday, and as of now it appears I have no cancer in the brain. Hooray! He reigns!

Take that satan!

98.6 degrees!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good Day

Today was a really good day. Maybe the best yet. It was just normal. Focused on the girls and not on stupid cancer. Talked about normal things and all that jazz.

I am supposed to start chemo Monday so need a tube placed in my collarbone tomorrow. Turns out it's a bigger deal than we thought, with general anesthesia, a 6-8 hour hospital visit, etc. My awesome surgeon, Dr. Crooms fit me into his busy schedule, but the nurse told me if I have a fever the anesthesiologist might insist on rescheduling. And don't you know, my temp keeps going up. Yesterday the oncologist at Mayo was slightly concered about 99.3, and now it's crept up to 99.7. I've decided 100.4 will be the real issue but didn't think to ask for the magic number earlier. So now we need to pray that I can have the surgery if it's God's will.

The stupid fever and a cough have been with me sporadically since September, and only go away while on antibiotics. the oncologist yesterday said it's not related to the cancer, which is AWESOME. Obviously it's still an issue but I'm pretty sure cancer is a bigger deal. I have a lot of peace about it right now, because if it falls through it must be God's will to heal me in another way. We'll see how long that peace lasts if I'm told it's a no-go though.

I want to clarify a few awesome things about God before I sign off. First, the awesome part about the way He gave me hope yesterday is that He did it when I was being a piece of junk. I've been vaguely angelic at other points, so maybe on some level I would have thought I "earned" the blessing. But He waited until I was being self-centered and actually disobedient (by not focusing on Him), then He cheered me up like no other time in this process. I absolutely believe He waited for that moment to remind me that He is the one really in control. Clearly I am "prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love".

The other great news is that I've been praying about James 5:14, which says, "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well." My mom happened to give some frankinscense oil and I've been planning to ask one of the elders if it was cool to bring it and they'd anoint me with it and pray. Before I got around to asking though, Pastor Erik contacted Yaacov and asked if they could do that. Just shows God's on the move and He really put that on multiple people's hearts at the same time. Awesomely Amazing!!!!!

Hopefully the next time I blog I will have a hole and tube in my neck. Funny how a few weeks ago that wouldn't have been on my prayer list.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm baaaaaaaack!!!!!!

Literally and figuratively. I was in a huge funk for the past few days. I became really negative about Mayo, and about the potential results of the brain MRI I had yesterday. It seemed like there was no chance we'd hear any good news, and I just could not take any more bad stuff. I remembered that the Lord is my strength (Ps 28:7, etc.), but it seemed like the part of me that it takes to move one foot in front of the other wasn't strong enough to even lean on His arms.

So we got to St. Augustine late last night and stayed with our friends Andrea and Neenad. Neenad is the one I've mentioned does all my cancer-thinking for me and directs my path. He found all my beloved doctors for me and got me into Mayo in the first place. But he can't erase the cancer on my PET scan or remove it with the wave of his hand. God can, of course, but sometimes it's hard to really feel that when you're down.

The kids cried through the drive then Naomi was up all night, yada yada. Then we show up at our appointment and there's a woman my age standing next to me with a mask on her face. Her mom has to check her in because she can't speak. She needs a pail to throw up in because she's had two strokes and can't hold her own puke bag. "No! A bag will not do! I must have a large pail for my daughter's vomit." I prayed and tried to praise God that I can still hold a flimsy puke bag. The prayer fell flat.

Anyway, I immediately despised the first doctor we met, but she did grow on me. Then she insisted that I meet with a geneticist to see if I got this cancer from a mutant gene. I knew this was an issue, and because it pertains to my children (if I have it they likely will), it is extremely touchy. The other doctors had told me it was an issue to be addressed later, so I was entirely unprepared to face it today. We'll get the results in a week, and the positive part about it is that if I do have it, my brother will know what to get extra screening for, and in 18 years Abigail can begin early screening to catch the stuff before it's too late. Plus, in 18 years the treatments will be much better.

Overall, the genetic stuff and very real cancer patients at the hospital devastated me and I had an awful day. Yaacov tried to get me to focus back on God but I didn't put my heart into it. By the time I met with the oncologist I was sprawled out on his waiting room couch crying and had decided my hope was gone. Sort of bipolar considering how I felt just days before. I kept thinking I needed to focus on something positive but instead embraced the sadness without even trying to go the right way.

The oncologist walks in and doesn't have any new findings, isn't lovey-dovey the way I wanted, and didn't seem to really care about me. But, God was there. And God still answers prayers, even when I fall short and lose sight of what's really important. This guy walks in and says word for word what Yaacov and I said to each other and God the  other day. He said, "We're just going to treat this cancer like it hasn't spread. Like it's Stage 3." No one else had suggested this, online or in person. But Yaacov and I talked about it and I think we discussed it with my family when they were in town. The words were so beautiful. I know cognitively that pretending it's Stage 3 is not the same as it actually being Stage 3, but the difference to me is huge. It's the difference in being treated like you're living instead of dying. And guess what? I'm ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so grateful to be alive at all, and that God set it up with those words, just to comfort and remind me that He's listening. Plus the last few days I had fleeting thoughts telling me to stop thinking like I'm dying and remember that I'm living. But I've mostly ignored those.

Not anymore! I'm alive in and through Christ, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus... (Ephesians 2:4)."

I'm also just alive in general. None of us know when our last day on earth will be. I always thought I'd sort of know when things were happening, but I was wrong. I had no inkling about this cancer thing. So I probably won't have an inkling about the day He heals me either. It's so that no man can boast. 

Thanks to all who read and comment on this. I'm trying to get back to as many people as I can, but it's a slow process. Please know I love you all and you have no idea how grateful I am for your prayers and support.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A New Day

God is still good. Last night I felt sick and started panicking that I wouldn't be able to start chemo on time because of it. I went to bed at 7:30 and feel fine now. I'm so grateful for the healing and for the lifestyle that I can do that and it's not even a blip on the radar. The kids were in bed, Yaacov was home with video games to entertain him, etc. I can't imagine going through this with a job outside the house or as a single mom.

One reason I went "public" on Facebook yesterday was because I was already sort of depressed and wanted to get it out of the way. I was skeptical that those who aren't close enough to me to know already would really care. But the outpouring of love and messages from old friends and even strangers has been really encouraging.

I had a sort of daydream (I can't say it was a vision from God, but it was definitely filled with love that only He is responsible for). I was in the front yard with Abigail, having a "dance party". We have them all the time where we blast the music and mostly spin around and laugh. Anyway, it was the two of us holding hands and spinning, the wind was in our hair and she was smiling with those huge cheeks. Then suddenly I looked over, and the whole yard was filled with people who love us. We were all dancing together with joy because of God's great love. We're going to have that dance party when He heals me.

Abi just caught me crying as I finished up this post. She said, "Why are you crying?" I told her it's because God is so good. She wisely responded, "Well, whenever you want to cry about something you should just sing, 'God is so good' instead". I think I'll try that today.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pics from the other day

Posted by PicasaThis is Yaacov and me from the pics we took the other day.

Just Abigail, almost 4 years old, in her homemade glasses.

Precious Naomi and me, almost 8 months old.

This is Yaacov and me with the girls, my mom, and my brother Ben.

Thanks to all who are reading this story and praying for us. I pray for you all as well, and hope God blesses you abundantly for your dedication.

Day 11

I lost some of my happy, positive energy today. I still have so much to be thankful for though. Maybe even more than usual. The girls have been completely precious and so many people have reached out in extraordinary ways. I can't write about them just yet. I guess it's just becoming more real now. I still know God can heal me, but I was hoping it would be yesterday or at lunchtime today. Now it seems I'm going to have to face at least some of it. But God said, "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


One more thing. I had Susan send out an email on my behalf and that included a request to not call us because we were getting overwhelmed. But as I was writing the last page I started thinking there might be a person or people who read this sooner or later who need support too. It would be an amazing opportunity to be able to help someone like that, whether they're going through something like this or even bent out of shape about this challenge. So if anyone reads this and needs anything, please contact me. Put a note in the comments or send a note to our new email,, and we'll set up a time to talk. I'm really sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings by not wanting to hear from people.

So many awesome things!

Psalm 89:1-2 "I will always sing about the Lord's love; I will tell of His loyalty from now on. i will say, 'your love continues forever, your loyalty goes on and on like the sky'."

Every second of this day is getting better, I can't even handle it! God is so good to me. Who am I that He would comfort me and give me hope? That He would hear my cries and wipe the tears before I have a chance to ask? The answer is no one. I've never led anyone to Him. I've never sacrificed anything that mattered. But He loves me anyway. In fact, the word says He has no favorites. Meaning that He loves me as much as someone who's spent her life dedicated to serving Him. As much as King David, Paul, or Mother Theresa. He certainly loves me as much as Hezekiah, who He granted 15 extra years of life just because he asked. And He loves my children enough that He will have mercy on them for my sake. Glory be to God, the author of this and every story!

Anyway, church was good, but I was distracted for most of the day because I can feel my milk is drying up. As much as I try to be positive, it is a very real and painful experience. I know I will never nurse a child again. Most importantly, I will never nurse Naomi again. I wanted to cry. Really to sob and writhe around on the floor in self-pity, screaming to this invisible God who would be so heartless as to require this sacrifice. It made me feel unneeded too, which is hard to face because the basis of my desire to be healed is to raise the children I claim need me so much. It was a struggle to snap out of the funk, and to (attempt to) focus on God and the fact that He weaned her for a reason. Just days ago I felt weaning her was a blessing, and I was viewing it differently suddenly. Then--get this--He blessed me again! Instead of making me feel like a piece of junk for having the selfish thoughts in the first place, He comforted and answered me like only He can. When I got home from fellowship group she woke up and started crying. She would not go back to sleep until I held her. She was quiet the instant I grabbed her, and when I tried to put her down prematurely she cried again. So I walked her and rocked her (okay, and smelled her sweet little head), while she held onto me with those fat baby arms. As she fell asleep on my chest she made the happy baby sounds that confirmed little Naomi loves and needs me.

In Genesis 18, Abraham pleaded with God to save the evil city of Sodom for the sake of as few as 10 righteous men He would find there. God promised to save the city for the sake of those, it just happened that there weren't 10 righteous people there so Sodom had to go. But I see the story with a parallel to us. If I'm the evil (or at least unrighteous) city we will beg that God will spare me for the sake of the righteous (my children). And I do. Beg. Please, Lord. Have mercy on me for the sake of those innocent babies.

That isn't all with the good news. Yaacov has a work connection who is related to someone who created an algorithm to determine the best treatment for breast cancer patients based on their symptoms/characteristics. She's looking into where we could go in the vicinity to get it done. If not, we also figured out that Texas has the #1 ranked cancer center (although this is general, not specifically for breast metastatic), and somewhere in Texas is the algorithm guy, so maybe we can work that all out together. The best part of this is that we weren't looking for info like that, but it all fell together. It's so clear that every move I've ever made is to set me up for this experience. For those who don't know, I was a researcher in my career, and have that personality now. I have extremely high standards for such matters, and won't just accept some schmo's advice to stand on my head while eating carrots because they talked to someone whose brother was cured by it. So a guy who invented a testable (hopefully tested of course), science-based algorithm that would direct my treatment and leave the guesswork out of if is another miracle to me.

I have more to say but don't want to spend too long each night on the computer. I am so grateful that tomorrow will be a day of relaxation. I'll spend it enjoying my girls and the world God created. It will be the first day spent without the company of adults since the diagnosis. I don't think I was ready for that then. Hopefully I am now. But if not, I will actually reach out and find some company. We had fellowship group with just the women today, and it was so nice to sit back and chat, laugh, and breathe a little. They are amazing ladies and I pray that one day I can bless them the way they've blessed me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I'm learning so much about what to do if someone else I know ever goes through something like this. The biggest is that no matter how close I am or am not to the person, it's nice to reach out in some way. I'm trying so hard to stay positive, but am really bothered that I'm positive some old friends & acquaintances know what's up and don't care enough to even drop a line. It's not like those people are important to me now, but it's painful to know that they'd hear someone is dying and not care at all.
Same goes for the people pushing their ideas/beliefs on me. I get that they believe I should do what they would do. That doesn't make it right for me though. And maybe I'm being sensitive, but right now it seems that if I don't do it they'll judge me, and if I die they'll think it's because I didn't follow their advice. I'm praying about everything now and following God's advice, not man's. But I sure wish I didn't have to juggle other people's judgments and beliefs along with it.
Anyway, none of this matters. I need to focus on what's important. Worshiping God and spending time with my loved ones. Getting the house cleaned is up there too. But regardless, Paul said in Galatians that he's not trying to win the approval of men. One of my favorite verses has always been that, "if I were still trying to please men I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal 1:10). I will remember that the next time I lose focus and think this junk is important.
Now, I have found no verses about the filthy kitchen so better attend to that.

Good Things

I might be repeating a few good things I posted on other days, but I've been talking, texting, and thinking so much about everything that I can't remember where I've put it. This seems like a good morning to start off  focusing on all the positive things going on.

One really cool thing from Thanksgiving was that I had recently decided to make a list of 1000 things I was thankful for. Then I upped it to 1 million, because God provides that many blessings. Anyway, there was this book in my car from my friend Shannon that I realized I'd never have time to read. So I returned it when I saw her and she said the gist of it is that you should write down 1000 things you're grateful for!!!!! How cool is that? I swear I hadn't read the back or even looked at the book, so it wasn't some sort of delayed reaction. It was God being awesome. I started the list yesterday.

That night Naomi also started taking a bottle. Doesn't sound huge but she'd barely eaten in days because she was confused about the weaning I'm forced to do, and she just would not take a bottle or sippy cup for more than a sip. Suddenly that night she took it like she loved bottles. Hasn't stopped since. She's so much happier now, I'm so very grateful.

I'm also glad for other things. I have so much peace and even some joy right now. God is going to be glorified through this, and it's an honor to be a part of it. He is answering my prayers from long ago about doing something big for Him. And we have the chance to go to Mayo this week, and maybe something awesome will happen there. Naomi's also been eating more table food, which is good, and Abigail is chipper and happy with all the people who keep showing up here. My mom and brother Ben arrived yesterday and we had some nice family time. Now we're about to take family pictures, and everyone would normally groan about it. But I get to pull the cancer card and no one will dare complain about striking a pose. God is good.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 7

Yesterday was difficult. Met with local oncologist who we really liked. Unfortunately, he didn't say anything contrary to the bad news we were aware of. I think it was extra hard for Yaacov because I hadn't told him about the incurable part so he didn't find out until Dr. Rassam told him. Then we went home and Yaacov told my dad, who also hadn't known. Rough day all around. I'm praying that it's the worst day of our lives.

The plan is to get a brain MRI Monday to see if it's spread there. Wednesday is Mayo. We're going to ask them and Neenad for advice on the best place in the country for treating stage 4 BC. Particularly because everyone is noting how unique my case is. In addition to being only 32 with advanced BC, the characteristics are unique to the few people who do get it at this age. I'm hoping that the uniqueness makes me a pet project to a genius oncologist who treats me exactly the way God wants, and I have a full recovery. I can't wait for that day.

Anyway, Rassam said to call as soon as we leave Mayo, he'll order the drugs they recommend, and we'll be able to start 2 days after that. That's next Friday or the following Monday. I never thought I'd be so excited to lose all my hair. Apparently with Stage 4, the goal is to prolong life rather than cure it, which somehow makes the surgery less important. In fact, the only reason to have it is so the cancer doesn't grow outward and burst through my body. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?

Weaning Naomi has been incredibly difficult. It's so unfair to her, and she's so confused and heartbroken. However, we recognize God's hand in it all, and when we really stop and pray (not just the quick kind you do in the middle of washing dishes), it improves. She took an ounce or so from a bottle before nap and has now slept for a few hours. She should be less distraught for Thanksgiving dinner.

We were still going to cook everything today, but at the last minute last night ran to Publix and got a bunch of premade sidedishes. The house is a mess too. But it has been so much more peaceful today. And I have never appreciated the meaning of "Thanksgiving" as much as I do today. My dad and father in law are here now, the Kent family is coming with their amazing kids, and Sarah and Abe from Yaacov's work will be here too. So everyone has someone to support them. Mom and Ben are on their way but won't be here for the meal. I am so grateful for the support and love from all these people. Last year when my book came out, a lot of people who I thought cared about me didn't read or buy it. It wasn't about the money, but the gesture. I felt like it really showed who my real friends were. But the truth is that sort of crap doesn't matter. What matters is that people rally around you and your family for the important stuff.

This is the most encouraging verse I have found. And when I say, "found" I mean it--over the past few months I've been making notecards of verses I thought were important, and leaving them wherever I shove them while cleaning. Last night was the hardest of all, and Yaacov's dad was talking my ear off about nonsense while I was just trying to figure out how to breathe. I said a little prayer for God's help and went to look for something. Suddenly one of my notecards was sitting right there, with the best thing I could have heard or read right then. I don't actually remember making it, or why I would have thought it applied to anything BC (before cancer). But it and the others I keep finding are directly applicable now. Glory be to God for this outpouring of love, peace and assurance!!!!

The verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We have troubles all around us, but we are NOT defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do NOT give up the hope of the living. We are persecuted, but god does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes but we are NOT destroyed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 5

Worst day yet. Got word it spread to lungs and 2 spots on my spine. This makes it Stage 4, which is considered incurable. Typically I would have 1-3 years, although being so young might help. I didn't expect the spine part, so I'm sort of blown away. And honestly, I didn't realize that it's not curable. I thought there was a cure, it just didn't necessarily work for everyone.

I didn't think it could get worse than Friday's call about having cancer in the first place. But this is a lot worse than I imagined. I guess I thought everything was curable until you get treated and it doesn't work. So I didn't think I'd get this info so soon. Blown away.

Psalm 147

 1 Praise the LORD.[a]    How good it is to sing praises to our God,
   how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
   he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
   and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
   and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
   his understanding has no limit.
6 The LORD sustains the humble
   but casts the wicked to the ground.
 7 Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
   make music to our God on the harp.
 8 He covers the sky with clouds;
   he supplies the earth with rain
   and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
   and for the young ravens when they call.
 10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
   nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the LORD delights in those who fear him,
   who put their hope in his unfailing love.
 12 Extol the LORD, Jerusalem;
   praise your God, Zion.
 13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
   and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
   and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
 15 He sends his command to the earth;
   his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
   and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
   Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
   he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
 19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
   his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
   they do not know his laws.[b]
   Praise the LORD.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 4: Silver Lining!!!!

What an amazing day! It started off horribly and I had a really bad attitude. Naomi was up all night and I felt sick from the stupid fasting part of the PET Scan. I read online that I'd have to wait 30-60 minutes to let this radioactive sugar get absorbed. So I brought a list of phone calls I had to make. Sidenote: if you're ever diagnosed with cancer make sure to get unlimited minutes. I've never been on the phone so much in my life. Anyway, he tells me I can text but not speak. Then he mentions that besides not nursing Naomi for 24 hours (no, she still has never taken a bottle), I can't TOUCH or hold my children for more than 30 second increments. For 4-5 hours. By the way, is it 4 or 5? I went with 4.5 hours. Of torture.

Naomi was hysterical when I got home and all I could do was look at her. She normally has 2 naps by then but had only slept for 30 minutes. Hadn't eaten a thing. I couldn't find the best sippy cup we have and searched everywhere. Finally, I prayed for 10 seconds, then walked back to where they were. She stopped crying. I looked over, and there was the sippy cup (in one of Abi's toy bins). Then she took the sippy cup with milk for longer than ever from my dad. My baby girl passed out for 3.5 hours after this.

I expect the night to be the worst part, because she nurses so much. But at dinner she miraculously took a bunch of milk from a tablespoon, and after a stroller ride she fell asleep without nursing. Very little crying. This early and sudden weaning was one of my biggest concerns of the entire cancer deal. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! He is still around and still faithful.

Not only is this verse a reminder of that, but it opened my eyes to the most important part--He keeps this covenant of love to 1000 generations. The whole time the big issue is how He could care so little about my children to potentially rip them away from their mommy. But I believe every word of the Bible, and I believe He loves my children because we love Him and keep His commands. Awesome. i will admit that doesn't mean He'll love them enough to keep their mom around, but it does mean He'll keep loving and taking care of them the way that is Right (He's smarter than me and defines it His way. But I trust Him!) I'm so happy right now! I will admit
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Had a great time at fellowship group today. They prayed for us and I felt like everyone truly understood what was going on. I mean, in the sense that they can empathize. I also learned there is a man there who was told for 2.5 years that he was going to die (didn't ask of what, I assume cancer). He couldn't find a doctor who would tell him he'd live. And what do you know, years later he's alive. He said he totally relates to everything I told the group tonight.

I'm a little worn out by everything, and in particular by a few people who are trying too hard to be helpful. I got home from a nice time with the group and had these messages that stressed me out. I really appreciate the effort, but sometimes it seems like people want to help in the way they'd want to be helped, instead of in the way I'd want to be helped. And it's hard to say no to these people. I guess everyone copes in different ways, and most of us really want to feel helpful. But part of me feels like it's a little selfish of them to be so pushy.

Why should I have to do things to appease them when I disagree with what they're saying and I'm the one with cancer? But then I release the though and the Holy Spirit fills me with love for them. Even though I'm the one with the diagnosis, all these people are still affected by it. So they're doing what they can think of to help, and I'm complaining about it. In a few months when the newness has worn off I'll be sitting here alone and wishing I had people who cared enough to push things on me. Plus, God says to love one another because God loves us, not because they automatically know how to cope when their loved one is diagnosed with cancer.

1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Day 3

It's a new day! I woke up feeling much more peaceful about my prospects. It's Sunday so we went to church and everyone knew. I'm glad for the support but it's still awkward for Yaacov and me. It felt like a funeral where I'd lost a loved one. But then I realized it was me we were all mourning. Ouch.

I'm encouraged that I read it's pretty unlikely for the cancer to have spread already. That usually happens on the recurrence of breast cancer. We won't know until after the PET scan though. Plus, I've been on the losing side of every other battle with this thing so far.

I have to remember that although everything changed, nothing really changed. I still love and trust God. He is still my Lord and Savior, and He is mightier than cancer. If He wants to, He will heal me. If He chooses not to, He has a reason and the wisdom behind it is beyond my comprehension. But it's still a reason. The right reason, because God doesn't make mistakes. "But as for me and my house, we will worship the Lord", Joshua 24:15

1 Thess 5: 17-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 2...Living with Cancer...?

Tired. Is it the cancer or the stress? Had a nice day with the family today. I like the distraction. Now the girls are in bed and Yaacov is playing video games. I spent half an hour looking for matching Christmas pajamas for the family, and just looked up and saw the time. Then I realized: I'm DYING. Right now. Who knows how much longer I have to live, and I just spent thirty minutes of it messing around on the internet. I'm such a loser.

My dad showed up today. That was a huge surprise. We were at Costco and he called but I didn't answer because I was driving. When we got home I saw flowers at the door with his business card. He was going to come from West Palm on Wednesday anyway, so he came up early and is staying the week. It'll be good because he can watch Naomi while I'm having the PET scan Monday. But I'm still in shock. I don't deal well with unplanned things. You know, like schedule changes. Or getting diagnosed with advanced, invasive breast cancer.

Cancer. Is this for real? Not just any cancer, but apparently stage 3 or 4. What was that shooting pain in my leg? Ow. Am I being paranoid or is my cough bad? It is only manageable when I'm on antibiotics then returns when I finish the pills. Lungs are one of the first places the idiot cancer cells move after breasts. Please, Lord, don't let the cancer have spread. On a happier note, perhaps we'll see that the lymph nodes don't light up in the PET scan, which would be awesome. Imagine that, good news!

Before the diagnosis I determined this would be my life verse, so I guess that shouldn't change now: Philippians 4:4-7, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. the Lord is near. do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and  your minds in Christ Jesus."

The Diagnosis

Got the call yesterday. I have cancer. It took 4 weeks of doctors going back and forth, including one biopsy and one ultrasound with promising outcomes. This time there's no confusion though. Final answer: It's cancer. Always has been.

My mind is reeling. It feels surreal. I thought it was cancer the whole time. The day the idiot radiologist told me it was just a cyst and canceled my mammogram, it felt wrong. Not enough for me to argue, of course. Thank the Lord my GP still insisted on a biopsy. When the biopsy from that one came back abnormal I wasn't surprised, just worried. Then we waited to see Dr. Crooms, the amazing surgeon. I love him and everyone in his office. He insisted on another biopsy which he did right away. A frozen section from that came back negative for cancer. Online it says only 3-5% of frozen section biopsies result in false negatives. Unfortunately, I am in that group.

We had a few hours to digest the news, during which time we went to Abigail's preschool Thanksgiving presentation. She proudly recited Ephesians 6:1-4, then did a vaguely offensive Native American dance and we ate Chik Fil A. It was perfect. I hope to have many more Thanksgiving feasts with both my baby girls.

Dr. Crooms asked us to come in and talk about the cancer. Our friend Shannon watched the kids (again), so we could concentrate on the findings. Too bad my mind is shot so I can't concentrate on anything. Thankfully, Neenad Shah is helping and said he'll do the thinking for me. He got me in with a local oncologist for Wednesday and is working on getting me into the Mayo clinic too. Neenad might not be a Christian, but he and Andrea are DEFINITELY gifts from God. I would be so completely lost and confused if I didn't have them.

Anyway, Dr. Crooms confirmed our worst fears about the way things look, but I'm praying that in reality they'll turn out to be better than that. He said with the size of the lump (7cm), and the apparent spread to lymph nodes it seems to be Stage 3. I'm getting PET scan Monday to see if it's spread elsewhere, which would make it even worse.

I guess that's it for now. I've been crying for 4 weeks now, no need to type about my feelings and start the waterworks again. Maybe later.