Saturday, February 27, 2010


"On the girl's brown legs, there were many small white scars. I was thinking, do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." - From the book Little Bee

Like the little girl, my scars cover the whole of me. From head to toe, I am covered with scars representing my battle with cancer. Scars on my face, scars on my neck, scars on my stomach, scars on my upper leg, scars on my lower leg. No matter how hard I try, I cannot cover them up. At times, I feel so ugly. I will live with these scars the rest of my life.

When I go out in public, I spend a lot of time looking down to hide my face from others. I don't want to see the stares. I don't want to have to explain what has happened. I wish I could just blend in like I used to. But the scars and swelling on my face make me stand out from the crowd.

Today, a dear friend, a cancer survivor herself, sent me this excerpt take from the book Little Bee. She somehow knew how I was feeling about my scars. This friend made a pact with me that if I choose to wear my scars proudly, she too will wear her scars proudly. We are survivors! Scars are not formed on the dying! So today, I am choosing to not look at my scars as ugly, but as a beautiful reminder of what I have survived and of God's faithfulness through it all.

"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with." - Harry Crews

I am continuing to work hard on raising money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. I will be taking turns walking for 24 hours with my dear friends that have been a tremendous support to me this past year. Participating in this event means a lot to me. It gives me back the power that has been stripped away this past year. I now have the opportunity to fight back. I have made it my personal goal to raise $1,000 to support the ACS. Please consider joining me in the fight by donating ANY amount possible. To donate, simply visit the link included on the top of my blog.

Please continue to pray for my healing. I have another doctor appointment on Monday so I should be able to update you then on the infection in my face as well as the progress of my leg. Also, I hope to find out when they will do future scans. THANK YOU for your support and prayers!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Relay For Life

Awhile ago I was approached by some of my friends in the neighborhood with a fundraising idea to raise money to help pay our hospital bills. I was so overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. Yes, our hospital bills have been quite high. Fortunately we were blessed to have been given some money by some loved ones to help pay the bills. In addition, we are lucky to have wonderful healthcare insurance through Jason's company. So instead of raising money to help us, my friends decided that the money they raise should be given to the American Cancer Society. Thus the Clover Ridge Crusader's team for the Relay for Life was formed. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone on campuses across the country a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out a local high school, college campus, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length. The Clover Ridge Crusaders will be taking turns walking/running for 24 hours straight to raise money for cancer awareness. I hope to be well enough to be a part of this event and walk with my friends. It will be an amazing experience. There is a survivor lap that I am especially looking forward to walk. I don't know if I would be considered an official survivor yet or if I qualify to walk this lap. But I would like to walk along the side of hundreds of others that have struggled through cancer and survived. What a powerful moment that will be. I am proud of myself...proud of what I have accomplished and what I have survived. I want to celebrate! And I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to participate in the Relay For Life. I am going to do my part and try to raise money for the event, for cancer awareness and for a cure. If you are interested in helping me and my team to raise money, please go to my Relay for Life website at: It is my personal goal to raise $1,000. Any amount you could give would be greatly appreciated. And if you are interested in joining our team, please let us know.

Recovery is still going very slow. The swelling in my face is still there..the cast on my leg is still there...and the infection in my face is still there. The doctor placed me back on antibiotics again. I am getting a little concerned and hope that this infection will not complicate things. It is so frustrating when things to do not progress and it feels like I am taking steps backwards. I have another appointment on Monday and I am hoping that I will get the OK to start walking without the assistance of a walker. My biggest battle this past week has been trying not to go down the road of "what-ifs". What if the surgery didn't work? What if the cancer is still there? What if my face will always look funny? What if I will never run again? It is definitely a mind game the enemy is trying to play on me. If I had something to occupy my time and my mind, it would be easy to not go down this road. But because I have a lot of time on my hands I spend a lot of time thinking. Thus, the what ifs start to happen. It will be nice to have a goal to raise money for the Relay for Life. Something to strive for. Something that will give me a sense of accomplishment. Something to occupy my time. This is something I really need in my life right now.

Please pray for this infection in my face to go away and that recovery will begin to move forward again. I want to thank all of you that have been sending me surprises in the mail for Valentines Day or to bring cheer into my life. The surprises have been wonderful!

I love you all!


Monday, February 15, 2010


The other day, I discovered a book that I really wanted to read. It has been a long time since a book has intrigued me enough to want to read it. The book is titled "Making Rounds with Oscar" by David Dosa. It is about a cat, named Oscar, that has become a resident at a facility for patients afflicted with Alzheimers. The author, is the doctor that works at this facility. He writes about Oscar and his ability to sense when a patient is about to pass away. Oscar will sit on the patient's bedside for days until it happens. His presence not only meets the needs of the patient, but the family members sitting by the patient's side. It is a heart warming book and a true story.

Recently, my sister and her family adopted a wonderful dog named Gina. Gina was abandoned by its owner along with another dog. The dogs were left to survive on their own with one bag of opened dog food for weeks in a garage. Gina was found with a severe wound on her mouth most likely due to an attack from the other dog. She was also very scared of people. Gina had a lot of wounds both mentally and physically. I met Gina for the first time on Christmas Eve at my sister's house. I was still trying to heal from the radiation and dealing with the fact that the cancer was still in my sinuses and surgery was inevitable. Like GIna, I was wounded both mentally and physically. I had an instant bond with Gina. It was like we both knew what the other was feeling. I could see the pain in her eyes and she could see the pain in mine. Gina sought much needed attention from everyone in the room and I welcomed every opportunity to give it to her. Often I think about Gina and wish that I could be with her as I am trying to heal from surgery. Like Oscar, I think she would do me some good and be great company.

One of the struggles the doctor in the book had was believing that this cat was truly sensing that the patients were passing away. He thought it was a mere coincidence. He struggled with believing in something that could not be scientifically proven...something I think a lot of doctors struggle with. I think we all, including myself, struggle with believing in whether or not things are a mere coincidence or God's doing. I often struggled with this in the past year. Many times there were surprises and miracles throughout my treatment that sometimes I tried to pass off as a coincidence. I had a hard time believing and understanding that God was making a difference. Looking back, I now believe these events were not a coincidence but all part of God's plan in my healing. In the book, the doctor includes a quote from Albert Einstein: "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." This quote really hit home for me and helped me to look at the things that I thought were coincidences throughout my treatment as God acting on my behalf the entire time. I love this quote.

Well, the antibiotics are working and the infection is going away. I am also starting to finally see the swelling in my face slowly going down. The wound on my leg is also starting to show signs of healing. It isn't as awful looking as it used to be. I have been able to get out of the house a little and visit with some friends. But for the most part, I stay cooped up at home. This week we have no family around to help so it has been a little difficult to get things accomplished. Needing the use of a walker does not give me the freedom to get around as easy as I used to. Things like vacuuming, carrying things up and down the stairs or simply moving a pot of boiling water from the stove to the sink are not easy. I have to rely on others to do these things for me. But we are doing the best we can and luckily Jason is working from home most of the week.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines with your loved ones. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Cleaning House

It is official...I am ready to move on in my life. For so long I felt I was unable to move look towards the future. I am now ready to start making plans and live my life again. I have started to clean the house and rid of the things that remind me of cancer. The things that I have been collecting over this past year. Every time I look at them I am reminded of how I felt and how sick I was. NO MORE! I am so done with feeling like that.

There are a few more things I need to do to get rid of these reminders: 1) get rid of the medications that I am no longer taking piled high in my bedroom 2) get our bedding dry cleaned as it is filled with medication and food spells as a result of spending a lot of time in bed 3) tear down the many lists with instructions for our parents posted on our refrigerator 4) get rid of the medical supplies and needle dispensers that are taking up room in my kitchen cupboards. I am going to get rid of all of the evidence that someone very sick was living in this house!!!

Now, I just need to finish healing. Is is so hard waiting for this to happen when I am so ready to move on with my life. It has been hard to be patient. But it will take time...I still have a ways to go. Because of the radiation and chemo the healing process will take longer. My body is unable to heal fast. This past week has been frustrating as I developed an infection in my face. It caused a lot of swelling and pain. Taking a step back in the healing process is not the direction I want to take. But after being on antibiotics for a few days I am starting to feel better again. Hopefully this is just a little hump I need to get over. Because of this setback I have had a few moments of panic. I started to feel uneasy about whether or not the cancer is really gone. I was having anxiety about future scans. I found myself having to check my trust in God and continue to believe in what God has and will accomplish in my healing.

I am still going stir crazy in this house. Luckily Mackenzie's teacher has sent me many projects to work on. Many of you have come up with some wonderful ideas to occupy my time. Keep them coming! I have used many of the ideas. The only times I get out of this house are going to doctor appointments. However, I did brave going into to Target the other day. I did get a lot of looks and stares, but it didn't bother me too much.

Please continue to pray!


Friday, February 5, 2010

I See

It is so hard to put into words how I feel about what I have gone through this past year. For so long, I wanted so badly to communicate to you the change that has taken place inside of me...deep in my soul, but I could never find the words. It is a change that never would have taken place had I not gone through cancer. I have a new appreciation for suffering and the impact it can have on one's life and their relationship with God. I recently came across the following message and it puts my experience into words perfectly:

There is a divine mystery in suffering, one that has a strange and supernatural power and has never been completely understood by human reason. No one has ever developed a deeper level of spirituality or holiness without experiencing a great deal of suffering. When a person who suffers reaches a point where he can be calm and carefree, smiling at his own suffering, and no longer asking God to be delivered from it, then the suffering has accomplished its blessed ministry, perseverance has finished its work and the pain of the Crucifixion has begun to weave itself into a crown.

It is in this experience of complete suffering that the Holy Spirit works many miraculous things deep within our soul. In this condition, our entire being lies perfectly still under the hand of God; every power and ability of the mind, will and heart are at last submissive; a quietness of eternity settles into the entire soul; and finally, the mouth becomes quiet, having only few words to say, and stops crying out the words Christ quoted on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

At this point the person stops imagining castles in the sky and pursuing foolish ideas, and his reasoning becomes calm and relaxed, with all choices removed, because the only choice has now become the purpose of God. He can now let the circumstances be what they may, and continue to seek only God and HIs will, with the calm assurance that He is causing everything in the universe, whether good or bad, past or present, to work "for the good of those who love him."

Oh the blessings of absolute submission to Christ! What a blessing to lose our own strength, wisdom, plans, and desires and to be where every ounce of our being becomes like a peaceful Sea of Galilee under the omnipotent feet of Jesus! The main thing is to suffer without becoming discouraged. --Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman

I now know what my Dad meant when he was excited to see me experience going through cancer. Not that he wanted to see me suffer, but he knew that the end result would be this change deep in my soul. He was right. Don't get me wrong, for quite some time I often called out to God the words stated in this message...why have your forsaken me? And there are times I get anxious about the future. But I am finally in a place of peace and I am getting closer to that state of complete submission to God. It is so true...suffering does develop a deeper leavel of spirituality. For this, I am thankful I went through all of the sufferings I have this past year. For without it, I would never have experienced God's power, His love and His miraculous ways.

Today I am celebrating the birth of my daughter Mackenzie. Nine years ago today she was born 4 months early weighing in at 1 pound 1 ounce. She a miracle and constant reminder of God's faithfulness. Mackenzie is a survivor and she handles her life's challenges with grace and strength. I love you Mackenzie! You are a blessing.

Today, I am also celebrating 10 years with the love of my life, Jason. Without his support, I never would have made it through this past year. He has been there for me every step of the way holding my hand through the ups and the downs. He is an amazing husband and father. I am so blessed to have him for as my husband, partner and best friend. Happy Anniversary J!

My feeding tube finally has been removed. Without it I feel one step closer to "normal". And my trache hole has FINALLY closed and I no longer have to hold my neck when I am speaking or coughing. I am still struggling with the swelling in my face. But it is starting to go down. It will be a long time before all of my wounds are healed, but I know I will get there one step at a time.

Please continue to pray that the recovery process will continue to go smoothly and quickly. I thank each and every one of you for your prayers, cards, meals, gifts and support. You all are blessings to me.

With much love,

Monday, February 1, 2010

More Time

Boing, Boing, Boing, Boing...this is the sound of me bouncing off the walls in my house. I am going crazy with boredom. I am trying to keep myself occupied as much as possible, but it is hard when my mobility is limited. There is only so much time that one can spend online, watching the TV or playing the Wii.

Recovery from the surgery has been difficult. I am not seeing any progress with the swelling in my face. It doesn't seem to want to go away. Every morning when I wake up and look in the mirror I get so discouraged and typically break down crying. Never before have I felt so ugly and unfeminine. I want my hair back. I want my face back. I want so badly to feel normal again. I want to feel pretty again. I want to run again. I am losing my patience. This is much harder than chemotherapy and radiation. Maybe it is because it has been a long year and I am at the end of my rope.

The only upside to my recovery is that the doctors have allowed me to start eating and drinking again. I am limited to soft foods that don't require a lot of chewing. The bone they used to reconstruct my face is still healing so chewing would not be good. As you probably expected, the first thing I did when I got home from my doctor appointment was have a Dr. Pepper. It was heavenly. This week, they will be removing the feeding tube out of my nose. This will make eating so much easier. Plus it will be so nice to no longer have a tube stitched into the inside of my nostril and hanging down the side of my face. Just one step closer to feeling that normalcy again.

This week I do have some important events taking place that will bring much needed joy in my life. This week I will be celebrating the birthdays of my sweet girls Mackenzie and Kendall. Kendall will be turning 6 on Wednesday and Mackenzie will be turning 9 on Friday. I feel so bad that I will not be able to plan a party for the girls to celebrate their birthdays this year with their friends. But, we will do what we can to celebrate their special days with them. I will also be celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary with Jason. It has been an amazing 10 years. We have definitely faced a lot of challenges in our lives together, but it has brought us closer and forced us to make God the center of our marriage. I am so blessed to have Jason in my life. He is an amazing husband and father. God definitely knew what he was doing when he brought us together. I don't think I could have found a better partner to take on the challenges we have faced.

The other day I received a card from a family relative with this verse:

"For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 20:17

It was a wonderful reminder of God's promise to me that he will heal me. The process just hasn't been completed yet. It will take time and I do need to be patient. When I get frustrated and discouraged, I need to keep my eyes focused on him and remember everything he has accomplished in me so far. This is so hard for me to do right now, but I am trying. I just need to give him more time.

Please keep the prayers coming!