Thursday, April 29, 2010

Update from the doctor

I heard back from my Doctor a few days ago about the results from the check up and bloodwork. He said that my TSH levels were really high (5) and needed to be lower. Also, there were 2 lymphnodes that were questionable, but looked benign. They want to go ahead and do the 1 year scan early to make sure everything is okay!

So I went today and got more bloodwork done....with my 2 little girls. Hallie was sitting in my lap and Laney Grace was saying "please don't hurt my mama!" Afterwards, I thought we all deserved a treat so we went to Chick-Fil-A and got some ice cream!!

I'm going to call the Drs. again tomorrow and find out if the bloodwork was still the same or if the second opinion is different. Either way, I'll be glad to know what's going on! If the levels are high, they will just adjust how much medicine that I am taking. I will write more later and put up some new pictures of Laney Grace's first dance recital!! She was so adorable!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweet Release

I went Friday morning to Emory for my scan. Just walking through those doors again, brought back a flood of memories and emotions. Some that haven't even had time to catch up with me yet. This last six months has been a blurr. It's surreal. My mom went with me to the appointment, I was so glad that she was there. I appeared to be so nervous, tapping my feet and walking around. She kept asking me what I was so anxious about. I never could figure it out! I was not afraid of the results, although I was hoping they would magically appear that same day. I was not afraid of the Doctors. I have grown to love and appreciate each and every person that works at that hospital. It's amazing the kindness and compassion that I have been shown.

I guess it just made me realize how every person in there was hurting in some way. They were there for a reason. You might not know just by looking at someone what pain they have just been through or what victory they are celebrating. You don't even know what tomorrow holds for yourself!!

In a matter of months, I have been to Emory countless times, had so much bloodwork that I felt like a pin cushion, had tests run, been through surgery, had treatment, and am taking new medication that is now just a normal part of my day.

I am thankful. I am glad that God picked me. I have no idea what his plan is or what I will encounter next, but I praise him for his love, grace, and mercy. For the ways that he has comforted me through others and for the way that I am learning to comfort others. I am able to experience His love in a whole new way!

I wanted to walk up to each patient and ask what they were going through. How could I help? What could I pray for? Did they knew the hope that I have found? The joy that comes through the sweet release of just trusting God and not having to have control. So whatever the results, whatever the next step. I am trusing in HIM!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

His Voice- this is the article that I wrote back in Feb.

Cancer. You have cancer. No, that’s not possible. I am 29 years old. In fact, my birthday is just a few days away. I am too young. I have a husband, a three year old, and a one year old. They are full of life. They need me. No, not me. Can this be right? God, I need you. I desperately need you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD...(Jer. 29:11). Then, I thought about it. I am a child of God. I am a Christian, and I am blessed to have a wonderful, supportive Christian family and church. God knew this was going to happen to me. He knew I was going to have cancer. Although it was a terrifying surprise to me, He was not shocked for a moment. Something about that fact gave me peace.

I never thought I would have cancer. It was a week before my thirtieth birthday. Instead of celebrating with my family, I was facing thyroid cancer. We were going to doctor appointments, making plans for babysitters, discussing treatments and possibilities, researching information, and trying to make it day to day with this new word in our world–cancer. Hearing the word cancer was the last thing I expected to hear. When you sit across from the doctor and they mention cancer, it is really only the beginning. You are faced with so many worries, anxieties, and possibilities. That is when I realized that the waiting and not knowing is sometimes just as difficult as the knowing!

Again, I heard God’s Word speaking to my heart, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength.” (Isaiah. 40:31). The doctors had explained that there was only a very small chance that it would be malignant. I had two small girls to take care of and a lifetime of memories yet to make. How could this one word change my life forever?

Finally, after multiple tests, I was told that it was malignant. Initially, I was shocked. Questions began swirling in my mind? Has it spread to other parts of my body? Will they remove my thyroid? What effects will it have? Will I have to undergo treatments? Will I still be able to care for my children? Then, I began to think of every possible situation that I could control. Before I could wrap my mind around this life change, God wrapped His arms around me. I heard Him in my heart again, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) I realized that he had allowed me to have cancer for a reason and would be with me every step of the way. He had a plan for me. It might not have been revealed immediately, but His plan was revealed to me in His time.

The plan of action to fight my thyroid cancer was surgery. Their plan was to remove my entire thyroid and anything suspicious. I met with the surgeon and asked a lot of questions. My initial reaction to surgery was picturing the imperfection that would be there. The thought of them cutting my neck open to remove the mass was quite scary, but I imagined this huge scar on my neck for the rest of my life. I could just see me wrapping my neck with a scarf or keeping it hidden under a turtleneck. Not so bad, it would not be too difficult to hide after all. I was attempting to find ways to hide my scar. Isn’t that the same way that we try to mask our weaknesses and struggles in our life? We try to look and act perfect, and we so often forget that no one is perfect. No one except Jesus.

After the surgery, we were relieved to find out that the cancer did not spread past my thyroid. I would have a recovery period, and then I would undergo treatment. Your thyroid works to regulate different things in your body such as hormones. I never realized how instrumental my thyroid was to my body until I was faced with this cancer! Following the surgery, I started taking a pill to regulate my hormones, the way that my thyroid used to function before it was removed. My energy level was low; I was tired and felt exhausted all the time. This was a trying time for me. Without that energy, I found myself having to rely on others. Wow, that is difficult for someone used to being independent!

However, despite my attempts to resist the help of others, I found that my needs gave others the opportunity to surround me with love and comfort. Matthew 11: 28-30 says, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest...” I was able to witness God’s comfort through a new set of eyes. I think you can truly feel God’s comfort when you are so low that you have nowhere else to go but to look up to HIM.

Friends and family covered me in prayer, helped take care of my children, cooked meals, and continually reminded me of God’s strength. They were definitely God’s vessels during this battle. As God and others loved me, I was reminded of His promise in 2 Corinthians 1:4 “God comforts us so that we can comfort others.” I realized that God’s plan was for me to love Him in spite of my circumstances and to love others. I prayed that He would allow me to comfort others the same way that He was comforting me.

The next phase in fighting my cancer was through treatment. My doctor discussed the treatment describing it as a process that would require an isolation period. I would take a radioactive pill to destroy any remaining cancer cells in my body. Several precautions had to be taken during my isolation period. I had to be especially careful of my children and the effects of the radiation. I spent a week away from my family and friends. As a busy, young mom of a toddler and a preschooler, I had dreamed of a week to myself. However, this isolation was not exactly what I had been thinking! Although I was sick after some of the treatments and lonely at times, I did have a lot of time to reflect, to read encouraging cards and verses I had been given, and to ask God what other plans He had for me. The isolation period was difficult on my body physically and on my heart emotionally, but it gave my spirit a week of rest, prayer, and a week of God showing me how He works in spite of my weaknesses.

I feel inspired with a new life now. I have heard people say that after facing cancer, you see life differently. I truly do have a new vision on life. I try to live a life where I appreciate the little blessings. I try not to get distracted by insignificant problems that used to plague me. I remembered what all I experienced and witnessed through my fight with cancer. I remember that God’s promises are real. He tells us not to worry or be anxious about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

After going through this experience, I wake up every morning and look at the small scar on my throat. It is a reminder that God had His hand on me through such a scary time in my life, a time that I really did not have any control. He carried me through it all. He has answered prayers, and He has shown me His peace in the midst of a storm.

Am I fearful the cancer may show up again? Yes, at times. Then I remember where I have been and where I am going. More importantly, I remember Who I am following! I continue to see how God is using my experience to glorify Him. God has placed several young women all facing similar devastating news of cancer across my path. I am able to share with them my experiences, my fears, my triumphs, and encourage them through God’s love. I was also presented with the opportunity to be interviewed on NBC about the rise of young women being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Satan’s plan is for us to have self-pity and feel hopeless, but God’s plan is for us to draw close to Him so we can lead others to Him. I do not know what my future holds.

I do not know if it will be cancer free or not. However, I know that the greatest things that God has planned for us are the things that we do not even know yet. We just have to be ready to follow Him wherever our life leads us and whatever circumstances come our way.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reflective thoughts

Well, I know I haven't blogged in forever. I've been busy enjoying and appreciating the little things in life! I am going for my 6 month scan next week and will find out if the cancer has returned or not. I can't believe it's already been 6 months. I don't feel nervous or scared...God has already demonstrated his faithfulness to me and will continue to!
My girls are such a sweet reminder of God's love, they bring so much JOY to my life. When I think about how care-free and trusing they are, it reminds me of how God wants us to be. Cast all your cares upon HIM, he cares for YOU!!