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Thursday, September 5, 2013


“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22


Again, my apologies for a long overdue update. I had my hard hit of chemo last Thursday. Then, my family traveled to SE Oklahoma to enjoy a long Labor Day weekend together (more on that in my next post). But the long of short of it is I’ve had several dark days. By the time Alexa is tucked into bed, I am simply ready to take my narcotic and do the same. The past two weeks have been long. As much as I hate to admit it, they have been filled with tears, questions, fears, anger, grieving, and downright sobs. If they accepted body trade-ins, I would’ve traded my body in for a new model.

You see, over the past two weeks, the nerve pain in my arm has greatly intensified. It can be a dull, constant ache that lasts all day (and night), or it can come in sharp, throbbing pains that literally take my breath away when they zing from my elbow to my fingertips. The throbbing pains frighten me most because they come unexpectedly and can last for a couple of minutes or hours and I have no idea what’s going on inside me. Regardless, it’s pain all the same and I was under this naïve impression if my tumor stopped growing and (hopefully) started shrinking, the pain would cease as well. Yet, here I am writing the pain has increased. I am still searching for a med that will control my pain throughout the day, and I have almost given up hope I will ever sleep through the night again (unfortunately, Alexa doesn’t nap either so a daytime snooze is out). Even my Hydrocodone is no match for this pain.

Now, add into the equation that beginning last week, my right hand started to go numb. I have since lost feeling in my middle finger, ring finger and pinky. They all feel like they are “asleep.” Those three fingers have also since been “locked down.” I literally have a claw for a right hand but ironically cannot make a fist (thanks to my flexor tendons being enveloped by the cancer as well as my median nerve). There is no way I could straighten those three fingers without valium and a stiff drink. The good news is that my index finger and thumb are still mobile and I can still feel them. I am praying that continues because it allows me to use my right hand to some degree – like typing for example. I do that with two fingers on my right hand now.

And – just a few more disconcerting bits of news. By my visible estimation, my primary tumor has not gotten any smaller. I have no idea what’s going on underneath the surface, but the large bump on the outside remains just that – a large bump. And, my neck and lower back have started aching again. I am praying it was only the weekend travel and a different bed to blame but it still concerns me nonetheless. I assume random pain will probably concern me from now on.

As you can see, I have felt under spiritual and physical attack for several days and that doesn’t include all of my fun chemo side effects, which typically get me down around this time in the treatment. Needless to say, I have been sad. I have been scared. I have mourned the life I once lived so footloose and carefree and despised the one I am actually living. I have wondered time and time again what in the world the Lord is doing. I watch others my age go about their lives filled with plans, with fun, with life. I feel none of these things anymore. I feel a bald head, a port sticking out of my chest, tingly fingers, aching muscles, nausea and a chemo-infested mouth. None of this is fun. None of it is easy. None of it has an end date. And, I have no control over any it . . . or, do I?

Which brings me to my blog title “joy.” Yep, haven’t experienced much of that since April 12 . . . and I realize some of that is due to obvious circumstance. Being diagnosed with a Stage IV rare cancer isn’t supposed to be joy-filled – either are scans, surgeries and treatments. But, I also realize I have made choices along the way that have prevented me from experiencing joy when it’s available to me (which is always according to Psalm 16:11).

So that is one of my big prayer requests for you mighty prayer warriors – that I would begin experiencing a deep, unexplainable joy in Him (despite my ongoing, unknown circumstances). That I would surrender my fears, my sadness, my what ifs, even my anger and trust Him enough to fill me with joy. That I would experience my crazy silent laugh (which means I am laughing so hard I will soon cry) and my smile would resurface throughout the day. In a cancer devotional I read, it says the literal translation of Proverbs 17:22 is “a cheerful heart causes good healing.” And goodness . . . am I in need of that more than ever before!!

So yes, please continue praying for complete and total healing of my body and for this darn tumor to start shrinking!! Pray the cancer is contained ONLY in my C7 vertebrae and my right foream and dying even as I type. And pray for my follow-up visit to MD Anderson (Sept. 14-16) to check on the progress of my chemo treatments as well as my three-month follow-up for my spine radiation. How good it would do my heart to receive positive reports and know the treatments have been and are successfully working toward total healing.

And perhaps throw in that I might see and experience the Lord’s goodness throughout the day. He’s been kind to allow that the past two days through conversations with friends, text messages, voicemails and cards. It truly did encourage my heart, and sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered in the midst of fighting cancer.

As a side note . . . I did have a good laugh on Tuesday. As Chris was praying at dinnertime, he was praying for healing over our family. Alexa interrupted and said, “All four of us are sick.” Chris and I looked at each other confused by her statement about four. She continued, “Daddy has a gallstone and a hurt back. Pop hurt his shoulder. I have a cough” . . . and then she looked at me and said with a smile and enthusiasm, “and, Mommy has cancer (then she smiled really big, pointed and squealed), and she doesn’t have any hair on her head.” It was one of those moments so inappropriate yet so true and so funny. I am grateful Alexa can make light of such serious issues and accept me sans hair. I am thankful for her contagious smile too.

Since I am quite ready for my narcotic and bed, I will end with this beautiful prayer from the same devotional I mentioned above. It’s mine as well.

Lord, I pray that You will give me a cheerful heart, in spite of all I’ve gone through and all that still is ahead for me. I know I don’t have to smile and pretend I’m happy and that everything is all right. But I do want to feel Your quiet joy in me and even hear laughter from my lips. I want to remember that there is life after and even with cancer.

Please help me not be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. And Holy Spirit, please develop in me the fruit of joy – a joy that’s not based on circumstances, but on my relationship with my Father. Let me be joyful in the simple gift of another day to love and be loved.

I pray, Lord, that You will bless me and protect me, that You will smile on me and be gracious to me, that You will show me Your favor and give me Your peace.


  1. I will pray for a deep, peaceful joy for you, my friend. I love u and wish I could hug on u and come sit on the end of your bed to chat... Ill see u very soon.

  2. Dearest Kelsey: Doug and I are praying hard that the Lord will uplift you and give you strength, joy and healing. We pray that He will touch your body and heal you completely. Even though we do not see you, we can feel your pain and discouragement and pray that HE will shield you. We love you dearly. Sharl and Doug Taylor

  3. Praying for joy and healing. Know Alexa brings you many smiles (inappropriate or not). Love how God knew you would need her to make you laugh during this time. Love you friend!

  4. Praying Daily JOY for you, my bestest. Praying for lots of inappropriate laughter, smiles and tears from hilarity, not sadness. SO wish I could be there right now to cheer you up and do some "silent laughing" with you.
    A verse I read today that always reminds me of His power, goodness, & faithfulness:
    "You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD."
    John 16:33
    Love you Sweets! Brookelyn & The Boys

  5. Cliff, Kathy, Aunt Lucille and I prayed together this morning for peace joy and contentment in this trial you are experiencing. We love you more than words can say! Phil. 4:11 was Uncle BG's verse. I find comfort in it and I know you do too.