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Sunday, November 24, 2013

We’re home

We pulled into Norman this evening thankful to be home again – perhaps not so excited about the cold after being in Houston for a week, but thankful nonetheless.

As an update, I received all five of my stereotactic radiation treatments this week (one to T2 vertebrae, one to L2 vertebrae and three to my hip/pelvis area). On Wednesday, I received my bone strengthening shot. I will get this shot every four weeks indefinitely. I also had two treatments of acupuncture – the jury still isn’t in on this one. I will start back on my chemo pill (Votrient) tomorrow as well as my hand therapy three times a week.

I have been in a lot of pain this week, which has only intensified as the treatments continued. I don’t know why – perhaps a combo of the high doses of radiation I was receiving along with long days spent sitting/waiting and then lying incredibly still in a molded body bag for over an hour each day. It is discouraging to deal with constant pain in an area that disables you to do much of anything (lower back/hip/pelvis). We pray as the radiation kills the cancer, it will kill the pain too.

When we’d finally get home from the long days at MDA, all I wanted to do was take a shower, swallow a narcotic, have analgesic cream applied to the sore areas and lay down. For some reason, I also dealt with nausea. I told my family it felt like chemo all over again except the constant pain had moved from my arm to my lower torso. Needless to say, this is definitely not how I anticipated spending my 35th birthday, but it seemed appropriate to focus on killing the disease wreaking havoc on my body so I can look forward to living again.


Thank you for all of the beautiful birthday wishes you sent my way on Thursday. I was overwhelmed by your love!! I appreciate every encouraging word, blessing and prayer offered for my healing and many more birthdays to come. It’s my prayer too. A big thank you to Patti, a Houstonian and dear friend of my mom’s (and now ours), who provided us with a delicious dinner and birthday cake to boot. It was fun to blow out candles with Alexa Hope.

As I’ve reflected on this birthday and the events surrounding it, I’ve thought a lot about John 12:23,

”Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” 

I feel like a great deal of 2013 has dealt with dying – how to kill the cancer in my body and the result for me if that doesn’t happen. In essence, I was made keenly aware of the fact I have an expiration date. (Everyone does, I know, it’s just that mine was brought to my attention and I couldn’t ignore it.) I have mentioned in a previous blog that with cancer comes grieving because you are constantly dealing with loss. Loss of the life you once knew, loss of health, loss of feeling good, loss of hair, loss of good cells, loss of the use of much of my right hand, loss of the little things you took for granted, loss of dreams, loss of the hopes for a large family, loss of your daily routine, loss . . .

And, although I am so grateful for the hope (and healing) these radiation treatments bring, my mind still wonders if/when the cancer will spread. Perhaps it is already somewhere else growing and then I’ll deal with another loss – and what if it can’t be treated? What if I never feel good again? What if this is what the rest of my life will look like? Will I ever have pain and not wonder if it’s cancer?

I know, not a very uplifting post, but it’s the truth. It’s what I think about every day, especially the days I am constantly hurting and the pain overrides the hope. But back to the verse in John 12, as I would hear the radiation beaming through my body into the bones being deteriorated by cancer, I would pray, “Lord, please allow this death to produce new life in me. Please don’t let this death be for nothing. Make me new from the inside out producing much fruit in this life.”

I desperately desire that the death of the cancer in my bones leads to not only stronger bones but also to a stronger body, a stronger mind, a stronger spirit – a healthy, healing body that will once again recognize cancer for what it is and destroy it without the aid of radiation beams or toxic drugs. I pray that in this battle to defeat a rare, unwelcome and nasty enemy, I will walk away a miraculous testimony of God’s healing hand with a much enlarged view of who He is and what He’s doing, even in the things that make absolutely no sense to me.

Whitney English posted this quote by Simon T. Bailey on her blog the day of my birthday, “You’ve got to let go of the old to make way for the new.”  I want to look at the events of last week and the irony that they happened on my birthday as I reminder that sometimes we have to die (to ourselves and to our dreams) to really live. And hey, that’s biblical, right!?

I’ve also been thinking quite a bit about this quotation from a book titled Fight On. (Thank you so much Brooke!) If you can’t read it, it says, ”The person you have been is not the person you will remain. Think of this as both a challenge and a gift.”

I love the visual of the butterfly next to this quote. Just another reminder God does make all things new. And so, this is my desire as I continue walking down this road – to keep my eyes focused not on what I’m losing because of cancer but how the Lord is making me new and growing me in ways I never could have without this diagnosis. I certainly don’t see any of this as a gift right now – just a challenge – but I’m trusting the “gift” aspect will come in time. Of course, I am also praying He will physically make me healthy and new so I can live many more years with my precious family and friends. Now . . . that would be a gift!!

I pray He is doing the same with you as you walk beside me on this unexpected journey. And, when we begin to doubt, when the tears start to flow and sorrow comes, I pray we will be renewed with hope by the truth He does make all things new in light of what we might deem as loss. I pray we’ll embrace  this refinement and “newness” with open arms and see His goodness in very tangible ways in the days, weeks, months and years to come.


  1. Dearest Kelsey and Kennedys: Amen - you have written it all. We will continue to hold you and your family up in prayers. We pray that you will have a blessed Thanksgiving Day with your family/friends. We will especially pray for lessening of the pain; for peace and courage for you and all who surround you and for complete healing for your body. You are such a blessing to us in your writings on your blog. You glow with such strong faith and courage in spite what obstacles Satan has placed in your path. In my opinion, you remind me of a modern female Job - and in the end - after his trials - look how Job was blessed. We pray the same will happen for you. Love, Sharl and Doug Taylor

  2. Dear Kelsey and Family,
    Happy Belated Birthday. I pray that your next birthday will be cancer free and you will have many years of cancer free birthdays. I spent my 24th birthday in the hospital at Amarillo for my 3rd cancer surgery. It was then the doctors told me and my family that they could no longer find any cancer in my body. In fact they told me it was a miracle that the cancer was gone. That is my prayer for you, that one day you will receive your miracle from God. I hope you know how much I love you and your family. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.
    Always in our prayers,
    Joe and Linda Oliver