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Friday, January 31, 2014

Dr. B update

I am so sorry I didn’t update the blog sooner. After my appointment with Dr. Benjamin yesterday, we headed to our “home away from home” to pack and leave Houston. We arrived in Dallas last night at 11pm. I am still processing everything I heard yesterday, so I plan on sharing more specifics, my thoughts and prayer requests in another post.

For now, here’s the extent of my appointment. . .

My PET scan showed nothing remarkable. However, there are two small spots – one on my right calf and one on my T6 vertebrae. The spots are so small, Dr. B is unsure what the spots are, but he wants to keep an eye on them.

According to the CT scan of my chest, he believed my lungs looked better than they had in November. He is pleased with my blood work and believes my body is handling the Votrient (the chemo pill) well. He wants me to continue on the full dosage.

Long story short, Dr. Benjamin said I was doing better than he expected and that he wanted to see me again in two months for a follow-up PET scan and CT scan of my chest.

Aside from a miraculous healing, this is good news. However, I know all too well we are not out of the woods (as much as I had hoped and prayed), so “warriors” please stay tuned for how we can be petitioning the throne for big things in the days, weeks and months to come. I have already felt the Enemy attacking and trying to steal the joy of this news with thoughts of fears and discouragement. There is nothing I would love more than to continue exceeding Dr. B’s expectations with the only explanation – “My God is BIGGER than this disease and we have an army of ‘warriors’ believing He will do BIG things.”

Thank you for your continued prayers for my complete healing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Divine appointments

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23


No doubt about it. I experience much more “hope” when I look down at this bracelet than when I look down at the hospital wristband I’ve worn for the last three days. It is, however, how you distinguish the patients from the caregivers at MD Anderson. I never wanted an “admission” bracelet into MDA . . . never. But, I don’t suppose anyone wearing one does. You can see it on his/her face when our eyes meet and you know the silent conversation we’re having with one another. “Oh, you have cancer too? I am so sorry. I hate all of this just as much as you do.” Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful it allows me to be seen by some of the top docs in the nation, but I’m always thankful I can see my “HOPE” bracelet right below it anytime a nurse or tech checks my “other” wristband. It reminds me Who is really in charge of this gig and where my hope must be placed.

That’s a long intro to tell you how I got this incredibly special bracelet. It was one of those divine encounters I’ve asked you to pray for. Last weekend, I was in my favorite children’s boutique in Dallas purchasing gifts (while exercising tremendous discipline not to buy anything for Alexa). Long story short, the precious gal working there (named Jerrie) said, “May I ask you about your hair? Was it a haircut or was it – something else?” She asked me this because earlier she overheard me jokingly try to comfort a mother looking at hair accessories to cover-up her daughter’s hair. Her daughter had gotten a hold of the scissors, if you know what I mean. I simply said, “Don’t worry. I’m living proof it will grow back.”

So, back to Jerrie and the “hair” question. I told her it definitely wasn’t a hairstyle choice. It was cancer. She proceeded to ask me what kind of cancer. I smiled and said she wouldn’t know what it was, but she wanted to know anyway. I kept it vague and said I had a sarcoma. Her eyes got wider, and I knew she was familiar with that dirty seven-letter word. We continued our conversation and I found out her nineteen-year-old friend, Hunter, had just been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. I could tell her heart was breaking with the news. By the way, Hunter began his first round of chemo yesterday and Jerrie was by his side.

In that moment, it was a beautiful opportunity for me to share my story – that even with an incredibly rare cancer with no targeted treatment or clinical trials on the horizon – God was showing me step-by-step He was bigger than my stage IV diagnosis. I shared a few ways He had shown me His faithfulness, even at my lowest points (how I still have an arm, how God gave us Alexa Hope, etc). I said with great conviction, “God will be faithful to Hunter too. He will because He can’t help but be faithful. Faithfulness is a part of His nature and He will never contradict His nature – even when we feel He is faith-less – He is faithful. We have to rest in that Truth, and you need to be there to remind Hunter of that Truth when he doesn’t believe it.”

As we were sharing our hearts with one another, Jerrie’s family walked in and we began chatting. It was a precious time proclaiming God’s power and ability to work through devastating situations and answer bold prayers. I told Jerrie I would be praying for Hunter’s complete healing. I gave them my blog site, and as I walked away, Jerrie’s mother asked, “You said your daughter’s name was Hope.” I said, “Her name is Alexa Hope.” Jerrie’s mom proceeded to remove a bracelet from her arm and said, “Well, you need this more than I do.” I said thank you as she placed the bracelet (pictured above) on my wrist and my eyes puddled up. I have worn it every day since and will not soon forget to pray for Hunter’s healing, his precious friend, Jerrie, and the hope we can only find in Him.

I typically close these “healing updates” with prayer requests. You pretty much know mine for tomorrow – a peace-filled, encouraging appt with Dr. B (11:30am), clear PET scan results, further direction concerning my treatment, pain management for my chest/back and no more cancer – ever. If you would like more details, please refer to the January 24 post. And by the way, today went very well. I got my bone-strengthening shot (don’t even feel nauseated yet) and had my last MRI for the week!! (Yes, they are going to miss me in outpatient radiology.) Ty for praying over every aspect of this week. Tomorrow is the biggie. I am nervous but my prayer hasn’t changed – do big things God.

This evening, I would ask you to lift-up several of my friends. My hurt is hurting for them. They are all fighting cancer, and I don’t have to tell you how “dark” this road can be. They need “warriors” too. Some are friends, others I have met at MDA, and others I don’t even know, but I am praying all the same – just as so many of you are faithfully praying for me. You have blessed me beyond measure . . . would you be a blessing to them as well and we’ll see what God will do? I don’t see any reason why God can’t heal us all (if it’s His will, of course), so I’m asking for big things.

Melinda (my dear friend who just received more difficult news at MDA this week. Her brain tumor, an aggressive sarcoma, has returned. They are trying a new chemo in the hopes it will shrink her tumor. Then, she will undergo her 6th brain surgery.) 

Hunter (19-yr-old with Ewing’s Sarcoma, started chemo yesterday)

Tom (my friend’s father battling liver cancer, just started a clinical trial at Mayo)

Andrea (my parent’s pastor’s wife battling an aggressive lymphoma, praying for wisdom about future treatment options)

Ann (a member of our church battling cancer of the esophagus)

Rian (pronounced “Ryan”) (From what I understand, she’s an 11-year-old battling an inoperable lung sarcoma.)

Rusty (undergoing a clinical trial at MDA for colon cancer)

Phyllis (recently diagnosed for inflammatory breast cancer, going to MDA)

Erin (battling a sarcoma also going to MDA)

I hate that my cancer prayer list continues to grow. I hate it!!

Lord, we know the Enemy delights wreaking havoc on our bodies and in our lives, but we know the only power he has is what You allow. Nothing can happen to us that hasn’t first been sifted through your sovereign hands. So often in the last ten months, I have had a difficult time swallowing that reality – but – You know this already. I know you are still at work in all of our lives and none of this has taken You by surprise. Help us to trust You more. We need you, Jesus. Please take our broken bodies and heal them completely. Grant us the strength, peace and courage to fight these battles – growing our faith each step of the way. Be with all of those “loving” on us and give them endurance. Thank you for giving Your life so we can place our hope in You. May the world marvel at the works You do in our lives and may You receive all the glory. We boldly ask you to do more than we could possibly ask or imagine. And, we ask all of these things in Your name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A good report - God is working

“Blessed be the Lord! For He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”  Psalm 28:6-7
** Thanks for sharing this great passage with me today, Kari! It set the tone for my heart and my bold, believing prayers.

I’ll make this post short as it feels like midnight to my body, and it’s only 8:30pm! You know you are tired when you get home and take a long, hot shower, only to realize when you are dry that you didn’t wash your body – just your face & hair! No worries, I got back in and got all clean. Regardless of tired sillies, thank you for your prayers – God answered in some remarkable ways . . . but, I suppose that shouldn’t surprise us, should it?

- Our commute to and from MDA was probably the shortest we’ve ever had  - I mean ever! We left the house at 5:10am and made it to MDA before the MRI techs did. The predicted winter storm did not pan out, and for that, we were incredibly grateful as I think most Houstonians were as well. We didn’t have any trouble making it home either.

- The MRI of my pelvis went well. I feel like family at the outpatient radiology clinic now. Everyone kept giving me a hard time saying, “Hey! Are you back again already!?” Ironically, I’ll be making one more appearance tomorrow (lower extremity MRI). I think they’ll miss me when I’m not there Thursday – wink, wink.

- The big praise was my appointment with Dr. Brown. He was very pleased with the response of my spine and pelvis to the radiation. There has been no growth and there has been visible progress on my T2. With it being so early after radiation, it is difficult to see exactly how the bone is responding (because bone responds much slower than soft tissue), but when he said he is very pleased with the results, we take that as an “Amen Jesus!”

Dr. Brown also looked at the CT scan of my chest in conjunction with the MRI of my spine, and he doesn’t see any new growth of cancer. He said my lungs looked good. He believes the pain I am experiencing in my shoulder blade around to my ribs is due to right disk herniations between my T7-T8 and T8-T9. Isn’t it crazy how that isn’t a big deal when you are fighting cancer? We also know I have a slight curve to my spine – also not a big deal. Again, crazy. I have to admit, I am in quite a bit of pain in this area right now. It is still troubling me, but I know herniated disks can be very painful. So, we’ll need to seek the Lord on what to do if that is the case and how we might correct that and reduce the pain. Dr. Brown was cute. He said, “I have to be honest with you. I deal with cancer so much, I don’t know much about herniated disks.” I suppose that is when you tell yourself you are probably at one of the best cancer centers in America when a doc is so dedicated to destroying cancer he can’t tell you much about the “normal spine stuff.” He also believes it is possible the sensitivity to the skin on my chest and underarm is due to having four lymph nodes removed last April.

Dr. Brown released me to do low-impact exercises, and I am thrilled. I’ll be the baddest power-walker there is – ha! I just need to get back to the place I feel physically good enough to sweat because I do love to sweat. He wants me to follow-up with him in 3-4 months to check on the progress of my radiation. Like I said in my previous post, “You gotta love Dr. Brown!”

- Of course, the “big hold our breath moment” is awaiting the results of the most revealing scan – the PET scan. It went well today. I was able to rest, mostly pain-free during my hour of isolation. The actual scan was much shorter than my previous two PET scans which was a delightful surprise (that meant Chris and I got to eat even sooner because “my good man” fasts with me)! We feel so encouraged by the good report from Dr. Brown, but we still ask for prayers as radiologists and Dr. Benjamin analyze this scan and decide on the direction of my treatment. (I meet with him Thursday at 11:30am and meetings with him are hard anyway.) We pray this scan concurs with my previous scans and that there really is no spread of disease and that the disease that was there is dying for good. We also pray the pain in my chest/ribs/upper back is due to herniated disks – nothing else. NO MORE CANCER – EVER!!

-  We get to go in much later tomorrow. I have a bone-strengthening shot at 9:30am and an MRI of my right leg beginning at noon. Then, I can go home, luv on my little girl and spend time with my family. I’m grateful for a less intense day, and I think my body will be too. I’m also grateful for the tremendous support I always have by my side with my hubby, my ‘lil Alexa Hope, and my Mom & Dad.

Monday, January 27, 2014

One day down, three to go

“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:11-14


A powerful reminder hanging on my fighting wall given to me by one of the sweet children from our church.

Early on in this battle, a precious cancer survivor from our church prayed these verses over me. I am sharing them with you now because they continue to be the prayer of my heart as we continue on this road – especially with more scans peeking into my body tomorrow.

This cancer survivor said this passage encouraged her in her own battle as it provided beautiful imagery of the enemy (cancer) being put to shame, disgraced, overtaken and utterly destroyed by our Lord and Redeemer. The Lord says, “When you search for your enemies, you will not find them.” That means when I undergo PET scans, MRIs and CT scans, we pray and boldly ask the Lord that the cancer will no longer be thriving but destroyed. I also love the promise from the Lord not to fear because He alone will help me. He isn’t sending someone else to do the dirty work. He doesn’t even need chemo, radiation or chemo pills for that matter. He just needs to show up and do His thing (which no one else in all creation can, by the way). And, we continue to persistently pray in faith He will.

Of course, one of the most beautiful aspects of this passage for me is that He promises to to rescue me by taking hold of my right hand with His righteous right hand (see vs. 10). You see, I am not supposed to have a right hand, much less one that works. So, I just smile with a gratitude and awe-filled delight to already be living proof of the Lord’s power against this disgusting enemy inside my body.

And so, we face tomorrow with the same faith and bold request we had today (and have had every day since my diagnosis) – that God would totally eradicate all of the cancer cells from my body forever so I may be a living testimony of His miraculous loving-kindness, power and faithfulness.

Thank you my faithful “warriors” for continually going to battle on your knees for me and my family (and all involved in fighting this enemy). I was driving to BSF last week when I realized I couldn’t call you prayer warriors anymore. You deserved the title, “warriors” because this battle is so intense, and I felt that battle last week driving to BSF. The pain was real and so was the mental anguish. As I started to pray out loud, peace swept over me and the pain disappeared. In that moment, I knew it wasn’t just my prayer being answered but the many prayers each of you send to the Father on my behalf. And that’s an intense battle, my friends. It is physical, emotional, mental – but most of all – it is spiritual. The real Enemy isn’t cancer. The real Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), and I just believe he wants to use this cancer to wreak his havoc. And, that is why you are my “warriors.” You are fighting not only against the death of cancer cells but also against “the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

Heavy stuff – I know all too well. I literally feel the “battle” in my bones at times. And, I just want to thank you for standing alongside me, especially on these marathon days at MDA.

- I had my blood work taken as well as my chest CT scan and MRI of my full spine. The MRI was a doozie, and I’m so thankful it is over. For the first time in approximately 15 MRIs, I had to ask the tech to stop so I could move my legs. Little did I know I only had 2 minutes left of the two-hour procedure, but I had reached my limit. My legs & pelvis were really hurting. My bottom-side had fallen asleep, which ironically was painful too. My tailbone and elbows felt raw from the hard table and the lack of extra padding on my body. My head was nestled in a brace with two foam blocks on each side ensuring I didn’t move a muscle. Even my ear plugs felt constricting. I had that panic-stricken feeling I was never getting out and my legs were sweating. Even with verses, songs and prayers running through my head, I said, “Enough.” (By the way, I have never had the privilege of listening to music during a scan at MDA.) The tech was so sweet. He removed my blanket, helped stretch out my legs while making sure I didn’t move my hips to the left or right in order to keep my position aligned. I said I felt much better, and I went back into the jack-hammer sound producing tube for two more minutes of scans. We pray, dear Lord, these scans of my chest and spine come back clean and cancer-free.

- It will be another early morning and long day. We awoke at 4:45 this morning, and tomorrow will require a 4am alarm. Due to predicted sleet, we expect a very LONG commute to MDA from our home base in Humble, TX. I need to be at MDA at 6:15am for the MRI of my pelvis. Would you please pray for alertness and safety on our commute to and from MD?

- I had to fast this morning until 11am (for my CT scan). I will have to fast tomorrow until my PET scan is over which will be around 4pm. Please pray for endurance, energy and strength through the day. I can drink water but that is it. Also pray I won’t be grumpy because when I am hungry – I get grumpy.

- Of course, we are praying Isaiah 41 over these continued scans, especially the PET scan which will be an in-depth head-to-toe look at my body. Again, we are asking the Lord for clean scans and for my ability to remain still through two more long procedures. (Both should last approximately an hour.)

- I will be in isolation for an hour following my radioactive injection prior to my PET scan. Pray I will be able to abide in Jesus – finding joy and peace in Him as I wait. Due to the radioactivity I will be emitting, I will not be able to touch Alexa for twelve hours following the scan. Pray for Alexa to understand why Mommy can’t hold and hug her. Mommy is always sad about this.

- I love Dr. Brown! He is compassionate, caring and a brilliant doc. I am praying I like him even more at our appointment tomorrow when he says my spine and hip/pelvis look clean after the stereotactic radiation he performed in November. Please join me in praying for great news from Dr. Brown. I am also asking him to take a look at the CT scan of my chest to see if he sees anything suspicious concerning the pain I’ve been having. I would prefer to get his take on this before meeting with Dr. Benjamin who is less compassionate – at least in my eyes.

”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.” Ephesians 6:18

Thank you, my mighty warriors, for fighting every second of this battle with me. Love you!

Friday, January 24, 2014

MDA Schedule

Below is the promised schedule for my week at MD Anderson (with prayer requests to follow). But before we get to that much dreaded (I mean, anticipated) topic, I thought you might enjoy a few pics of our latest little character – “Jake the Never Land Pirate.”


Alexa loves to watch Disney Jr, and her new favorite show is “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” Yes . . . there is a girl character named Izzy, but Alexa always wants to be Jake. I can only assume she chooses Jake because he is the main character, and being an only child, she is the main character around our place.

Alexa has been asking for a “Jake” costume for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to run out and get her something when her favorite Disney characters change on a whim (i.e. Doc McStuffins for Halloween). So, I did my best to improvise with the items we had around the house. The only thing I didn’t have was a good vest. I figured most pirates didn’t wear goose-down, and I didn’t have any scrap material to cut one out. In the event you haven’t watched the show, “Jake” is wearing a pouch around his neck to hold gold doubloons (they earn these after accomplishing tasks). Izzy also wears a pouch to hold her pixie dust, but Alexa said that would be too messy in the house, and she added, “We don’t have any pixie dust anyway.” Whew!! I was off the hook.


Arrrrrrrr ah matey!! Alexa gave me her best pirate face. Jake carries a wooden sword given to him by Peter Pan. I had to cut her sword out of thick cardboard, which was quite a feat with three functioning fingers and box-cutters. It wasn’t the brightest thing I’ve ever done but totally worth the smile on her face. Perhaps the equally ignorant thing was using a silver Sharpie marker that was so “fragrant,” I could hardly stand up straight afterward. Oh, the things we do for those we love the most.

Alright, as you can see, I could write blogs about my daughter all day. Talking about cancer does NOT thrill my soul, and I would much prefer to end the cancer talk now. Thus – that’s not my reality . . . yet.

We drive to Houston tomorrow for a busy week of scans & appointments. I normally don’t include the prep times for each scan, but I am adding them so you can pray for me during those moments of sitting & waiting. I am normally getting stuck with an IV (hopefully only once) and then waiting in isolation. I am sometimes surrounded by other cancer patients undergoing similar tests. These are all opportunities to hear the voice of the Father, experience His hope & peace and be a light to those with whom I interact. Here you go . . .

7:15am – Bloodwork
8:10am – CT Scan check-in
9:00am – CT Scan of chest (w/wo contrast)
11:15am – MRI prep
12pm – MRI of C-spine (w/wo contrast)
1pm – MRI of T-spine (w/wo contrast)
2pm – MRI of L-spine (w/wo contrast)

6:15am – MRI prep
7:00am – MRI of pelvis (w/wo contrast)
9:00am – Appt with Dr. Brown (radiation oncologist)
12:00pm – PET scan prep
1:30pm – PET scan injection
3:00pm – PET scan (head-to-toe)

9:30am – Xgeva shot (bone-strengthening shot)
12:15pm – MRI prep
1:00pm – MRI of lower extremity (w/wo contrast)

11:30am – Appt with Dr. Benjamin (Sarcoma oncologist)

- Of course, the obvious prayer is for all of my scans to come back clear. For God to miraculously remove this nasty cancer from my body – forever. We are asking boldly for full, complete healing. For all glory to go to Him and for a long life for me to do the same – glorify Him.

- For safe travel to Houston as well as the many trips to and from MDA. With early appts, we are praying we can avoid any rush hour traffic and/or incidents because of traffic congestion or construction. It’s definitely a practice in patience.

- Alexa has been fighting a low-grade fever and sore “gulps” (as she calls them) for two days. I haven’t been feeling well either. Pray for health protection and healing from the sickies for all of my family.

- As always, I need prayers to remain calm & still during each scan, especially when I am feeling pain. Would you ask God to graciously protect me from “hard table” soreness? I seem to walk away from these weeks even more sore than I already am.

- For God to orchestrate the most-skilled, compassionate team to prepare me for each scan, to perform each scan and interpret each one accurately.

- For encouraging appointments with both Dr. Brown & Dr. Benjamin. For the ability to process all of the information we receive and ask the right questions. For God to give each doc the wisdom they need to evaluate my scans and provide the next step for treatment. 

- For the cause of my ongoing pain in my chest/ribcage/lungs and pelvis/femur to be discovered, and for it NOT to be cancer but healing pain. Of course, prayers for pain relief are always welcome.

- For the Votrient (chemo pill) to reveal it has been effective in preventing the spread of cancer.

- I agreed to be in a clinical research study in November. We are praying the results from my bloodwork are finished so we can discuss the findings with Dr. Benjamin and understand better how to kill this cancer & its spread.

- For this week to be filled with hope, peace, strength, encouragement, endurance and joy. Um – yes – don’t forget physical healing!!

- For divine appointments and opportunities to share of our great God (more on this in my next post).

We will do our best to provide updates as we receive them. We love our mighty “warriors in prayer” and we thank you in advance for the many bold, believing petitions you will make on our behalf this week and always. We look forward to experiencing God’s faithfulness & power every day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just because . . .


The Kennedy crew (and my friend, Shanna) enjoyed a fun weekend outing to cheer on the #1 ranked OU women’s gymnastics team who went on to defeat Iowa State. It was an exciting atmosphere watching seriously talented female athletes competing while also watching the hope-filled eyes of little girls cheering them on. Chris and I joked we hoped Alexa didn’t love gymnastics too much (this is her first year in lessons) as we’re pretty sure she’ll be too tall for the sport by sixth grade. Needless to say, Alexa had a blast, and we’ve been role-playing floor routines (but mostly clapping like crazy) when Alexa finishes her jumping, twirling and summersaulting.

I don’t have much news to report – no hand therapy or appointments last week or this week (hooray). I just felt like I needed to update everyone. I desperately hope to have a Christmas and Disney World blog posted before we head back to MDA on Monday (so many pictures/videos to swim through). Speaking of, I’ll be posting my MDA schedule very soon with specific prayer requests. The schedule continues to change, and it will take an entire posting. The week is going to be F-U-L-L (sigh).

In addition to several MRIs & a CT scan, Dr. Benjamin has decided I need another head-to-toe PET scan to investigate the pain I am having in my right hip/pelvis/femur as well as my chest/upper back/lungs. One day, the pain will be constant, and the next sporadic or hardly at all. It can be in the exact same area for several days and then feel as if it has spread. I don’t know what to make of it, and I’m trying not to as my mind typically goes to worst case. So when my hope turns to despair, I am trying to live out Romans 12:12 - “Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Faithful in prayer.”

My typical “moment-by-moment” prayer goes something like this, “Lord please remove this pain. May it be healing pain from the radiation, not more cancer. Lord, help my eyes to stay focused on you and what You can do, nothing else. I believe You can do the impossible and I am boldly asking you to heal my body of this cancer. Do something in me that can only be explained by You. I won’t stop asking in faith, Lord. Please help me to trust you in this moment because I need you. Help me experience joy not fear.”

I have to tell you, this has helped SO MUCH over the past week – recognizing my unbelief, having scriptures available to recite when I feel discouraged, and then going to Him in prayer when the doubt, fears and pain come. I have noticed a difference emotionally, physically and mentally. I want to thank you for your persistent prayers for my pain to decrease, for total physical healing, and for victory in this often-dark spiritual battle.

In small, but also big ways, I believe my walk with Him has changed over the last week-and-a-half. My faith in what He can do is growing and my dependence on Him is greater. Thanks to the awesome Truths I’ve been studying in the Matthew study at BSF. I’m so thankful for that. I believe this new way of thinking and doing has even affected my pain levels. I have probably felt better this past weekend than I have since my diagnosis in April. There is still disconcerting pain (especially in my chest/lungs/ribs) but I am asking the Lord to help me, moment-by-moment, and not let it overwhelm me. I described this new mental exercise to someone as taking my “pain captive” (2 Cor. 10:5) by running to Jesus first with my needs and expecting Him to deliver. Of course, I also take pain medication and that helps as well. Although I have new areas of pain that trouble me, my lower back feels immensely better than it has since radiation. I can tie my shoe, turn over in bed, and get in & out of the car without looking like an old woman.

I have to share one sweet moment with you from the weekend. I was finishing up my Bible study, and Alexa was waiting as patiently as a three-year-old can. (I normally do my Bible study before she wakes-up or after she goes to bed, so this was a rare occasion for her.) I told her, I just need to pray and then we can play. So, I bowed my head to pray silently and I looked over and she had her hands folded, head bowed and eyes closed too. So, I asked her if she’d like to pray with Mommy. She said, “Yes.” So we knelt together at her dining room chair and thanked God for what He taught me that day and continued to ask boldly for my total healing. The phrase we most often use is, “God can do the impossible.” It was such a beautiful moment together. Now, when I feel the pain or fear ensuing, I ask her if she’d like to pray with me. I pray this will become our “new normal” long after this cancer is gone.

I can honestly say, I had an amazing extended weekend with my family because I felt GOOD. The pain was far less than it has been in months, and I think I just decided, I don’t want to “survive” – I want to “live.” And so, we enjoyed things together as a family that I haven’t done much since last spring. We went to the park. I pushed Alexa in a swing. We kicked the soccer ball. I jogged beside Alexa riding her bike (for a little bit). We played chase. We made crafts with finger paints and put together a mini-theatre for Alexa’s finger puppets (I can even use scissors). I helped with meals and did the dishes. And, I was able to put Alexa to bed by myself two night in a row (including giving her a bath)! These may seem like little things to you, but they are major accomplishments for me as I haven’t been able to do them for several months. In many ways, I felt like I was a regular wife and mommy again with much shorter, curlier, lighter hair. I thank God for these moments and pray there will be many, many more (without cancer)!

Some silly pics from the weekend . . .

Alexa is showing off a new Minnie Mouse necklace she was surprised with by one of our many precious supporters. Ty Miss Kris! She loves it!!

Well, like I said, not much news to relay. Just a little update on our family and what God is doing. I realize anytime I share a good report, it seems the Enemy comes in for a stronger assault so please pray for my heart in these days leading up to MDA. I feel like a kid dreading going back to school. I wish I could sugar-coat it, but I hate that place because it reminds me I am not a normal wife/mommy & thus far has revealed I have more cancer. The pain especially in my chest/lungs/upper back has been bothering me most of all. I cough quite a bit and struggle for deep breaths. Even as I sit here, I have a bothersome side ache.

All in all, I have been greatly encouraged over the last several days with special times with the Lord, less pain and small glimpses of normalcy. However, there are also moments the stark reality of cancer cannot be escaped. Here are just two examples of how it can rear its ugly head . . .

- I was introduced to a radiologist Friday who wanted to know my story. As I shared my story, starting with symptoms five years ago, he said, “You are very lucky. Your sarcoma must be slow-growing. Most people with a sarcoma die within a year.” Yeah, I was definitely thinking “I hit the jackpot with this diagnosis,” – ha!! . . . I know that was (in some way) supposed to be encouraging – but – it wasn’t. I often laugh (inside my head) at the things people tell me. I know most of what people say stems from a genuine, caring heart but . . . really!? If someone dies in your story, or there is a recurrence of cancer – don’t share it. If it’s a survivor story or it involves miraculous healing, I’m all ears. I think talking to someone with cancer should require one rule – stop and think before you speak. Well, according to Proverbs, this should happen every time we start to say something, right?

- Have you ever opened mail like this, or am I one of the privileged few? I mean who wouldn’t hesitate to swallow pills delivered with a huge “caution” label on them? I can remember the same “caution” sign on my IV chemo. I think “toxic” was also included. It’s so comforting, isn’t it!? I would much prefer taking pre-natal vitamins, but then again, I would much prefer to live. And so, I dispose of the “caution” bag and pray every morning when I swallow four of these beauties, “Lord, please make these little pills powerful and effective in defeating this cancer. Please eliminate the page and a half of potential side effects. And thank you this isn’t IV chemo.”

Just a reminder, that even with encouraging days, cancer is sobering and inescapable. It is a disgusting result of The Fall, and I’m so grateful for your persistent prayers of faith as we walk through this together. We continue to pray in faith for an encouraging, cancer-free check-up next week.

Thank you and love you all!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

S-l-o-w-l-y moving forward


I hope this “little kitty” makes you smile. I realize it’s an awkward beginning to a “moving forward” post, but I will start with smiles and delight because it makes me happy and it is one of the biggest ways I cope and “move forward” with pain and the unknowns. You see, I pour so much of myself into these posts that I am often stifled as to how to begin. This go-round, I thought it best to capture what our weekend looked like from family life to the ugly “c.”


On Friday, Alexa wanted to dress-up like a kitty so we did our best to improvise with brown eyeliner, a scarf and coordinating kitty hat & mittens – never mind it’s really a fox on her head. I never captured the pink stripes Alexa cut out herself and taped to her legs. Regardless, she had a blast being a “kitty” named Pinky and the whole event made me smile and forget about my pain, even if for a few moments. Okay, the pain never goes unnoticed (or the reality of this ugly mess for that matter) but it made it more bearable on a day that felt dark otherwise. Alexa “Hope” definitely puts a sparkle in my day.

I laughed when she posed to show me her tail. Work that tail, sweetie!

Okay – that was fun. Ty for indulging me. I needed that. Now to healing updates, as I am trying so very hard to believe they are and will continue to be . . .

For the first time ever, my neutrophils were low. These are the white blood cells important for fighting off infections and keeping my immunity strong. If they drop any lower, Dr. Keefer said he’d drop my full dosage of the chemo pill, Votrient, from 800mg/day (4 pills) to 600 mg (3 pills). Of course, I didn’t like that one bit because I don’t see the use of the pill unless it’s full-strength, but we’re hopeful my counts will go back up with prayer, diet and rest.

I have yet to hear how my liver enzymes are doing but I assume no news is good news in this regard. My blood pressure was great. I am not scheduled to see Keefer again until next month as I’ll be doing my next round of blood work/blood pressure/liver check-up at MDA at the end of the month. I may return to Mercy/Keefer in OKC for an MRI of my right pelvis/leg area before the MDA visit but more on that later.


This was my arm four weeks out of surgery.

This is my arm almost four months later (taken on Saturday).

If you notice, I can tighten my fist, not perfectly (that will never happen again due to a missing ulnar nerve and flexor tendons) but it is tightened. I couldn’t do this until I started hand therapy.

Below is a profile view. My right arm (which is your left) looks like it’s been on a diet (and thank God for the tumor diet it’s been on). My hand therapist is proud of the little muscle belly growing below the site of my tumor resection. Aren’t you impressed? Again, compare my fists. Although my thumb is forcing all of my fingers to stay curled – and this after I positioned my right fingers there with my left hand – I am still thankful for the improved range of motion and the fact my pinky is curled up right along with them. With the loss of my ulnar nerve, I have no feeling in my pinky or half of my ring finger. My therapist said oftentimes, the pinky will just point out but miraculously I can bend mine and make it do what is necessary if I concentrate. She is amazed by the flexibility I have in these fingers. Not much functionality, but she said you definitely want them to bend like the rest of your hand and they do. I like to call it “joining the party.” Thank you Lord!

As far as my reassessment with range-of-motion and grip strength, Debbie said I have come a long way – especially in my range-of-motion. As far as grip strength, my right hand had 5 lbs at our last assessment (four weeks ago), and has almost tripled at 13.7 lbs of grip strength. Debbie defines a functioning hand as having 25 lbs of grip strength, so I have a ways to go but the news was encouraging to me. My left hand grip strength improved from 55 lbs to 66 lbs.

Debbie will send my progress to Dr. Lin at MDA, and hopefully, he’ll sign off for me to receive a few more weeks of therapy so I can reach my max potential concerning range-of-motion and strength. I’d love for my right hand to be considered “functional.” Oh yes, and insurance has to agree as well but Debbie thinks I have a great case to continue. We’ll wait and see. In the meantime, I’ll continue working my hand in warm rice, squeezing my therapy ball and making fists.

As far as functional progress, I can do Alexa’s hair (clumsily but it still gets done), carefully cut produce, stir with a utensil, turn a doorknob, zip a zipper, hold a razor and shave (while praying often), write (hooray), and open a car door. I do all of these things in different ways than I used to, but Debbie is proud of my “new normals.” New goals are learning how to shoot a basketball and throw a spiral, because, believe it or not fellas, I had a beautiful spiral back in the day.

Of course, I was thrilled to pass along an encouraging report to my family and closest friends on the drive home from hand therapy. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I thanked God for saving my arm/hand and restoring a great deal of functionality to what seemed “a hopeless case” by so many docs. I asked myself, “Why would the Lord go to such great lengths to save my arm/hand if He didn’t want me to use it and live?”

It seemed almost immediately following such encouraging news, the test came. My right upper leg/pelvis started hurting again Thursday evening. It hurt in a very similar way my left hip/pelvis did. Not only this but I was also having a very strange pain in the middle of my chest (accompanied by the constant skin sensitivity I’ve had since Dec. 24). I couldn’t shake the continual, throbbing pain in my upper right leg coupled with the chest pain (as it hurt to breathe and still does).

I hit a “discouragement wall.” I mean, really God? Can I have just one day of celebration and thanksgiving for answers to prayers without having to be reminded of the looming threat inside my body – without fighting fear, pain, sadness, and disbelief. Because, let’s face it, if my cancer is spreading, it really doesn’t matter how much progress I make on my hand therapy. In my “I am praying boldly for healing” world, a functioning hand with spreading cancer doesn’t add up. And, if the cancer has spread, then the chemo pill is null and void as well. It’s so frustrating and I can’t emphasize this enough. You see, I have to pay attention to every little pain I have (of course, the pain is rarely little so that’s not a problem). Even if I wanted to ignore it, I am not given that luxury because it could be. . . . well, you know. You see, I didn’t do anything about a nagging pain in my arm/hand for five years, and look where that got me!? I am face-to-face with my mortality. I realize we all are – it’s just that mine has rare, metastatic & Stage IV in front of it. I hate all of those words. I hate them. I could say a lot more at this point in a lot more colorful language as to my thought process that Thursday evening through the weekend but I’ll refrain.

Let’s just say, whether the constant, debilitating pain was spiritual warfare, spreading cancer, healing pain (or all of the above) – my mind struggled to trust Him in those moments (as it has so often the past nine months). I was sad. I was angry. I felt betrayed. I told Him, “This is so cruel. All of this is cruel. And, You could change this at any moment. You could ease this pain. You could heal me. Heck – You could just let me know You care – and you choose not to.” I got in bed wincing one of those evenings and told Chris, I am sick of sanctification. I never wanted to be “sanctified” in this way. I don’t know what I did to deserve this or why God thinks I can handle this but I don’t appreciate it one bit.

And that’s when my Dad came. He arrived Friday afternoon to help me at home and with Alexa. The pain and the emotional load was too much. My mom arrived that evening. Chris is getting used to my parents living with us because he knows they can help me out so he can work, and it gives him peace knowing “his girls” are taken care of. I am so fortunate my husband loves my parents and vice-versa. And, I’m unbelievably blessed by my family’s willingness to drop everything to love on me in this way.

Anyway, I felt better just having family around and extra help to take care of tasks I was incapable of tackling. (I know so many of you are willing to help, but on days like these, it is best for my family to deal with the raw nature of my humanity – it’s not pretty and they love me no matter how un-pretty I am.)

Here are a few ways they love me . . .

Pop provides endless entertainment to Alexa. There is nothing too silly for Pop to be for his Alexa-bear, even if it means wearing bracelets for earrings and being turned into a toad or a king. He’s been one of Alexa’s best buddies the last nine months.

Mom lovingly cleans and preps my juice packs every week – that’s 14 a week. And Chris takes on the task of juicing them every day for me AND then cleaning up the mess. This is a labor of true love. My contribution – I drink them with gratitude and w/o wincing – too much.

Long story short, the pain continues to be pretty constant. I am praying for wisdom to know if/when to call Keefer for an MRI before MDA or whether to wait it out until the week of Jan. 27th.

On a brighter note, I told Chris one evening, I was battling some very deep but also very simple theological questions about God. Ones I have never questioned before. It scared me a bit to be in that place but I knew these areas needed to be examined – not ignored. I said, “I just need to know if God even cares. I am not for sure He loves me right now, and I’m not for sure if I love Him.” (We know He does, and I know I do but I feel like I’m in an incredibly deep pit right now.)

All of that to say, today I received three pieces of mail. I won’t go into great detail of the contents because it would take a novella to explain the personal significance of each. However, I will say this – God let me know He does care for me today. One card (a piece of artwork by a precious child) simply said, “Keep trusting Him” with my favorite verse beside it. (I seriously doubt the sender knew that was my all-time favorite verse.) One friend was praying specifically for daily joy & beautiful thoughts because those affect me mentally, spiritually & physically (as you read above, my thoughts have not been pretty and my pain has been bad). I needed that reminder. And, the final card had an image on it that I knew came directly from the Throne of God because it has been His symbol to me of love, healing and hope throughout this journey. I had actually said to Him today, if I see this certain image today than I would know You are in this with me. I opened this card and . . . this exact image was on the cover staring right back at me.

I immediately started to cry (just as I am right now), I was so stunned He would do that for me. It was such a silly thing to ask of Him. It was something only someone weak in faith would ask, and yet He followed through and sent it in His love. I immediately got on my knees and thanked Him for His very personal love letter to me. I asked Him to forgive me for my recent attitude and unbelief and asked for the strength to continue believing He can do something impossible in my life this year which can only be attributed to Him. (By the way, I’m still praying that every day – see the previous post).

So, I am moving forward . . . slowly. I wish there was another way for me to look like Jesus. I wish it were easier. I wish it didn’t hurt so much, on so many levels, but having the assurance He is very much involved in my situation helps. To know He hasn’t forgotten about me eases the pain. To know He loves me enough to meet me where I am – even in my unbelief – well, I don’t even know how to wrap my mind around that one. I feel His love in a very tangible way tonight, and for this, I am grateful.

May my heart (and all those who join me) continue to . . .

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Random fact – because my brother-in-law, John, includes them on his weekly family updates. It took 108 batteries to power the 56 LED column candles I decorated with this Christmas. It was so sad (and dark) to put them away . . . another reason for my melancholy disposition. Alexa said last night, “Mama, I miss the candles. Can we put them back again?” She loved reading by the candles in the evenings. I did too. Goodness, I really wanted to put them back right then and there. Who knows – we may break them out again when we need a little more “light” in our lives.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A challenge and an update

After receiving a text from a friend on Sunday, I realized I never updated my prayer warriors on the findings from Dr. Keefer concerning my bone scan. I started this update two days ago and am just finishing it – my apologies. Sometimes my thoughts and my schedule coincide creating “dangling” posts. Thank you for your continued prayers even when you don’t have the latest news. Here are a few ramblings, a healing update and prayer requests.

It is the beginning of a new year. One for which I’m very thankful as I’d much prefer 2013 in my past. I rarely make new year’s resolutions, but I do find it valuable to evaluate my spiritual walk – is it growing or is it stagnate? I thought I might pass along a few things I am hoping to incorporate in 2014 as well as a spiritual evaluation I do every year. Perhaps it will challenge you as well. The newest prayer I’d like to incorporate into my daily walk this year is one I read in a recent article by John Brooks, the President of FOCUS International.

- “Would you please do in and through me, Father, those things that can only be explained by pointing to You?”

My faith in the Father was deeply, and I mean deeply, challenged in 2013. I realize I am currently in a situation from which only the Lord can deliver me. My bold and believing new prayer is that we will see the mighty working of God’s healing hand on my life in such a way that there will be no other explanation but – God – and all the glory can be given to Him. I also pray as I continue on this journey, we will see His faithfulness in big ways so we can testify of His goodness to those around us –  especially doctors, medical staff, patients/caregivers, those who choose not to believe, and of course, our daughter.

I was also challenged this Fall by a statement I heard on a Christian radio station posing the question,

“What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?”

I think that’s a very humbling question because there have been many days in 2013 I wasn’t very thankful, and yet, I had so very much for which to give thanks (like my right hand!) As I mentioned in my “Choosing Gratitude” post as well as a post I wrote on August 29, 2012, giving thanks should be a fruit of our hearts, even if it is a daily choice . . . even if it costs us something. So not only do I pray God will do the impossible in my life this year, but I also pray I will have a heart of gratitude for all He has already done. I am learning gratitude really helps combat bitterness and discouragement when it creeps in. Unfortunately, I battle both often.

Finally, I’m sharing a list of questions I took from a lecture given by my BSF teaching leader. I’ve had these questions taped on my bathroom mirror since 2010. Some days they go unnoticed but they are always there for me to see and be challenged. It has been interesting to recount the Lord’s faithfulness each year as well as how I am still trusting Him for certain things. Of course, the answers to these questions can change as my circumstances change. I pray this evaluation challenges your walk in 2014, so that at the end of the year, you and I can both say – I have grown in my understanding of who Jesus is, therefore my love for Him has grown and my life (my words, my actions, my thoughts) reflects Him more and more. If you can’t read 6 pt font, the questions are listed below the image . . .


1. What’s one thing I will do to increase my enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing I will ask God for this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing I can do to improve the quality of my family life?
4. In which spiritual disciplines will I make progress this year and what will I do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time waster in my life and what will I do about it?
6. What is the most helpful new way I could strengthen my church?
7. For whose salvation will I pray for most earnestly this year?
8. What’s the most important way, by God’s grace, I will make this year different from the last?
9. What’s one thing I could do to improve my prayer life this year?
10. What single thing will I plan to do this year that will make a difference ten years from now?

--Do I love Jesus more? Do I know more about Him? Do I look more like Him?

I received a call Friday from Dr. Keefer’s nurse confirming he didn’t see anything suspicious on my bone scan. However, if my pain continued, he was fine with ordering an MRI. I was, of course, relieved and thankful he didn’t see anything startling and I don’t plan on asking for an MRI as I’ll have several on my body at MDA the last week in January.

As of New Year’s Eve and forward, the pain in my right hip/pelvis/femur has decreased – although it seemed to rear its ugly head Sunday. I suppose it simply wants to remind me its there. The skin sensitivity and should blade pain in my upper right chest is still there, but I simply try to ignore it. I am praying and believing all of this discomfort is healing pain due to the radiation and nothing else. God has given me no reason to feel otherwise, and the only worries I have come from the Enemy. I have felt a confirmation about that. It’s a constant mental exercise to say, “No Satan. I am not letting this pain consume me right now. I am taking this to God and trusting Him with it.” Then, I do my best to go about my daily business  - which normally means doing something with Alexa Hope (and that generally leads to cuddling and giggles).

I continue my hand therapy three times a week and have another follow-up concerning my chemo pill (bloodwork/blood pressure/liver check) with Dr. Keefer this Thursday at 8:45am. As much as I don’t like these constant appointments (which often feel like a time suck to me and yucky reminders of what this disease has done to my body), I am thankful for medicine, my docs, my hand therapist, insurance and friends willing to watch Alexa so she doesn’t have to suffer in these waiting rooms with me.

- For the areas of concern to be radiation-related healing and nothing else. For the stereotactic radiation to continue killing any cancer cells in my body, for good.

- For the chemo pill to be effective in preventing the spread of any cancer from here on out. For my blood work, liver enzymes and blood pressure on Thursday to be strong so I can continue on the full dosage

- The biggest side effects of the chemo pill currently are gnarly headaches, nausea, decreased appetite, upset stomach and fatigue. I am unsure what my hair is up to these days as far as loss of pigment. One thing is for sure, it seems curly. Besides the hair (which I would prefer straight), I would ask for minimal side effects. The headaches can really knock me out, and I continue losing weight.

- My sweet hand therapist will be reassessing my range-of-motion and strength this Thursday. Please pray she sees enough progress to continue with therapy. That means she sees more potential for my hand to grow stronger and become more functional. That would be – in one word – AWESOME!!

- For a continual mindset that is believing for big things this year and for the perseverance to pray continually to the One who can do the impossible.

- For my heart as I prepare for a return trip to MDA, Jan 27-30, which includes several follow-up scans and appointments. I am praying for good news.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here’s to 2014!

Here’s the wild and crazy crew with whom we spend every New Year’s Eve. We’ve shared the last moments of each year with the Kilgore family for as long as I can remember. We also included two couples who have joined the crew in the past. Welcome, once again, Jones and Dunnagan families!! Notice Trey who joined us in the picture via Facetime on Terry’s cell. We missed you Trey!! (A few more fun pics at the end of this post.)

I don’t have to tell anyone who follows this blog I will never forget nine months of 2013 . . . although I’d much prefer to erase them forever from my memory, no doubt, there is a reason for them. As I reflect, it will go down as one of the darkest years of my life. (I pray it will end up being the darkest with much brighter ones to come.) I have always hated odd numbers – ridiculous but true.

Needless to say, the thought of a new beginning, a new year, a new mind (and a healthy body) was a welcoming one for me. There is much to process about what I’ve learned and am learning on this unexpected journey but I know two things heading into 2014. I want this year to be a banner for what my great God has done and is going to do in my life, and I want to approach each day with more confidence in God’s unchanging character (instead of my ever-changing emotions). I am so sick of this disease dictating my emotions. We’ll see how that goes. It will take oodles of prayer and time in the Word! Anyway, I am still processing so much but I wanted to share this incredible “God moment” with you today.

A precious sister-in-Christ (who has also had a less-than-stellar 2013) gifted me with the “Jesus Today” app for my iPhone. I use the “Jesus Calling” app daily and knew the JT app would be a welcome addition to my daily time with the Lord. I have the books as well but the apps are so convenient because I have them with me wherever I go.

Well, today – which happened to be the first day of the new year – I was on Day 5 (This book doesn’t go by date but rather by number). This is what it said . . .

I will restore you to health and heal your wounds. I am with you, within you, all around you – continually at work in your life. When your awareness of Me grows dim, My Presence continues to shine brightly upon you. This Light has immense healing Power. So dare to ask great things of Me, remembering who I am. I am able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think. Pondering My limitless ability to help you will strengthen your faith and encourage you to pray boldly.

Praying in My Name – with perseverance – can accomplish great things. Learn from the parable of the persistent widow, who refused to give up. She kept bringing her petition to a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. Eventually, her persistence wore him down, and he gave her what she sought. How much more will I respond to My children who cry out to Me day and night! Though you may have to wait a long time, do not give up. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds.

”But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.” Jeremiah 30:17

”Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundant above
all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”  Ephesians 3:20

”I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8

”For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps knocking, the door shall be opened.”  Luke 11:10

You can imagine my elation as I read this entry knowing what my heart desired for the new year – a new mindset, a new body and a deeper, persistent faith in Him. How timely the “Day 5” entry was! You see, the prayer warriors I know who fast for me every week had told me on the same week this past year that the Lord had laid Eph. 3:20 on their hearts and He wanted them to pray this over me. I also received a letter from another friend who had written my name in her Bible next to Eph 3:20 two years earlier. Clearly, God was trying to tell me something. And here He was using the same scripture as I enter 2014 to remind me He is the God of the impossible.

Not only this, but I have also shared the salience of the “ask, seek, knock” passage from my study in the book of Matthew this year in BSF. God actually allowed me to live out this passage in November when I was at MDA. One of my prayer warrior friends and I have discussed more than once how God is continually reminding us of the need to be persistent and bold in prayer. We can’t give-up. We can’t pray half-heartedly. We must pray and pray continually. And, here was the same passage in my JT reading today (this passage is also included in the Gospel of Luke as quoted here).

Needless to say, I was greatly encouraged in the way the Lord confirmed through my reading in “Jesus Today” what He has been showing me and my friends through this journey. I want to believe and will continue praying, with all of my being, that 2014 will be the year of my healing. That He will show Himself in ways exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. And, that we will see and know what He has done because we were a part of it . . . faithfully, on our knees.

May 2014 be a year of His blessings and our growth.

IMG_0585 IMG_0558
Our best attempt at capturing the youngest members of the annual NYE celebration. Alexa Hope with cousins, Rylen and Layton. And the Kilgore crew – Aubrey & Caden and Malachi & Luke.


Just a glimpse of the produce it takes for me to have three 8 oz. organic juices every day for approximately six days. My mom lovingly preps my juice packets every week. The cleaning and sorting process takes approximately two hours. Doing “clean” juicing using the Gerson Method, which requires reverse-osmosis water and all organic produce and cleansing methods is intense but it is one of the ways we are fighting this disease and keeping me healthy. Some day, I’ll blog about how a Norwalk juicer works – it is equally time consuming. Ty Mom, Dad and Chris for your continual labor of love to keep me healthy!!