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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.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there Kelsey:) It's Brooke, Jerrie's sister.This post is beautiful...I have told so many people this week about our Divine Appointment, and sit in awe of how God is always always taking care of us. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your battle with us and letting us share with you. It truly was a blessing that our paths crossed when they did. I am always praying for you and your special family, and thank you for keeping Hunter in your prayers as well. I hope for great positive news after this long week ya'll have had. We'll be keeping up with you thanks to this amazing blog;)

    Brooke Gray