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A Time for Baby

Two shots in my rump and now we were ready to meet our baby bird! I have been jokingly calling her the grand finale for months now. Well, this girl really knows how to make an entrance! This is quite a lot of commotion she has created in just under a week. However, we think she is pretty special despite not having met her yet.

How many little girls can say they saved their mama’s life before they even left the womb?

The doctors told me that my tumor is not hormone driven, but it grew to such a massive size so quickly right when my milk started to come in. This may be too much information for you but when I began to leak at 32 weeks (roughly the same time I did with my previous daughter) this tumor accumulated fluid (20 ml worth based on the first ultrasound) making it very noticeable.

I have dense breasts anyway, and I would have never noticed a small lump, and pregnant bodies are so strange anyway, I probably would’ve assumed it was pregnancy related.

So, being pregnant with Robbyn at this time allowed the tumor to grow to such a noticeable size so quickly for some reason.

I believe this was another one of God’s magnificent blessings to our family. We were able to find this mass before it had spread anywhere else in my body.

Saturday afternoon, we dropped the kids off for a fun weekend with Jordan’s parents, and I met up with my sister for our ceremonial pre-delivery pedicure. Heaven forbid anyone in our family pushes a baby out without having professionally polished toes at the ends of our very swollen legs. Holly’s method of comfort usually involves pedicures, retail therapy, and ice cream, so we had to make a few stops before meeting up with Jordan.

I’m sure you have heard of love languages, and all of this is Holly’s love language and an afternoon of escape was just what I needed after this week. I’m not usually good at doing these sorts of things, I’m more task driven, but Holly has always had a way of forcing me to have fun.

After being properly pampered, we met Jordan for an extremely greasy burger and fries since I didn’t want hospital food for dinner, and I would be cut off entirely at midnight.

Jordan and I carried our bags into the hospital. It’s always a strange feeling walking in not knowing the next time you will be outdoors. Jordan held my hand, but honestly, I wasn’t even nervous about this impending delivery. I was just so excited to be doing something instead of sitting and waiting.

I was genuinely surprised I hadn’t gone into stress-induced labor earlier that week. Robbyn definitely could tell something was not right I had been having pain and contractions all week.

I had Cervadil that evening and had to be on a fetal monitor through the night. Miss Robbyn decided to roll around all night, and we kept losing her on the monitor.

*That means the nurse was in every 30 minutes to try and find the runaway baby again. *

Not the most conducive environment for sleep.

Not that I was in the mood to sleep anyway.

The next morning the nurse came in to start my Pitocin, and we were off to the races!

I prayed to God early that morning

I wanted that day to be a joyful occasion. I didn’t want to think about my cancer. As I said in my prayer, I wanted to enjoy the blessing that Robbyn was to us. Ecclesiastes 3 says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Today was a time to be born and celebrate.

I did not have an epidural with my other two children. I am a cheapskate and didn’t want to have to pay for it, but we met our deductible 3 times over in just over a week; so what the heck!

I also knew there was a possibility I could start chemo that week, and I didn’t want to be utterly worn-out from labor so I thought I would give the epidural a shot. It was a strange feeling or rather unfeeling. And the “laboring” continued.

The nurse, being a good patient advocate tried to get my mom, dad, sister, and Jordan to stop talking so much so I could rest, but that is my family.

We are loud.

There are always four different conversations going on, and everyone just keeps talking louder. It was calming to me to hear the chatter.

I much prefer the soothing sounds of my chaotic family to the numbing silence.

While they chattered away, I laid with my eyes closed convinced I was not progressing because I wasn’t feeling anything.

My sweet nurse kept asking if I was feeling any pressure.

No pressure. No real pain. Nothing.

Holly and I forced Jordan to go to the cafeteria and grab something to eat since we had no idea how much longer I might be laboring, and Robbyn was almost promised a stay in the NICU.

Our nurse took that opportunity to go ahead and drain my bladder since it had been a few hours. I swear she emptied a 5-gallon bucket from my bladder. That’s when I started to feel a little uncomfortable.

Nothing terrible just slightly uncomfortable.

She said she wanted to check me, but I told her I KNEW it was not anywhere near show time. Well, she is the labor and delivery nurse and not me for a good reason.

She proceeded to check me and said, “You’re a 10, we are going to have a baby.”

She started rushing around, moving in tables, calling the doctor and the NICU. Holly called Jordan and told him he better hustle back because Robbyn was coming quickly.

I just sat there in disbelief.

The doctor was gowned and seated at the foot of the bed, and I was in the “ready” position when Jordan finally rushed into the room.

The doctor said, “Ok Kari, on this next contraction you are going to push.”
I looked up at the nurse and said, ” You are going to have to tell me when.”
She said, “Now!”
I said, “Now?!”
I seriously couldn’t feel anything.

Three or so pushes, and we could hear our angry little girl screaming!

She was here, and she was mad about it.

An excellent sign when we were worried that she would come out with difficulty breathing.

The NICU checked her out and packed up and left, leaving Robbyn on my chest! She was doing so well we were able to hold her for about an hour before she had to make her journey up to the NICU.

As she lay on my chest, I could hardly believe she was really here. I literally had not even broken a sweat during labor. I was not expecting her for at least six more weeks. And here she was; all whopping 4 pounds 15 ounces of her!

We had our ecclesiastical time to dance!

Now that she had made her arrival and was safe, our gears had to shift.

It was now time for war.

I was raised in a very military-minded family. Our vacations always revolved around which battleship or military museum we could visit. My dad is a retired chaplain, my brother is an army ranger, and my sister is a former Army ICU nurse. (I am clearly the slacker in the family.) So it was no surprise when Adam texted me this:

“I was going to tell you today; I think these next 16 weeks are going to be your “deployment.” You might not get to see your kids as much and do the things you want to do with them, but you are fighting for something far more important, and only for a season. This is “a time for war” (Ecclesiastes). Phase one complete. Robbyn is out and safe. On to phase two: destroy the enemy. So stand in the face of fear and let God win the day. He is able. 2 Chronicles 20, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. You will not need to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD who is with you.

This battle is not mine, but God’s and our battle is just beginning.

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The Final Countdown

So can you believe it? We are only on Wednesday! It hasn’t even been a full week since my OBGYN told me I had cancer.

My world had been completely turned upside down in seconds.

But this is the lot that I was given, and with the optimistic news from the Community Breast Center, I felt like I had hope again.

Of course, there were still critical pieces of our mystery missing: the small matter of ALL the testing that could not be completed until I had delivered Robbyn.

We needed a clip put in the mass because much to our surprise, the doctors said the tumor would shrink very rapidly once chemo was started and the surgeon will need to know the original site was when she operates this fall. We also needed a breast MRI to see if the cancer was only in the left breast and exactly how dense the mass was. And last, but certainly not least, we needed a PET scan to see if there was cancer in anywhere else in my body.

To make matters a little more complicated, we wouldn’t know if it was going to be chemo first or baby first until after we met with the OBGYN and the Maternal-Fetal medicine doc the next day.

So, my mom and I took this appointment-free Wednesday as an opportunity to prepare for whatever the rest of the week was going to throw at us. We did so by going to the most magical place on earth, (no sarcasm here) one of my most favorite places, WALMART. I had things I hadn’t bought yet for my upcoming hospital stay because I thought I still had roughly 7 more weeks before Robbyn arrived, and now I had a new list of supplies to pick up as well.

Supplies for something I never thought I would be preparing for: Chemotherapy.

I was too scared to google side effects from the chemo I would soon be receiving, so I did what any 28-year-old mom in 2018 would do…I pinterested chemo care packages for ideas.

We had things for baby: premie diapers, pacifiers, a few preemie outfits, and other unmentionables for the havoc wrecked that accompanies delivering a baby.

We had things for chemo: multiple gallon size buckets of hand sanitizers, Lysol wipes, soft toothbrushes, dry mouth spray, sunscreen, chapstick, and an eyebrow kit.

And one item that I have been told by both cancer survivors and mothers alike that is 100% necessary: Stool softeners.

The poor cashier must have really wondered what was going on in my life with this vast array of items piled high in my cart.

In preparation for the next morning, I spent that night praying that God would keep aligning circumstances for us so we could kick start our plan. I knew I would feel better once we were physically doing something about our situation because at this point in the game we were still planning and information gathering.

I started a journal a few days prior to keep track of all the information we were being given, since everything was happening so fast. Not to mention, I was not at my mental or emotional peak being 33 weeks pregnant and told I have cancer. I also tend to be a worrier, and when I physically write out my fears and concerns, I have an easier time of letting them go instead of playing them over and over in my head.

After my recording of daily events, I write down my thanks, confessions of sin, prayer requests, rants to God, etc.

Even not very far out from my diagnosis, it is incredible to see all of the prayers and concerns that God has already answered or addressed. It is really humbling to go back and look at how worried I was over concerns that God was already handling on my behalf.

One of my goals for this season of my life is to go from a worrier to a prayer warrior.

If a prayer journal is something you haven’t tried, I highly recommend it. I’m scatterbrained, and my thoughts get derailed pretty quickly if I’m not organizing them on paper. It’s not something you have to spend all day doing either. I keep my small journal in my purse, and I jot things down during the day that I am concerned about and try my best to hand them over to God. Later, I spend more time in the evening writing out a full prayer. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Mine is a $5 black journal from Walmart but looking back to see how God is working in my life is priceless.

Here is an excerpt from my prayer journal that night,

”LORD, I need to trust your timing and your plan. You have been so good to us so far setting the right people in our path. I want to fight for my babies, and my sweet husband and I want to start now! Please help me to be patient. Please give me peace.”

I prayed I wouldn’t have to have a sparring match with the maternal-fetal medicine doctor to make my case for not wanting Robbyn to have a chemo bath in utero. As I said, I have made it only of my goals in life to fly under the radar but my mama bear instincts we’re now in overdrive. I could not be held responsible for what I said to the doctor the next day.

Well, after spending the whole night worrying about how the next day would play out, the next day turned out to be an absolute breeze. We met with the OBGYN first. We had little bit of a wait because he fit me in on a non-office day between two surgeries he had to perform in another building. (God definitely provided!)

He said as long as the maternal-fetal medicine doc agreed, we would be able to deliver as early as Sunday! And as fate (or as I believe God’s providence) would have it, he was already on call Sunday and would be there for my delivery.

One baby doctor down, one to go! Next was the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctor. A title that I didn’t even know existed until this week. He is a high-risk pregnancy doctor, and he would be in charge of monitoring Robbyn should I have to receive chemo first, if she wasn’t developed enough to deliver. He was also the one to determine if she was developed enough to safely deliver. I had to have a very detailed ultrasound first to see how developed her organs were at 33.5 weeks, especially her heart and lungs.

The ultrasound technician was very thorough and explained every picture she was taking. She showed us how Robbyn was actually practicing her breathing and estimated her weight at over 5 lbs. (Another HUGE answered prayer)

She tried to get a picture of Robbyn’s face, but I think this little girl was upset that I’d had three breast ultrasounds that week already and she hadn’t been the star of those shows. Now that we wanted to see her sweet face rather than my left breast, she WAS NOT going to show it to us. The tech pushed and poked on my belly trying to get her to move her hand out of the way, but Robbyn was stubborn and could not be swayed. A trait I am 100% sure she received from her father.

The technician left the jelly and a towel on my stomach just in case the doctor wanted to take more pictures. He walked in very confidently, shook my hand and pulled the towel off my belly.

I introduced Jordan as my husband. He then asked, “And are you are the one who impregnated her?” Jordan almost fell out of his chair but I could spot a fellow sarcastic kindred spirit a mile away! After our other introductions, he cut to the chase and said

“I think we can deliver this baby now. Although I have a feeling this train was rolling whether I thought so or not.”

He shared my concerns about starting chemo before delivering her. He also made a point we hadn’t yet considered. The chemo would attack my immune system as well as hers, and we would have to monitor her blood count and mine before we could deliver. This is one of the many reasons why he is the doctor and not me.

So all I had to do now was receive a steroid injection immediately, and another one in 24 hours to dry up Robbyn’s lungs. Finally,we would come back to the hospital Saturday night for an induction!

God had provided again! This cancer appeared when Robbyn was developed enough to be delivered safely. I cannot imagine being given this diagnosis when I was only 15 or even 25 weeks pregnant.

Her lungs were in great shape, her weight looked fantastic, and both doctors were on board with our plan A.

The best part of the day was when the maternal-fetal medicine doctor asked to pray with us before he left the room. He obviously had a strong prayer life based on the ease and passion that he prayed with.

He prayed for Robbyn’s health and safety, prayed for my upcoming treatment, and prayed for strength for my entire support system. The act of him praying with us was just another confirmation from God that he was directing our path and we were right where he wanted us to be.

I had prayed to God, and he gave me more than I had expected. I have a tendency to underestimate Him, and he was showing me just how wrong I can be.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ, throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3: 20-21

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He is able. We are faithful.

Adam was still is Europe but sent me this prayer in the wee hours of the morning before we met with Community Breast Center. The day before we had received a very bleak prognosis and I was trying my best not to panic. I just kept thinking, “It’s in God’s hands.” I just want to stay in his will for my life.

Nevertheless, in the back of my mind, I could hear “What if God’s will is to take me home to heaven sooner than I planned?”

That was a possibility. It still is. It is for all of us really.

That is where the hope of salvation comes in. Not to be a Debbie-Downer but if you think you are making it out of this world alive you are going to be very disappointed one day!

That is why I feel so strongly about this blog. I am here to tell you if you haven’t heard it before, Christ died for you.

Yes, you.

And if you were the only one who ever accepted his free gift of salvation, He still would have died on the cross just for you and you alone.

As Adam said in his prayer, “We thank you for Jesus and the gift of eternity, and we hold onto that hope in the darkness of this world. The unfettered joy of knowing Christ has suffered so much more than this for us keeps our eyes fixed on you.”

Well, Tuesday morning came. We dropped the kids off at the babysitter and went to carpool with my parents. It was no surprise to find my mom in the kitchen doing what she does best, stress baking.

I was rereading a couple of psalms from my bible over and over again to calm my nerves, while Jordan and my dad ate an unhealthy amount of oatmeal cookies.

The breast center had called the night before and told us in addition to meeting the surgeon; we would also have an ultrasound of my armpit (to see if my cancer had spread), meet with a geneticist, the medical oncologist, and finally the breast surgeon. We had a full day ahead of us. Since the past Saturday, I had been keeping a little notebook full of doctors’ names, information, appointments, and many, MANY questions. On the way up there, mom and I added to our seemingly never-ending list of questions.

Once there, I was whisked from appointment to appointment. Every single person there knew who I was and knew the order of events for the day. They all called me by name and treated me like a person (a person who was scared out of her wits but a person no less). The only missing piece about choosing Community Hospital was I still didn’t have an OBGYN or a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor at a hospital with a NICU.

We had called the office of the OBGYN and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctors several times trying to explain the situation, and the soonest date they had to get me in for an initial visit was two weeks away!

Well, my breast surgeon took care of that too. While I had the ultrasound on my armpit, a nurse came over to tell me that my surgeon had personally called and got me an appointment with the OBGYN that Thursday. I was really liking this lady already, and I hadn’t even met her yet. So the only piece missing from our puzzle now was a maternal-fetal medicine doc.

While that was being figured out, I still had a long day of information ahead of me. It was terrifying not knowing what kind of information bomb was going to be dropped on me next. Every time someone walked into the room I could feel my stomach drop before they even started talking.

Well, it finally happened!

I got my first piece of good news that week.

The ultrasound technician ran her pictures past the radiologist and came back to the room to tell me my lymph nodes looked clinically normal. Thank you, God!

Next on our parade route was meeting the medical oncologist. She came into our very crowded room (Holly had high-tailed it up from Cincinnati by this point and I had two nurse navigators in the room as well) and took me out to examine me in a more private setting.

After explaining how I found the mass for what seemed like the hundredth time that week, she proceeded to tell me that I had done a great job of catching this so quickly and she confirmed that my lymph nodes looked good on the ultrasound as well.

We rejoined the rest of my posse so she could go over a treatment plan. She had a paper in front of her where she wrote down the stage (2), the chemo drugs I would get and how often, the side effects, and then she very confidently circled the box that said cure! CURE!

We asked her many of the questions we had about how this would work with Robbyn still in utero. She explained if we couldn’t get her delivered within two weeks we would go ahead with chemo while pregnant. She went on to explain if we could get her delivered soon, then I could start chemo soon after. I asked her how soon that would be (the doctor the day before had told us 4 weeks) and she responded with “immediately.”

I need to tell you at this point it was at least 5 o’clock, and it was clear that everyone in the building was staying late to accommodate me, doctors included. Now, it was time to march this parade upstairs to the breast surgeon’s office.

She took Jordan, and I back to an exam room, and she performed a breast exam. (I had lost all concern for modesty at this point) She left my gown open and walked across the room and bent down to look at my chest squinting and bobbing from about 5 feet away. It was comical, to say the least.

She and I could both see Jordan looked very disturbed in the corner of the room and I wish I could have taken a picture of his face; it was priceless. She then said, “I’m doing this because nowadays almost all breast cancer patients are survivors and we want to make sure you look good when this is over.”

That was twice in an hour that I was told I would live! She also told me she called the maternal-fetal medicine doctor AGAIN and arranged for me to have an appointment with him the same day as the OBGYN (That Thursday!)

The meeting with her went very similar to the one with the oncologist. She explained my tumor pathology and staged me as 2B based on the large size of the tumor, and we would do 8 treatments of chemo over 16 weeks, double mastectomy, and radiation. She whipped through some more information, and when she got done, she asked if we had any questions. I looked through my list of questions, and she and the oncologist had answered every single one. Holly said “Look at your book. Did everything get answered?” This was the reason I wanted her here. She is my big sister and my forever protector. She is assertive and confident, two things I have always wished God had blessed me with. She has always pushed for me to be heard even when I don’t want to make waves. But her concern was unwarranted this time because both doctors had answered every single question!

Very few times in my life have I been absolutely sure of what God wanted me to do in a situation. To be fair, the blame should fall on me because as I mentioned have not been very good about giving God control and praying with the fervor I had been this week.

I felt this was God’s clear answer about with whom I should entrust mine and Robbyn’s care. Every single question or concern that I had was answered with confidence and clarity by both of my doctors.

God had directed us here.

As my mom said, God gifted these women with the intelligence and the drive to become doctors and prepared them with the knowledge and experience to provide me with the right care. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not the only reason these women went to medical school, but I am a tiny part of a story that God set into motion years ago.

I have read and re-read the prayer Adam sent to me so many times on our short journey. Healing is in Christ’s hands. I will continue to hold on to that hope and that he will leverage it ALL for his kingdom and his glory.

“In God I have put my trust. I will not fear.” Psalm 56:4

He is able. I am faithful.

Our elevator selfie after we heard the word cure! I am the happiest person to ever find out they were getting chemo!

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“It’s not a show of HIS power if the odds aren’t in the favor of the world”

The chapel where Adam and all is family prayed for us.


Riding in the car with my mom later in the week, she accidentally pulled out in front of another car and quickly pulled into another lane, she asked jokingly,

“Did you just see your life flash before your eyes?”

I responded with, “Not more than any other day this week.”


Let’s rewind to Monday. After my flurry of phone calls while at Cracker Barrel, a breast surgeon from our second opinion hospital was able to get us in that Monday afternoon. We looked up the surgeon that the office told us we would be meeting. She was board certified with years of experience and a recipient of several excellence awards. Perfect.

Well, not perfect. We get to the office to check in, and the place is empty. I tell the receptionist the name of the surgeon I am supposed to be meeting with, and she shakes her head and says I am meeting with a completely different surgeon.

She makes a Vanna White gesture with her hand pointing to a brochure that says, “New to our practice! NOW ACCEPTING PATIENTS!” Hmm…ok. That’s fine. I know everyone is new at some point in their career, but I also know that I am not your run of the mill breast case. (The sizeable pregnant belly gave that away.)

They called us (Jordan, my mom, and me) back to have an ultrasound so the surgeon could look at the mass, followed by the most awkward breast examine I have ever had. After the ultrasound was finished, she took us into a consultation room. She went on to explain that I had a triple negative tumor, which means they don’t know what is driving the growth. It was negative for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2. She also said it was grade 3; the fastest growing.

SIDE NOTE: The surgeon made it sound like these are two separate pieces of bad news. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t good things, but we found out from my NOW oncologist that these are a double check. If I am triple negative, then it SHOULD be a grade 3 tumor.

The surgeon went on to explain all of the different kinds of mastectomies, lumpectomies, types of incisions and other specific surgical jargon. I pointed to my stomach and asked how this would affect the baby. She said we might not do anything until I am term (7 more weeks!) or they may deliver early. We would have to see a maternal-fetal doctor to find that out. She also told us it would be four weeks after a c-section before I could start chemo and she wasn’t sure how soon they could deliver the baby.

All three of us were tallying up weeks in our head and comparing it with how fast the tumor was growing. Jordan asked her the likelihood of getting all of the cancer out during the surgery, and she said with a shake of her head, “There is no guarantee.” She went on to say she would try to get us in with a geneticist and an oncologist the next couple of weeks.

Then, she handed us a binder made from breast cancer survivors about treatment options. In the car on the way home, Jordan was shouting, “I don’t want a binder from breast cancer survivors right now. At this point we need a binder from breast cancer doctors!” I can laugh at that now.

So we walked out of the consultation with this surgeon, and before we had a chance to discuss it, we all three had basically heard her tell us that my prognosis was not good. I personally thought the surgeon believed I would be dead by the end of the year.

It’s incredible what kind of effect so few words can have on your hope.

In hindsight, we think this surgeon was so new she didn’t feel comfortable saying, “I don’t know the answer to that but let me find out.”

Instead, she left me thinking about how Jordan was going to raise two toddlers and an infant by himself. She left my mom thinking that she would give her and my dad’s burial plots to Jordan and me. And she left my sweet husband in complete shock.

To say this was the most depressing day of my life would be an understatement.

We had no hope.

I knew that everything would work out the way God had already planned but everywhere I looked I saw death,

that Jordan wouldn’t have a wife,

that Reed and Ryanne would cry for me in the middle of the night after I was gone,

and that the tiny baby girl growing in my belly would never have any memories of me.

My brother happened to be in Europe with his family and his wife’s family the week this all transpired. My mom actually told him of the diagnosis during his layover in Philadelphia on their way to Europe. Adam texted me Tuesday morning about 4 am the day we were to meet with the breast surgeon I was supposed to meet originally. I was already up having not slept in over a week. Here was our conversation…

He said it all so perfectly. We have the ear of the King, the creator of the universe wants to hear our cries and answer our prayers. Even if you don’t think you are worthy of healing, forgiveness, grace or God’s love… you are.

………………..……………

 

Proof that I have mud wrestled (at least a dozen times) and why you should send your children to church camp!

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Happy Birthday to Me

I’m a pretty ordinary person. I don’t try to make a lot of waves. I’m a homebody for sure. I would prefer not to be the center of attention if it can be avoided. We aren’t rich by any means nor are we poor. I was not at the top of my class in school but smack in the middle. Nothing too exciting ever happens to me, and to be honest I prefer it that way. Knowing this information, one can see how out of my comfort zone writing a blog actually is!

April 7 was my 28th birthday, but little did I know that April 6, 2018 would be a life changing day for me.

I had my birthday all planned out. We would finally have a night without our kids at the ever swanky Olive Garden, and my large pregnant self wanted an entire Ritter’s ice cream cake for dessert. Nothing too exciting, just like me.

Earlier that week, I had asked my OBGYN if it was normal to have a lump in your breast during pregnancy. He decided it was in an abnormal spot, so he set me up for an Ultrasound the next day. The radiologist looked at it and thought it looked a little abnormal and biopsied it just to be sure. On Friday, my OBGYN called down to the OR (where I work) to have me come up to the office so he could go over my results. I have worked in the medical field long enough to know that wasn’t a good sign.

He came in shaking his head and told me what no one ever wants to hear.

It’s cancer.

The earth seemed to fall out from under me. He asked if he needed to call someone for me or if I needed to sit there a minute, but all I wanted at that moment was to get out of that hospital as quick as I could.

Cancer?

I am 33 weeks pregnant and 27.999 years old?

Oh crap.

Of course this news happened on a Friday afternoon, so I had no idea when I would have any more information on my current situation. I called my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be back down to work; that I had to go home. I asked her to have one of my favorite surgeons call me when he had a break from operating. I needed to ask him some questions about my options. I ran to the locker room and changed clothes as quickly as I could not wanting to see anyone. I practically ran through the parking lot which was not pretty (33 weeks pregnant remember?)

I am a fidgety person, and I prefer to be busy rather than idle, so I started calling people. As long as I was moving, doing, fixing, everything was ok. After a flurry of phone calls to family and doctor’s offices, my now FAVORITE surgeon had personally called a breast surgeon in Indy and got me on her schedule that very next Tuesday. (Have I mentioned he is my favorite?)

And after that, there was nothing to do but wait. That’s when it all sank in.

I was standing in our kitchen with my mom, my face got tingly, and it got very hard to breathe. I wasn’t sure if it was the baby sitting in my lungs or the fact that I was just told I had cancer or that my surgeon had looked at the biopsy report and said he was worried for me.

In times like these people ask,

“Where is God?”

He was right next to me in the doctor’s office. I could feel his presence with me when I called Jordan to tell him the news. I could feel his arms wrapped around me while our families came to sit and pray with us.

Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

And Boy was I broken-hearted! So I know God was with me. I have never doubted God’s love for me, and honestly, I didn’t question it now. As someone who was practically birthed right into the church pew, this was comforting to know about my faith.

I now know beyond a shadow of doubt, that even in the darkest of days, God loves me and He is orchestrating something great out of my circumstances. Maybe it is to just grow me personally in my faith, or maybe it is to have a new platform to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do I know what he is orchestrating is even now?

No.

But this diagnosis will not be in vain. I will use every opportunity as a chance to bring praise and glory to the creator of the universe who has blessed me beyond measure. I want to make it my mission that everyone knows that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us “while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) I want to let others know that we can have hope in this hopeless and broken world, knowing that eternal life in heaven awaits us.

Should this have been my mission before this diagnosis?

Absolutely.

I may have wasted opportunities before but I am definitely more aware now and pray God will give me the courage and the strength to continue to grow in my ministry.

I have the most amazing family. I have a church family (both locally and collectively) that has lifted me up in prayer continually the last few weeks and has offered everything short of their firstborn to help our family. I have amazing coworkers and people in the community that I don’t even know personally offering to help.

Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”

So, it was not the birthday I had envisioned but it was a memorable one!

He is able. We are faithful.