Thirsty

 

Written Saturday, April 29th

Well it’s been a few days since I’ve written and much to my dismay, I still have cancer. I’ve been to several doctors since my diagnosis and I think a tiny piece of me hoped one of them would say this was all a bad mistake.  That the pathologists somehow got it wrong or switched my slides.  But unfortunately they were right and it is, in fact, cancer.

The good news is that I am in such a sweet place with the Lord.  He has continued to give me daily assurances that He is still in control regardless of these unfortunate circumstances.

A few days after my diagnosis, the strangest thing happened.  I hesitate to even mention it out loud for fear I’ll be held accountable to keep it going should things change. (You know how when you proclaim you are on a diet but a few days later find your friends giving you that “look” when you are diving into the queso? Yeah, that.)  However, I believe 100% it is somewhat of a miracle, and I am committed to sharing with you how the Lord is working in remarkable ways. I am a self proclaimed Diet Coke addict and have been for over 20 years. But after my cancer diagnosis, I became extremely thirsty and Diet Coke did not quench that thirst. For days I tried to tell myself to keep trying and surely it would do the trick. When that strategy failed, I was forced to turn to the dreaded bottled water.  To say I don’t like water is an understatement. I detest water. Yes, I know it’s good for me.  Yes, I know the benefits for my skin and hair. But literally the only time I ever drink water is right after I work out. And I won’t even talk about how often that happens. Anyway, for the past 8 or so days, water is the ONLY thing that quenches my thirst. And Diet Coke (I feel so disloyal even saying this) tastes terrible to me. I guess you could say I’m 8 days sober.

Now, I feel like that story in and of itself is a miracle. But you throw in the next piece and I promise you’ll be blown away.  The other day I had to run errands and take my x-rays from one doctor’s office to another.  My sweet friend, Meredith, had texted me the night before and offered to ‘run errands or ride along with me’ not even knowing what I had planned the next day.  I was happy to have a friend along, so she joined me for the mundane tasks ahead.  We had a running tally of things we needed to talk about as we drove around Dallas, and the last one on the list was ‘diet coke’ (I wanted to share what was happening because I still couldn’t believe it myself).  When I told Meredith about being repulsed by my old mainstay, she got huge tears in her eyes.  Surprised by her reaction, I asked what was making her cry.  She responded, “I’ve been praying about ways to talk to you about Diet Coke and how it wasn’t good for you especially in light of your diagnosis.” I’m sorry, but what?!  I got teary myself and said, “Well, now I know who to blame!”.  Seriously, though, statements like that can make you cringe because the last thing you want to worry about is what you are eating and drinking after being diagnosed.  But Mere has street cred because her family has been negatively affected by cancer and she is super savvy on nutrition and all the latest cancer fighting agents.  That, plus I know she loves me dearly, made what she was saying so so sweet.  And since we broke the dam, all of my friends who have been worried about my caffeine/aspertame consumption have come out of the woodwork and breathed a collective sigh of relief. And aside from multiple naps and headaches, I think the positives of this incredible change outweigh the negatives. GO GOD.

As if that’s not enough, this morning I awoke praying (I’ve been doing this lately, which is bizarre but so comforting) for the Lord to “illuminate my path”.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically use the word “illuminate”, so I knew something was up.  I quickly remembered the verse in the Bible that talks about the Holy Spirit interceding on our behalf when we don’t know how to pray. ( “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us…”  Romans 8:26).  It was an incredible and overwhelming experience.  The Holy Spirit was not only praying IN me, but FOR me as well.  I couldn’t wait to go read my devotion to see what the Lord was saying to me.  Would you believe the verse in my devotion was Psalm 118:105 (“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”)?  I’m not even kidding.  Things like this are happening on a daily basis and I get so excited to see what the Lord will show me everyday.  Just as I have developed an increased thirst for water, I have also developed an increased thirst for His word.  For His guidance.  For His wisdom. God knows what we need each day.  Whether that be for our bodies, our minds or even our souls.  He is the only one who can quench our thirst.  Thank you, sweet Jesus.

Today, Trevor and I (along with my sisters and parents) went to see another physician for a second (or 4th) opinion.  I’ve learned it’s a good thing to be thorough and not rush this process.  In one of the packets I received, it says, “It is much more important to do things correctly than to do them quickly.”  Thank goodness, because about 15 days out from my diagnosis and am just now figuring out what I’m going to do.  After much prayer and a lot of analyzing, I have decided to have a double mastectomy.  And even though I’m very much an open book, it feels weird to send that personal information out on the internet (hello everyone, I’m getting new boobs!).  However, I’m taking a chance with being vulnerable in an effort to help anyone else that might go through this process someday.  I know those that have shared their stories breathe life into mine, and I hope I can, in turn, help the next person who needs it.  This was not an easy decision, but one I am confident in and one I feel is best for me.

The process of choosing the right team of doctors has been interesting to say the least. Because of my decision to do the double mastectomy, I have to choose both a surgical oncologist and a plastic surgeon (both of whom work side by side during surgery).  I have absolutely loved so many of the physicians I have seen thus far, so that decision has been tough.  Dallas is bursting at the seams with capable and excellent surgeons, and I am growing increasingly grateful for access to amazing healthcare.  After today’s appointment, I am one step closer to securing my team.  And I know the Lord is already preparing the hands of the surgeons for my upcoming surgery.  Before I have the mastectomy, however, I have to have what is called a sentinel node biopsy to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes. Did I really just write that? Seriously, it still feels so surreal that I’m talking about my own body this way.  All scans thus far have not indicated any spreading, however, they want to cross every “t” and dot every “i” before giving me the all clear.  This is more than likely going to happen early next week. And if I had my hunch, it will probably be Tuesday, which also happens to be my 19th wedding anniversary. And NOTHING says romance like holding hands while having your nodes biopsied.  Am I right, ladies?  It will be a day surgery and I will be laid up for a day or two afterwards due to soreness.  The pathology report should return within 2-3 days after the surgery.  I would greatly appreciate your prayers for a huge ‘ALL CLEAR’ on my lymph nodes, as well as something other than gauze from my spouse on that lovely day.

(Next week, I should also have the results back from my genetic testing, which will help the physicians determine the best possible course of treatment.)

I think I’m going to close out EVERY. SINGLE. POST. with how beautiful friendship and family are.  The ways you’ve shown you care is truly mind blowing.  Thank you.  Words fail me every time in this category as there is no way to express my gratitude.  But please know how much I love each of you, and how much I appreciate your prayers.  I feel so ‘carried’ (that is the only word that continually comes to mind when describing the feeling) by your prayers.  Literally carried.  The other night Trevor and I ordered Chinese food (because Meredith told me to have broccoli every day ;)) and my fortune cookie could not have been more on point.

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I love you, and have never needed you more than I do now.

Until next time…much love to you all & Make Every Day Count,

Jamie

“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

15 thoughts on “Thirsty

  1. Prayers for a clear scan on Tuesday. And something besides gauze from Trevor. 😉

    Thank you for sharing your story and being vulnerable. You are amazing. Love, Heather

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Prayers for a good report, Hime! I think I may have been there at the beginning of the Diet Coke addiction. Hello, Sonic and daily Kathy visits! No judgement here, as I’ve been right there with you the last 20 years with my daily Diet Coke. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jamie, once again, you’ve blown my mind with your words. I am adding ALL CLEAR to the lymph node report as I pray daily for your healing. I am confident that God is in control and you will be healed. Your confession to aspartame addiction hits home, mine is Diet Dr. Pepper. Going down to 1 per day now! Love you and will keep prayers flowing from Waco. ☺️🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. God is certainly pouring His spirit into you Jamie! I have been and will continue praying for you to feel led somehow through every tough decision and unfamiliar path. And His supernatural presence to be known to you. God light the way…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again…beautifully written. Please keep us posted on the date of your surgery. Many prayers coming your way sweet friend!! xoxo

    From: The Breast Case Scenario <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: The Breast Case Scenario <comment+efn53gdp4v4fe-h0855dla9@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM To: Paige Sowden <paige@intredesigns.com> Subject: [New post] Thirsty

    jamieberrykraus posted: “Written Saturday, April 29th Well it’s been a few days since I’ve written and much to my dismay, I still have cancer. I’ve been to several doctors since my diagnosis and I think a tiny piece of me hoped one of them would say this was all a bad mistake. “

    Liked by 1 person

  6. God is truly using you in a mighty way little Jamie! He has illuminated your way for sure. We are praying for you up here in Arkansas and this new request for your report on Tuesday will go out this week. Love you so much and how your personality and humor are resonated in your posts. Love to so much!
    Aunt Sis

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love what Punky Tolson said in that talk about “lord, make my life a miracle.” And He is certainly doing that thru you! From cancer to Diet Coke to everything in between… his hand is clearly at work. Praying that He increases your faith and hope and rest during this time! 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jerry and I both agree that you are so open and frank and we certainly appreciate that. Your attitude is to be so admired. This is an amazing blog and you are an amazing person. Of course, our prayers and love are with you and your family…………….Janie Gilmore

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Jamie-we ran into your Mom and Dad at Chips last night and they told us your news-also how strong you are and how marvelously you are handling it! Your Dad sent us your latest post and I’ve already subscribed. You are a wonderful writer and an inspirational one as well. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers and will be throughout this journey.
    They also shared the good news that Hudson most probably is going to Covenant this next school year. He and Secily (Meredith and Scott’s daughter) will be in the same grade! Yea!
    We have loved you for a long time, sweetheart. You are dear and such a witness for our God.
    Love in Him-Peggy & Bill

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jamie….I can’t BEGIN to tell you how this has blessed my heart today! I visited just briefly with your sweet mom and she kinda brought me up to speed on your journey right now!! I have been praying for you every day since, that the Lord will prepare the way for everything you are encountering as you go through each process involved! Know how much you and your family mean to me, and HOW MUCH you and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers! ‘GOD WILL ALWAYS MAKE A WAY WHEN THERE SEEMS TO BE NO WAY!! He is faithful and I know this experience is drawing you ever closer to HIM!! I love you! Forbes

    Liked by 1 person

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