In Sickness & In Health

Well, chemo #3 is officially in the books and it was by far the hardest one yet.  I’m not going to pull any punches.  My body is definitely feeling the effects of the cumulative treatment and I am downright exhausted.  Physical weakness to this degree is something I’ve never experienced.  Some days, I’m at the point where I hesitate climbing up my stairs for fear I might not make it to the top without a break.  THAT, my friends, is super humbling.  I am also still trying to take my daily walks in the morning, but my legs feel so heavy that it’s like I’m dragging weights.  So strange!  My sister, Ashley, took me to the mall the other day to walk and I literally had to find chairs in the stores to sit in while she shopped.  Never have I identified so much with all the males in a mall as I did that day.


(Shout out to Nordstrom for some comfy chairs btw.)

In addition to weakness, I also had the lovely side effect of a swollen face this time around.  And I’m not talking in my cheeks.  My forehead protruded and my eyes were almost swollen shut for 3-4 days.  I felt exactly like Will Smith in the movie “Hitch”.



My middle son, Hunter, and I were trying to have a face to face conversation one day and he stopped right in the middle of a sentence and said, “Mom, I can’t take you seriously like that.” (In the most loving way, of course ;)!

I don’t know exactly what the swelling was from, but I did learn that the last medicine administered during my treatment this time was given in 30 minutes vs. the usual hour, which I’m told can make all the difference.  That little change may also be the reason for my nausea, my extremely fuzzy brain, my terrible insomnia, my skewed taste buds and my increased hair loss as well.  Guess who’s NOT going to let that happen next time?  Me. And Will Smith.

To make matters worse, my husband’s birthday fell right after my treatment (because what’s a cancer treatment/event of mine without a special occasion surrounding it, right?!).  And to say I wasn’t in a place to make that day special is an understatement.  Yes, I got a cake.  But only because Kim ordered it for me and my mom brought it over.  As you can see, I left it in the box WHILE lighting the candles.  So clearly I’m in not in a good place.


I sure hope my fire extinguisher is.

Trevor has been an absolute rock star in taking care of me during this entire experience and I really wanted to celebrate him like he deserved to be celebrated.  He really has been amazing.  In fact, my friend Ellen and I had lunch this week and upon her asking, ‘so how are you and Trevor doing during all of this?’ tears immediately started rolling down my face.  Right in the middle of the restaurant True Food.  Now, if that would have happened about a year ago before I appreciated super healthy food, the tears may have been due to the fact that I had a bowl of quinoa sitting in front of me.  But no.  This was because she touched on something I hold so sacred.   And even though I was surprised by my emotional reaction to her question, I know 100% why I had it.  Trevor is a natural born care taker (it’s a good thing he’s a physician).  But never have I been so appreciative of someone than I have been of him the past few months.  Not only does he get up every single day and go to work at an ungodly hour, but he works all day long then comes home and immediately starts taking care of the kids.  At this stage in life, that means making sure they have something other than oreos or pop tarts for dinner, shuttling them to their various activities and confiscating all of the electronics at night to make sure no one overdoses on screen time.  He even attends the late night games in timbuktu while I lay in bed and watch Fixer Upper or House Hunters for the 40,000th time.

When you get married and recite your vows, you say “in sickness and in health” not really knowing or understanding the gravity of that promise.  But I can say now that Trevor is not only the best example of knowing and understanding what that means, but he also does it without complaining and with sincere compassion for me.  He makes me feel so loved even when I’m at my worst physically and mentally.  I am so so grateful for the man I married and told him that we’d have to BOTH redo our birthdays next year as neither was even in the ballpark of adequate (hello, double mastectomy on mine).


(Breckenridge, CO // September 2017)

I love you, Trevor!

Now, with all of those crazy side effects and such, the good news is they usually pass (somewhat) within 7-10 days after chemo.  So I’m writing to you from a better place.  Or so I thought.   I did have to leave church a few minutes early this morning to go sit in the car because I felt too weak to keep standing during the closing worship song.  (Makes me happy I’m not an NFL player during the national anthem right now as I might have to kneel for an entirely different reason.)  After I got in the car, however, I started to cry.  It’s so bizarre at my age not feeling like I can even make it through 30 minutes of standing!  And even though there’s a reason for it, it still feels pathetic.

This week, I pray that I feel as normal as possible before I go back in the Tuesday after next, October 3rd, for my last treatment.  As tradition would have it, the special occasions surrounding chemo #4 are my middle son’s birthday on October 1st and my oldest son’s birthday on October 2nd.  They turn 15 and 16 respectively, so we will hopefully have a permit and a license before I convalesce for two weeks or so afterwards.  I really hope they like their new bumper stickers, too.


As for my skin cancer (yes, aren’t I the picture of perfect health?!), I will be going to MD Anderson with my sisters and mom on October 17th to see what the dermatologist recommends for treatment of my spots.  The oncologist at MD Anderson believed that because chemo weakens my immune system, it creates an inability for my body to fight off squamous cells, thus the multiple new cancer spots.  They have mentioned a topical chemotherapy, which I’m in favor of, over surgery.  Please pray that that is a viable option.  I’ve had more surgeries than I’d like this year and still have one more to go.  If I can avoid yet another procedure or two, I’d be thrilled.

So, in closing I’d like to thank every single one of my incredible friends and family for running my errands, taking my kids places, dropping off food, etc.   I also appreciate the continued texts, cards and words of encouragement from you all.  Just on a day when I feel like I can’t keep going, I hear from one of you.  God is so good to keep prompting you, and I’m grateful for your obedience and willingness to listen to Him.

Please continue to pray for me and for all of my fellow cancer fighters.  This is not an easy road, and we could not do it without your support.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,


“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.”  Proverbs 4:20-22



Misplaced Hope


Last week, a friend of mine (who also is battling cancer) experienced some disappointment over her lab numbers, and she reached out to let a few of us know.  In her text she mentioned that in revealing her sadness to us, she was exposing that her hope had been misplaced.

Misplaced hope.

For whatever reason, that phrase stuck in my head and I’ve been replaying what that means over and over again for days.  What my friend meant was that she had put so much hope into having the right lab numbers for chemo (as a patient, your labs must reach a certain number in order for you to have chemotherapy), that when hers came back as less than desirable she was disappointed.  Well, I said to myself, ‘Who wouldn’t be?!’.

But then it got me thinking about hope.  I dare say that all of us put our hope into things that are unpredictable, ever changing, and not secure.  Whether that be our house, our belongings, our health, our careers, our kid’s success, our appearance, our finances, etc.  All of these things are so temporary and can be compromised in a split second.  Just look at the news.  My heart is broken for those in Houston, Port Arthur & Beaumont who have just felt the wrath of Hurricane Harvey (click here for ways to help).  And for those (specifically my sister in law and her family from Tampa) who are bracing for Irma.  The devastation alone is almost too much for our human minds to process.

But last week, LAST WEEK, my heart was broken into even more pieces.  My husband’s cousin lost his precious wife in a car accident.  Emily was just 37 years old and an incredible mother to SIX incredible children (two of whom were adopted at birth).  And just like that, so many lives were changed forever.  Trevor and I went to Kansas this weekend to be with the family.  Just sitting in the midst of such sadness made me wrestle even more with the concept of hope.  Trying to comprehend the pain her husband, mother, father and brother are feeling is next to impossible.  But Emily knew Jesus, and that definitely acts as a salve to the wounds of everyone she loved and left here on earth.  Her husband, Matt, knows that she is in heaven with the Lord, all the while HE IS GRIEVING.  But he is not grieving like the rest of mankind who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  His hope is in something predictable, unchanging and totally secure.  His hope is in the Lord, REGARDLESS of circumstances.  (“But now, Lord, where do I put my hope?  My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7).

I say all of this not to depress you.  (I realize this post is very different from my others and I might should insert a pic of me in the cold cap for levity about now.)  On the contrary, I say this to encourage you that there is someone out there worthy of our hope.  Living with cancer and all of its ugly has changed the way I feel about bad things.  Bad things (and sometimes very bad things), hurtful things, and painful things happen.  Life is hard.  That is a fact and something that is mentioned in the Bible several times (Psalm 34:17-19; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; I Peter 5:10; Romans 8:35-39; John 14:27; 2 Corinthians 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3; James 1:2-4).  But if I continue to place my hope in circumstances that are beyond my control or things of this world, I will be disappointed a lot.

We are not promised a beautiful life filled with only good things.  But we ARE promised a relationship with the God of hope if we choose. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  How amazing is that?!  This same God of hope is the one using YOU to send me cards to let me know you are praying for me.  He is using YOU to give me hugs and send me funny texts.  He is using YOU to drive my kids all over town.  He is using YOU to deliver hope to me on a daily basis.  The kind of hope that is unexplainable during difficult times.


Words fail me at a time like this when I feel engulfed in bad news.  I wish I could just put my heart on this paper (screen) instead.  My heart, even in the midst of sadness, is full.  It is hopeful in spite of my diagnosis.  It is filled with compassion for others who are brokenhearted.  It sees life differently after walking this journey.  It yearns for others to know the God I know.  Because when bad things happen, God still provides indescribable hope.  He is preparing us for something even greater than life here on earth.


Tomorrow I will be heading to Baylor to have my blood work drawn and to see the doctor in preparation for chemo #3 on Tuesday morning (September 12th).  I shared in a previous post that I was concerned about a spot on my leg.  Well, it was confirmed to be a squamous cell carcinoma (a fancy way of saying skin cancer).  Since then, a few more spots have popped up and I had another biopsy done of one spot that was only an inch away from the first.  This one was also a squamous cell carcinoma.  I have cried and cried about these crazy spots and what chemo might or might not be doing to wreak even more havoc on my already weak body (I will try to get more answers tomorrow during my appointment).  But I am confident that the Lord will continue to remind me to not misplace my hope in my health improving or my body getting stronger, but instead to fix my eyes on Him no matter what comes my way.

“For my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless.”  Psalm 141:8

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:18

Thank YOU for helping me remember that as well.

Please join me in praying for all of those affected by the hurricanes, for my fellow cancer fighters (Amy, Heather, Stephanie, Susan, Kay, Angela, Ed, Sterling, Leslie, Beverly, Louise, Patrick and so many others) and especially for Emily’s family.  We ALL need hope.  Pray that we have the courage to place that hope in something everlasting.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,


PS: Gosh, that post was SO SERIOUS.  Sometimes I just get on a roll.  I couldn’t let you go without a laugh, however, so I’ll leave you with this…IMG_6721.JPG

Bring it, #3!