Almost there

In three days, I start my radioactive iodine treatment. Here’s what I’ve been up to medically leading up to this (super abbreviated version):

Tests, appointments, lost a lymph node or two that did NOT have cancer (yay!), more tests, more appointments, stopping medications, starting new ones, going through complete thyroid hormone withdrawals.  Now I am completing a 14 day low iodine diet to deplete the iodine in my system before RAI treatment.

So why the radioactive iodine treatment? They hope all of this will make my body so starved for iodine that when they give me the liquid iodine, the cancer cells  being in starvation mode for iodine will quickly gobble up the radioactive iodine so the radiation can kill all of the cancer that is hanging out in my lungs.  ( Whew, that’s a mouthful).

Side effects: Nausea, (already happening and booo!) fatigue, dry mouth, metal taste in mouth,  possibly destroyed salivary glands if I don’t drink enough fluids, possible (but very low) risk for leukemia.

So before all of this was to go down, I vowed to have the most fun of my life. I asked God for three things: The energy to keep up with everything, the ability to go to Tahoe and the ability to support my track team down at the Angel City Games in LA. God honored all of those requests.

The month of June, I started out in Tahoe at the No Barriers Summit loving life. I got to try adaptive cycling, boxing, archery (a new love of mine), did an abbreviated version of The Amazing Race, and met some amazing people along the way.

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Team 5 Thunderwomen!

 

The trip was such a blessing. I got to spend my birthday doing the things that I loved. I also got closer to one of my friends, who I am sure had she not been there, the weekend would have not been as great.

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In the middle of all that: work, friends church, life, repeat. Also going on: growing fatigue, forgetfulness, brain fog, mood swings…all signs that my body was going hypothyroid on me. I vowed not to let it stop me. To keep going. To suck it up and push through.

God whispered: It’s okay to take a little rest. Seriously. It’s okay. A nap once in a while won’t hurt.

Me: I AM IRON MAN BLENDED WITH TREX!!! ARRRRRR!

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God: “Okay…”

I ended this epic month with a trip down to LA with our track team for the Angel City Games. These kids broke national records, broke barriers, brought home  countless medals and wowed the adaptive track/ field world with their awesomeness.  The coaches worked hard and sacrificed their Saturday mornings to get these kids here and it paid off huge! It was so fun to be with these kids, my friends and watch them do so well for their first time. It was truly an unforgettable weekend and I am glad I got to be a part of it.

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God gave me one more final gift, to spend time with one of my closest friends before treatment since I would be unable to interact with her during that time (more on that below). It was such a nice time to relax and be with a friend who has been such a huge support through all of this. What I only intended to be just a few hours, ended up being a whole day. I am so thankful.

When it was all over…the fatigue hit. Hard. Then came the sickness. The constant sickness. I prayed to God to give me the strength to finish out strong. To keep going. To be unstoppable. To be bigger than cancer, my body, my weakness.

God said no.

“God, I am almost there. Just a few more days left. I need more energy.”

“No girl, you need a nap.”

So we argued.

Me: “But I am Wonder Woman.”

God: “I get that, but Wonder Woman sleeps too, ya know? No one will blame you if you need a little time. You are not slacking. You are not taking advantage. You can not overpower what your body needs and right now it needs rest. It’s hard, I know but you need to slow down and rest so you can recover properly.”

So I gave in. The world did not end. People were not hurt. Things did not come crashing down.

The only thing I received was a much needed nap, love and so much grace.

Throughout this whole thing, I’ve received so much grace and love from others. People have come out of the woodwork just to show me how loved I am. I’ve had friends move their lives around to attend my medical appointments, invite me into their homes before and after my surgeries so I could recover. I’ve had coworkers step up to make sure I had what I needed and remove things from my plate so that I would not feel overwhelmed. I’ve had family members drive up just to spend the day with me.  I’ve had friends talk me down off the ledge when I spent too much time on Google and accidentally freaked myself out. I’ve had countless people pray for me, Christian and non Christian.

I went into this feeling that cancer was a curse. That this was the worse possible thing to have happen. That without my mom, I’d fight this alone.

I was so wrong.

I had no idea coming out of this that I would feel like cancer was a blessing. God used this to show me the love and grace of others. That I am not alone. That I am loved. So loved. I didn’t even ask for this, and God provided. I am so glad he did.

Thank you all who’ve been there for me. I can never repay you. Through God, you are the reason I made it this far.  He used you to combat a lie I told myself: I am alone.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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So on the 5th of July, I start treatment. For three days, I have to limit my time with people and can be no less than 6 feet away from others. ( To the people who have offered to build me giant bubbles or build giant signs or give me ideas for what to do with my new radioactive powers; you are my favorite).

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It would have been so fun to do life in a bubble for three days. Sweaty but fun!

After that, I have to remain up to three feet away from children and women who have children or are pregnant for four more additional days. I can’t work during this time so I get to catch up on sleep, reading, movies, and finish up planning for my Italy trip. Then I go in for another scan on the 11th to see if the treatment is working. I will know for certain September 28th if the cancer is gone. God willing, it will be.

So that’s it. That’s my life up until now. Next update will be my final itinerary for my Italy trip. I can’t believe thats’s like two months away.

Till then, love you all!

 

 

Wait

For the moment (or the past two years, however you want to view it) I have been in a waiting period. I know…(at least I think I know) that it is nearing its end. It is frustrating. I know good things are to come from waiting and it’s supposed to build my faith, but WOW, it is not easy. Not at all.

So, to find encouragement and comfort during this waiting period, I’ve researched verses that discuss waiting on God, and how awesome it is supposed to be.

Here’s what I found, and my responses to those verses:

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

This one is pretty encouraging. However, I am having a tough time feeling any of these things right now. I’m pretty worn out. And when I do have strength, it’s more Hulk- like because I feel all kinds of frustrated right now. And (checks back)… I don’t see any eagles wings.  I know this is  just me wanting what I want when I want it. I’m trying to view the outcome of my waiting period in a positive light, with all the things listed in this verse, but right now…just not there yet.

This is how I kinda feel right now...
This is how I kinda feel right now…

Moving on…

2 Peter 3:9 ESV

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

When reading this one, my first response was:

“God is not slow to fulfill his promises, REALLY!?”

but then I remembered God’s idea of slow and my idea of slow are completely different. I know that God is taking his time for a reason, and things are not ready just yet. If I got what I wanted right now, it might get all screwed up. This one also reminded me to work on patience, which is not my strong suit AT ALL.  God is so patient with me, he’s heard my doubts and the same begging prayer OVER AND OVER again, yet he still puts up with me. Feeling a little better now…moving on to the next one.

James 5:11 ESV

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

I really like James, it’s a great book. For the longest time, I referred to James 1:2-4  when I felt discouraged:

2Count it all joy, my brothers  when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

I need to start referring to it again. I know in the end that I will come out better than I started. This is the biggest test of my faith that I have ever experienced (well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but it sure feels like it!). I know that in the end all the waiting will make sense.

So back to James 5:11…

If you have read the book of Job, you know he went through some horrid stuff. He basically lost everything. Job’s trial is something I hope to never go through. EVER.

The cool thing about Job though is that he stayed true to God through all of it. He lost his family, possessions and his friends were bringing him down and he remained true to God. It’s amazing. I’m not sure I’d have that strength, I want to have it, but I am not sure that I would have behaved as Job in his situation. God blessed him big time in the end because he held on to his faith.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful. He’s not going to give me more than I can handle. When I feel like I am running out of strength, when I feel weary, by coming to him, he’ll give me renewed strength and hope. I just have to trust him and know that he will fulfill his promises. The reward will be awesome in the end. AWESOME.

Side note: You know, this blog started out as a way to vent my frustrations, and now I am actually feeling better looking up all these verses and writing on them. I think I tricked myself, HA!  I should have done this sooner. Duh!  Let’s see what else there is about waiting…

Romans 5:3-4 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

This is a cool one. It’s hard to be thankful for a trial. Really hard. I don’t know about you, but when I am upset, being thankful for it is really hard to do. Usually I focus on how to stop those feelings, so I can feel better and not get all stabby, stabby.

When I look back at this verse, suffering and trials produce a lot of good things.

I decided to look up the formal definition of endurance to truly understand what it means. Endurance (also called SufferanceStaminaResilience) is the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue.

I want to be able to withstand uncomfortable situations for a long period of time, (heck, I am kinda doing that now). When you are able to endure, you can withstand anything. Look at all the cool things you get when you can endure. (See above definition). From what I read, you basically become superman. Or Iron Man. Or Captain America. Or whichever superhero you want to be…

I know he's angry...but I love him.
I know he’s angry…but I love him.

In all seriousness though, it’s not good to cut and run once things get tough. I have to admit, that is my approach to a lot of things.

“This hurts…I’m done.”

“Things aren’t going my way…time for something new.”

“You hurt me…we’re over”

“Why is this taking so long? Time to take control!”

These aren’t exactly good qualities to have, not to mention a serious character flaw. But if I learn to endure I can change these negative character traits into patience, humility, grace and submission.

With those traits, it builds hope.  Hope is such a great thing to have, and right now I feel it waning because I am giving into doubt. I need to remember: Hope hulk-smashes doubt.

Like a boss
Like a boss

Psalm 130:5-6 ESV

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

I love this verse because it deals with hope. Someone described hope to me as this:

“Hope is waiting for the sun to rise.”

You know its going to happen because it happens everyday. It’s something you can count on. It won’t let you down.

And when the sun rises…it’s so beautiful.

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It’s a reminded of a new day, a new start. Darkness flees, yesterday is gone. Our past sins and failures leave us behind. With each day there is renewed hope, an answer to a promise.

Soon the sun will rise on my promises and the things that I desire in my heart. All the waiting will be worth it, because the outcome will be amazing and a testimony of how much God loves me.