Answered prayers and how to help

First, I need to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to me after my last update expressing their support, offering prayers and help.  Neel and I are constantly overwhelmed with how much love is around us and how much people are willing to set aside their own struggles and obligations to be there for us – thank you, thank you, thank you.

img_2367-2A meal train was started for us by our sweet neighbor and two weeks of meals were set up in just a few hours – I have tears in my eyes thinking about how awesome this is.  You guys are just awesome.  I love our village (village in the broad sense, and also the literal sense – Kenesaw is technically a village ;).

And even more people have reached out who still want to help.  And I have been thinking about how to respond because I have realized that it is good to let people help you, because it can be a blessing to them to show that support.  And although Neel would love the meal train to last a couple months (am I really that bad of a cook??), we feel so supported with what we have coming.

So to those who have said they still want to help or bring something, there’s two ways:

First, come visit me!  I will be laid up for awhile and friends and conversation are always good medicine (and I think coffee and wine are allowed! I’ll double check with my surgeon…).

Second, the time and effort you were going to use to make a meal for me, I’m sure there is someone else you can think of who could use that blessing.  Please consider still doing that good deed for the many others around us who are also fighting their own battles.

This picture doesn't have much to do with this blog topic, just wanted to share my cute little girl.

This picture doesn’t have much to do with this blog topic, just wanted to share my cute little girl.

I have been extremely humbled by all the love and good deeds we have been the recipients of – and I think it’s lesson #452-gazillion I have learned from this experience that I hope to never forget.  And that is make an effort each and every day to step outside myself and my own mess to focus on somebody else and find a way I can help them.  This stage in my life isn’t always the most conducive to that, I have definitely taken more than I have given lately, but this phase is hopefully nearing an end and I look forward to paying it forward as others are in need, too.

And the other half of this post – answered prayers.

In a rare quiet moment tonight, I was thinking that I needed to update the blog because I had received my tumor marker numbers from my endocrinologist last week.  My tumor markers had gone up, which means an increase in cancer activity.  She said it was good that surgery is scheduled, and this was another indication that it was time to remove the tumors.

This was a week ago, and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to put it together that this was the ANSWERED PRAYER!  This spring when I asked for prayers for a clear direction on what to do, well I got it.  It’s time for this surgery…it’s time to move forward…it’s time to trust and step out of our holding pattern we have been in.

Thank you again to all of you.  Please keep the prayers coming – because I see each and every day that God is answering all of them.





Continuing the journey

This was taken after my first surgery - Helen was just 15 months old and I was pregnant with Leo.

This was taken after my first surgery – Helen was just 15 months old and I was pregnant with Leo.

Last Thursday, September 1st, was seven years since I was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a day that I tried very hard to remember what life was like before cancer – and I couldn’t do it.  Seven years isn’t a long time compared to the 33 I have been alive, but time is such a funny thing and it feels like cancer has always been a part of our lives.

But more importantly, it was a day that I again felt so incredibly blessed and fortunate to be here.  And not just that I’m here, but that I feel well, my family is healthy, and that I get to enjoy life with the people I love.  A day where cancer did not control a single thing.

September 2nd was back to the reality that there is more in store for us in this cancer journey.  We went to UNMC for blood work and a CT Scan.  We then met with the endocrinologist who confirmed that tumors had remained stable.  My thyroid hormone levels were normal (I wondered why I had been feeling so good), so she increased my dosage (with an apology) so my thyroid levels would go back to hyper and it would keep the cancer from growing.  She reiterated that surgery seemed like a reasonable next step to remove the tumors along the right side of my neck, but would defer to the surgeon to get his input.

We head to Methodist next, and head in to our appointment with my surgeon (he’s still the same surgeon I had at UNMC, he’s just at Methodist now).  He performs an ultrasound on my neck and again verifies that there are two areas in my neck, along the upper right side, that he could go in and operate and remove the chain of lymph nodes, thus removing the cancer.  He says that it would be an entirely new incision, not going through the same scar in my central neck.  He said this as I would maybe be disappointed in a second scar, but really, if it means the cancer can be gone and he stays away from my vocal chords, the second scar is the LEAST of my worries.  I never planned on a neck modeling career anyway 😉

There is still an area in my central neck, where my thyroid used to be, that they have always monitored.  It’s not in an area that could be biopsied, and it would be extremely hard to go in surgically and remove it without doing damage to vocal chords and my parathyroid glands.  But this area looked less suspicious at this appointment, and both doctors agreed that it would be find to leave it alone and it’s more than likely scar tissue from previous surgeries.  This was definitely good news!

So here we are again – heading into my fourth surgery, one that I am trying to not set up ANY expectations, but at the same time, am so hopeful that soon I can say I’m cancer free.

Surgery will be October 5.  Prayers for complete removal of all the cancer are greatly appreciated.  It’s an emotional decision, as it is so awesome to be doing something to get the cancer out, but at the same time, disrupting our normal to deal with trips to Omaha, recovering from surgery, and all the follow-up appointments to go to – all while juggling 4 kids now, 3 of which are in school, are some added stressors that we didn’t have 6 years ago at my last surgery.  Not to mention having kids old enough to now be worried about mom…

I keep coming back to a realization I had a few years ago that I think I have shared before.  When I was first going through treatment, I rarely prayed for my own healing…telling myself that my life still wasn’t that bad and that God should focus on those who were in really dire situations.  Although, I knew deep down that God loved me and cared for me, and was infinitely capable for handling my petitions as well as everyone else’s.

I then realized I neglected praying for my own healing because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I wasn’t healed – because there has been so much disappointment along the way.  And with this realization, I knew that deep down I wasn’t trusting God, because if I was trusting Him, I wouldn’t be afraid to pray to be cured.

ivilAnd I have felt that this was the lesson I was supposed to learn – to trust God.  I sometimes wish He would have picked an easier way to teach me, but I also am so thankful I learned in a big way that I need to completely surrender to His will and TRUST.


God bless you all that have read this far (phew, almost to the end!), and I thank you so much for the prayers and support, and please know that you all have mine as well.


My boy begins Kindergarten

I’m not sure where to even start but I feel the need to write on the eve of Leo starting Kindergarten.

IMG_8673 Leo has taught me so much from the minute we found out about him.  The most important thing, is that our children are not ours to control.  As a parent, we are merely stewards of God’s precious gift.

I remember vividly laying in the hospital bed, after my first thyroid cancer surgery, almost 7 years ago now.  I had just come to after being under while they removed my thyroid and the nurse had the doppler searching for Leo’s heartbeat.  These were not OB nurses, so they weren’t used to do doing this, so it took a little while for them to find Leo’s heartbeat.  I don’t think I breathed until I heard that sound every mother longs for…the *thump thump* of a healthy heart.

Since that day, it hasn’t been smooth sailing with Leo.  We have been through physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, IEPs, and sensory processing therapy.  Was it the medication from surgery?  My thyroid levels?  Him born not breathing because of a wrapped cord?  It is impossible to know and I try hard not to dwell on it – because all I see is an incredibly unique creation that God entrusted to us and whom he spared through an incredibly unordinary set of circumstances.

He is the silly in the midst of HEAVY girl drama at our house…he is the deep, belly laugh at life’s simplest funny moments…he is the reason the words “butt” and “poop” work their way into every conversation…and he is my constant reminder that God is forever faithful.  There are so many scenarios in which Leo would not be here.  I am so grateful to God that he is…and so thankful I am here to be his mom.

Having gone through one other first-day-of-kindergarten days already with our oldest, I know how fast time is about to fly for our boy. I am so excited to see what is in store for Leo and pray that God continues to protect him as He has since he was that tiny baby inside me.

Good luck tomorrow, Leo!  I could not be more proud to be your mom and I pray that you always know God has a plan for you and loves you through and through.


As far as an overall update on my cancer – we head to Omaha on September 2nd for CT Scans, ultrasound and bloodwork.  We also meet with my endocrinologist and ENT surgeon to hopefully schedule my *fingers crossed* last surgery.  As far as I can tell, tumor is still stable and I am feeling well.  Prayers for a clear course of action on September 2nd are appreciated!

God bless,



The phone call

First, thank you to everyone for their comments, prayers and support from my last post.  They help more than I could ever say!  I know I am not alone in any of this.

So, picking up from where I last left off, we were discerning whether or not to do the surgery to remove what is *hopefully* the last remaining spot of cancer in my neck.

I talked with my doctor a few days after my appointment because my tumor markers (blood work) had come back and it showed there is still cancer activity, but that it was still stable and the same number as the previous few years.  She had spoken to my surgeon and he felt comfortable with removing the tumor in my lymph node area (side of my neck) and ignoring the spot they see in my thyroid bed area (the one that is much more complicated to surgically remove and not possible to be biopsied).

We had a few days to process all this by now and Neel and I were leaning more towards doing the surgery.  My doctor said that the surgeon would like a biopsy of the lymph node area tumor, since we had never biopsied that one before.  This would clarify what exactly it is and would need to be done before surgery.

So we decided let’s get the biopsy out of the way – even though we still weren’t totally sure about surgery and when to do that.

This is a totally unflattering photo, but it's what I sent to Neel right after the biopsy since he had to wait in the lobby. Neck is swollen, but I am glad it's over.

This is a totally unflattering photo, but it’s what I sent to Neel right after the biopsy since he had to wait in the lobby. Neck is swollen, but I am glad it’s over.

We went to UNMC April 26th for the biopsy.  We were able to have my endocrinologist do the biopsy (and her fellow) and they both, along with the nurses, did an incredible job.  I had had two biopsies previously that went AWFUL – and I always said I would prefer surgery then go through a biopsy again.  But this time was different – maybe because I was with the doctor who I have been with for over 6 years now, and definitely because these sweet nurses held my hands the entire time.

I left pretty soar, but also relieved to finally be doing something to hopefully be getting well.  She said it would be a couple days for results.

Two days later I see my doctor is calling.  I know what she is going to say – I am not even nervous.  She says it’s cancer – papillary thyroid carcinoma.  I am relieved.

Relieved…did that throw you?  It threw my family, too.  But I am relieved.  For the first time in this journey, the results were what they EXPECTED.  Of course a clean pathology report is great, but when your blood work is saying there’s cancer in the body, you want to know where it is, and this area in my neck looked like the likely place.  To have the biopsy confirm that is where the cancer is was a relief (because if the biopsy had come back clean – then where is the cancer??).

So it was my third phone call of a doctor telling me I have cancer – but it was met with MUCH different emotions than the last two phone calls that brought the same news.

My doctor reaffirms that everything is still stable and there is no need to rush and do a surgery.  We are tentatively thinking of waiting until September, but will most likely do the surgery then with hopes that I can be cancer free.

Please pray that we are making the right decision, and that this will indeed lead us to being done with thyroid cancer.  Also please say a prayer for our kids – who are now old enough to comprehend a lot more than when we went through the first three surgeries.

It has been a long and winding road these past six and half years, but it has been a beautiful journey with experiences that have made us appreciate life in a much more fulfilling way.  That being said – I am ready to get off the cancer road for good, and not return anytime soon.

PS: Why wait until September?  I have been asked that, and it’s simply because I do not want to deal with a fresh scar on my neck during the sunny summer.  We are outside and at the pool and lake so much, I want to still be able to enjoy all that, and then have plenty of time to heal before summer comes again. I feel blessed to have time on our side. 🙂



It has been a long time since I have written.  Which, thankfully, means there hasn’t been much news.  Life has been whirling away blissfully normal.

Normal.  It’s a word that I have thought a lot about today. We had my regular six month check-up at UNMC with my endocrinologist.  And it was a normal appointment with normal results.  At least, it was normal for me.

When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer and going through surgery after surgery and treatment, I longed for my life to get back to normal.  Other cancer patients I have talked to express something very similar – longing for the day when cancer is behind them and life can go on as usual.

As the years kept going by and we found that my cancer wasn’t going away, without really realizing it, cancer had become our normal.  It is our normal now to plan our trip to Omaha every six months to do scans, bloodwork and doctor’s appointments at the Med Center.  It has become our normal to every couple months get my thyroid levels checked because inevitably the dose is not right.  It has become our normal to deal with bouts of anxiety, heart palpitations, and sleeplessness because of my medication. It has become our normal to talk about my cancer like you talk about your high blood pressure.

Cancer has become the normal.  As crazy as that sounds, we have come to grips with it and I suppose used to it that it’s just a part of our life.  And to be fair, cancer has truly been a back-burner issue these past couple years, something I am well aware is a blessing.  We have been able to welcome two beautiful daughters in this time.  Cancer, although it gives us our fair share of crosses each day to bear, has also allowed us to go on in a somewhat “normal” fashion through life.

So today at the appointment, which I said was normal for me, we find again that my two tumors are stable.  No change in a couple years now – which is awesome news.  But because the tumors have been stable for so long now, my doctor again brings up that it might be time for surgery to remove them.

I suppose the decision to do surgery would sound like a no-brainer to most people.  But my gut reaction is to avoid it – this would disrupt our normal. But then I think, what we are living really isn’t normal.

Surgery may mean I can be cancer-free.  It was this thought that brought me to tears at the appointment today.  I haven’t let myself consider being cancer-free for a long time.  It was this very emotional reaction that makes me think this “normal” we have been living the past few years has been weighing on me more than I care to admit.

But surgery is scary, and risky, and cannot guarantee that it will cure me.  I have been through three surgeries, each one being told that it should be the last one I would need and that all the cancer was gone.  And each time it came back (actually to be fair, my cancer really never “came back”, it was most likely microscopic disease that couldn’t be seen during my surgeries, but then grew over time to be detected).

So I am leary of disrupting the normalcy we have found now to do a surgery.  Surgery would mean adding even more anxiety to our lives preparing for the procedure, the pain and soarness of recovering from surgery (not to mention possible damage to my vocal chords), healing a scar that will now be four times opened, and then the waiting to see if the surgery did indeed “get it all” and waiting the months to see if any cancer grows again.

And then ultimately, I am most afraid of the disappointment of going through all that, only to be told that the cancer is still there.

The journey I have been on since I was first was told about cancer has taught me many things – but above all I know God is trying to show me that I need to trust Him.  That is hard.  To truly trust God is difficult.  Which I don’t know why, because God always wants what is ultimately good for us.

So now we begin discernment about what our next step should be…with trusting God at the center.

Do I trust God working through my brilliant doctors and go through the surgery to be free from thyroid cancer?  Or is trusting God to give me the grace and strength I need to continue living with my disease where He’s leading us?

Luckily, we have time on our side.  The bittersweetness of thyroid cancer is that it is slow-growing and we can take our time in our decision.  This at times is also a difficult aspect as it feels like time drags on forever in between appointments and my mind loves to be overcome with worry and angst, but ultimately I am thankful we can prayerfully consider what we should do and rely on our brilliant doctors (yes, I know I’ve said they’re brilliant already, but it’s worth repeating) to guide us to the best decision.

Please keep us in your prayers as we weigh these decisions over the next couple months.  I will keep this blog updated as we learn more and figure our next steps out.  The prayers and support of our friends and family through all of this continues to amaze us – thank you will never be enough.

God bless you!



My two littlest blessings – Daphne (2) and Magdalene (1).


5 Years Later

It’s true…it has been 5 years since I was diagnosed with cancer.  How I wish I could go back to myself 5 years ago and say that everything really will be okay, that it does get worse, way worse, but then it gets so.much.better.

When I reflect on the journey since that fateful day 5 years ago, I am in awe about how much I have changed – and changed for the better.  I love my husband, my children, and my family and friends INFINITELY more and I appreciate each and every day in a way that I think is only possible because of my diagnosis.  I am by no means great at this all the time, but strive to be better all the time because I know things could have gone a very different way.

But the most important change has occurred with my ability to trust in God.  I have learned that nothing is in my control, and that’s okay, but God is and He does a way better job of providing for me than anything I can try to do on my own.  I’m not sure if I would be able to trust Him like I do now had I not been through these last 5 years.

Although I still would love to meet cancer in a dark alley and beat the crap out of it, because it wreaks havoc in so many ways, I am thankful for the path it put me on and that I am in the place I am today because of dealing with cancer.

Thank you to everyone who has journeyed with us these last five years.  The journey is not over, and I think for anyone receiving a cancer diagnosis the journey is never over, but it does get easier.  Thank you for helping me in so many ways.


From the moment you hear “you have cancer,” they say you are a survivor.  It is such an honor to still be a survivor.  That is why it was such a special moment for me to be in the Cancer Survivors’ Park this weekend taking pictures with my now much larger family than it was five years ago – and getting a little bit bigger come January.  It was a coincidence that our photographer picked this spot, but it was so neat to announce our fourth child in a place devoted to those who have fought cancer.  Do not take a day of your good health for granted – it is a great gift and a blessing to be able to share each day with people you love.

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IMG_2387It seems like quite awhile since I have written an update, which to me is a good thing because that means nothing too exciting is happening.  And when it comes to cancer, boring is good.

Tuesday was my routine 6 month check-up at UNMC.  I can’t believe how easy these are now.  I used to fret for days or even weeks about what would be said at these appointments.  Now it is routine.  I wish I could go back to myself three years ago and say that truly the day does come when panic and fear don’t control the time between appointments.

After bloodwork and my neck ultrasound, we head to see my endocrinologist.  She is pleased to say that my ultrasound shows no change.  Of course it would be even better if the ultrasound showed no tumors, but stable tumors are the next best thing I suppose.  She reiterates that she is pushing for surgery at some point in the near future to remove these tumors and be done for good with cancer (maybe she is sick of seeing me every six months?? 🙂

I ask her about adjusting my thyroid medication.  Since I have active disease, they keep me in a hyper-thyroid state.  Doing so keeps my body from producing its own thyroid hormone and thus feeding my cancer tumors.  MOST of the time being hyperthyroid is okay – but about 25% of the time, I have extreme anxiousness, trouble sleeping, and heart palpitations (and I bet Neel would say irritability – but he would never say that to my face because I would snap at him ;).  Not fun (especially for my family).  And coming up on five years of this, I am ready to be back to a normal thyroid range.

She says there is no way should would consider bringing me back to a normal range with these tumors.  She says the only reason my tumors aren’t growing is because I’m maintaining my hyperthyroidism.

Ugh…I really will have to have surgery.

We meet with the surgeon, and although he sees no reason to operate anytime soon since my tumors are stable, after sharing with him my desire to go back to a normal thyroid range, he says that he would feel totally comfortable performing this surgery and feels very optimistic that he could remove all the cancer without doing permanent damage to my vocal chords or other negative side effects.  Of course any surgery has risks, but he wouldn’t do this if he didn’t feel like he could with an optimal outcome.

The good news is we don’t have to decide anything quickly.  I am totally comfortable with waiting awhile and enjoying this time with my young kids (and dealing with the craziness that comes along 25% of the time).  There will be a surgery down the road, but this time we get to call the shots on when we do this.  Nothing is life threatening, and I will be fine.  It really is a “pain in the neck” to have this hanging over us, but we are more than anything thankful for options, thankful for TIME, and thankful for these wonderful physicians who look out for me.

And if I ever seem snappy, irritable, or tired, you all now know why.  Thank you for the continued prayers and please keep them coming.  It helps more than I can say.



My Leo

I seem to have a habit of writing a post on Leo’s birthday each year.  But there is something about reflecting on this day that stirs up so much that I want to share.  So hear goes – Leo part 4 (he turns four tomorrow – March 3rd 🙂


Each birthday for each child is so special as a parent.  I don’t know if most parents do this, but I always go back to that day we first got to meet Leo.  This was the first (and only), child we knew the sex, and had a name picked out relatively early on.  Because of cancer diagnosis, we had many ultrasounds, and even though everything with Leo always looked okay, we were so anxious to actually have him in our arms to make sure he was okay.

Which is why when day 6 past my due date rolled around, you can imagine we were VERY eager to have Leo enter the world.  But like Leo has shown us time and time again, he was on his own timeline.  I went to bed on March 2nd with no sign that Leo would be joining us anytime soon.

Which is why when I woke up early the next morning with contractions, Neel and I figured we would still have plenty of time to make it to the hospital.  Ha!  We arrived at 5am and at 5:51am, Leo was here.

I’m not sure how many people know this, but Leo was born not breathing because of the cord wrapped around his neck.  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t hold him right away, and why no one would answer me when I asked to hold him (I had been waiting and worrying for 9 whole months after all!).  Little did I know the midwife and nurses were doing CRP to bring him to…

But then I finally got to hold Leo…what a lesson in knowing that I never had to worry at all.  God protected Leo…he protected Leo from his very first moment, when he was in the hands of a VERY good midwife receiving CPR,  to that moment I finally held him, and right up to today.   God created our bodies in such a complex, beautiful, and miraculous way that I was able to fight cancer and nurture a perfect, healthy baby boy all at once.

And then it was time to weigh him…I had heard all the comments in the delivery room about how big he appeared, but I watched as he was weighed…10 pounds.  Healthy indeed! (Although my first thought was my thyroid medication had somehow caused him to be bigger…I was assured that it was not related.  And indeed it was so, as Leo continues to be a BIG boy).

Now four years later, I feel so blessed to be able to watch that BIG baby become the boy that make us laugh (and yell and sigh), on a daily basis.  Watching him save his baby sister from pretend villains in his spiderman costume is a blessing…no other way to say it.


I think about a friend who also was diagnosed with cancer while she was pregnant with her baby boy.  She would have given ANYTHING to see her boy celebrate his fourth birthday.  I don’t understand why I get to and she doesn’t, but Megan, please know that I do not take it for granted.  To every parent reading, please remember that it is a gift to see your child each and every day grow up.  It’s a hard job, but thinking about not being able to do it is even harder…I am lucky…

I can’t wait to see Leo’s dimples and big green eyes tomorrow morning as he wakes up 4!   (the tantrums and ornery-ness stop at 4, right??).  Love you, Leo!



The Latest

IMG_4773It is so amazing to be in a place where 6 months flies by and cancer doesn’t give me the anxiety or panic it once did.  Thyroid cancer sometimes feels more of a battle of the mind than anything, and for once it feels like I’m finally winning at it.  I had my latest check-ups last week and here’s the scoop:

There are still two tumors in my neck – one along the right side and one where my thyroid used to be.  These are still the same size they were 6 months ago, and the same size they were two years ago, really.  And my tumor markers are virtually the same, too.  So, the cancer is STABLE…awesome.  My endocrinologist would just assume I have surgery now to remove these two spots.  Since it has been two years and nothing new has crept up, she would think it would be a safe bet that if we remove these two spots, I would be cancer free for good.  That is a notion that has not crossed my mind for quite some time.  It sounds amazing, but…

My endocrinologist is not a surgeon, and she defers to the surgeon on whether or not the benefits of surgery out weigh the risks.

So we head to the surgeon and he says no surgery…the risks of surgery are really too great to deem it worthwhile.  He says that really the thinking anymore is that as long as the cancer is stable, there is really no reason to put someone through a surgery.  I can live just as long as a life with this cancer as I would without it – and this way I don’t have to risk losing my voice or damaging vocal chords.

So although the thought of being cancer free sounds amazing, I value my surgeon’s opinion (and my voice!), and we will continue to delay surgery – possibly forever – but at least another six months.

It is funny to see how Neel and I have come to terms with the role cancer will take place in our lives.  When I was first diagnosed, our first thought was, “Get this cancer out!” How could we live knowing there was cancer inside of me!  That is why even though I was pregnant, we went through with the surgery to remove the cancer then.

Now, 4.5 years later, we are actively choosing to leave the cancer IN!  And I’m okay with that.  There was a story I heard on the radio that has really stuck with me and helps me make sense of why sometimes bad things happen.

IMG_0190Imagine a father with his son.  The son is very sick with pneumonia, so the dad takes his boy in to the doctor.  The doctor says he needs a shot of antibiotics in order to get better.  The dad knows his son isn’t going to like it, and it will hurt, but the dad tells the doctor to do it anyway.  The son looks at his dad, and wonders why someone he trusts would let something that hurts happen to him.  So the Dad holds his son down, so the doctor can give him a shot, because he knows it will make him better.

This is just like our heavenly Father…there are times that he allows bad things to happen, because in his ultimate wisdom, he knows it can make us better.  But, he is always right there holding us, just like the father in the story, to help us through the bad time.

This is my story…something very bad happened, but I was never abandoned.  I was held and comforted by so many people, as well as by my heavenly Father, and got through the bad times.  I am now better than I was, and grateful to have had this trial.  It may or may not be over, but I can’t dwell on that.  Each day is such a gift and I try to remember that.

Blessings to you all!



A Beautiful Mess

helen_leo_3I recently heard a talk about finding beauty in the mess of our lives.  It brought be back to a moment almost exactly three years ago that I felt was important to share, and also important for me to remember.

I had just had my third surgery on December 1, 2010.  After recovering in Omaha for a few days, I was back at home.  I was alone.  Neel was at work and the kids were at the sitter since I couldn’t lift anything yet.  I was lonely, scared and very sore.  For a third time the cancer had come back and I didn’t know what was in store for me.  It was a very dark – messy time.

Then my doctor called.  The pathology report had come back from the lab.  They had gotten all the cancer.  The margins were clear.  I didn’t need more surgery or radiation.  I was going to be okay.

I remember hanging up the phone, looking up, and everything looked different.  I mean actually looked different.  The colors in our home were more vibrant.  Immediately I thought of the phrase, “put on your rose-colored glasses.”  That’s what it felt like.  It felt like I had new eyes through which to see everything.


We did take Helen to her first movie a week or so later – “Tangled”

The second thing that happened, that brought me to tears in that moment, was I realized that I was going to be able to take Helen to her first movie.  What!?  It seems so silly and simple now, but at the time I didn’t know if I would ever feel good enough to be able to do that with my daughter.

God brought SO much beauty into that VERY messy time in our life.

Three years have passed and I try so hard to hold on to what life felt like in the that moment.  To try to live that way everyday – find beauty in the simple things and treasure absolutely everything.

I write this today because I think it’s something we all need to hear every now and then.  And also to remind ourselves to fervently pray for those who are in that moment I was three years ago – not knowing if they will ever feel well enough to do even the simplest activities with their families.   To pray that they are able to find beauty in their mess, and that God never abandons us.

I hope everyone is able to take some time this season (and always!) to treasure the little things and be thankful that we get to be living this crazy, messy, beautiful life.