Tag Archives: chemotherapy

The Final Chapter

I need to start by saying that I know I don’t update much anymore, but this warrants an update. You guys, it’s been 7 👏 YEARS 👏 since all this cancer nonsense started. Seven! Seven years since I decided to take the “Big C” from cancer and keep it with Christ. And I’m almost 6 years past my “expiration date” 😉

It’s so crazy to look back and see how this has all played out and since I had scans today I wanted to update you guys because you have been so amazing to us through all of this.

Annual scan selfie from today 😆

Today I drove to Philly with a heavy heart. And I had to go by myself because of all the Covid restrictions. Even though every year there’s a thought in my head that something could pop up, today I felt fairly sure something would. Last night in searching the Psalms, this excerpt struck me. Yes! Even if something crops up and I’m back to treatments, and procedures, and prognoses, I will still rejoice in my salvation!!

Everything went smoothly with my brain MRI to check on my brain tumor and my full body PET scan and so I drove home and waited for a call from my oncologist, assuring myself whatever it was, God was with us. Many of my friends and family members were encouraging me throughout the day and it meant the world to me!

I won’t make you wait, when my oncologist called he was pleased to say that not only did my scans look great but since I’ve had 5 years of clean scans now, I don’t have to go back for any more! Our conversation was short and sweet, but there was one little nugget that I wrote down because I never want to forget it…

He asked if I had any questions so I asked him, medically, what I’m supposed to call it when people ask, am I cancer free? In remission? His response, “I don’t think there’s really a good word or term for it, you’re kind of a trailblazer here. It’s not really supposed to work like this.” He went on to tell me I should consider myself cured. My oncologist used the word “cured”!! I couldn’t believe it. Of course, he advised I still remain diligent with my health and if anything is worrying me to call him, but I’m no longer advised to get yearly scans.

In my mind, the absolute best case scenario here would have been hearing “your scans look good, see ya next year”, so this was unfathomable. Reminds me of Ephesians 3:20 “‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”. Absolutely more than I could have asked or imagined.

I know so many people don’t get this news, and for that I do struggle with survivor’s guilt and I cannot give an answer. It’s a lot of complicated emotions, but I would say guilt is the biggest. I understand that it isn’t fair and I wish I could explain any of this, but I can’t.

It feels final. It feels done. It really feels over, after all this time. Below you’ll find a short recap through pictures of some of the highlights (low points….) of this journey. My thanks to all who have prayed for us, I know many of you have followed even though we’ve never met, there are no words for our gratitude!

Love and blessings to all of you!! ✌️❤️

A few months before being diagnosed
2 months post neck-dissection after 1st radiation treatment
Radiation hair loss
After 25 radiation treatments 😳
Port life
Accessing my port for immunotherapy
My brain tumor
Gamma knife radiation on brain tumor
Clinical trial round 2 – Keytruda
Current facial situation (transplant site and scar from neck dissection)
Just a few months ago ☺️

Why Coronavirus is Driving You Crazy

Of course by now, we are all hitting peak saturation with information, statistics, media coverage, and various people’s spin on the Coronavirus outbreak plaguing our planet at the moment. Personally, I’ve been tracking this thing for months, long before it hit the US. And have been watching with a twisted stomach as everything unfolds seemingly in slow motion. Maybe you’ve done the same or maybe you were blindsided when things started shutting down and suddenly, by law, we are no longer allowed to go about our daily business.

I’m not here to speculate on any part of this pandemic nor am I going to try to comfort you. My attempt at either would be fruitless. But one thing I will do is commiserate. And this comes back to my life with cancer.

I’ve had the blessing of sharing my cancer story in many places and with many people. One thing that I think surprises people when I retell the story of that time is when I tell them that the main thing that I struggled with over the course of my illness was the loss of control over my life.

Or maybe more than that, the shattering of the illusion that I was in control of my life.

I see a lot of my friends really struggling with all of this and I’m not sure they can really put into words why. But I think I know. We are realizing collectively that the life and lifestyle that we’ve built for ourselves, no matter how steady and prudent we are, is incredibly fragile. That it can be lost in the blink of an eye. That we aren’t ultimately in control of as much as we would have thought.

Friends, that is a hard realization to come to! And it’s one I wrestled with a good long time while I was ill. It took a different form -not being able to care for my children, being physically incapable of even the most mundane things, not being able to drive – it was a loss of the physical control I thought I had.

Now listen, I’m not a control freak. At all. I’m easygoing and go with the flow and am a complete type B (or further down the alphabet even!) so it shocked me when I came to realization that control was really my issue here. But that realization was also what helped me to step back and reflect on life a little differently.

It allowed me to rest and rely on God in a completely different way and I suddenly didn’t have to fight Him for the steering wheel. He has it, I can let go.

All of us are fighting the same mental battle. On one hand, we are being told to simply stay at home. And that’s a good thing! So why is this hard? I would suggest that maybe it’s because suddenly we don’t get to decide where we can go, when, and with whom. You don’t get a choice to work or not, that’s likely been decided for you. And while Eric and I were able to have months to prep and plan for homeschooling, suddenly you are thrown the responsibility of educating your children with no forewarning. And your children are dealing with the weight of all this change too. We didn’t get to decide any of these things. The decision has been made for us and we don’t have any say in the matter.

My hope here is not to add frustration to the situation, but to add some clarity for why we are feeling the way we are. As someone who likes to research and as someone who enjoys encouraging people, it’s been hard for me to bite my tongue and just sit back and watch but I felt there was no need to add to the white noise, theories, mass placating, and all the wise and good things people are sharing. And the memes. The memes have been gold!

But when I hit the realization that we are now collectively feeling what I struggled for so long to figure out and work through, I thought maybe it’s time to speak up.

There’s good news! As things change so quickly and the world is in utter chaos, God doesn’t change. His word never changes. He is the only true, steady force in the universe. And that’s a comfort to me.

Honestly, I’m a nobody that doesn’t know anything about anything. So why you’re even here, I don’t know, but I’m glad you are! And my prayer is that we don’t waste this quarantine time. If you are a Christian, now’s the time to dig deep and grow in Him. If you are questioning where God is in all of this, now’s the time to wrestle with Him. If you’ve been resistant to the gospel, now is the time to open up. There’s no way to know if this is the end times, but sheesh this sure does feel biblical, doesn’t it?

-Jamie Erickson
Now’s the time!

Stay well, friends. And keep in touch with each other. We need each other now more than ever!

Wasn’t Expecting That…

A few weeks ago, I found myself in my family doctor’s office, tears streaming uncontrollably down my cheeks, passing it off as trying to deal with the pain from my sore throat. Both the doctor and I knew that was a lie but he went along with it, nodding kindly with a compassionate half-smile. His sense of urgency at my physical state triggered something in me that I didn’t even know was there.

The similarities were too much. It was mid- October and it was rainy. I was going to the doctor expecting some antibiotics and an annoying wait at the pharmacy to follow, only for it to be implied that it was something more. Something more. He suggested I see my ENT immediately and even called and scheduled the appointment for me so that they would see me as soon as I got there. “I don’t see anything abnormal in your throat. With your level of pain in your neck and transplant site, I think you need a CAT scan.”

Mid-October. Rainy day. Thinking I’m going on for an inconsequential “tis-the-season” type of illness. Furrowed brows. Concerned whispers. An ENT visit. And now recommending a CAT scan.

“I can’t rule out some type of malignancy, given your history.”

There is was. The thing that broke the seal. That made the dam burst. That made for an awkward rest of the appointment, to be honest.

The tears began to flow immediately, rushing down my cheeks and soaking my sweatshirt. They wouldn’t stop.

Kim. Pull yourself together! Seriously, how many times have family doctors said something just like this to you and it’s been nothing! Why are you crying?! Get a grip! This poor guy is seriously worried about your mental state right now…

The doctor looked uncomfortable and like he felt really bad. Like he had just accidentally ran over my dog or something.

“I’m fine, it’s just a lot of pain.” He nods and smiles. It’s not a complete lie, but we both know what started the crap-show he was witnessing now.

A kind nurse comes in and offers me the whole box of tissues and pats me on the back. He walks out into the hallway with her and I hear them whispering. I hear him on the phone in the hallway.

“Yes…Yes…History of stage 4 melanoma. Yup, that’s her.”

Yup, that’s her.

The tears flow without breaks to the point that they are no longer individual drops but instead a steady stream.

He pops his head in, “can you head over now?” I tell him I can. He pauses and quietly asks, as though he’s embarrassed for me, “are you ok to drive?”

Yes, it was that bad.

I assure him I am and again remind him it’s just the physical pain and that I’ll be fine.

I got in my car and began sobbing. To the point of dry-heaving and physically shaking. Kim, what is WRONG with you?? This is literally the thousandth time this has happened to you. Get a grip!!

But it was all too much. The similarities between this appointment and the one that set everything in motion 6 years prior was just. too. much. 6 years after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, here I was again.

Mid-October, just after Brit’s birthday. Rainy. Going in expecting antibiotics and a wait at the pharmacy in my near future only be met with legitimate concern. An ENT appointment. A CAT scan.

The doctor’s sense of urgency triggered something in me that I didn’t even know was there.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.


It was pure, unadulterated fear seeping from my body, causing me to shake and dry-heave. It was as if he had ripped off a bandaid and I was expecting to see an all-but-healed scar but instead I was pulled under by the rush that came from underneath. But this was coming from within.

I drove home and laid in a ball on my kitchen floor and sobbed. Full-on ugly cry. As I wept, I began to rebuke myself.

You never even did this the first time you were diagnosed! And this guy didn’t even diagnose you with anything! What are you afraid of??

It was then that I realized just how far I had let myself slip into a safe and comfortable faith. Into a faith that means well, does good, is sincere in all forms, but had grown complacent somehow. I was doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things but without realizing it, my faith had become so small.

People see me as having a strong faith. And I do, don’t get me wrong. There was never a point where I turned from God, not at all. But I think I had hidden behind the image that everyone has of the Kim who had cancer. Brave. Strong. Fearless.


As I lay on my kitchen floor, I cried out to God in a way that I hadn’t in a long time. I felt small and weak. Helpless and not just fearful, but truly overflowing with fear. I felt God speak into my spirit “But what are you afraid of?

In that moment, I felt a sense of calm. There’s no other way to describe it besides God had heard my cry and like a parent rushing to a hurting child, picked me up and held me. The mess I was. Small and full of fear. Fear of facing it all over again. Fear at what my family would have to endure yet again because of me. Fear of no longer identifying with that confident fighter that I once must have been.

But He was there. Just like He had always been. He had never left.

My tears turned to those of gratitude and repentance. God, I’m so sorry! Forgive me for my small faith! Place in me, once again, a faith that is fearless! I don’t know how I still had tears to cry and they didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

But I felt amazing. Any believer knows the bitterness of the brokenness but how the tears that come afterwards can be so very sweet. I felt renewed, like a burden had lifted and a fog had cleared.

And I felt ready to face the ENT. A visit there, a CAT scan, a whole mess of antibiotics and steroids showed it was just some “tis the season” type of illness.

And better yet, the next week my PET scan and brain MRI came back clear once again.

So why do I share this? Well, for a few reasons actually. I never intended, through sharing my journey, to ever come across like I was handling things perfectly. With any diagnosis comes a lot of complex emotions and that’s ok. I don’t want anyone to think of me as like a gold-standard for how to deal, because, well, did you just read the above account? Yeah….

I’m just sharing this in the hopes that maybe it can encourage someone who is feeling that paralyzing fear. I never told anyone but my husband because I was so ashamed, but God is bigger than my shame and for sure bigger than our fears. I realized I could stand in church and sing “no guilt in life or fear in death” and maybe not mean it in that moment. I’ve been spending my nights when all is calm and quiet in the Psalms and it’s been so refreshing for my soul.

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.” -Psalm 94:18-19

I hope you all are well and if you made it this far, you truly deserve a medal! In all seriousness, I know many of you have been along on this ride with us for these past 6 years and we are so grateful for your prayers, encouragement, and support.


I’m writing this for several reasons. For one, I know that a few of you have been along for the ride but don’t actually know me. You’ve prayed for me and supported us through this so you definitely deserve an update! But I’m doing this for me as well. Although I don’t go back and read my old blogs, if I ever decided to I would for sure want this chronicled.

Yesterday, I got my port out.

Yes, it’s an awkward pic but I don’t care! Because I’m excited and I’m happy! Let me tell ya, the procedure is done in a very professional way in the OR and all that, but I was also fully awake for it. So all of the tugging and pulling against my scar tissue while I was still awake and aware was gag-worthy. For real. But…good has come from it.

For a while this port was like a security blanket for me. It felt like relief and it felt like comfort. I didn’t want it at first but once I had it, I truly came to rely on it as a source of calming, as weird as that may sound.

But over the years, I’ve needed it less and less. Treatments were stopped over 2 years ago and it became a hassle. Something that was uncomfortable and that needed attending to (in the form of getting flushed) even though it was inconvenient. As my days were spent more at home than at Penn, these visits to have my port flushed felt increasingly intrusive. And so we decided to get it out.

I need to include something here for my own records because I felt that I never had closure on this cancer stuff. As much as I could physically feel healthy and mentally detach from the trauma, there was always the reminder in the form of that uncomfortable port in my chest. Treatments didn’t stop with some triumphant “last chemo” where I ring a bell and get applause. No, I simply didn’t want to do them anymore and my oncologist understood and supported that decision.

Appointments and specialists and scans sort of petered out. There wasn’t an end. But this? This felt like an end to the chapter. This felt like the turning of a page. This port that had ingested so much chemo and has seen me through some of the hardest times of my life was about to go. And symbolically, it was impossible to ignore.

You see, God has been opening my eyes to so much recently.

I wanted to go by myself to Philly to get my port out and as I drove home, I thought I’d listen to my chemo playlist on my phone. This was literally the playlist I would listen to during infusions. I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to it for over 2 years, but I also haven’t been able to bring myself to delete it. It’s special.

So as the songs played, I felt myself get real honest with God. You see, over the last year and a half, we have been a part of starting a church. This is good! But on the same coin, it’s been the hardest time of my life. I’ll explain.

When God called us to this church plant, it ripped me from the only church home I’ve ever known. It tore me from the comfort of the church family that was truly my family, the people who had loved and supported us through my cancer and the people that I wanted to love and support. It took us away from the teens who loved and trusted us and who we loved so very much. Being a part of this church plant meant willingly giving up a huge piece of my heart. And unbeknownst to us at the time, it meant enduring some cruel and unjust criticisms as well. And I was just not ready for that.

On the drive home from having my port removed and thinking through all of the happenings of the last few years that I had shut off from myself, I came to see a few things.

For one: difficult emotions can coexist. I’ll say it again, difficult emotions can coexist! My grief over the loss of my church family in New Holland did not mean I love my new church any less! I’ve tried to hide my grief because I felt like if I looked sad to leave my other church that it would look like I wasn’t ready or excited to tackle what God had in store for us at the new church. And that’s just not true! I spent almost a year in a deep depression over losing our old church, especially the youth. So much so God had to hit me over the head with the new opportunities we had to spread the gospel this past week as 20 teens came to our house for youth group. Praise God for His goodness!! I will always miss our old church. Always. Especially the teens. But I feel more free to experience that grief alongside the excitement and joy of creating new relationships.

And two: God showed me that I have closed myself off from Him. Ok, actually I already knew this, but I guess He showed me why.

Over the last few years, God has called me to some things that were hard. Things I didn’t want or ask for. Things I didn’t want to do and things I didn’t want to face. I’ve meditated on the verse that says, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” a LOT over the last few weeks, and there was just a hesitation on my part to draw near to Him but I couldn’t figure out why. I love Him and I want to serve Him only, so why couldn’t I connect?

Then, in the drive home from having my port removed while I was listening to the worship music on my chemo playlist it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m terrified of what He’ll ask of me next.

The last few years have been so hard, such a struggle, with so little clarity that I was scared that what He’d ask next would be even more so difficult. I’m a little ashamed to even admit this, but I know I need to as some of you look at me as a Christian who just has it all together and has it all figured out. That’s just not the case.

So why even write this? For one, an update to you amazing folks who have followed this journey with me. And for two, so I can look back someday and see what God was up to in this season. I feel closure on the part of my life that was ruled by cancer and that feels so good! And while I still grieve the loss of the most amazing church family anyone could ask for, I’m thanking God for putting us where He has put us.

If you read this to the end, I’m so sorry for making you endure all that and may God bless you for it!! There’s no way I can thank you guys enough for your love, encouragement, and prayers over the years. It’s really mind-boggling to think of all of the support we’ve received and we are beyond thankful! So, thank you!!

And in case you want to know, Eric and the kids are doing great and I found a hobby and passion in cookies!

Love to all of you!! 💕

Cancer, a Birthday, and a Secret Prayer

I was dying.  And I knew it.  I was under no delusions that healing was on the table for me and I had accepted my lot in life.  Or death, I suppose, as it were.  Cancer was “exploding” all over my body, in the words of my oncologist, and I had a few good months left – at best.  My brain tumor was wreaking havoc in the way of grand mal seizures that left me for minutes on end without oxygen, leaving me to try to regain my body functions and memory after each one.  And after each one it got increasingly harder and had more long term effects that didn’t dissipate.  I had tumors in my lungs that were so inflamed that any exertion left me in a coughing fit and I found myself night after night sleeping upright on the couch because laying down in bed next to my husband, where I longed to be, would result in painful coughing fits.  My hip and back ached constantly, crying out in pain, and reminding me that the cancer was eating my bones.  Little by little.

Each day I had to relinquish more and more control of my life and the life of my family over to family and friends.  I thank God endlessly for the selfless love we received, but there is no 30 year old mother on earth who wants this for her family.  And so I struggled mentally with my lack of involvement with my kids at the level I had wanted for myself.

My body and my mind were both betraying me more and more each day.  And there was no hope in healing.  And so we faced each day as we had to.

I watched my kids, then 2 and 4, living a seemingly normal life.  At least, as normal as we could provide in the midst of all my treatments, scans, and appointments.  We tried to build a sense of normalcy around the fact that Mommy was dying and we treated it as a fact of life rather than a scary and sad event.  I bought them a book called “A Kid’s Travel Guide to Heaven” and we read it every day.  And while it’s certainly not scripture based, it did help open the discussion and help the kids to see that that was where Mommy would be.  Waiting for them to come.

I needed them to know that if they understood the gospel of Jesus Christ and that if they accepted the gift of salvation that we would be together again.  And I needed them to know that although Mommy was happy to go to heaven, that it would never be my choice to leave them.  Never.  I was desperate for them to understand this.  And the tears would fall.  Rolling down my cheeks in silent protest.  Just as they are right now as I write this.

A sibling squabble was a reminder that I wouldn’t be there to help them bond as they grew up.   Setting the kids in front of a Veggietales so I could get a break because I was in too much pain was a reminder that I wouldn’t be a spiritual influence for them for very much longer.  A sweet hug goodnight and even the frustration of trying to put young kids to bed were all too painful reminders of all I would be missing out on.  And selfishly, this tore me up inside.  Everything in me longed to be there for them as they grew up, and so the tears fell.

People often ask me how I did it.  How could I face this?  How could I cope?  There is truly no good answer to that.  I know we did what we had to do but looking back it seems so impossible.  It really was too much.  How did we do it?

There was a profound acceptance on my part that this was the end.  Mind you, acceptance certainly did not mean gladness.  I was tired and I was sad.  But I was ready.

I remember one sleepless night very clearly.  I had propped myself up on lots of pillows so that I could stay in bed with Eric, and as was so often the case when I could manage to stay in bed, I would listen to him rhythmically breathing as he slept and I would be soothed by the fact that he, at least for a few hours each day, had calmness and rest.  On this particular night, just like I had on so many others, I would pray.

But tonight would be a little bit different.

I lay there with my eyes closed tight, silent tears falling faster each second, cascading down my cheeks only to puddle up onto the sheets.  And in my desperation I reached my hand up to heaven.  And I begged God with all I had in me, to give me until I was 34.

34 years old.

Please God!  It would be about 3.5 years at that point and I felt like I was asking for the moon.  I felt like I was asking God to turn me into a unicorn or something equally as impossible.  I felt like I knew I was asking for too much, that it wasn’t possible, that it was absolutely ridiculous.  But that for some reason in my head that was the perfect amount of time.  That if He just allowed me that window of time that the kids would be old enough to have some good, solid memories of me.  At that time, this was the number one tug on my heart.  Selfishly, I wanted nothing more than for the kids to remember me.  That’s just the way it was.  Eric and I would have been married 10 years when I was 34, and that was just an astonishing feat to me.  It sounded so glorious.  Perfect.  The perfect amount of time!  I kept apologizing to God because I knew my request was so silly and so selfish.  But as I continued to pray, my desperation simply grew as I begged and begged God to please just give me until I was 34!

I write this today.  On my 34th birthday.  I can honestly say I never thought this day would come.  I know God isn’t a genie up in heaven granting wishes, but I believe He heard my heart on that night.  I’m not sure I’ll ever know for sure how all of this has worked or why it has worked out this way, surviving this long isn’t something I believe I deserve or have earned.  It just simply is.  And as I sit here now with clean scans as of last week, I’ll accept it as the beautiful gift it is.

I didn’t want to tell this story.  In fact, I could count on one hand the number of people I ever told this prayer to.  Why?  Because it felt like a childish prayer.  Like a lack of faith on my part, and maybe it was.

But I wanted to tell it now because God is good and deserves all praise.  Always.  He has given me more than I could ever ask or imagine.  Think about those words, more than I could ask or imagine.  All glory to God!  And I give Him glory for this urgency He has placed in my heart for spreading the gospel.  It can feel like a burden sometimes because it was so much easier to live a lukewarm life, but I pray He never lets this passion for praising Him and spreading the Good News fade.  Christ has reconciled this sinner with a Holy God through His righteousness alone.  I’ll always be grateful and I want to only praise him forever.  Thank you, Jesus!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.”  ~Ephesians 3:20-21


2017 word of the year for us: Sacrifice! Eric and I were called to give up a lot, I mean, A LOT! But we chose obedience over acceptance, as difficult as that was at times.

I won’t undercut those who suffer from true depression, but I have felt depression deeper this year than I have ever known even when dying from cancer. Truly. Although we know we still “have” our church family from New Holland (and love them!), it still felt like God was telling us to give that up as our place of worship. For Him. Not because New Holland is any way bad, NO, not at all!! But because it was time. For us.

We felt led to plant a church and that NH would no longer be our place of worship, after 12 years and the fact that it’s the only church home I’ve ever had, that was hard. I have cried more over these last few months at the “loss” of this family, and most specifically at the loss of being a part of the youth group, than I ever have at anything regarding to cancer. Yeah, seriously….

But God had not left us without. Not even a little. He has given us a new church and a new vision and this has been an amazing blessing to our family. Church planting is, well, WAY more work than I ever thought it would be. That’s not necessarily bad, it just is what it is.

2017 has been very hard for the same reasons that it has been wonderful: People. We love and value all of the relationships we have and that have flourished this year and we mourn the loss of those that we have lost. We have lost friendships and for that, I grieve. But I don’t want to lose focus on my goal of spreading Christ simply based on the disapproval of Christians who don’t agree with my methods. I just can’t. It’s too important and they can say literally whatever they want about me, I know the truth and so does God. And my mission is pure, regardless.

It’s been a hard time because I felt like I needed to hide all of this hurt. But our old church has supported us so much and so have many others and for that we are thankful!

I’m praying that God will do BIG things in us and through us this year as we try to reach those who do not know Him!

We are totally unworthy of this calling to plant a God-honoring church but so excited because that’s how we know God works – through those of us that are unworthy.

May His strength be shown in my weakness as my weaknesses have been on full display this year. I’ve been quick to anger. Oh! So quick. I’ve said less than kind things as a reaction to being hurt. I’ve tried to be a pleaser of people. I’ve lost sight occasionally of the ultimate goal and passion of living for the purpose and life that only Jesus can give. Sadly, even after all I’ve been through with cancer, it’s possible still to lose sight of the most important things because of hurts caused by people. How silly, ultimately.

And I’ve been listening to way too much Taylor Swift. Haha! But seriously there are times that “Bad Blood” has seemed way more appropriate to me at the given moment than any Chris Tomlin song.

I’m a work in progress.

But I can’t and won’t live to please people. God is real and He is good and I will live to please Him only. This has been a surprisingly hard realization to come to regarding all of the testing we have endured this year, but I believe things are looking up and I can’t wait to keep giving God the glory!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018!!

Thank you, Chris Tomlin

Ok, so I try not to preface because usually it’s unnecessary, but I feel like I should let you know in case you don’t already just who Chris Tomlin is.  He is a Christian mega-celebrity.  The Beyoncé of contemporary Christian music.  The Sandra Bullock of worship music.  The Taylor Swift of worship leaders in America (minus the pettiness.  Well, I guess I don’t actually know his level of petty, but I’m assuming it’s lower than me and TS’s.). And I, little old me, got a personalized video message of encouragement from him! (See below).

All that said, I had a pretty cool experience this week.  As my “cancerversary” is right around the corner and we have had some pretty big life changes lately, I’ve found myself more pensive than usual.  I’m having a hard time declaring my gratitude to God for his powerful healing in my life from cancer because survivor’s guilt keeps me from proclaiming His healing glory.  And the fact that he used a missionary who prayed over me as a vehicle to showcase that power?  It’s all so wild and unbelievable, and yet being healed from stage 4 terminal cancer is my truth.  Even if just for now.  I mean, I’m already almost 3 years past my oncologist-given expiration date and that’s pretty hard to shake.  Am I boasting?  Well, maybe, but Paul feels me on this:

So at the risk of sounding like a braggart again, stay with me because I think this is kind of cool.  When I was very very sick a few years ago, I wanted to go to Creation festival but couldn’t.  I had been in 2009, and besides being introduced to a little-known up-and-coming rapper named Lecrae, I also got to see Chris Tomlin as he lead worship.  His set is firmly embedded in my memory (even with as much of my memory I’ve lost through radiation and seizures) as a very worshipful and powerful time.  Declaring God’s glory and proclaiming His goodness with thousands of others.  Just awesome.

So fast forward a few years.  I’m literally dying.  My physical body is failing.  I’m mentally prepping for death for myself and prepping my kids for my death and that this time they are 2 & 4.  I bought a burial plot and have asked for an evangelistic service with an altar call.  And amongst so many other supportive and ridiculously amazing people in my life, I have a beautiful and kind-hearted friend who works at the Creation festival.  I message her and tell her, if it’s in any way possible, could she please just tell Chris that his song “Angel Armies” was one of the most healing songs for my weary soul.  It reminded me of God’s power and, at a time when I was powerless to change anything in my own life, it soothed my weary heart to hear that God is still in this.

This is what I got in return:

Ok, I’m not deluded enough to think that some people are better or more important than others, but that was pretty cool!

I had a lot of feelings about this, but mostly I just had to smile at the naive thought that I, a dying person, would somehow get to see Chris Tomlin again in this earthly life.  He was so sweet, but so naive.  I wouldn’t be seeing him and I knew it, but I so appreciated that kind gesture!

And here I am as of a few nights ago.  Seeing Chris Tomlin live and absolutely breaking down and ugly crying during “Angel Armies”​


It’s a weird, amazing, wonderful, guilt-ridden, triumphant, and awe-inspiring benchmark in this journey.  I have so much more I want to say, but for now I’ll say thanks to Mr. Tomlin for his faith that we would, indeed, see each other in the future (even if I was just a face in the crowd – I’m more than ok with that).  

Life is crazy.  Cancer is terrifying.  But God is steadfast and He is good.  Always. 

No, They Don’t Have a Cure for Cancer


If there was one stupid myth about cancer I could get rid of it would be this: “they have the cure but will never give it to us because there’s too much money in the cancer business”.  I have heard this probably 1,000 times and I honestly believe that it’s a big, steaming load.  Oncologists work long, probably often thankless hours trying to do research, surgeries, teaching others, and knowing the ins and outs of each of their patient’s cases –  all to save lives.  They do not want their patients to die.  Like I can’t even believe I had to just type that!  Honestly, if I worked in the cancer field I would be super offended by this nonsense, and I don’t get offended easily. 

Know why cancer is hard to cure?  Because it’s different in every body.  My melanoma is different than someone else’s.  Mine began and metastasized differently than someone else’s might.  Mine also responded to treatment for now, someone else’s might not.
Seriously, once you have cancer you learn 2 things:
1.  We don’t know as much about it as you’d think.  Every patient has a completely unique story and experience. 
2.  Doctors work very, very hard to try to save your life.  I haven’t had a doctor yet that I didn’t think truly cared about whether I lived or died.

Do the doctors make money?  You bet they do.  And they deserve it.  I don’t even care if my oncologist names his yacht or his Lambo after me because I bring him so much business.  I know he has done everything he can to keep me alive, and hey, look, so far it has worked!  Wait, maybe I should name something after him.  Anyway…

I refuse to believe this conspiracy theory that would literally make every human in the oncology field a huge sell-out and horrible person.  Do you even hear yourselves?? So sick of those dumb articles.  Chemo is not ever sold as a cure.  It’s something that you discuss with your doctor to see if the risks outweigh the rewards.  And you know what?  Most people choose to give it a try regardless of the success rates.  There is a very real sense of helplessness in this scenario that you wouldn’t know unless you were ever to face this yourself and most people want to at least say they tried something.

Are there things you can do yourself that can help your odds?  Sure there are.  But seriously, to the people sharing these articles and saying to someone’s face as they’re dying “they have the cure they just won’t give it to you!”, when you get cancer, where are you going to turn?  Because I’d put all my money on the fact that you’ll end up at a reputable cancer hospital in the waiting room queue for chemo just like the rest of us.

Truth Hurts

Confession time: I am a people pleaser.  I like people to like me and I’m super non-confrontational.  In fact when I know someone doesn’t like me (shocking that that could even happen right??  I’m so freaking loveable!) it like practically eats away at me.  My husband will attest to this.  And if there’s a problem?  Oh you better believe if there’s a passive-aggressive way to confront it that is exactly how I’ll do it!  I always say if I was a dog, I’d be a golden retriever – anytime someone was mad at me I’d just roll over and pee at their feet.  (That may sound gross but if you’ve ever had a golden then you know exactly what I mean…)


But being liked should never be my goal.  Maybe it will be a pleasant outcome of servanthood and speaking truth in love.  But…it may not.  And I need to accept that.  Let’s face it, the saying “the truth hurts” rings true for a reason.  I remind myself of this verse in Galatians surprisingly often as “people pleasing” is very natural for me.  But I am praising God that He continually convicts me in my sin of seeking comfort. 

Let’s take blogging for an example, if I really wanted to please people I would check my stats and comments and traffic and only write on those topics that get the most views.  I don’t check stats anymore but I do occasionally get a notification about when an abnormal amount of people are checking out my blog. 

Do you wanna know what the big seller is?  Dying.  Death and being scared about dying or talking about facing death in general.   I get the sort of morbid curiosity, trust me I do, but can you imagine if in my bid to get views and please people that was all I wrote about?  But you know what?  A few years ago, I probably would have done just that.  “Oh, posts that mention Jesus directly and have some sort of call to action do significantly worse.  I don’t wanna step on toes, I better just stick to cancer and vague references to faith.”

Nope.  My seeking people’s approval so they like me isn’t doing anyone any favors.  And certainly casually mentioning faith in a cancer blog without directly correlating the unfathomable peace and comfort that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the sense of fulfillment and purpose in direct and meaningful service to Him would be hurting the cause. 

Truth hurts.  But I’m gonna keep saying it because truth transformed me and my entire life into something worth living.  Who am I to deny that for someone else?

Before I could come to know Christ personally I had to confront some pretty ugly truths about myself.  And I have nothing in my heart but gratitude for the people who never sugar-coated the gospel just to please me.  I think I can do the same service for others.

And if you don’t like it, too bad!


….please don’t hate me 😉


Any Takers??

Alright, listen up my melahomies (fellow melanoma peeps) and the people who love them!  Next month is our “time to shine”, so to speak, as May is melanoma’s awareness month.  I’m thinking of trying something (depending on your interest in participating).  We know about our cancer, we have seen and felt the heartache associated with it, and we understand on all too deep a level that awareness for a cancer like ours can truly mean the difference between life and death for someone else.

So here’s what I’m proposing: share your story, or some small part of it.  With me.  With us.  I’d love to share some stories on my blog during the month of May about how melanoma has affected you or a loved one.  You probably know that I’m an outspoken Christian, but I am looking for all perspectives, not just those that mirror my own.

Whether you’re a patient, a caregiver, newly diagnosed, a 10 year survivor, a doctor, or wanting to honor a loved one you’ve lost to this horrible disease I’d love to hear your story.  Your story can be nicely wrapped up or still in the messy stage, stage 4 or in situ.  You don’t have to share any personal information, in fact it can be completely anonymous if you would like.

Melanoma can, in some instances, be avoided and we know early detection is crucial, so awareness is our duty once we, or a loved one, are diagnosed.  I want to either help people get diagnosed early or keep them from this struggle altogether.

So here’s what I need:  I’m looking for whole stories OR short anecdotes, little lessons learned, quotes, pics, things doctors have told you or warned you against, life changes made, words of advice, whatever!  I’ll figure out how to format it all in the weeks to come, obviously if 100 people reply, I may not get everyone’s whole story in.  But I can certainly try to put something together that puts awareness at the forefront.  Just comment on here if you’re interested or shoot me an email at morelikecantcer@gmail.com (if you send an email, or plan on sending one, and don’t mind, please leave a comment here with a heads up so I know to check my email.  If you just want to send an email with no comment here, that’s cool too, but don’t expect a prompt response lol).

Also, if you know of someone who may want to share their experience, please share this with them so they can get in contact with me.  I’m excited about the possibility in this and ready to get started!  I can’t wait to hear from you!  And if no one responds, I apologize.  My blog for the month of May will just be my usual ramblings 😉

(There’s no guarantee that I can use every story, but I will try.  I don’t expect people to share my same values and beliefs, but will censor profanity as a courtesy to the readers.)