Tag Archives: keytruda

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!! 💕

Scans and Results

Hey guys! I’m updating here because I know some of you have been following this journey with me for quite some time through my blogs and I wanted to share the good news with all of you! My most recent scans came back completely clear – check it out in my oncologist’s own words!

This is always a great thing to hear, obviously! The truth is, scan time brings about a lot of anxiety. My life is pretty much back to normal now and one little blip on the radar would mean the start up again of scans, treatments, and endless appointments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for modern medicine! But every time I see my results in and I’m about to click I have to take a deep breath and I think to myself “ready or not…”

Because I’m truly not ready for the implications of a bad scan. There’s always that fear that something is still lurking although in my heart I know that’s not true. God is good regardless, but I’m thanking Him for His provision in this moment. God has taught me so much in all of this and has given me so many opportunities to speak at churches and proclaim His goodness and I’m so grateful for that and am ALWAYS blessed and encouraged by the people I meet in these times. The Spirit is working in my life in big ways and so I’ll continue to trust and follow 💕

“As for me, I trust in the Lord” Psalm 31:6

Scans are never fun, but my heart and prayers are going to those who got bad news, who aren’t feeling well, who feel hopeless. If you’d like me to pray for you or a loved one, leave a message here or email me at morelikecantcer@gmail.com or if you know me in person, get at me!

I know some of you feel me here!! Wishful thinking, I suppose 😊

“How are you?”

“Hey! How are you?”

Do they just mean in general or, like, cancer-wise? How deep are they looking to go? How long has it been since I’ve seen or talked to this person? Have they heard the latest update that I’m fine? Am I fine? I think I’m fine…

“Fine! How are you?”

This often leaves someone looking a little bewildered that I hadn’t answered them fully.

Crap. They wanted to know more…ok where are we at here….

“Yup, scans have been good so I can’t complain!”

“But how are you feeling?”

Now this is the question that really gets me. How am I feeling? I realize people ask because they care just like that’s why I ask them the same question. I just quite never know how deep to go.

Technically, I’m ok! I’m still here and comparatively, way better than I was a few years ago. But I’ve got some issues.

I get asked about the things that still affect me pretty often so I’ll try to give a full answer here. It’s not complaining or trying to garner sympathy, I think it’s just interesting to see where cancer is still affecting day to day life. These are all things I can adjust to, it’s just that this is life now.

Although cancer is not an immediate looming threat on my life at this moment, that’s not to say I can really ever get away from it. All throughout the day every single day I’m reminded, one way or another, that my life and my body are just different than they were 5 years ago.

So here’s the breakdown:

Brain. My brain just does not work the way it used to. Surely part of it is aging and part of it is having kids (….because they age you…), but most of it is due to my brain tumor, the radiation I had to my tumor, the radiation I had on the right side of my head that hit the lower side of my brain, and part of it is residual effects of oxygen loss during grand mal seizures. These side effects are mostly memory loss, difficulty thinking of the right words for things (very common things, like “cup”), and in general a slower processing time.

Sinuses. I never had sinus issues before all of this, but my oncologist seems to think my chemo amped up my immune system in my sinuses so that any bug I get ends up turning into a sinus infection. I don’t quite understand how that all works but I’ll believe him because I’ve seen the PET scans that always always show my sinuses lit up like a Christmas tree but it’s not cancer. Strange things are afoot…

Hearing. Radiation is not over once it’s over. It continues to degrade the area that was radiated more and more over time. Since I had radiation on the right side of my face and neck, this has affected my hearing on the right side to the point where I have lost probably 80% of the hearing on that side so far (the expectation is complete loss on that side eventually).

Hearing loss has actually affected me way more than I thought it would. It’s extremely disorienting and I cannot make out where sounds are coming from. If I’m in a crowded area, I cannot hold a conversation because I can’t make anything out. It just sounds like a swarm of bees or something. Beyond the hearing, my right ear is always uncomfortable and feels “full”. All the time. I can’t get water in it or I’ll get an ear infection and those aren’t all that fun.

My face. Ohhhh, my face. I know it’s a vast improvement from where it was, but it’s still hard for me to look in the mirror for any longer than absolutely necessary. I despise doing my hair or makeup because I have to look at myself for longer and the huge scar and transplant site in my face are just not what I want to see. So I usually just don’t. I may give off a “low maintenance” vibe, and that’s not completely inaccurate, but it’s really just because I can’t stand to look at myself. It is what it is.

Thyroid. Since radiation went down into my neck, I’ve began to lose thyroid function. This comes with a whole list of not awesome side effects. Weight gain and fatigue mostly. Fuunnnn….

Voice. I love singing, I always have. I used to be able to rock a Mariah song but because of, you guessed it, radiation, I’ve lost my high range.

Port. I still have my port in my chest and as I’ve tried in recent months to get back into great shape, this thing is a pain in the butt. It doesn’t hurt it just is sorta weird feeling and can be uncomfortable especially during physical exercise.

Thigh. In case you didn’t know, I had a large transplant of muscle placed into my face and neck and that muscle came from my left thigh. I have a huge scar down the front of it and it has a huge indent down the middle from where the muscle was taken. This has become really uncomfortable since I’ve started running again and trying to get stronger physically. It really aches as I’m building muscle there and the muscles are trying to figure out how to work properly. There are still some leg exercises that my leg just won’t do.

Emotional. This one is definitely the most sneaky but the hardest to deal with. I struggle now with anxiety which I never had before. It’s unmedicated and undiagnosed but ohhh, it’s there. It’s mostly separation anxiety with the kids and it’s a real struggle most days.

I don’t like to give off the impression that life is back to complete normal after cancer. I can’t imagine that to be true for anyone who has had to deal with it. We just have a new normal and we adjust the sails and move forward regardless.

So, seriously, I’m fine! 🤗


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. 

But What If

“But what if you are sick?!” She questioned, bottom lip quivering, with all of the composure a 4 year old can muster.  My mind raced with all the intricacies of cancer and how best to soften that blow for a child.  Teary-eyed, I explained to her that if that was the case, that God would take care of us.

But she didn’t want to hear that.  She wanted to hear that Mommy was ok and that Mommy wasn’t sick.  My little girl, who is usually an eager sleeper, refused to go to bed because she knew when she went to sleep that when she woke up I wouldn’t be there.  

So much for routine scans!  “Routine scans” are a mysterious blessing not afforded to all cancer patients and not guaranteed to us at any point.  There was a time in my cancer journey that those words, “routine scans”, sounded like a pipe dream.  Literally something that just wasn’t for me because my time had come and gone.  I always feel great until the night before scans.  And even then, the bad feelings are usually reserved for just me.  But tonight, my daughter caught wind of something that she never really fully understood before.  Yes, Mommy was sick through most of her life but from what she can remember, Mommy has always been there.  Tonight as I laid her down for bed, she wrestled with the fact that I wouldn’t be there when she woke up.

“Mommy just needs to go to the doctor for the day so they can tell me I’m not sick!”  I told her.  She seemed relieved at first, until she thought about it more.  But what if…

Our son is almost 7 and he has always just sort of understood all of this.  Not that it hasn’t been hard on him, but he always took it in stride and seemed to understand.  He didn’t like when I wasn’t there but he got it.  This is the first time Brit has asked so many questions and she just is not ok with the answers.  And I don’t blame her, I just wasn’t ready for this tonight.

Tonight as I was laying with her while she fell asleep (something she begged me for tonight, and never does this) she kept trying to figure out ways, through tear-soaked cheeks that she would get through tomorrow.  She finally said, “Ok Mommy, I will sleep as late as I can then pretend you are at the store and will be home at dinner.  Mommy, promise me you will be home by dinner!”

Of course I can’t promise any such thing, but I see my broken-hearted child before me.  Faced, for the first time in her life, with the understanding that Mommy may not always be there.  And so I try to assure her, with as much confidence as I can muster, that I will do my absolute best to be home for dinner tomorrow.  

My son comes out of his room, curious as to why his sister is crying.  And I have to tell him that he needs to be there for her tomorrow and things will be different but that he can make sure she’s ok.  On the surface, I’m only talking about tomorrow.  But in my heart, I know I’m talking much longer term.

What if?  Well, if something shows up, then I will try my best to be here.  And if I can’t, I need him to step in and help her when I can’t.  It’s symbolic and it’s heavy and it’s real.  I have scans tomorrow and they may be just fine.  But what if…



Over the past few weeks, I’ve used this word to calm me down in the midst of emotional turmoil.  There have been a lot of exciting things happening (our church plant!! So amazing.  Will update on that later 😊) but also a lot of…not so great things.  Without going into detail, just know that my husband and I have been attacked more in these last few weeks and have had our names dragged through the mud and, honestly, it was really a difficult time.  I like people to like me and to understand where I’m coming from so it’s really hard when you find out you are being grossly misrepresented.  It hurts.  And it sucks.  And it’s completely unnecessary!

Perspective.  I’ve reminded myself that my eternity is not defined by what people say about me or how they perceive my motives.  Or even if they like me!  I trust only in God who sent His son to die on the cross for my sins so that I could be reconciled to Him and do His work.  Period.  If that makes me unlikeable, then so be it.  “”
I’ve come to see how wonderful it is to have people in your life who truly “get” you and support you (or call you out when you’re ridiculous).  But I’ve also realized how much time and energy I was putting into caring about things that just don’t matter.  

Let me quick check my meter for how much unnecessary drama I’m able to tolerate right now….ok, yup, it’s at zero.

Think about what you were most outraged/passionate about today, then think about this- According to stats from UNICEF, 29,000 children under the age 5 have died TODAY from preventable causes!  29,000!!  Starvation, diarrhea, lack of access to vaccines, dehydration, and parasites top the list of why.  You see what I mean?!  There’s just no time for nonsense, there is work to be done. 

Don’t get me wrong, it is completely possible to care about a whole bunch of things all at once, absolutely.  And I love being a part of dialogue where all sides are heard and valued.  I just refuse to believe the worst in people so I’ve chosen to always hear people out.  This has been a wonderful tactic for meaningful connection!  And I’m only sorry I didn’t consciously try it sooner.  

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to sound “better than anyone” (because if I’ve learned anything over the last few months it’s that someone will think that) but just to make us think and, yes, give us some perspective.

Get this, I even stopped blogging because I was worried what people would think of me!  They would think I’m annoying and self-promoting, self-righteous and selfish.  I don’t care anymore.  What I do care about is people.  People who are hurting and suffering here and all over the world.  And I intend to do something about that.

Jesus was very clear and I take his commands and those of the disciples very seriously, so instead of worrying about what others think (and by doing so stopping my effectiveness as a disciple of Christ), I’m simply going to focus in on what I’m commanded to do by the One who holds my heart.  If you want to be a part of this ride, you’re more than welcome to join me!!

I’m going to care for the orphans and widows, I’m going to love God and love people, and I’m going to go and make disciples.  Period.

Try and stop me.