Saturday, July 7, 2012

Now that I know

I have cancer. I've stared at that sentence for a very long time now. Seeing it in print makes things much more real. Cancer is something that always happens to someone else... until you ARE the someone else. Please bear with me if I ramble a bit; this is the first time I've been alone with my thoughts all day. I'm writing tonight to tell you about the love of God. It may sound strange to you, considering that I am sending this out from a hospital bed. But as I said in my last blog, I have lost my ability to worry about this health issue. What I have been through today is proof that I do not need to worry. So I am going to share with you my testimony of this journey, and God's loving triumph over my fear. You may not know how I discovered that there was something abnormal going on, so I will start at the beginning. A little more than a month ago, I woke up with an upset stomach. As the day progressed, I had intense waves of pain in my abdomen. I also had a persistent fever. My dear friend, Kim, was concerned that I might have a tubal pregnancy. This was on a Monday. Of course, like most moms, I brushed it off and assumed I would get better. Tuesday I woke up fine, but by ten the pains and the fever were back. Kim called to check on me (always a nurse, even when she's off the clock!) and made me promise to call my doctor as soon as she hung up. So Tuesday afternoon found me getting blood drawn and peeing in a cup. The pregnancy test came back negative, my bladder and urinary tract were not infected. But my bloodwork showed signs of infection. I was told to come back the next day for a CT on my abdomen. Wednesday's CT preliminary results showed that my gall bladder and appendix were fine. I just had a virus! I remember telling the ladies at Bible study that night that I was thankful for my virus. I still am, but now for a different reason. By this late in the week, I was feeling almost back to normal. So the call on Thursday was a complete surprise. As my scan was examined more closely, they saw a nodule on my lower left lung. Since the scan was of my abdomen, they wanted a closer look. So a CT was ordered for my chest. On Monday we I had the chest CT done. I was going to wait (I can't think of why, now), but Brad told me to get it done as soon as I could. This time spots were found on my thyroid. A biopsy was done a week later on my thyroid (the spots on my lung are too small to worry about), but they were unable to get enough cells to make a diagnosis. I could have had a second biopsy, but the chances of surgery regardless of another biopsy were high enough that I decided to just do the surgery. The surgery happened yesterday (I started writing last this last night but got too tired to finish.). Surgery discovered that I do have thyroid cancer, and that it has spread to the nearby lymphnodes. Now I will need a more aggressive surgery to remove the rest of the thyroid and the lymphnodes. That will happen Tuesday. Now let me tell you how wonderful my Lord is! I have been protected throughout thi entire ordeal. I can look back and see the blessings that I didn't know were there when they were happening. I am so thankful for my virus! At first I was thankful because it meant I didn't have appendix or gall bladder issues. Now I am thankful because that virus led to the cancer being found. Do you see the insanely disconnected road that God led me down to show the doctors that something was wrong? There were no indications that I was sick. I would never have found the cancer without that virus. It would have been too late by the time I had any symptoms to have checked out. Not only did I get a virus that resulted in a CT, but that CT found spots that caused the second CT. And my wonderful husband was there, not letting me put it off. The decision to skip a second biopsy was a gut feeling. All along I felt that I was being prepared for something serious. Surgery was going to be needed, in my mind, so we just went ahead with it. I had perfect peace with that decision (though Brad was a bit overwhelmb,y the thought). As I was being prepared yesterday morning, the anesthesiologist told me what a wonderful surgeon I had. He went so far as to say that everyone on his team would want her, if they ever needed surgery. I was thankful for that reassurance, but it was nothing compared to what came next. When my doctor came in, she went over everything one more time, and then she asked if she could pray with me. What a blessing! She prayed for me, for my health, for herself as she operated, for her team as they helped her, and for my healing. It was heartfelt, and she was comfortable praying in front of others...I was thrilled to hear the confidence in her voice as she trusted our heavenly Father before she trusted her own skill. Again, I felt protected. I didn't choose my surgeon (I had no idea who to choose!) but I know God did. Over and over I see His hand guiding me, guiding decisions that are being made, guiding my doctors...and giving me peace every step of the way. I don't know what tomorrow holds. But I know that God has given me grace to endure each day as it comes.


  1. Beautiful Rachel...your peace in Christ is such a strong testimony to be....May He be glorified as He deserves and May He continue to keep you all in His shelter!

  2. Rachel.....I learned of your cancer earlier today and although I am very sorry you are going through this I know God will use this in all your lives! We love you and your family and please know we are here! TRULY if you need anything please ask! We have walked down that road and sometimes it is the smallest things no one thinks to do for you...ask me!

  3. Truly what a blessing to be able to see the Lord's hand on it all and for you to KNOW without a doubt that He is in the situation and is using it for your good (Romans 8:28). Your testimony resonated so much with ours...because we worship the same Lord. The verse "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond what we ask and even think, to Him be the glory now and forever" keeps resounding in my heart over you. He will do exceedingly abundantly more than you can imagine in your situation...not that it will always be easy...but your willingness to glorify Him will result in Him being glorified! Praying for you and your family always.

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  5. Rachel, Troy and I are praying for you! Thank you so much for your wonderful testimony and uplifting way you glorify the Lord.

  6. Rachel ~ your hubby is my bug man and I am grateful for him. Today as I returned from a friend's funeral I received a Bible that I had purchased in the mail. As I set in on the table Brad asked me what version it was and that opened a 15 minute break for Brad lol and we discussed different things. I mentioned how when I had cancer the way that God would reassure me almost daily. He then mentioned that you were going for your first scan since your treatments. The excitement and anxiousness you are going through - I have been there. I will be praying for you and as I told Brad after all my treatments this verse came to me in a book I was reading ~ Nahum 1:9 "He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time." I clung to this verse as I went through my scans. When I got the results it said there were some spots that "lit" up. I was terribly disheartened but upon a closer look the spots were nothing!!! Nahum 1:9 Thank you Jesus! Life is Good BUT God Is GrEaT!!
    Carrie Newton

    1. Carrie, thank you so much for your encouragement! The upcoming scans are intimidating, and I go from incredibly hopeful to not even having the courage to think about them. But I do know that I am in His hands...and He will hold me perfectly in His will. I am so glad that you are Brad's customers. The ones he can discuss the Lord with are such an encouragement to him throughout his month!