Summer Blessings

13445400_10154927222784746_4419286371882224395_n (1)After our trial the last year with cancer, it has been such a nice break this summer. This morning at church, our pastor had us look at where God has us right now and where he might be taking us in his big plans. During that time, as I reflected on where he has me right now, I couldn’t help but praise Him as I saw blessing after blessing in His active working my life. I wanted to share them with you and let you know that every single thing on this list has been given to me by God and for God–No one can tell me there is no God because I know Him personally! 🙂 This isn’t an eloquently written post by any means, but its truth and I felt lead to share.

13512128_10154932488199746_4493964367166036115_nSo the first thing is my relationship with my children has grown this summer. When my daycare provider told me that she needed the kids to come in at least 2 times a week this summer to keep their spots open (3 kids is a lot of income to lose for the summer when you are a daycare provider), my first thought was “Maybe I can use that time for me time! I can go to the beach, read a book, take a nap!” And then of course, the other day could be used for business–lesson planning, work on my books, my app, Owen’s business, etc. At first that is what I planned to do with those two days until God clearly spoke to me and told me to use that free day to take one of my kids out each week on a date for one-on-one time. 13415497_10154891369579746_7140565395515364686_oWhile I was sad to lose my lost me time, I knew it was right and also loved the idea. I  knew it was much better and God-glorifying than a me day. So I’ve been doing it and it has been such a wonderful time! James and I went to a movie, had lunch together and chatted, then held hands as we walked to the beach. Kanan and I did something similar, but he actually talked me into jumping in the cold ocean water and body surf with him. Once I got past being cold, I had an exhilarating time. I felt alive! Then Benny and I enjoyed our one-on-one time at Chucky E Cheeses and the Lego Land Water Park. He is going through a whiney phase lately which he still pulled on our special day, but with his bright brown eyes and chubby cheeks, He was easy to forgive. Won’t have time for Scotty to get a date in without causing an imbalance with the boys, but she alrady gets so much attention given she’s the baby. I really feel the boys are the ones who really need that special time. But even on days when we are all together, we have had such a great time going to Balboa park on free museum days, enjoying the refreshing water at the waterpark on hot days, or working in the yard.

Next, when I found out the cost of making an app last year, the marriage app project that my friend Nikki-Marie from TheMomIWantToBe.com were working on last year seemed to feel impossible. I put my focus on my sick husband and teaching and pretty much forgot about it. That is until my cousin came up with an app concept and started successfully crowd-funding to make it. It has since inspired me and Nikki-Marie to do the same and we are now writing the scrip13434815_10154926962694746_32091562682476397_nts and getting the logo made for the campaign. We both strongly believe that this app could potentially save marriages if people use it. What is more God-glorifying than that? We are praying God blesses our endeavors and helps us get the funds to make it. Hoping to have the video filmed at least before I return to work.

Then, we found a new church. And while our old church was wonderful and helped Owen and I grow so much, we are so excited to grow deeper and make more friends in the church community as well as follow God’s lead in where he plans to take us through this next church community. If someone had told me two years ago we were going to leave our old church, I would have kicked and screamed and cried. But over the last two years, God has really prepared my heart for this change. We like the church too so much. Our new pastor has an interactive way of teaching–having us pull out paper and draw concept pictures so we can connect to the teaching as it relates to13442337_10154926961649746_7051367176373135726_n our lives. He teaches verse by verse. We just finished going through the book of Nehemiah and just started the book of Jonah. Seeing how these prophets helped create change in large communities for God’s glory has been so inspiring. While the church itself is much smaller than our old church, the new pastor’s vision is to be very active in the world. Everyone there is really friendly too. The pastor and his wife even took us our family out to lunch and had our kids play while we got to know each other!  We are really excited about his vision for our community and how we might be involved to serve God’s purpose and heart for people.

Finally, Owen and I have been talking about moving to Temecula the last few months. It wouldn’t be for a couple more years, but Owen has been so excited about the move and passionate about the decision.While the idea of living closer to work and being more connected to that community as w13445686_10154927222944746_2781050758264998830_nell as the lower cost of housing was appealing to me, I knew if we did, I’d have to ask my oldest son to choose who he wanted to live with. And I knew he’d choose his Dad. The idea of losing my son has been weighing so heavily on my heart. I have wept so much over it in private moments. Having him every other weekend for material things seemed like such an awful decision, but  When I first brought up my issue with moving, he didn’t budge. I don’t remember how I worded it, but it was brief. So I have resorted to prayer the last two months.  I’m doing a Beth Moore study right now on Believing God and during the study I came to recognize that God loves my son Kanan as well. And he would not want any decision to be made that could hurt him. I felt lead to trust that he would take care of it. I didn’t know how, but he would. Then a week ago, Owen prayed out loud during family prayer for God to let him know if He wanted us to move to Temecula or not. I praised God then because I knew that believe godGod must be working on his heart for him to be questioning the decision and asking God. I thought, I would wait for God to tell him. But a few days ago, I was hanging out with my friend Brianne, who I feel God used to speak to me. I brought up the move to Temecula and she immediately pointed out the concern for Kanan. She suggested I speak to Owen again about it, but I decided to just wait and let God speak to him because I didn’t want to start a fight and didn’t think Owen would agree with me. Maybe God could speak to him through a friend or divine revelation. But last night, I felt God tell me “Why are you waiting for Me to speak to Him through someone else? Don’t you think I could use you to speak to Him?” So I got up the courage to risk a fight and I told him my concern. But I brought up the possible damage it could cause Kanan and our family. Immediately, he said that he never considered those possibilities and that we would not move to Temecula. Then today, he brought it up again, saying that it his job to keep our family together. Yes! No fight. God just worked. He took care of it. He worked on Owen’s heart and worked on me to get the courage to bring up a sensitive subject when I hate conflict.

So right now I am just basking in God’s love and mercies. We are not experiencing any trials right now and I feel so safe.I feel very much like we under God’s canopy of protection right now. It is a joyous place to be. I know that if you are not in a trial that you just left one or about to be in one. We had a huge one this last year. And while I know this middle place won’t last forever, I want to acknowledge it, and thank God for it. I also hope to encourage any of you who are reading this to trust in God. He is so good and mighty!

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In Sickness and In Health– a reflection during Owen’s treatment last Fall

Owen and I right before he started treatment

Owen and I right after surgery but before he started chemotherapy.

No one ever writes Cancer on their life plans. At least in my circle of experience, we don’t. We plan for the good life. Not trials.  I planned for a teaching career, marriage, family, travel. And while I already have experienced so much, when I married my husband, Owen Hemsath in October of 2009, I had no idea that almost 6 years later, my 35 year old husband would be diagnosed with a Cancer so rare, doctors don’t know how one gets it, or how to cure it enough so it doesn’t come back.

If anything that is on the list of events not to experience during one’s life for many people, especially health conscious ones like our selves. This is why I have spent so many hours reading health articles and meticulously shopping at the grocery store for organic vegetables, alkaline water, GMO-free foods, no food dyes, and products with no high fructose corn syrup. I did it so we wouldn’t get cancer.

So even after multiple trips to the hospital for chest pains so bad it brought Owen to his knees on our living room floor, night sweats so strong it literally left the sheets soaking wet, weight loss and the loss of appetite—I still didn’t suspect Cancer.

I knew something was wrong, no doubt. I’m the one that urged him to go to the hospital each time. But I thought it was a lung infection. I thought it was that damn cat my husband refused to get rid of that had given him so many sneezes and coughs—it had finally done him in. That we’d go and get a big bottle of antibiotics and the problem would be solved.

But hospital visit after hospital visit with no answers came and went until April of last spring.

So at the 4th visit in two years, there Owen and I sat in the brightly lit emergency room at Scripps, Encinitas at 2 o’clock in the morning, hoping this time we’d get some answers as we watched the pretty doctor with the brown pony tail and mousy ears  come down from upstairs, studying his CT scan and EKG results and white blood cell count with her eyes brows drawn close together at the center—concerned. Perplexed. None of the doctors on any of the 3-4 other ER visits had that look on their faces.

“What’s wrong, doctor?” Owen said finally, pale- faced and looking so small under the hospital sheets. “Your face has cancer or something written all over it. Are we looking at something like that here? Or am I misreading you?”

And we watched her sit there silently, studying his face. Hesitantly. Like she was already regretting having to say the words. “Yes,” she said.

At this point, it is difficult to explain what it felt like. For me it was like I was not actually in the room. Like I was outside of my body watching this whole scene in front me on a television or movie screen. I watched myself put my hand on his knee as he stared stoically at the doctor—so strong—and then watched him crumble into millions of pieces like a sack of flour the following day after the oncologist came in with the unofficial diagnosis of lymphoma.

And even now, four months later, after the official diagnosis of thymoma, after the surgery that removed the 12 cm sized tumor in his chest that had spread into his heart, after the first 3 rounds of chemo that has stripped him of his hair, beard, eye lashes and color from his skin, I still feel like I’m watching it all. I make sure the heroine in the story acts heroine-like—supportive and loving, doing more around the house and maintaining her joy, seeking God for her strength. I pray just like the rest of the audience that the hero in the story beats the cancer and is able to achieve all of his life goals that cancer has sought to destroy—successful business, travel, speaking gigs, a home in Carlsbad, and giving to charity.

We now begin our fourth round of chemo today. I say we, because whatever affects him affects all of us. He is my love and I am with him through sickness and in health. And while I don’t look forward to the nausea this week or the fatigue or even the sadness that I know he will feel as he lays on the couch wondering how and why this happened to him—I do look forward to the increasing amount of closeness that he and I have developed through this. There is something that sickness does to a marriage when the couple loves each other. There is gentleness and a cherishing that increases significantly for both parties.

This chapter is not over—we’ve got at least 2 more chemo rounds and an entire month of radiation. In two weeks we get the next CT scan to see if any of the treatment has made a difference. Who knows when this chapter will end? I know that it is silly now to finalize life plans. Plot twists come our way and complications arise that the hero and heroin in the story do not anticipate.  I guess the point of life’s story is how we handle it when it comes. Will we allow it to change us like a good dynamic character? Will we resurrect in the end as the hero and be stronger than ever before?

Why Running a Go Fund Me Campaign Should Be Considered by Anyone with Cancer.

gofundme-2egl3loJust like when you buy a car, you start to see the same car everywhere, it seems like after Owen got diagnosed with cancer, I notice people everywhere are coming down with this disease too. So I know some of you  have recently been attacked by that growing monster in our society. For many of you, the financial burden is immense even with insurance. For others, it’s just the beginning.  Between hospital co-pays, DR visit co-pays, prescription co-pays  that come a long with an HMO or the deductible and out of pocket max that come with PPO’s, most of you will  pay between 4-12 thousand dollars in just 1 year for your medical care—and that doesn’t even count the monthly premium. Some of you are also realizing that if you want to deal with the side effects of cancer or treatments, over the counter drugs have to be purchased as well as numerous supplements. Sadly, you have come to learn, that these are not covered by traditional health insurance.

Then many learn about other treatments that might help them that insurance does not cover—treatments given by doctors who practice naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, or Chinese medicine. These along with institutes like The Gershan Institute in Mexico will rack up bill very quickly. Basically, if you are diagnosed with cancer and want to get well, you will have to spend a lot of money. Now let’s, face it, whether you make 30 thousand dollars a year or 100 thousand dollars a year, most people don’t’ have the minimum 4-12 thousand dollars just lying around waiting to get spent on cancer costs. They are wrapped up in rent, mortgages, insurance, food, etc. If you usually use your savings to go on a family vacation in the summer, that is sure to go from the medical bills. I know because I’ve been there. My husband just finished his last round of chemotherapy last week and will begin radiation in two weeks for a rare form of cancer called Thymoma.

But your circumstance doesn’t have to be as burdensome as it appears. Organizations such as Go Fund Me have made it so that people with cancer or another serious illness can get people to donate funds to help support them in their quest for wellness. Because of that my husband has been able to beat his cancer better than had he not used the campaign. You can too.

Some people refuse to take advantage of such organizations because they feel they should have to pay for it all or they would look or poor or incapable of taking care of their loved ones. Frankly, this is just prideful and could in the end put your health or that of your loved one in jeopardy. Paying for it all will pile up credit card bills and debt, taking away your ability to enjoy some of your pleasures in life like a Saturday movie or a dinner on a Friday night. We know that this only adds stress and depression; factors that will not help a person heal. Paying for it all will also make your treatment options dependent on what you can afford. Not choosing treatment plan C because you can’t afford it could possibly prevent you from choosing the one treatment that saves your life or your loved ones life. Is life worth pride or money?

Furthermore, options like Go Fund Me help others as well. People want to give. They want to make a difference in this world. Allowing them to offer a donation that could save your life or someone else’s gives them the purpose and meaning to their own life that will fill their hearts and make their life worth living to them. I can’t tell you how many people have come to help us in a variety of ways, some through our Go Fund Me campaign. And they all did it with smiles on their faces, telling us how much helping has blessed them. Do you want to deny people an opportunity to make a difference? Remember, they can say no. It is their choice. You are not manipulating them. Just tell them honestly what you need the money for and what your circumstances are. In the end, they can decide if your story is something they want to help benefit.

Additionally, allowing others to help builds your community and support system. This allows you to grow closer to those you were closer to before, discover the goodness in people you had no idea existed. That support only adds comfort and encouragement to those with cancer, which has been proven to increase their chances of getting well. I used to have a dire view of people outside of faith movements. But starting the Go Fund Me campaign opened my eyes to see that some of the people I would never have thought would be willing to help, did. Knowing that I was surrounding by such amazing people, made me want to reach out more to them. In the end, we all grew closer. And they got to cheer us on along the way. I want to do the same for them too in their trials.

Finally, you can be sure that the money you get goes to a good cause. The makers of Go Fund Me take a tiny percentage, the rest is tax free for you and any left-over funds you don’t use can be used to better someone else’s life—donate it to fund research for your type of cancer, donate it to a friend or acquaintance who needs the support, or use it to stay healthy and prevent the cancer from coming back. Studies show that a healthy,  low-sugar, organic diet, rich in vegetables, healthy oils and meats can prevent cancer as well as taking numerous antioxidants and anti-carcinogen supplements like ashwangandha root, turmeric, or Reishi Mushroom. These are not cheap changes in life—being healthy can be pricey. Of course, there are also your scans you will have to take every few months during the 5 years of remission and the annual scans thereafter—those funds can certainly be used for that. Even giving back to all of your supporters with a thank you party is a great option—where you can celebrate your life and give them a nice gift back with music, dinner or snacks, and some inspiring or thankful speech that you give to show them your gratitude. People enjoy being recognized and appreciated for their sacrifice. Give them a reason to celebrate with you.

If you or a loved one is ill with serious disease such as cancer, do everyone a favor and start a Go Fund Me account today. It just might everyone’s lives healthier, happier, and a heck-of-a-lot closer

Satire on Alternative Cancer Treatments

Haven’t written a lot on this blog. But believe it or not, I’ve blogged a lot on my teacher blog that I use as models of writing for my students. Thought I might publish a few of them on here for you to enjoy if you’d like. This was an example of a satire I emulated from a satire by Rick Reilly on ESPN. Between that and my emulations, some of my kids came up with some great satires on  frustrations they had in passion topics like professional soccer, movies, music, family, and much more. Here’s mine. Don’t take it all to heart. I appreciate all the feedback we got when we went through our Cancer trial.

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Congrats, newly minted Cancer Warrior!

Now you’ve been recently diagnosed with cancer. Next comes the wonderful opportunity to show all your friends that you don’t need scientific data or peer-reviewed research to beat this bugger. And you surely aren’t sad about getting this c-word.

Following happy wives-tale cures based on your uncle’s friend’s nephew’s daughter’s anecdotal evidence shared over organic tea and in between yoga stretches is a long-standing technique used to heal the world of that pesty little punk invading your organs and blood stream and wanting to spread to every cell of your body. Who’s got time for chemotherapy infusions or radiation? Ain’t no one got time for that! They may end up cured, but who wants a bald head and nausea? Not with those cute little kids you have who would like you at their wedding. Or with your wife or husband who want to spend the rest of their lives with you. Now you can manage that little knucklehead of a tumor with a smile on your face with my “How To Try and Beat Cancer with Beet Juice, Dandelion, and other Wives Tales” DVD series. If your cousins’s step daughter’s friend can do it, so can you!

Here are Six Essentials, just to get you started:

  1. Tell everyone the great wisdom you learned from your awkward friends on Facebook: Everything happens for a reason. You are a hero. And don’t forget to share those memes that say F Cancer. That will definitely help get rid of it and make a difference.
  2. Image result for kale memesStart eating kale! Turns out, it kills cancer. How many leaves you need to eat or green juices you need to drink, how often, or in how many trials it has worked, no one knows. But Bob at his EverythingKale.com blog said it works, so what are you waiting for!
  3. Start buying all of your friends’ multi-level marketing products. Yep, you may start noticing them pitch their products on your threads now and maybe even in a private message. Amazing how so many of your friends could be coincidentally selling the very thing you need, and offer it at the very moment you need it, and it won’t even feel like work for them at all!
  4. Stop eating meat. Everyone knows vegetarians and vegans are cancer free, strong, and healthy. You did this to yourself with your carnivorous ways. And Protein shomtein, you don’t need that much when you’re fighting a beast—plus with all the research showing the benefits of soy and of course the effects of other proteins like beans on the intestinal tract, without meat you’ll give that funky like cancer punk some major muscle to eat through when its devouring your body.

  5. Ask people to send their “thoughts,” “light,” “juju,” or “vibrations” your way.
    Millions of people each year are being cured through the invisible energies in the universe that all know where you are and fly through the sky on white horses from the various locations of your network and then enter your bloodstream and go kung fu on cancer’s behind.
  6. Take the skins off of a pack of raisins, just the skins, and steam them*. You can eat whatever you want after that. Whatever you want!

See, hero? You can be a natural hero! So order my How to Try and Beat Cancer with Beet Juice, Dandelion, and other Wives Tales series now, and get a bottle of urine from a female porcupine to soak your feet in and pull the cancer out, absolutely free!

*Line taken from stand up comedian, Brian Regan

Protons, Heart Issues, and Other Woes

Trying to be "Anxious for Nothing."

Trying to be “Anxious for Nothing.”

I’m feeling pretty down today. So much going on it seems, but hoping for some perspective and hope as I know I can get this way, and God always sees me through.

Owen discovered yesterday that the hopeful outcome of radiation therapy as the final step in ridding him of his cancer, now seems rather grim. The radiologist looked at his scans and determined that the location of Owen’s tumor is in such a delicate place in Owen’s heart, especially after the heart itself has been so ravaged by the surgery and the chemotherapy, that he feels radiation would only damage it further. It is his professional opinion that the positive benefits on the cancer do not outweigh the negative effects it would have on Owen’s heart.

“You only get one heart, Owen,” he said.

So he is recommending Proton therapy instead, a newer form of treatment similar to radiation but using some sort of protons instead (hence the name) and supposedly much more gentle. So while that doesn’t sound bad, here is the stressful part. There is a good chance our insurance won’t cover it. And without insurance, my research shows it will cost roughly $30,000. This is money we do not have.

Furthermore, given the scans look good on the CT (We havent’ had a more accurate PET scan yet), it makes me wonder if it is even worth it. Yet, all the research I’ve done, which has included looking at medical journals written within the last year on Thymoma shows that for stage 3 B2 Thymoma, radiation combined with chemotherapy yielded much more success when preventing reoccurrence. Without that double treatment, likelihood of reoccurrence for Owen’s type and stage was very high. But in the end, does it even matter if it’s Proton therapy instead? Where’s the research on proton therapy for Owen? In other words, if the proven radiation therapy is not realistic for Owen, is it worth $30,000 of money we don’t have to pay for another treatment where there is no record or research done on its effectiveness for Owen’s type of cancer and stage in the first place?

So what to do?

Owen is most frustrated by the location of the Proton therapy location. It is in La Jolla, which is a good 40 minutes from our home with typical traffic. He is expected to go every. single. day. For 6 weeks. That is 40 minutes there, about an hour while there, and then 40 minutes back. That is basically 3 hours everyday that cuts out of his work time. And we’d have to find a sitter every morning to take the kids to school in order to get him there on time. At this point, chemotherapy was easier on his work schedule. So he is not happy. Neither am I.

My prayer is that God be guiding all of this. I don’t want Owen to beat cancer only to die of a heart attack. So if radiation is too dangerous than I don’t want it either. Chemotherapy has already ravaged his heart. He is getting palpitations everyday and has been enduring pain in his heart ever since his last chemotherapy treatment 3-4 weeks ago. He is still dealing with other negative effects on his body including tinitus in his ears, tingling and numbness in his fingertips and limbs, and general weakness.

I don’t want his heart issues to worsen. But I don’t want him to get a likely reoccurance of thymoma either. The survival rate for that is much worse. Over the last year, Owen and I have grown so much closer. I am more in love with him than ever and so the fear of losing him, is all the more heart-breaking to me. I want my husband to be with me for the rest of my life. And I want the time we have together to be healthy. Anything that disrupts that or threatens that fills me with anxiety.

If God does not allow proton therapy to be something the insurance pays for, I sure hope he is allowing that because he is telling us he’s got this and that Owen will not be getting a reoccurrence and so we don’t need more treatment. Please pray we have ears to hear God’s voice in this and not our own fears or itching ears.

Finally, after all of this–I am having health issues. And right now, all of our health/medical money is going toward helping Owen. And my issues just seem to be blown off by the traditional Medical establishment. As I seek alternative treatments, I recognize my dire need for a Naturopath, but that will come out of pocket since my insurance won’t cover a Naturopath. Until we get Owen settled though, I am trying to treat myself for my health issues with diet changes, supplements, etc. And I’m just praying that God bring me relief. I don’t want to get too into it until I know for sure if I am right. But I’ve struggled with a sensitive gut for years and finally found some relief when I cut down my dairy significantly. But now it seems that I’m developing more food sensitivities and my hearing issues aren’t improving that much. And on top of that, I had a tubal ligation a year ago when my daughter was born (4th c-section) and I’m starting to develop some issues that I believe may be complications and side effects to that. I’m just praying that God be guiding me through my journey through this process, show grace to me as I seek to treat myself and help provide me the answers needed to heal. I am going to be 36 years old and want the second half of my life to be healthy as well, not burdened by pain and aching all the time in my belly. I’m crying right now just thinking about it.

Lord, please bring me and my husband relief!

In the end, despite the outcome, I am reminded of a song  Alanis Morisette wrote years ago that made such an impact on me. I will post the lyrics down below.

That I would be good, by Alanis Morisette

That I would be good even if I did nothing
That I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
That I would be good if I got and stayed sick
That I would be good even if I gained ten pounds
That I would be fine even if I went bankrupt
That I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
That I would be great if I was no longer queen
That I would be grand if I was not all knowing
That I would be loved even when I numb myself
That I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
That I would be loved even when I was fuming
That I would be good even if I was clingy
That I would be good even if I lost sanity
That I would be good whether with or without you
So please pray that God guide is in the direction he will have us go, heal us on his own or lead us toward the doctors and treatments that can heal us, and that if he does, or if he doesn’t–that we both be good regardless. I want to be joyous and kind and encouraging and inspiring and giving always. I want to emanate God’s love no matter the ailment or suffering I have in my own life.

“Oh My Gosh, He is Really Real and He Loves Me” Kind of Moments: God’s blessings even in trials.

pRAISE

“Storm Clouds” by cjohnson7 from Rochester, NY.

In many ways, this whole trial with Owen’s cancer has gone by so fast. But in other ways, remembering that day we discovered he was sick seems veiled behind some distant misty dream. Now we rejoice that the harsh chemotherapy treatments are done and look forward to getting through the radiation that starts in about a week. By Christmas time, we are hoping we can put this all behind us. But my husband made a good point tonight. We don’t want to put it behind us so we can forget it. We never want to forget it.

God forbid, we forget what we went through, forget the desperate need to cling to God and the abundant blessings and comfort and strength he gave us when we did. We don’t ever want to forget, and no longer seek Him because life is Good. There’s a bible verse somewhere I remember reading that I thought was so poignant.The person said to God, please don’t make me so happy that I forget you, or so miserable that I raise my fists and curse you. It is sad, but when life is good, when no trials come a long, we are so quick to push God aside and attend to our own pleasures, forgetting that God made us and every good pleasure we seek is a gift from him and a reflection of his character. In essence every good pleasure we seek is only a foreshadow of what we will experience and know when we stand in his presence in the dimensions outside of time. So we plan to make a memorial of this chapter of our life because we want to always remember.

And God is so good. He shows me how there is still so much to pray for. Just as we are seeing the sun set on this trial, I see so many others going through theirs. My former student is struggling to beat her battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, one of our friends from church just got diagnosed with E-wing Sarcoma, a cancer that will put him through 2 years of treatment. And so many others. We’ve know loved ones who are struggling with miscarriages, parents who have lost their children to hit and run accidents on the way to school, sons with fathers in jail, friends whose marriages are on the rocks..the list goes on. And my heart aches for everyone.

Everyone goes through at least one big trial, one big life-changing event in his/her life. None of us know when it will be, with whom it will involve, or how it will turn out. But I believe most people hope that they will be brave and find strength to get through it with grace, coming out better in its setting than they were at its dawn. And I want to pray for that to happen for everyone. I know that Jesus himself prayed to the Father that we would not be removed from the world, which is full of trials, but that we would be protected from the evil one. He is the one who whispers defeat into our ears, that gets us to question God’s goodness or sovereignty, and fills us with fear during these types of events. My prayer is that all my friends and family, all of those in my network, do not believe those lies, but cling to Jesus, during their tough times, and find not only strength to get through, but benefit from the abundant blessings and miracles God performs for those who love him.

God creates beauty from ashes. He did it when he created man and he does it everyday in this world. God turned Owen’s cancer into a blessing. I’m not saying it was fun. I’m not saying we’d wish cancer on people. But I will say that in the biggest, life-changing event of our lives, God showed us very personally how much he loves us, how much he is taking care of us every step of the way, and how much he is changing us both into better people through the process. To be able to experience that, is a life-changing, faith-strengthening, “oh my gosh He is really real” blessing. And that is the blessing I wish on everyone.

6 Things You Should Know About Being a Wife of a Husband with Cancer

  1. we can do itWe Have To Be Cheerleaders

In the biggest battle of our husband’s lives where they are the ones struggling with physical weakness, illness, and perhaps fear—we CANNOT be the ones crying on the floor. If our husband’s don’t  have us reminding them of their strength,  of their attractiveness, of their inspiring quest they have been given, where will they get it from? Certainly some of them might have faith or friends, but if they don’t have it from the one to whom they married, it can really weaken them. This is our time to get out our smiles and our cheers, to let them for once be the ones to lean on us with their tears and fears, so that they can get well and be back to giving us the strong shoulder we so much love to lean our heads upon in times of need.

  1. We Have To Be Transparent At Times

While we need to be optimistic and praising our husband’s often, our men also need to feel we are pained by their disease, that we are sad that this has happened. If we are not sad and broken, they may wonder–do we even love them? If we don’t cry at some point in front of them, wouldn’t we somehow give the message that to us, this isn’t that big of a deal? This is where the art of wifery comes in. We have to be strong optimistic cheerleaders, but not too much where we give an artificial or unrealistic impression. Cry your tears in front of him. Then wipe them away, get your big girl pants on, and find that God-given inner strength.  And if you want to cry again soon, find a sister or a mom. Space out your tears for your husband after you’ve had a good stretch of smiles.

  1. We Have To Be Selfless And Thoughtful

It doesn’t matter what kind of wife we once were prior to our husband’s diagnosis: we have to step up our game. If you weren’t much of a cook before, better start heading to Pinterest for some easy and healthy meals. Don’t usually think to call hubby mid-day to ask how he is doing and see if you can pick him up anything on your way home? Maybe it’s time to set that reminder on your smart phone. And if you were this kind of wife before, plan on doing it even more, and not getting much help from your sick hubby. But then again, you probably have already gotten used to that if your hubby has been diagnosed with Cancer. Chances are, he started feeling sick before you both knew what he had. Adding chemotherapy to all that, only increases their needs.

  1. We Have To Put Our Pride Aside

As much as we want to be strong “Super Moms” and “Super Wives,” we will not be able to do it all. After taking care of hubby, kids, house, and perhaps even a job as some of us have—to assume that your house will be clean and that dinner will be on the table every night prepared by you is just unrealistic. It doesn’t mean that we are bad wives or moms or need to work even harder than we already are. Now is the time to accept some charity. And truth be told, it will be good for you. I cannot believe how much love I have felt from the numerous people who have helped us through cooking meals, offering to clean, and donating money to our GoFundMe.  It is an opportunity for you to be moved and affected in a powerful way by the good people in your circle, and maybe to even be surprised by the ones who offer and the ones who don’t. Don’t worry. People wont think less of you. They want to help!

  1. We Have To Research

Doctor’s don’t tell us everything. Husband’s don’t always do their own research. People will tell us many different wives tales , anecdotal stories, and sadly– scary stories of dead loved ones. If you want to help your hubby beat this, you’ve got to learn about his cancer, what it means, how it is treated, what is the prognosis, and what are ways you can help him get better through alternative treatments outside of just chemotherapy, diet, supplements, etc. Honestly, if the numbers are really bad and they are feeling optimistic, it may be better to not tell them their prognosis. But you need to know. This will also help you make wise decisions about next steps, and to know when it might be time to get a second opinion or a different approach to curing the cancer.  Remember, we are their cheerleaders—not their Debbie Downers. We don’t just give up and let doctors tell us who lives and who dies. God has given us amazing bodies capable of healing.

6. We Have To Be Prayer Warriors

It’s amazing how so many people who didn’t pray much, start to pray once someone they love gets Cancer. For the believing and Praying Wife, this is all the more so. As we watch our husbands suffer through their illness, go through dark days of despair, as well as grow and surprise us with their ability to find joy on those good days despite their circumstances, we pray. We pray for help. Pray our praises. Pray for strength. Pray for healing. We just pray in all things. The Holy Spirit does incredible things when we surrender it all to God. He can turn Cancer into a Blessing, if you let Him–yes, even in the darkest circumstances. But it starts with prayer.