“You look good”

I appreciate the compliment; I’m glad that the signs my disease and of the emotional turmoil within do not reach the surface of my face.

Yet those who live in close proximity to me and those who have visited our home over the last few months have seen what the pictures on social media cannot convey. My church family has also been a constant source of comfort as they walk with our family through this trial week in and week out. They have watched me barely walk into church and have observed me leave worship early because of my pain. And, they have witnessed the good days in between, learning in many ways how to judge how I am feeling. Their sensitivity and love is such a blessing.

I can’t begin to show how grateful I am for those who are praying for me (literally all over the world!). Certainly an extension of the grace of God is the undeserved friendship and care of so many. How truly blessed I am that the Lord would put it on the heart of so many to pray for me, my family and my healing.

When I was first diagnosed, I entered into a type of shock. The diagnosis still is so much to process. It has felt like learning a new language, one that I really didn’t want to learn. I had no idea that there were different types of breast cancer and very little knowledge of current treatments. All the words sounded unfamiliar. My ignorance produced fear. But one morning I remember waking up and the Lord allowing me to realize that though I may know nothing about breast cancer, I hadn’t lost all I knew about Him. Now was the time to stand firm on all I did know. That has been an anchor in my rough seas.

IMG_1621I credit my husband for orchestrating the wonderful health care I am receiving. He immediately set to researching all he could about my disease and those working in the medical field to treat it. He learned to speak the language faster than I did and still knows it better than I do. When I could have just shut down, he worked to keep us moving. Because of him I am in a research study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and go out for scans and tests every few months. I am being observed and learning much more about my cancer because of participating in this study. I also receive great local care through the University of Virginia’s breast cancer specialists in Charlottesville. It was here that I had my recent surgery to remove my ovaries.

I have a notebook full of medical information that I have accumulated from all my doctor visits since May. Having a serious, incurable disease also requires a lot of organization. Test results, medications, appointments and the like force me to continue to engage my new way of life. I can’t ignore or escape it.

October is breast cancer awareness month. While I understand the intent, I have tried to avoid all displays of the pink ribbon and paraphernalia. My personal battle is still so raw and fresh that I don’t want to associate with yet another reminder. Perhaps I will feel differently next year.

Many people have asked about what our children know. They know Mommy has cancer which they understand as very bad germs inside of me. Each night at bedtime, we pray for God to take Mommy’s cancer away. Our 3-year-old has volunteered to people that “Mommy has cancer in her back!”

I can’t begin to list or describe all the ways big and small that cancer has affected our little family. This is the area that brings me most often to tears and my greatest source of anguish. I pray daily and fervently for my children’s salvation. My greatest desire is to live to see them firmly established in the truth. This trial isn’t just mine, it is our whole family’s. God allowed me to have cancer. God allowed my children’s mommy is have cancer. God allowed my husband’s wife to have cancer. It is hard, painful and scary. Yet our hope remains in God. That He will bring good out of this evil.

The opposite of fear is trust. I continue to fail to trust Him and let fear overwhelm me. I have many times fallen into despair. But God has not left me.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,”

Psalm 46:1-2

“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”.. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:27, 31

How many times does the Bible tell us to trust God and not be afraid? He has never failed us. He has and always will take care of His children.

I will have more scans in a few days. I am tempted to fear and doubt. But ultimately I know that my life is in God’s Hands. I should focus on my devotion to such a good and gracious Father. He deserves my undivided heart and adoration (Psalm 86:11-12).

Like so many others with similar and yet different stories, I am the face of cancer. But more than what my face looks like, it matters where my face is looking. I must now and always turn my face in the direction of Christ. I know that when I “look full in His wonderful face, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I want to reflect back what I see in Him.

I don’t know what my scans will show next week. I hope for good news. Over the last two weeks, I have had more consecutive good days with minimal back pain than I have enjoyed since before my diagnosis six months ago. I am so thankful and pray that is a good sign of my treatment working. Yet I want my heart prepared to rest and trust in Jesus no matter what is reported.

Will you please continue to pray for me? Pray for my heart to remain steadfast while also petitioning the Great Healer for my health to be restored?

14 thoughts on “The Face of Cancer

  1. April, I lift up you name to our Lord every night in my prayers asking for Him to shrink every cancer cell in your body and cure you of this horrible disease. I pray for your husband, children & Bro. Ray and Debra as well; that He will give all of you comfort, strength and peace as you wait for His healing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly and I love you all and pray for your faith and courage in Jesus to rise with each new dawn and rest in his love, grace, peace and presence at day’s end. We pray for your encouragement, healing and God’s protection for you all as you travel, receiving excellent medical care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. April you have written a beautiful piece of your heart for us to see. Brings tears to my eyes. Still praying continues that God will heal your body. I ask and I know I really shouldn’t. But haw can this happen. May God grant us at ABC this one prayer. We all need you and Peter. And those 3 little angels of yours. Love you all so much.

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  4. Even though the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life” is fictional, I love the beginning. The setting is a dark screen with stars twinkling, representing the heavens where the angels and God reside.
    And we hear several people praying to God, asking Him to help a particular man here on earth. It makes me think of our Lord and how He is hearing all the many prayers being prayed for you my sweet friend. :-) Love you and praying for you each day.


  5. Love you my sweet friend, you are a testimony for all of us. Praying for your strength and healing. Most of all God to use this for his Glory. May your heart ❤️ remain steadfast as you wait on the Lord. We have to know not to be afraid God is always with us. As I help take care of my grandson, I see what God has given to us a gift . In my suffering it was all under control in God’s hands. I held him tight in my painful arms of soreness thanking Our Lord and Savior for letting me know not the cancer but CHRIST is always there. Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

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  6. You are in my prayers every day that you will heal some every day no matter how little. God bless your visit next week. My son is married to one terrific woman!!

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  7. Praying for you & now will pray esp for positive scan results this next week! Trusting God day to day for His provision of peace, power & protection from the enemy!🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

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  8. Hi April. You don’t know me but a friend of a friend shared your blog with me. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she thought your message would be an encouragement. She was right. Though our stories are different, I can relate so well to the feelings, fear, unknowing that you write about. I felt so many times as though I was reading my own story. Thank you for sharing your heart and most of all for sharing the reminder of the strength and peace we have in Christ. I pray the Lord’s continued healing over you and that His grace and peace overwhelm you and your family. I just wanted you to know that He is already using your trial for good and I pray that He will do the same with mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting. I’m sorry you are also dealing with the trial as cancer. But I am glad you found some encouragement through the Lord’s work in me. He is a faithful God and will sustain us both through each day ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

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