Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fear Overridden By Faith

This is an email Randi sent to some of her close friends last Friday...

My sweet friends,

Tears stream down my face as i try to write this, so please forgive me if I don't make complete sense. Thank you for your sweet words and messages of encouragement over the past few days, they mean the world to me:) But most of all thank you for praying... I can feel God's sweet arms holding me tighter than ever. The last 5 days seem like a whirlwind... I still feel so healthy, so it so hard to grasp that cancer is inside of me. But now more than ever, I know that God is in control, and that He will use this for His glory. From the 1st day we found the lump, Matt and I started praying that no matter what the future holds, our sweet Lord would be glorified. So although my emotions have been all over the place, my heart is peaceful. I feel honored that God would let me carry this cross. I am scared and sad, but I surrendered my life to Christ when I was 16, and He has proven faithful every single day since, so I know He won't stop now. I have read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 about a million times: "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness... Therfore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." So I am trying so hard to praise God that His power can be made perfect in my weakness. And I'm not about to let Satan steal my joy:)

So now for an update: As for today, the update is that I have invasive ductile breast cancer. We do not know the stage yet, as we are waiting on my full body scans to see if it has spread anywhere. But my Doctors think it will be Stage 1 or 2 (meaning it is only in my breast). This type of cancer is fueled by estrogen and progesterone and probably developed when I was pregnant with sweet McKinley. The MRI showed that it has not spread to the right breast, Praise God! and it doesn't look like it has infected the lymph nodes either, which is great! But there are 3 cancerous masses on my left breast. Together, they make a 3.6cm tumor (which is pretty big). That means that I defientely have to get a masectomy on my left side and if we want to be preventative my right side also. I'm not really sad about having my silly lil boobs removed (i get new pretty ones:), but I am so sad that if I get both removed, then I will never get to breast feed again. That breaks my heart. We met with an oncologist (cancer Dr) on Thursday. There was a lot to talk about but kind of regardless because of my age, I have to go through chemotherapy and then be on a cancer hormone drug for 5+ years. Chemo will start 3-4 weeks after surgery and will last 20-24 weeks. I am scared of chemo and really scared to lose my hair... My cancer is hormonal based, so the best chemo treatment would attack the origin of estrogen and progesterone, which is my ovaries. So the chemo could make me infertile and therefore we may never get to have another biological baby again. Of all the news that we have gotten, this is by far the hardest for me. I can't even think about it without bawling. My/Our dream was to have 2+ more babies (we were going to start trying in December) and then adopt a little black boy:). I know that through adoption we can still have our big family, it is just so hard to hand God my dreams and to trust that his dreams are so much better. The oncologist said that they will try everything they can to reduce the risk of infertility, but because my cancer was due to pregnancy, if I ever do get to be pregnant again, then I will have a high risk of re-developing cancer. It is all so much for my heart to take in.

My breast Dr (Dr Iyengar) has referred us to a team of Drs down at UT Southwestern: a fertility specailist, a medical oncologist, and another breast surgeon. Because of my age, I am kinda in a league of my own. Dr. Iyengar (who looks just like my friend Naina, so of course I love her:) says that this team of Drs is the best. However, when we called to get an appointment, 2 of 3 Drs were completely booked until November 26th. I dont think that I can wait that long. Please pray that appointments would open up and that I would get to be treated by these Drs or that God would provide another excellent set of Drs. Time seems so precious right now. I dont want this cancer in me any longer. We are also going to get another opinion from a great breast surgeon at Baylor Dallas. We have heard really great things about him. We did get an appointment with the fertility cancer Dr at UT southwestern on Monday. I am excited to see what he will have to say about everything. Next week I will also have a CT scan, PET scan (whole body cancer scan) and brain MRI. Please pray that the cancer has not spread anywhere else.

As far as Matt and I go, we are doing great. I can't imagine a better earthly warrior to fight this battle with me. He is amazing and I fall more in love with him everyday. His faith just blows me away. How blessed I am to be married to him:) McKinley is the most precious thing in the world. She brings more joy to my life than I can explain. Please pray that I can continue to love her so well during these hard times. I dont want her sweet little world to change because of me.

I will try to keep you all updated. Right now is just a waiting game for tests and Dr appointments. Please pray for us. Pray for healing and wisdom, but moreso pray that Jesus will be more famous because of this. I love you all so much and am eternally thankful for your friendship.

Only by His Grace~


Friday, October 28, 2011


Below is the email that I sent to friends the day after we got the news back from the biopsy.

Today was by all accounts better than expected. The best thing that could have happened would be we walk in and they say that they were wrong and its not cancer. That didn't happen but what did happen was they said that it is a different cancer than they had told us. Randi has ductile cancer that is invasive. Tomorrow she gets an MRI to see how big it is in the tissue and if it is anywhere else. We might get a call that says its in both sides, but that is unlikely. What the MRI hopefully will reveal is how big it is. If it is more than a few centimeters then she would need to get a mastectomy. If is it small enough we may be able to do a lumpectomy followed up with Radiation. Both are equally as effective at removing the cancer, however a mastectomy would greatly reduce the chances of cancer in the future. She also got a genetic test done that will show us how likely she is to face cancer again. If that comes back with showing that she has the cancer genes then a double mastectomy would probably be the best route.

The bad news with a mastectomy is that she would never be able to breast feed again. So a question we would have to weigh out would be how much value do we put on breast feeding in comparison to decreasing risk of cancer.

From what I heard today, the best case scenario given where we are is that the cancer is only in the lump and that it is small enough to do a lumpectomy, followed with radiation and hormonal treatment. Worst case is that it is in more than one place, its very aggressive, and we have to do a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal treatment. Chemo is bad because some of the side effects are issues with ovaries, which might leave us with the potential of being infertile. If we have to go this route, the recommendation was to freeze some eggs. Even if we did the lumpectomy, however we would at some point down the road still consider a double mastectomy for preventative purposes once we are done with having kids.

The type of cancer that Randi has is hormonal in nature (progesterone and estrogen positive) which means that regardless of results hormonal treatment would be done, more than likely keeping us from having kids within the next year or two, depending upon the risks.

The road ahead is long. I am so grateful that I get to walk it with the best woman that I know. We get to live out James 1:2-4 right now: Jam 1:2-4 NIV - [2] Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, [3] because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. [4] Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I have been processing what that means to have joy in the midst of trial. I feel as though a hurricane has swept through our island of paradise. My prayer is that I can stay in the center of the storm, in the eye of the hurricane. It is easy to say God is good all the time, when all the time is good. Its another to say God is good all the time, and all the time God is good when time is not. As crazy as this may seem I have been thanking God for this. I was reminded of this verse: 2Th 1:3-5 NIV - [3] We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. [4] Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. [5] All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

My praise to God is that He has counted Randi and I worthy to face such a trial. What an honor. I was also reminded of a quote from CS Lewis concerning the book of Job. When asked why do the Righteous suffer? CSL answered "Why not? They're the only one's that can handle it." My prayer is that my good God can be seen from the contrasting backdrop of awful circumstances more clearly to a world that thinks they are finished with Him. They haven't even started with Him yet...

I am fully persuaded as I have told some of you before that the Almighty has a purpose in this no doubt. This morning I was shown this verse and it has made it all the more clear: 2Cr 1:3-7 NIV - [3] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. [5] For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. [6] If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. [7] And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

One thing we hear from those closest to us when we bring up eternity, God, Jesus, and truth is that we have never experienced life, that we do not know what it is like. I believe that this trial is a plank in the platform of which God is building for us to proclaim His Good News to all who will listen. That is why I praise Him in this storm, that is why I can say He is good, that is why I can have JOY, even as tears flow freely upon our circumstances. For whatever is over my head is still under His feet. No mountain is too high for my God to climb and no valley is too low for my God to traverse. Wherever we may go I have the promise that He is with me, that He is for me, that He shouts over me with rejoicing, and that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Isn't God good?

I ask that you pray for wisdom for us, to know what to do. But before you pray I ask that you would deal with whatever may be in your heart. Psa 24:3-5 NIV - [3] Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? [4] He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. [5] He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.

Pro 15:8, 29 NIV - [8] The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. ... [29] The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Forever grateful for you!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Treasures In Heaven

Mat 6:20 NIV- But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

As our years have progressed, we have continually seen that the things of this world are so fleeting. Time is but a passing wind, who can grasp it? Money seems to move just as quickly out as it does in. Even health can in but a moment deteriorate. This is what has happened in our world recently. First, it was just a lump. Then it was just a doctor's appointment. Then it was just some tests. Now it's just cancer...

Ever had a moment when that sick feeling in your stomach just won't go away and you know something is not right and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it? That is the feeling that Randi and I had when the doctor's office called with the news that she has breast cancer. Randi is 27 years old, the most beautiful, sweet, joyous, caring, fun woman that I know and the mother to our precious 14 month old. She does not drink, nor does she smoke, she's in better shape than me! I share that not to say how good we are, for we know that life is a gift and we deserve nothing in it, but because her lifestyle has not sown what we are reaping. What we face is so much bigger than us; Who we know is so much bigger than our circumstances.

It is our sincere desire that this blog might serve as a platform upon which we can share our journey along the way with you. It is our hope that you will come to find, as we firmly believe, that the things of this world have no meaning outside of an eternal perspective. We pray that our God would, through our struggle and our story, encourage you to live for more than this moment, for more than yourself, for more than that which is seen. We pray that you might store up for yourself Treasures In Heaven.