Read This First! Getting You Up to Speed

If you are reading my blog from the beginning, Aloha! My name is Cheryse and I hope this blog shares my hope, joy, and peace in the midst my cancer diagnosis. On I am 30 years old, married to an amazing, Godly man with whom I have 3 precious children (5.5, 3.5, and 8mo at the time of my diagnosis). We currently live in Hawaii on the island of Oahu where my husband is stationed in the Navy. I love God with all my heart and this diagnosis and all that comes with it has brought me so close to Him.

The following are my Facebook posts from the day of my diagnosis to when my dear friend set up this blog for me 🙂

The pathology results came back and all 3 spots are cancerous. I will see the surgeon a week from today to discuss where we go from here. I don’t know what kind or what stage yet. I covet your prayers for myself an our family. We are not telling the kids yet so please don’t say anything to/in front of them. We are clinging hard to God as we start this new chapter in our lives. Please pray for wisdom on treatment options and as we consider our future (getting out/staying in the navy). Thank you 🙂 {12.21.15}

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! We had a wonderful day and were blessed to Skype/call most of our family. This Christmas, Jesus truly was/is my Prince of Peace in a way I never could have comprehended before. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me since my cancer diagnosis on Monday. I initially felt so fearful and upset. I asked you to pray for peace on Tuesday and I have felt those prayers ever since. In the past 4 days, I have seen God work so very clearly and directly answer my prayers more than once. I feel blessed beyond measure and my faith in my Abba is stronger than it has ever been. I have such peace and it TRULY surpasses all understanding. To go from so sick with worry I can’t even eat to having JOY and assurance is only from God. I hope and pray that everyone who reads this knows that joy, peace, and love and that if you don’t, I pray that this would be an encouragement to you! {12.25.15}

Friends, will you please hold us in your prayers again as Josiah and I meet with the surgeon tomorrow? We will find out the kind(s) of cancer, hopefully a little more about the stage, grade, and where we go from here. Our appt is at 8am Hawaii time (10am West coast, 1pm east coast). Please pray for peace for us, that we will put our trust in God no matter the results, selfishly I hope for something easy to treat. Also, please pray for the kiddos that God would prepare their hearts for when we tell them what’s going on and specifically for M tomorrow that she won’t have separation anxiety while they are at our friends’ house!
**edited to add: prayers for healing as we all have head/chest colds, I feel like the devil is trying to just overwhelm me** {12.27.15}

Thank you all SO much for your prayers and support!!!! Praise the Lord we received a good prognosis so far! I only met with the surgeon and will consult with the entire team next Wednesday. I have invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) the most common form of breast cancer. I’m not sure what stage or class yet and we are waiting to hear back about if it’s er/pr + or – but we caught it early and all 3 lesions are still small. The surgeon wants to perform a mastectomy but we can do reconstructive surgery at the same time. Probably followed by 6 mo. Chemo (12 if the PR comes back positive, and he will take a few lymph nodes; if any of those come back positive, they want to take the whole lymphatic system there and do radiation after chemo. I’m having a mammogram on my right side in Tuesday and then meet the entire team next Wednesday. Please pray that the lymph nodes would be clear so I don’t have to add radiation (it comes with the risk of causing other cancers) and that we will only need 6 mo of chemo. We would also covet prayers for clear direction whether God wants Jo to get out of the navy this next December or stay in! God is Good ALL THE TIME!!!! {12.28.15}

I’m happy to say the only tears I’ve shed in recent days have been tears of joy! I have been overwhelmed by the blessings others have so freely showered on our family! From dinners, a plan for a meal train in 3 groups, supplements, childcare offers, goodie boxes, cards, special momentos, donations of milk for M (and even offers of people to change their diets to donate milk for her) and all the prayers and support here… God is using others to bless us beyond measure! I am humbled and honored to have so many amazing friends!!! Thank you!!! {12.29.15}

As I am pleading with God to show me how he wants me to treat this cancer, this song comes on K-love right after they read the verse of the day: 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
I KNOW I am going through this so that others may come to know Him and if me going through this means that I will get to celebrate with just ONE more person in heaven, it is worth it!!! {12.31.15}

Happy New Year! I’m going to be very real here. Last night, as I was eating my massive salad, listening to Josiah getting the bigs ready for big, the devil attacked me. I was overcome with this intense fear, dread, and physically felt nauseous and weak. All the “what if’s” came flooding in and I just started sobbing. I immediately started praying. I got down on my knees, face in the floor and prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed before. I prayed verses I’ve been memorizing the past few weeks, I asked God to protect my mind and heart with His peace and I verbally rebuked satan. The fear, dread, and feeling of illness faded away as God filled me with His peace.

Josiah found me on the floor, reading the Bible…still stifling tears. We had an amazing time talking about those fears, how he knew what the results would be before we got them back, how God has given HIM a peace that I’m going to beat this, how God is changing the plans WE were making without him in regards to getting out of the Navy and where to move to.

I may seem strong, like I have it all together, but the only reason I have any strength is because God is holding me together. Without Him, I would crumble like I did last night. I cannot imagine going through this without Him. My hope and prayer for this year is that God would continue to strengthen me and shape me into the woman he has planned for me to be, for our family to be a family that loves him fiercely and loves those around us just a fiercely. I am excited to see what God will do with us this year….it certainly is NOTHING like we had imagined our year would be…it’s going to be better! {1.1.16}

Friends, thank you so much for your prayers! We are fairly certain that God wants Josiah to join the reserves and that would ensure my healthcare would continue after his active duty status is completed as well. Will you please pray that God will prepare J and E’s hearts for when we tell them what is going on later this week? Pray that God will give them peace, assurance, and that they would cling to Him! Would you also pray that God makes clear how we should proceed with treatment? There is a good chance that I will still be undergoing treatment (or reconstruction) when we are supposed to separate from the navy and move off this Island in Nov/Dec so we are looking into a compassionate relocation to WA, possibly before my treatment starts. There is a lot of paperwork involved and the navy may say no (or say yes but tell us to pay for the move ourselves :/ ). We trust in God’s plan and that he will keep/move us exactly where he wants us in HIS perfect timing. {1.4.16}

Thank you all for your prayers today! We met with the team, had most of our questions answered, and they made their recommendations. Again, they were just amazed at our calmness and peace…every person we saw this morning was surprised by it and we told them it was only from God. I have a biopsy on my right side to check calcifications on Monday and an u/s on the left side to check a lymph node & possibly biopsy it. I will reveal more of the plan later (surgery, chemo, etc). We didn’t have a good time to tell the kiddos today so either tomorrow or Friday.
Will you please continue to pray for J and E’s hearts and for Josiah and I to say the right words and explain simply, not to overburden them.
Will you also pray for clear direction in treatment? My heart is heavy with what God wants for my body and for my testimony. Will you pray that God will use the u/s on Monday to give me direction? Oh how my heart longs for a divine healing, for this cup to pass by me….but God’s will be done! My understanding of this disease is limited but God knows it intimately. I am trusting in God for my healing and I trust that he will guide my steps. {1.6.16}

In addition to prayers for our kiddos hearts and for us to understand what God’s will is for our future regarding both treatment and where we will live/get out of the navy or stay in, I am asking for divine healing if it’s God’s will. If it is not, I’m praying fervently that my lymph nodes will be clear so I won’t loose them all and need to do radiation after chemo. Not my will but God’s be done. He knows the whole picture.

As I was driving home after my appt with the plastic surgeon and dropping Jo off at work, I was praying and worshiping/singing. Feelings of fear started creeping in and in the VERY NEXT moment, “Glorious Unfolding” came on the radio. God has used this and a few other songs on many car rides recently to speak peace into my heart, to tell me this is OK, He’s got this and when we look back a year or 5 years from now, we will say WOW…God used a cancer diagnosis in AMAZING ways we never could have comprehended.
Take a listen and read the lyrics….I hope whomever reads this will be greatly blessed! {1.7.16}

Thank you all for your prayers for the kiddos (and us)! They took the news really well and I got through it without crying! They know that mommy has something called cancer that will hurt me if the doctors don’t take it out. They know the doctors will cut it out (and were concerned about if it will hurt me) and that I will be sore and will need them to be helpers while I heal.

We told them later I will probably need to take medicine that will make me feel really yucky and tired (like I have the flu) for a few days each time. We told them my hair will probably fall out and that I’d be bald like Papa (to which we all giggled and laughed) and I told them I wouldn’t have prickly legs for a while (to which they said “yay!!!!”) grin emoticon They know my hair will grow back, that we will all need to wash our hands, cover our coughs, and not share mommy’s water cups.
We told them I may get a wig (E voted for a blue one) and I will have to wear masks over my face sometimes so I don’t get anyone’s germs but we said they can draw silly faces on the masks grin emoticon They know they can ask us ANY questions and tell us how they are feeling. They know they will probably spend more time at friends’ houses (to which they were excited).
Most importantly, we told them God is going to use this in some amazing ways, that he knew this was going to happen, that this doesn’t scare God and he is going to take care of us! {1.9.16}

Thank you again for your prayers and well wishes! My biopsies took a while and I’m sore and trying to make sure my hematoma doesn’t get even worse but overall it was a good day. They did biopsy my lymph node, which they will take during the mastectomy regardless of if its positive or negative as well as my right breast. Even if the biopsy results come back negative on that side, I’m asking for a bilateral mastectomy; I don’t want to be poked and smashed and worry about cancer in that breast for the rest of my life. Plus on a good note, my new girls will match 😜 I have a mastectomy scheduled for Jan 29th and if there is no infection or complications, I will start chemo about 6 weeks after that. It will be a pretty nasty combination for 18 weeks and then herceptin for a full 12 months (which isn’t as toxic). We don’t know yet if we are staying here or if the navy will move us back to WA before I start chemo.

I always said I would never resort to chemo if I was ever diagnosed and I know people have healed their bodies naturally but I believe God wants me to walk this route for a reason. I was waiting for him to give me direction and yesterday at church he spoke to me through an analogy about Narnia and the kids asking about Aslan….was he safe? No, he’s not safe but he is GOOD, just like our spiritual life isn’t safe but it is good. I felt God saying I know the chemo isn’t the “safest” option but it is the good option and I want you to do it.

Then when I got in the car after my biopsies today, I turned on the radio and the following lines came on, “Even though the journey’s long and I know the road is hard, Well the one who’s gone before me, he will help me carry on. After all that I’ve been through, now I realize the truth, that I must go through the valley, to stand upon the mountain of God.”

I am am not looking forward to the pain and the sickness but I am excited to see how God is going to work through this! I trust this is just a chapter in my life that will mold me and my family into who God wants us to be. I hope to be a light to all those I come in contact with. {1.11.16}

I’m clinging to this song today. My biopsies came back. I have cancer in the right breast too and the one lymph node they biopsied has cancer as well. I’m glad we have a better picture of what is going on but this also means we need to choose between chemo in a few weeks, THEN surgery, then radiation, or surgery first, then chemo, then radiation. My mind is all over the place, the thoughts of “this just plain sucks, it’s not fair, I’m only 30” creep in. I’m trying to rest in God and his promises. Praying for God’s guidance on which path is best.
Thank you to everyone who has offered help with childcare and meals!!! As soon as we have a bit of a schedule, we’ll work with someone to help us coordinate a meal train since the navy most likely won’t even process any humanitarian move paperwork before I need to start treatments. Unless the navy miraculously processes paperwork at lightning speed (hahahahahahahahahahahaha), it looks like we will probably stay here for the time being. {1.13.16}

After a little pity party yesterday evening, I woke up and asked God to protect my mind and heart with his peace, to remove any bitterness from me and again assure me this is the route he wants me to take. Most of you know I’m “crunchy” and use natural treatments instead of modern medicine when possible. I was having a hard time wrapping my head around why on earth He would want me to put toxins in my body and cut it apart when I know there are treatments that heal the body naturally.

As I was walking out the door to go to the hospital for another meeting, God basically wacked me upside the head and said, “My child, I gave my son for you. He was beaten worse than you can even imagine and suffered a horrible death before was separated from my presence for 3 days. Then, he defeated the grave…for YOU. Are your “natural” remedies, your intact body, more important than what *I* can do through you on this “conventional” journey?!?! Do you think I can’t protect you from the side effects of the meds/surgery???

OUCH. He cut right to my heart.

As we pulled up to Tripler and were looking for parking, those “what if” thoughts started to creep in…what if this treatment doesn’t work, what if this is my final chapter. Immediately, and I mean IMMEDIATELY, the song, “It’s not over yet” came on the radio. Just has he has EVERY other time I’ve had those thoughts, God has used music or a Bible verse or someone else to tell me this is just one chapter and there are more to come.

I feel like the child who is standing precariously on the edge of the pool, wanting to jump in but afraid of drowning. God, my Abba Father, is in the pool saying it’s ok, I’ll catch you…just jump! I’ve jumped but I keep clinging to him, afraid he might let go and I might slip under. I can’t tell you how many times our children have done this to us and I just chuckle at their lack of faith and reassure them. I wonder if God is chuckling at me now (I would be if I were him).

In the midst of life’s uncertainties, God is still OH SO GOOD. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 {1.14.16}

Welp, we met with my oncologist yesterday and we are planning to start with chemotherapy around the 25th of this month. I was a little apprehensive as we went over the possible side effects but God just calmed my heart and was like hey…I’ve got this. I’m bigger than all the worst case scenarios! They took me to the “chemo corner” where I will spend a lot of time the next year. I was expecting a feeling of dread; that knot in the stomach. However this peace washed over me. I felt like God was saying, “This is exactly where I want you, I want to use you, I will carry you through this.”
I will have 6 treatments, 3 weeks apart. I will be taking 2 chemo meds and 2 antibodies plus steroid meds the day before/of/after to help with nausea and allergic reactions. They are also going to give me anti-nausea meds prior to every treatment. Apparently because I had morning sickness in pregnancies, I will be more likely to have nausea in treatment.

So all that said, we would love prayers for:
-Continued peace
-Patience with the kiddos as they will undoubtedly be working through their emotions
-Opportunities to share God’s love with those around me
-A good response-for this chemo to be very effective at killing the cancer (they will monitor it)
-Protection from severe side effects (heart problems, neuropathy, severe diarrhea, etc.)
-Protection from infection and that my blood counts won’t drop too drastically
-For Josiah as he cares for me and the kiddos while knowing his sweet mom will be going through the same thing.

My MOPS group is setting up a meal train and we’ll have the link posted soon. For friends who aren’t local who have said you want to help somehow, there may be a food delivery service that has base access and if they do, that information will be posted as well.

Thank you all so much for your love, support, encouraging words, and prayers!!! {1.16.16}

 

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