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Peace in the Valley: A Fight Against Breast Cancer

by Kimberly N.

At the end of July 2010 my husband, Nelson went to see our medical doctor for a routine check. I had shared with Nelson several weeks prior that I had a sharp pain in my left breast for quite some time. Nelson had asked me to get it checked out several times, but I never did. While at his doctor's appointment he mentioned my strange ailment to the doctor as Nelson was walking out the door. Dr. Mendoza didn't hesitate and requested that I go in the following day for an ultrasound. At the time, I didn't think much of it.

On Friday, Nelson took me to the appointment. I went to have the ultrasound done and it started out very casual with small talk but then the ultrasound tech became serious and quiet. I noticed her checking one particular area over and over again. At this point she had stopped talking to me and became focused. She asked me to get dressed and said she needed to get the results to my doctor immediately. I remember lying there after she left with a tear in my eye I prayed. Lord, are you ready to take me through this journey? Am I really capable of handling something as major as this? Only through you God only through You. I asked if it was really necessary for me to go through this journey and remembered Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, so I pleaded for the Lord to take this cup from me, but deep down I knew not my will but thine be done. I began to pray to God to please give me Your strength. I got dressed and went to the waiting room where I ran into the ultrasound tech that hugged me and said "stay strong, you can do this". Not really what I wanted to hear and actually thought to myself did she really just say that? I joined with my husband and we met with Dr. Mendoza who informed us that we needed further testing but it looked like something was there. That weekend was a long weekend. I remember sitting with Nelson and discussing the possibility of having cancer. I remember him and I prayed a lot that weekend, collectively and individually. I felt pretty strong that I had cancer by the end of that weekend. Just the look on the nurse's face, the response of our doctor and the peace in my heart, I felt that this was the beginning of a new journey.

2 Corinthians 12:8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

On Monday, I remember scrambling to cancel all of my clients. I am a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, who had a flourishing private practice. I then went and had a mammogram and was asked to wait to make sure that the radiologist could read the results. Nelson was by my side. I was called back to the front desk and they requested that I go immediately to get another ultrasound. I went over to the get the ultrasound and as true to form, the technician was joking around with me and talking to me, then all of a sudden she became serious and quiet. She would go to the same spot over and over again. She looked at me with concern on her face, she softly said, I must see the doctor I will be right back. She was gone for what seemed like hours. Again, I found myself praying to God asking Him to give me His strength, His peace. I started reciting scripture to myself to find comfort and peace. It worked. Hebrew 13: 6 never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

By the time the ultrasound technician came back, she took more pictures then somberly told me to get dressed and to go back to the mammogram radiologist. The look on her face said it all. I looked at her and told her I know but I believe in Jesus and He will see me through. The technician had tears in her eyes and I hugged her and thanked her for the job that she does. I went to Nelson and we found our way back to the radiologist who informed me that they would give the results to my doctor within the next 48 hours. Well I didn't even make it home when we received a call from our doctor requesting our immediate presence. We met with Dr. Mendoza who informed us that there was a tumor that appeared to be of concern and further treatment would be needed but at this point an oncologist would have to take over. I was referred to City of Hope and was requested to contact them immediately.

On the way home, Nelson and I just sat quietly, it was peaceful. Tears fell from my eyes and Nelson just held my hand as we drove home. His silence was such a comfort to me. The next day I contacted City of Hope. I was given an appointment to meet with a surgeon one week later. However, later that morning I received a phone call from Nelson. He had contacted Dr. Tcheckmydian who was his oncologist thirteen years ago when Nelson had Hodgkin's lymphoma. Nelson was told by Terry, Dr.T's assistant, that he was not technically seeing clients and was more focused on research. Dr. T had just won a lifetime achievement award for his work in breast cancer. Terry told Nelson she would contact Dr. T and let him know of the situation as he would make exceptions for certain patients. Within an hour I received a phone call, Dr. T wanted to see me that same day. So Nelson and I spent the next couple of hours getting all of the films together from the mammogram and ultrasounds and went to meet with Dr. T. He looked over everything and immediately began a treatment plan for me to get blood drawn, get a biopsy done, and get tests completed. I remember sitting in his office and he looked at me with such sincerity, such genuineness yet with such a strength and confidence that cancer had nothing on Dr. T. Dr. T. spent about an hour with Nelson and I and when he walked us out, he put his arm around me and told me not to worry that Nelson and I would be visiting him one day in the "old person home." I laughed. Dr. T. was so confident, yet so gentle and kind.

The next two days consisted of a biopsy, CAT scan, blood work, more mammograms and ultrasounds. We went to the hospital to get the biopsy done. Prior to receiving a biopsy, the nurse takes you to a back room. Almost looks like you are at a spa, you change into a robe, they play soft music and you sit and wait. There was one woman in there that must have been in her sixties. She wore dark sunglasses and was constantly complaining about virtually everything. She was sharing with myself and the other women in the room how it would be her luck to get cancer and ranted on and on about how ridiculous her life would be if she had cancer. She was so negative. She was called before I was and as she left, I remember just thinking and praying Lord, for the sake of the professionals, the oncologists, doctors, nurses, etc., don't let that woman have cancer, she would be an absolute nightmare! I laughed a little. But as I sat there I also started to think about the amazing ways in which God could use me if I am open to it, if I take this cancer experience on and see it as another opportunity for God to allow me to see Him work. I began to talk to God in such a way where I asked Him to allow me to see Him work in amazing ways throughout this journey. My sadness started to change into a subtle excitement about what God could do through all of this, who could I witness to, who could I touch, through cancer. As this was going through my mind, the lady with the dark sunglasses came back. She looked at me and said, "Can you believe it, I don't even have cancer." Why did they waste my time, why are these doctors so stupid, and on and on. I just smiled and inside thanked God for the sake of the professionals that the negative ninny did not have cancer.

Psalm 30:11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosened my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness. I finally was called in and had to do several mammograms. I then went into a room where I was prepared for the biopsy. My radiologist was incredibly nice. She and I began to talk and she began to share with me about her family and God was able to use me with the talent He has given me with insight and wisdom to give this radiologist some peace of mind in regards to her personal life. By the time we got to the biopsy I felt like I had known her for years. While conducting the biopsy, she was so kind, so gentle. I was not use to coming across people that were so gentle. Within a day I was contacted and the radiologist informed me that I indeed had cancer that was malignant.

I met with Dr. T. on that Thursday. I remember a battery of tests that day, first I had a PET scan, then an echogram then an EKG, and on and on. Nelson was with me the whole time. During the echogram, I was in with a radiologist and she asked my profession. I shared with her and she began to tell me about her and her husband's recent problems. She shared for 45 minutes about her and her husband and not knowing what to do. As I lay on the table I remember asking God for His wisdom and proceeded to share with her insight about her and her husband's situation and gave her tools to help better their communication as well as hope to not give up on their relationship. She then finished me up and off I went back over to Dr. T's office. As we walked back over from St. Mary's Hospital, I just smiled and thanked God that even here He is using my talents. Matthew 5:13 Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.

Nelson and I had been at Dr. T's office all day and now it was 6:00 pm. Dr. T asked that I meet with CeeCee, one of the oncology nurses. Ironically, she was the same oncology nurse that took care of Nelson. She is an amazing angel. So she sat with Nelson and me and shared with us that in the morning I was going to start chemotherapy. Chemotherapy? Really? What do you mean chemotherapy? A tear started to come out of the corner of my eye. Cee Cee quickly jumped up and retrieved a Kleenex saying, "Oh no oh no we don't cry, no need to cry, you just stay strong and fight." She hugged me and that's all it took, I regrouped and refocused. Nelson and I were told that we had to go to the pharmacy and pick up medications that were needed prior, during and after chemotherapy. Cee Cee spent over an hour with us going over the medications. The ride to the pharmacy was quiet, but somehow, it was a peaceful quiet. Nelson and I have always enjoyed one another even when sitting in silence, so the silence was a soothing peace.

Jeremiah 30:10 Therefore fear not, O my servant Jacob, says the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save you from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.

The next morning we arrived at the chemo lounge where I began an incredible journey with some beautiful people. The chemo lounge is a room where the oncology center puts all of the patients and we sit in nice comfy chairs as we receive our chemotherapy and other medications. The chemo lounge really grew on me; I enjoyed meeting new people, encouraging people, talking about God and praying for others and even laughing with the nursing staff. The nursing staff was absolutely wonderful, their competence, warmth and love for each and every cancer patient was indescribable. Nelson was with me for every chemotherapy session. This was very tough for him, not only as a loving husband not wanting to see his wife go through cancer, but it was a reminder of his cancer days thirteen years ago and me sitting in the same chair that he once sat in was, I am sure, difficult to say the least for him. But you would never have known it; Nelson brought his warmth and encouraging smile each and every time we went and was a bright light to all.

The first chemotherapy session lasted a little over six hours. It was between four to five hours after that. I received chemotherapy once every three weeks and received Herceptin weekly. I also had to take a shot once a month that put me into medical menopause in order to reduce my estrogen and progesterone levels. The chemotherapy took my energy and I found myself exhausted throughout various times of the day. I also lost my taste buds, so everything I ate tasted like metal. After the first chemotherapy session, it was several days later and I was taking a shower. Neil was off to preschool and Nelson was working in the home office. What should have been a refreshing shower turned into an unforgettable precious moment. As I began to wash my hair, a clump of hair ended up in my hands. I screamed. Nelson rushed in and saw the horror on my face. I will never be able to fully describe the variety of emotions I felt in that moment. All of a sudden, the cancer became real, a fear overwhelmed me, my sense of invincibility left me, my womanhood was being compromised. I never realized how much hair means to a woman, but at that moment I knew. In the midst of such pain, fear and darkness, rose a beautiful moment. Nelson ran to my aide as he heard my scream and as I burst into tears. He quickly opened the shower door and though he was fully clothed, he didn't care, he walked right into the shower and just held me and let me weep. It was one of my most precious moments.

Jeremiah 31:13 I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. That day He did just that. Now I look back on that day with such gratitude that I have a husband who comforted me, who loved me, who held me through the storm. I had heard about having a buzz party from some of the new cancer friends I had made at the chemo lounge. I decided to invite my best girlfriends over for this peculiar party. My dear friend Michelle's mother, Mama Rose, had always been the one to make my hair beautiful, from giving me a new look to creating a masterpiece of hair on my wedding day. There was no one I would rather have buzz my head than mama Rose and she honored me by doing just that. I remember sitting in that chair with my girlfriends around me as mama Rose began to buzz off my hair. I looked in each one of those beautiful women's eyes and I found a strength that I had never known or witnessed before. 1 Peter 4:8-10 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Once my hair was all gone, my girlfriends and I began trying on hats with various accessories to find the ones that looked the best. It was an indescribable evening. Prior to that night, I had never understood the power that comes from the strength of women. I have newfound love and respect for the power in friendship. 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion towards one another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.

After the third chemotherapy, Nelson and I had gone for a walk. I remember not feeling real well. We had a doctor's appointment later that day. When we arrived at the doctor's office, we learned that my white blood cells had plummeted to .2. What this means is that your white blood cells, which is what keeps you from infection is suppose to read between 4 to 10 and mine was at .2. Dr. T indicated that he was amazed I was able to walk around. This started my; what would become, a never-ending fight with my blood counts. Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

There were three main areas of the blood that were monitored every week, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. From the very beginning, my platelets were low, so low that Dr. T was very concerned and baffled, as it didn't make sense as to what was causing my platelets to be so low. So Dr. T. spent an entire afternoon researching my blood. He ultimately came up with the fact that my blood is a phenomenon. My blood would clump, not clot, but clump. Apparently less than 1% of all Americans have this type of phenomenon. So what this meant was that there is no harm to me, but it makes it very difficult to get an accurate reading of my blood. So the poor nurses would have to draw my blood, drop everything and run it to the lab, as the lab would have 2 minutes from the time my blood was drawn to read it in order to receive some accuracy.

Once this was resolved, the new problem became getting my veins to cooperate. The nurses told me that my veins were deep and very difficult. I had times where they had to get a vein either through my knuckle and one time it was through my wrist. These were fairly painful, so the nurses requested, ok, they demanded, that I go get a port. A port is a device that is surgically put into my chest and there is a line that gets connected with my main artery to my heart. This then allows the nurses to poke the port each time so that they don't have to find a vein.

Nelson accompanied me to the hospital where I was going to get my port implanted. Nelson and I showed up at our appointed time, but there we stood for over an hour waiting. Finally a nurse came out to get us and put us into a room. The nurse began to share with us that it was a crazy day in that there were lots of patients and short staff. She even indicated that she had been pulled from an entirely different floor of the hospital to help out. Nelson and I began to laugh and joke with the nurse. We all laughed and joked for a good minutes. It was refreshing and light. All of a sudden the nurse began to cry. What went wrong? The nurse muttered that her daughter had recently died suddenly and she was unable to smile let alone laugh since her death. She said it felt good to laugh again. Nelson and I prayed over her. And wouldn't you know as soon as we stopped praying, the radiologist came in and was ready to get going.

Colossians 4:5 & 6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you ay know how to answer everyone. I don't know if that nurse knew Jesus or not, but what I did know is it felt great to have God use Nelson and I in such a powerful, sincere manner.

I realized working was no longer an option, especially with all of the complications that I was having. Nelson was on family leave in order to be there for me. We had no money coming in. Nelson went to our landlords of 4 years and asked if they would be willing to work with us as we would not be able to come up with the full amount for the following month. It broke my heart to learn from my husband that he was told by the landlord that if we couldn't pay we had to leave. Our landlords were professed Christians yet their hearts were hardened. Nelson and I were given the unfortunate news that not only did we have to move out, but the landlord was going to charge us an extra month, which we didn't have to pay him. I remember crying, devastated, why God, why? I don't understand your ways. How could these professed Christians throw us out, how could they not have compassion for not only me, but my family. This was so hard on my husband and son and now an added pressure, an added change of having to move. I didn't have the strength to pack an entire home, a home we had since Neil was just a baby. I was devastated. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a Future.

My parents were gracious enough to fly out from Illinois to help us pack and move. Again, God took a tough situation and made it into a beautiful memory where I felt loved and supported by family and friends. We moved in with Nelson's parents. It was not too long after moving in with them that I had a near death experience. One night after chemo, I found myself in the restroom at 3am. It was rare for me to wake up in the middle of the night. I went to the restroom and I remember feeling light headed and dizzy. I remember sitting there when all of a sudden I became drenched in sweat, from head to toe and I then felt my body release fluid, as I looked in the toilet, all I saw was blood. The next thing I knew I had fainted. I am not sure how long after that. When I awoke, I was still in the restroom. I began to call for Nelson. I physically could not get off of the toilet. Nelson came and brought me to the bedroom by carrying me. It was 4am by this time and he immediately called Dr. T on his cell phone. Dr. T. walked Nelson through what to do and called Nelson every twenty minutes to check on my status. By 7:00 am I was at Dr. T's office being filled with antibiotics. In fact, I stayed eight hours a day for ten days at Dr. T's office to get back on track. Dr. T. shared that I had a severe allergic reaction to the chemotherapy drug. I would have to stop taking that particular chemo drug and go to a different one. To this day, Dr. T. credits Nelson with saving my life that night. I later found out from one of the staff at Dr. T's office that Dr. T was worried if I was going to live. Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Being in an office for 8 hours straight for 10 days became cumbersome. It was then I decided to try to finish a book that I had begun on raising teenagers. These 10 days as well as many other days spent at Dr. T's office was spent writing my book. I ultimately became allergic three different times, having to change from one chemotherapy drug to another. And then on top of the bad reactions to chemotherapy, I developed C-Diff which can be a fatal disease, which ultimately played a hand in taking my grandmother's life. Dr. T and his amazing staff were able to help me through each difficult period. It seemed to be one complication after another. Even Nelson would get nervous at times remembering his friends that had expired from his cancer experience, all of which had complications, just like me. This period though grew my faith and I became more determined than ever to beat this cancer. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Nelson and I had to do a walk through at our soon to be old home of four years. I wasn't sure if I should go, I was very upset and hurt by our landlords. Nelson had been obedient in praying all day for his interaction with the landlords. Nelson desired to show Christ to them and to show them grace and mercy. I on the other hand, did not take the Godly approach; in fact, I had anger in my heart toward them. As we met with the two landlords, I tried to stay quiet and let my husband do all of the talking. However, it did not take long before I began to confront the landlords and their lack of compassion. I even went as far as to tell them my blood was on their hands. It was pretty bad, the landlords' wife began to yell at me, and I am no angel, I yelled back. It scared Neil and completely undermined what Nelson was trying to do. I felt like Peter, quick to cut the ear off of the soldier out of passion and Nelson was like Jesus, showing love and forgiveness. I don't know why our landlord's hearts were hardened, but I do believe now that God allowed their hearts to be hard as He had a different plan for us. I asked God's forgiveness for my actions that day. I learned that life isn't fair and even when it isn't fair; we ought to show mercy and grace, just as Jesus does for us on a daily basis. Luke 6:36 Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.

While in the chemo lounge one day, Nelson befriended a gentleman who informed us about a place called Beckstrand Foundation where they provide help for those going through cancer. Nelson and I got a hold of Beckstrand, which began a new adventure. We got along well with the Beckstrand staff, so much so there was just favor upon us. It wasn't before long and I was asked to participate in the Beckstrand PSA (public service announcement) campaign. Nelson and I found ourselves going to a photo shoot the day after my chemotherapy. We had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Eva La Rue who was just amazing and the director was so passionate and warm. We had so much fun that day. Later I learned that I was in a commercial, on a billboard in downtown Los Angeles and in the OC Metro ad. Who would have thought getting cancer could lead to so many opportunities and fun. James 3:7 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entrusted, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

January was getting closer and I soon was going to have surgery. I was to get a double mastectomy. Nelson and I had met with a plastic surgeon and began to look at the possibility of getting implants. I began to promote a message of cancer being a like a makeover, new hair, new boobs, new eyelashes. A whole new makeover! Most people smiled at the positive outlook. January came and I had my surgery. Coming out of surgery, I quickly looked down and saw my breasts were completely gone. I was quickly redirected by the news of my surgeon who shared with me that the tumor was over 9cm long and it had completely engulfed my left breast, however, the cancer somehow did not make it into my lymph nodes. Even the surgeon was surprised with the large mass, but I told my surgeon that Jesus put his hand in between my breast and my lymph nodes and said no more. It took me close to a month to heal.

I had an appointment with my surgeon. I dropped Neil off at pre-school and went back home to get ready for my doctor appointment. My mother-in-law being a nurse took one look at me and asked if she could drive me to my appointment. I let her, as I wasn't feeling very well. My surgeon took one look at me and without taking any vital signs, blood work or anything, she sent me to my plastic surgeon. As soon as I got to my plastic surgeon's office, he took one look at me and hospitalized me. I was admitted with a 104 temperature. I had an internal staff infection. For the next several days, I was in an isolative room with below 50 degrees temperatures and ice on my head, my shoulders and my chest. By the second day, I learned what it is like to have convulsions when you get a 105-degree temperature. My temperature did not break for 6 days. Finally, it broke enough for me to go into surgery. My plastic surgeon came in to speak with me and discussed my options. The spacers that were put in, in order for me to have the implants, had to come out. I knew this was the best decision for me. I began to think about my message of a makeover. As I sat in the hospital, alone, in isolation, I began to think about what message God would want me to give through all of this. If this message wasn't about a makeover, what could it be? I spent several days wrestling with God. I remember the day of my surgery, I had gained a peace and understanding God didn't allow breast cancer as a means to a makeover, He loved me just the way I am and was. I will never know why God didn't allow me to have the breast augmentation, but I do know that not having breasts has made me more in tune with my womanhood, it has opened me up to a vulnerability that I didn't have before, a peace that I am more than my body, and a witness to those who suffer with loss.

Philippians 4:12 I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

Because the second surgery was only one month after the first surgery, my chest had to be cut open again, leaving me with large cuts and massive scar tissue. But they had gotten all of the infection out. I was happy to hear that I would be going home soon. I had already spent 6 days in the hospital with no contact with family. On the 7th day I was asked to go do some tests, an ultrasound and various other tests. Later that day, I met with a team of doctors. My staff infection was so severe that I was on some big doses of antibiotics intravenously. Subsequently, the doctors learned that I had gone into kidney failure due to the massive amount of antibiotics they had to administer to me to deal with the internal staff infection. This meant I would have to stay longer in the hospital. This hospital stay was the darkest part of my journey with cancer. I didn't have contact with my family, except via phone. At one point, I actually wrote out letters on hospital paper thinking I may not get out alive. Yet through it all, I had a peace knowing that not my will by Your will be done. I still trusted God that He knew what He was doing and would love me through all of this.

I have always been a strong individual, one who could do things on my own, and always felt strong enough emotionally and physically to take care of things on my own. It was here in the hospital room I wrestled with my weakness and really learned how to lean on God in a way I had never done before. It was a beautiful couple of days just me and my Lord. After 10 days, I was released from the hospital but with instructions of getting home healthcare as I still had lingering kidney failure and needed to be on more medication. It was so amazing being reunited again with my husband and son after ten long days. Though I still had drains coming out of my sides from the second surgery, I was alive and home. I met with a home health nurse the following day and she set me up with the intravenous medications I would have to take daily for the next several weeks. After taking the medication, I began to cough uncontrollably. This lasted for several minutes.

Each day I received the medication intravenously I would cough uncontrollably. I met with Dr. T several days later and informed him of the weird reaction. He told me to stop the medication immediately as I was having an allergic reaction to the medication and it causing problems with my lungs. So, I stopped the medication and went back to Dr. T's office for other medications that would ultimately get me out of danger of kidney failure and back on track. Nelson and I met with Dr. T who informed us that he was uncomfortable with me never completing a full cycle of chemotherapy and this caused concern for him that one day the cancer could return. He wanted me to complete 7 more rounds of chemotherapy. I remember my heart sinking. Had I not been through enough? My body seemed so weak and frail, continuing chemo seemed to be a daunting task. I went to my next chemotherapy appointment and as I sat there an old song came to mind that I know is from Psalms 37 in the Bible that goes: You are my hiding place, you always fill my heart with songs of deliverance whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You, I will trust in You, let the weak say I am strong in the presence of the Lord, I will trust in You. That song carried me through my chemotherapy session that day knowing God would continue to give me the strength needed to carry out His will.

The next week, I found myself in high spirits at chemotherapy. Nelson and I befriended this really nice couple, John and Erin. Erin was back for her second go at cancer. We started to talk and share our faith in God. Next thing you know, our five hours of chemotherapy was done for the day, though it seemed like only minutes. This began a beautiful friendship with John and Erin. I really looked forward to going to chemotherapy to see them and to spend time talking to them about life and God. After another several months of chemotherapy, I met with Dr. T. who finally told me those sweet words that I was done. No more cancer, no more treatment or at least intravenous treatment. I would have to take chemo pill for five years and had to maintain staying in menopause to ensure the cancer not returning. I had to go get a bone density test to make sure my bones were okay as the tamoxifin (chemo pill) would take a toll on my body. I met with Dr. T only to find out that I was in the early stages of osteoporosis, it's called osteopesis. Due to having nine months of chemotherapy, it zapped my calcium. I am not going to sugar coat anything, I was upset and devastated. What else Lord? What else does my poor body have to go through? I found myself telling satan to get behind me and I began to meditate on God's word, for I know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans of a future. Satan was not going to get me down. I began to think about Paul in the Bible and how he endured so much pain to his body, yet he never let that stop him from serving the Lord. And if Paul could do it, so could I. Though he slay me, yet will I remain.

It has been an interesting journey to say the least. I don't think I will ever fully understand why cancer was allowed to come my way, but for whatever the reason, I thank God for walking through this storm beside me and for giving me amazing family and friends. I feel blessed to be able to have been a vessel for the Lord in this way. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever endured; yet I found a peace and even a slight joy in watching God's hand at work. I thank all of you who supported me and my family during this difficult time. Nelson and Neil are doing much better these days. This was a very hard journey for both of them. God met them both in their own way and I believe we are all richer in spirit because of our love for God. Your prayers were answered in so many ways, this is merely a snapshot of how God's hand was upon us during this time.

In November 2011, Nelson and I opened the doors of Soft Clay Marriage Family Therapy, Inc. which is a mental health group practice. I have completed my book. It is called Guide to Raising Successful Teenagers. And can be located on or or our website We already have 4 employees and are on our way to having a successful business. We believe God has opened this door and has given us this opportunity. In all things, both good and bad, we give Him praise, honor and glory for He is good.

Ephesians 3: 15-21 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.