Author Archive

Princesses

I always thought I’d have a boy. Rough housing and baseball – I was certain that was what my future entailed. So when we got a call about adopting a little girl, I wasn’t so sure. I’m not really the girly-girl type (outside of my fascination with huge earrings.) I wouldn’t even wear dresses as a child. But as our adoption went through and we’ve spent the last three years raising a little princess, I couldn’t be more thankful The Lord had other plans for me.

The pink and purple palooza has taken some adjusting, but I’ve learned a lot from having a little girl. The Barbies and larger-than-life headbands show me that feeling beautiful is an innate female desire, at least in some way. The careful way she stuffs a fake baby bottle into a cloth doll’s face shows me women are built to nurture. To mother. Her interest in ballet moves and love of a frilly tutu shows me ladies want to offer grace. And the obsession with everything princess reminds me daily that Christian women are truly a royal priesthood and daughters of the King – regardless of if tiaras are “our thing.”

I still don’t consider myself someone who’s super girly. And I do plan to get a ball into her hands at some point. But for now I’ll gladly wear the pink hair or dress up in pearls for my girl. Because she is showing me the purest form of the princesses we were born to be.

20131116-155311.jpg

20131116-155409.jpg

20131116-155421.jpg

20131116-155428.jpg

20131116-155436.jpg

November 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment

ADOPTION AFTER CANCER: INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION

A little while ago I kicked off a new blog series with a social worker and to-be adoptive mama friend, Nikki.

We kicked off our first post – Adoption After Cancer: What Are My Options?

Today, we introduce our second post and talk specifically about international adoption. If you have ANY questions, leave us a comment or visit Nikki’s blog to get in touch with her directly!

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION + CANCER

Nikki-desimone-pauls-msw

Nikki DeSimone Pauls, MSW

Questions answered by Nikki DeSimone Pauls, MSW – September 2013

1. Can I adopt from ANY country if I’ve had cancer? If not, which countries are closed to me? 

Countries open for cancer survivor adoptions depend on the type of cancer, length of time since the patient has been in remission, and again, that all important doctor letter. (See our first blog post.) The only country that was giving a firm “NO” to cancer survivors was Russia, but that’s not even an option for anyone now.

2. Are there any countries that cancer survivors have an “easier” time adopting from? What are some good options?

There are some countries that perhaps would be considered “easier” in terms of cancer survivors adopting. This includes most of the African countries and Haiti that generally have less stringent requirements of adoptive parents in general. However, if interested in adopting a special focus (aka. hard to place) child from China, agencies are having some success in getting “waivers” for their clients for all kinds of things, past history of cancer included.  Colombia also has been pretty good in giving approval to families with a cancer history who have a favorable doctor letter. I think Russia would have been the only country that would have been too big of a challenge.

3. Is my wait time extended in international adoption because of my cancer history?

Absolutely not. If you are approved for adoption, regardless of your past history, you are now in the waiting line just like everyone else. Most international adoptions are pretty organized and the countries process applications in the order they are received, so they are just processing one after the next, not skipping over people due to health history or background.

4. What kind of physicals are needed to adopt?

This depends on what country you are adopting from.  Some are pretty easy, such as Ethiopia, that is just a quick letter from the doctor that says “I have examined (name) and find her/him to be in good health and free of communicable diseases.”  Some other countries, such as China, have more significant forms where doctors fill in blanks about health history, current issues, medications, and require tests for HIV and TB. Any cancer survivor should expect to prepare an additional letter from his/her oncologist about the cancer, treatment, length of time in remission, and likelihood of recurrence.

5. What types of documentation do I need to provide to internationally adopt as a cancer survivor?

You will have to comply with the medical form or letter as required by the country, and then will also need to provide a supplemental medical letter, as summarized in our last post about adoption after cancer.

6. Would you recommend me look into international vs. domestic — or does cancer history impact that at all?

This comes down to where you feel more of a connection. It’s nice that we have a choice in this day and age on where and how we can complete an adoption and a cancer history does not prevent a person from one or the other.

caption

We think adoption is SUPER!

7. Do cancer survivors have an “easier” time adopting one method over another?

I would say that perhaps domestic adoption would be “easier” for folks with a history of cancer because they are being chosen by the birth parents.  An individual with a cancer history adopting internationally might have to gather more medical letters or documents to present to the country for approval, or get a medical waiver, whereas, if a birth parent domestically choses the family, she/he may not be concerned about the health history. All this to say, I certainly would not rule out international adoption, it just may result in more hoops to jump through.

8. Do other countries understand cancer like the U.S.? Anything we can do in a home study to help the process go smoother?

I think with medical advancements in other countries, we are all starting to understand cancer better. However, there are some developing nations that still do not understand quite as well as we would like.  It is through people adopting from these countries that we can advocate for our cancer survivors and teach these countries the great medical advancements and successes we have in 2013!

9. Does it cost more to adopt internationally if I’ve had cancer?

Absolutely not! When you begin an adoption process, your agency should provide you with a fee agreement and nothing should deviate from that. The only potential additional cost to a cancer survivor would be if you have a doctor who charges you $25 or $50 to write this supplemental letter. Some doctors offices charge extra for letters or paperwork processing. But, regardless, you will not be paying extra money to the agency or country due to your health history.

10. What if my cancer returns when I’m in the middle of an international adoption? What if I’m doing post-placements?

This is a tricker question and has three variables.

1) If the cancer occurs again while you are waiting for the adoption, my advice would be to put your status on hold and focus 100% on your treatment. If you are a cancer survivor and reading this, you understand better than I do how important it is to keep your “head in the game” with your treatment.  Focus on getting rest, eating right, keeping your strength up, praying and giving what you can to your work and your families. To put an adoption in the middle of that…I would say that’s the variable that can wait and the responsible thing for everyone involved is for you to put your application on hold.

2) If you are in the post-adoption phase of your journey, God bless you! You are then running around after a toddler, trying to bond with your new child, in between chemo, getting drained and trying to get some rest. Bless your heart. Your mom or best friend is going to be more helpful in this time than your social worker will be! But seriously, other than you dealing with your health and crazy life situation, your adoption should not be affected as it has been finalized and that child now is just like a biological child.

3) If you are in the post-placement phase of your journey (meaning the adoption has not yet been finalized) I can’t venture a guess how the judge or commissioner in your municipality would handle this. This is going to be a question for your legal counsel. I once went to court for an adoption finalization with a family who disclosed, under oath, in court that the reason the mom didn’t travel to adopt the child is because she found out about her breast cancer about eight weeks before she was set to get on a plane to adopt internationally. Her husband went by himself and she blamed her staying home on her hectic work schedule. I believe the perfect “0” my mouth made for a solid 30 seconds showed the judge my complete and legitimate surprise when the mom made this disclosure during the hearing! The judge approved the adoption, but he was not happy. However, he felt that removing the child would do more harm to the child who had been in this couple’s home for six months. Which, is absolutely true and of course, agreed. So that’s just one example, but certainly not exhaustive of all the possibilities. Consulting your attorney is going to be key if this situation presents itself.

11. Are there any groups or agencies that are “cancer survivor friendly” in regards to international adoption?

Again, for most international adoptions, getting a waiver is going to be necessary. When you are researching agencies, ask them their thoughts about how likely it would be that they could get you a waiver. Most ethical and compassionate agencies will process this for you before you have even applied with them or paid a penny. It is a fine request for you to ask this of them before you start paying.

FYI - you CAN adopt if you've had cancer.

FYI – you CAN adopt if you’ve had cancer.

12. Why do some groups have a waiting limit on how far into remission cancer survivors must be before they can apply?

I think that’s to do with our thoughts as social workers and adoption professionals about safety for the family. Adoption and parenting are hard enough in and of themselves. Battling cancer is hard enough in and of itself. Trying to make all that happen together is almost unimaginable.  Trying to bond with your new child, while dealing with cancer treatment, or being in-and-out of the hospital during those formative months of attachment certainly add an extra layer that we would all prefer not be there. With sufficient time and a strong letter from the doctor, it shows the family is more set up for success out of the gate.

The bottom line is, you can see there is a lot of gray in this area. But talking with your agency, being honest, and having a cooperative oncologist are going to be key.

Cancer is very common now and everyone is becoming more knowledgeable about it. It is no longer the firm “no” that perhaps it once was in the past.

Stay Tuned…

Have a question we didn’t answer? Leave us a comment! And stay tuned for our next post – adopting domestically after cancer!

October 21, 2013 at 6:28 am 1 comment

Wedges

A few weeks ago I experienced a defining moment in friendship:  my close friend shared with me that I’d hurt her.

Although the situation that led to hurt feelings was unintentional, it happened nonetheless. Feelings of isolation, rejection and bitterness crept inside of her heart. I walked around oblivious.

And would have stayed oblivious had she not broken the ice.

After we both recognized our weaknesses in the situation and talked it out, we were fine. Actually, our friendship grew closer.

And the wedge that had grown, unbeknownst to me, was removed.

But it didn’t end there.

As I reflected on the experience, I realized there was another relationship in my life where wedges had formed.

Except this time, I was the hurt friend.

And the person who’d hurt me was God.

And while I knew I needed to do what my friend had just done with me, I delayed the experience. What place did I have to tell a perfect God that I felt hurt by Him?

None, or so I felt.

After realizing that this next step was inevitable, I finally caved. I shared with God feelings I’d suppressed and hidden. Feelings that brought me shame, but needed to be spoken nonetheless.

I shared with Him that I felt He caused my cancer. That I felt hurt from Him allowing it to happen. That I don’t know why I get to live and others die. I told him I struggle with knowing He is good. I told Him that sometimes the physical pain, embarrassing moments and situations that leave my heart broken because of cancer are tough. Really tough. And that as a big God who controls everything, I didn’t understand how His plans are labeled as “good.”

I felt silly saying some of it. I knew a lot of it wasn’t true. But as I shared my heart and admitted how I felt, I immediately noticed a change.

He wasn’t mad at me. Lightening didn’t strike. Ironically, I felt closer to Him.

And ultimately, I felt like I could believe Him again.

The walls came down once I addressed my feelings and the lies I’d believed. I recognized that I’d been trying to not make waves or ruffle any feathers. Even God’s feathers.

While openness was tough in the moment, I learned it’s what intimacy requires. If I want solid relationships, I’ve got to draw close and be willing to do the hard things.

I’ve got to remove the wedges.

October 14, 2013 at 9:55 am 2 comments

Carried

I met with my mentor a few days ago. I always walk away from the coffee shop where I meet her much more caffeinated. And, full of great perspective. She’s a wise lady.

She asked a common question, “How’s life?” and it wasn’t until that moment had I slowed down to really think about it. Life’s been really, really busy. And I’ve been going from one thing to the next for about two months now. But, in the midst of it, life’s been really, really good. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes:

Framily Vacay

metropolis-superman-statueWe took off the first of September with two of our great friends and had an all-out 10-day road trip. We ventured to Wilmington, North Carolina by way of Knoxville, Tennessee and had stops in Nashville, Asheville and Evansville along the way. Ten days in a van with a 3-year-old and great friends was splendid. Honestly. We saw the beach. The mountains. A huge Superman statue. And a big house (Biltmore.) It totally rocked.

I ran a 10K

It goes to show that I’ve been a tad bit busy since I never actually blogged to say that I DID IT! I ran the Plaza 10K in the middle of September and met my goal:  I survived. I had a great time. Got an awesome medal. And most importantly, conquered a fear that I’d never be able to run that far. What a journey God took me on through training and amazing people he used to get me to the finish line.

My baby turned three

princess-maddelenaWelp, it’s official. There’s no baby around here anymore. My little lady turned three. We had a small backyard princess party to celebrate complete with an actual LIVE princess showing up as we chomped on cupcakes and cookies. And while the age of three brings about sass and attitude, I actually love it. I’m forming a relationship with my girl. It’s awesome.

Aunt B’s got a new nephew

My brother and sister-in-law welcomed by little nephew into the world a week or so ago. And what a trooper he’s been – came a few weeks early, has had to hang in the hospital since he had a complication with his lung and is still learning to keep food down. But – he’s cute as a button and I can’t wait to snuggle him soon.

National website launch

I started my new job with Fight Colorectal Cancer in June and was tasked with overseeing our website redesign. Up to this point, my small business had helped with web launches over and over, but the size and scale of building a new national site with about double the content was new to me. But, I had an amazing team and by golly, we did it. And, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Take a peek:  FightColorectalCancer.org

Carried me Through

plaza-10kSo – as I thought about how to answer “How’s Life” this week, memories of these sweet moments and even more I didn’t list came to mind. And I could only think of one thing –

God is carrying me.

Sure, life’s been busy – some would say too busy. Being on the go can be hard. And in the past, with this hectic of a schedule, I’d be so stressed right now. I’d be unable to appreciate the great moments because of the lack of time to stop and process. I’d be sick. And maybe a tad grumpy.

But, that’s not the case. In the midst of the craziness, God’s shown me at every turn, nearly every day, what He’s up to and how He’s orchestrating things. I see Him in opportunities, challenges, relationships – He’s all over. And while that’s nothing new, what is new is that I recognize it.

The last time I felt like He’d picked me up and carried me through a season, I was receiving treatment. Or headed to surgery.

But in this latest season, He’s not carrying me through trial. He’s with me through triumph. I see his blessings all around.

And I’ve gotta say, I could really get used to this.

October 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

ADOPTION AFTER CANCER: WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

mae-danielle-cancer-survivor-adopt

Me & Mae (domestic adoption at 4 mo.)

As an adoptive mama with a cancer history, I’m often asked about the adoption journey for cancer survivors. Our friend Nikki who works as an adoption social worker sat down with me many moons ago as I researched my adoption options.

That coffee date has always stuck with me as it provided great insight.

So – it’s with complete joy that I bring you some Q&As with Nikki – one of the best adoption social workers out there. (And she just so happens to be going through her own adoption process right now, too!)

Nikki’s answering some of the most commonly asked questions I hear from cancer survivors who want to adopt.

Enjoy our first post & stay tuned for more to come!

ADOPTION AFTER CANCER:  WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Nikki-desimone-pauls-msw

Meet Nikki, licensed social worker

Questions answered by Nikki DeSimone Pauls, MSW – August 2013

Q:  What are the types of adoption I can consider if I’ve had cancer?

A:  The only type of adoption that may be completely closed to certain cancer survivors is embryo adoption, based on what treatments they had and if those treatments rendered the individual infertile. Everything else is a possibility:  domestic adoption (both private and through the state) as well as international adoption.

Q: Are there any adoption paths/options NOT open to me as a cancer survivor?

A:  I don’t see any options that are not available on the whole. Most types of domestic adoption will be options, as will quite a few international options. Foster care, or adoption through the state, would generally yield even more flexible options.

Q:  What does a social worker look for in a couple who’s ready to adopt?

A:  Being a social worker who has written favorable home studies for cancer survivors, the thing I look for most is their oncologist’s report and supplemental medical letter. I also talk with the client for more information.

One recent example:
A prospective adoptive mom found out she had breast cancer the day I sent her the draft of the home study. A few days later she was scheduled for surgery and then had to reply to my request for her to submit changes needed to their home study. Boy, did she have a big change to submit! I did write a favorable home study; however, it was conditional based on the outcome of her surgery and treatment. As soon as the home study was done, the couple effectively went on hold. The surgery went well, treatment even better, and when she had been over one-year cancer free, she got a fantastic note from her oncologist. I did a home study update and they were placed with a baby a couple of months later. I had a lengthy note from the doctor so I was able to make the assessment that her prognosis was excellent, so I basically used that information in the home study and it went just fine.
This is clearly best case scenario, I know they can’t all be this great, but for example-sake, this was a good one.

Q:  Will having cancer impact eligibility to adopt in any way?

A:  A person who is currently undergoing cancer treatment should be 100% focused on their health and treatment and not focusing on adoption. But after cancer, and with a good prognosis, there are very few limitations for a cancer survivor.

Q:  Is there special documentation is needed for a cancer survivor to adopt?

oncologist-letter-for-adoption-homestudy

My oncologist Dr. Rosen wrote a great letter for us when we adopted Mae.

A:  Yes, the oncologist’s letter is paramount. Ideally, the letter will include:

  • what type of cancer
  • what stage it was caught
  • treatment plan
  • expected prognosis
  • percentage of recurrence (if that information is able to be stated)
  • if the physician would recommend the patient for adoptive parenting

The social worker will use this in making his/her favorable determination for adoption and may also pull quotations out of it for the home study (as home studies become legal documents.) So, getting a letter as favorable as possible is helpful.

In the above example that I gave about the gal who found out about her breast cancer on the day of the home study finalization, her doctor’s letter was so favorable that due to the early time period of catching it, aggressive surgery and treatment (double mastectomy, hysterectomy, chemo, and radiation), the percentage chance of her cancer recurrence became less than me getting breast cancer in the future. So being able to summarize that in the home study was compelling and the judge had absolutely no problem with it.

Q:  Do I need to be in remission for a certain amount of time before I can pursue adoption? How long?

A:  In talking with others about this, and after taking my own personal opinion into effect, we all believe that at least one year in remission is a good amount of time. In addition to the toll it takes on the survivor’s body, possible hormone imbalances, stress on the marriage and family, financial stress, time off work, etc., may all add up after a cancer diagnosis. One year out seems to be a good amount of time. That’s really the case in anything adoption though!

We social workers like to see a year after a life-changing event regardless of if the event is happy, sad, or scary, so this is no different. Some international countries will have additional requirements, such as needing someone to be 5-years in remission, and some agencies have their own requirements, others of them 3-years in remission, but that is all on a case-by-case basis.

Q:  What are some good resources for cancer survivors to look into when researching adoption adoptions?

A:  I think just talking with social workers and adoption agencies about the possibilities for adoption is a great place to start. We can help with some of the basic information and research anything that is unknown. Things are so conditional when it comes to this topic, nothing is black and white, and talking with someone is a great idea for gathering accurate information specific to your case.

For example, I would be a lot more inclined to approve a family similar to the one I’ve been referencing here throughout, rather than someone who just had the one breast removed, no hysterectomy, and tested positive for the BRCA 1 or 2 genes.

Additionally, no two adoption agencies or social workers are going to react the same way, too. I’m more on the cautious side, but I also place a lot of emphasis on the oncologist’s letter. Whereas, someone who has never worked with a cancer survivor before, and has some negative family history (e.g., mom died two years ago from cancer), might not be as willing to consider the prospect.

FertileAction.org has a helpful resource page for cancer survivors. I also recommend calling an adoption consulting agency to talk to experts about your particular case. Consulting agencies network with a lot of adoption agencies and are advocates for those wanting to adopt. They can steer you clear from agencies that are not flexible when it comes to cancer survivors adopting and point you toward agencies who are more friendly toward the issue. A great group who would love to be an adoption resource for cancer survivors is Christian Adoption Consultants.

BOTTOM LINE:

It’s Danielle again —

So as you can see, Nikki is a WEALTH of knowledge and there is HOPE for the cancer survivor who wants to adopt!

Stay tuned – we’ll have Nikki’s advice specifically for cancer survivors who want to internationally adopt and domestic adoption for cancer survivors coming up.

And – if you have a question for us, please leave a comment and we’ll address it in a future post!

-danielle

August 22, 2013 at 6:18 am 7 comments

Week Two

week-two-10k-trainingLast week I announced to the world that I was training for a 10K. Well, okay – not really the world, but I did mention my training when writing for the Huffington Post. 

It was Week One and I was pumped. In my post, I explained how I wrestled with the initial fears of commitment but finally signed up for an upcoming race. I figured making it public would help me stay on track.

And it did at first. This time last week, I was pretty jazzed. I was on schedule, I hadn’t missed one day. Last Sunday night I ran a little over 3 1/2 miles. For someone who’d been in the hospital three weeks prior, I was pretty proud of myself. Shorts fit better. Mind was clear. Smile big.

And then, Week Two hit.

I headed out earlier this past week to run a quick two miles and struggled. Mentally and emotionally I wasn’t there. It was physically harder than I expected. Everything about the run was tough.

I chalked it up to a bad night and assumed my next run would go better. I was running with my trainer and another gal my age. I thought, “Surely having a group will help keep me going!

But, not so much.

I struggled again. But this time I had some of the fun “I’ve-had-colon-cancer-and-still-experience-side-effects” come up. For anyone else who’s had radiation or colon surgery – you probably get my drift. It wasn’t pretty.

After soaking in the tub to make the sting go away, I decided to take the rest of the week off to heal up. Good timing since I didn’t feel well all weekend. I was physically, mentally and emotionally defeated.

I needed some strength.

I’ve got a couple of close girlfriends who’ve stood by my side (and over my hospital bed) for many years. Hitting a “low” point made me realize I needed help. So I reached out and let them know what was happening.

And, in true fashion, they gave me just the encouragement I needed to hear.

I have the “muscles” I need to get through this. I just need to flex them and put them into play. Not only from a physical sense – but the emotional and mental, too.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been down because I want to feel normal. It’s one of many times my past has affected my present… and my future. I’ve been physically limited because of a circumstance I didn’t choose time and time again.

But through the years, God’s given me the strength to get through the trials. And as they reminded me, if I’m going to get ready for this race, I’ve got to tap into that.

Pressing on.

I see why so many Bible verses use running imagery. “Fight the good fight,” and “Press on to win the race.” That encouragement is no joke — running is hard.

And for me sometimes, faith is hard too.

It’s hard to use the muscles God’s given me to power through sometimes. But, if I’m going to run a 10K, I’m going to need that strength. And if I’m going to make a positive impact on others because of my story, I’m going to need to press on.

We’ll see what awaits me on Week Three.

August 5, 2013 at 8:00 am 3 comments

Home again Home again

Feels good to type the update from my recliner, I must say.

I’m finally home again. Doctors released me yesterday afternoon. Around 2pm, I asked the nurse if I slipped her a $50, she could get me home.

So either the nurse needed $50 or the doc could see that it was time to get me out of there.

I’m still taking it easy and can’t go very fast. I still feel like a walking water park – there’s fluid all throughout my bowels & I feel it. But, pain is going down and slowly but surely I’m feeling back to normal. And just so thankful we adverted surgery this time.

So that’s it – the update.

Maybe next time it won’t take a hospital stay for me to hop back on the ole’ blog again.

June 25, 2013 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Everything Starts with “S” Today

Small intestine — still stretched (although not blocked so that is good news.)

Sunday — blood pressure is still low, I’m nauseated and slightly dizzy.

Slow — not a ton is passing through right now, need more bowel sounds to appear!

St. Luke’s East — good hospital at least.

Staying — I’ll be here overnight again.

Silver lining — Sonic cherry limeades are hitting the spot.

June 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm 1 comment

In the Hospital… Again

I  don’t really use the phrase, “It’s like riding a bike” all that often. I think it’s because I don’t enjoy riding bikes. I know — gasp.

The seats are hard. I don’t like helmets. I can do it, but it’s not really my favorite activity. In fact, I don’t own a bike.

But if I got back on a bike — I could ride it. I’d know how to balance and pedal without training wheels. I’d just get it done. (And if truth be told – I’d probably have some amount of fun along the way.)

So if you asked me how’s it going — day #2 in the hospital after an unexpected trip to the ER the other night?

Well – it’s like riding a bike.

 

photo(35)The doctor suspects that the little flu bug that bit cute, innocent little children (particularly a two-and-a-half old one with an adorable fro and mischievous smile) made its way to me this week.

But rather than hanging around for a few pukes and then scurrying away after 24 hours – my bug decided to set up camp inside my small intestine this week. Apparently, my itty bitty, beat-up bowels offer great accommodations for little GI viruses.

So, this little virus, infection, bug — whatever it is — made itself at home and reared its head late Thursday night. Searing abdominal pain throughout the night gave me an indication something wasn’t right.

photo(33)My amazing husband who’d worked past midnight every day of the week came home, tried to do everything he could (I’m talking 1am foot massage, heating pad, wet wash cloths, back rubs, etc.) to make it go away.

Yet to no avail — the pain continued. The puking started. So we visited the ER.

That was a few days ago and… I’m still here. A CT scan showed my small bowel is extremely inflamed. Dehydration and very low blood pressure are also of concern. The doctor said it’s a good thing I came in when we did – we caught it early. If there wasn’t already one – a small bowel obstruction was on its way. And as those familiar with this stuff know – we just thankfully adverted some not-so pleasant happenings like surgery. Please pray that we stay on course and avoid it!

photo(34)So, I’m hanging out in a suite … I mean hospital room (These St. Luke’s East rooms are niiiice.) I’m once again surrounded by a squad of strong supporters. I started to eat food again today. We’re trying to get my blood pressure up. And we’re making the best of it. I mean I can’t complain too much – I’ve gotten to keep my underwear on the entire time. (Sorry – probably TMI.)

As all would have it — I started a new full-time job this week. Part of why I freelanced for so long was the fear of “what if” I’d need to be in the hospital while working for someone else. So I am shaking my head at this. But thankfully, my new team at Fight Colorectal Cancer has been extremely awesome and supportive. Of all people – they get it. I’m unbelievably blessed.

So – there’s the story. I’m hoping I’ll go home tomorrow. And while there’s a million other places I’d rather be, at least none of this is foreign to me. I’m used to the drill. It’s all very familiar and routine these days.

It’s sort of … like riding a bike.

June 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm 1 comment

Jesus Doesn’t Fix Everything

hope-and-faith-through-cancerI was “officially” diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome last week. At first, it didn’t phase me. But as the days went on and I took time to review the paperwork, it began to really sink in.

The implication of living with a known genetic disorder is enlightening yet heavy. It’s good on one hand – aggressive monitoring for me and preventing disease in family members is a plus.

But it’s also hard – loss of a ‘normal’ doctor-free life and a reminder of a journey paved with loss also knocks at my door.

I’ve taken the past week to let it all sink in. Rather than brushing it to the side as if it’s “no big deal” (my pattern in the past), I’ve really tried to be introspective with my feelings.

Especially my faith.

And then today, a sermon came along and stopped me in my tracks when the preacher said:

Jesus Doesn’t Fix Everything – But He Does Help us Through It.

Come to Me All Who Are Weary

I grew up in a Christian community that like it or not – carries unspoken rules on how we handle trials in our lives. It’s part of the gig – which I would never trade. But, there are a few things I would change.

It’s typical for us to respond to trials thinking if we pray hard enough or have enough faith, Jesus will take away our situation and fix everything. As Christians, we put a smile on our face and say we’re trusting God without really letting ourselves grieve.

Rejoicing, encouragement and joy through trial is certainly part of the journey. God meets us in our despair and provides hope – so I’m not saying this doesn’t happen.

All too often though, Christians spit out quick verses like nicotine patches, hoping they’ll take the deep grief away. But ask any smoker – those patches don’t always work. And sometimes, our loss or sorrow is so deep, we need more than a quick devotion or verse to get us through.

Jesus says, “Come who are weary…” not “Come … although you’ve got yourself already pulled together.

Struggling with Faith in the Midst of Trial

Jesus wasn’t immune to grief or sorrow – in fact he was surrounded by it. So while he might not “fix” everything, he does provide what we need to get through it.

A holy perspective on any trial will change everything.

Today, “Terror in Boston” is scrolling across my television screen. I have friends suffering from marriages falling apart, children getting sick, deep depression taking hold, and checkbooks bouncing.

Lots of tears. Lots of cancer. Lots of pain. Lots of fear.

Trial is something we will all deal with at some point.

If you’re looking for hope or guidance on how to get through trials, I suggest taking an hour and listening to the sermon below. There comes a point when reciting verses and plastering on a cheery smile won’t hold you through some of the darkest days.

And hearing that it’s OK – and how to still have faith in the midst of it – was a game changer for me today. I pray that others will also find this extremely encouraging and helpful.

No, Jesus doesn’t fix everything. But, he loves us and will help get us through.

Trial & Jesus
1 Peter 1:3-9
Mark Driscoll – Mars Hill Church
Listen to the audio here: http://marshill.com/media/trial/trial-and-jesus

April 19, 2013 at 10:28 am 3 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,129 other followers

Danielle on Twitter

We're a hit!

  • 65,074 hits

%d bloggers like this: