Posts tagged ‘Lynch Syndrome’

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

Hi Ho Hi Ho, Off to Surgery I Go

Well, the big day is almost here once again.

Nope, not getting married. Nope, not expecting another kiddo to arrive.

I’m headed to surgery once again.

Why This Surgery?

Last October when I met with my OBGYN/oncologist, we reviewed my charts and updates over the past several years. As we talked, I explained to her that genetic testing has shown that I more than likely have a variant of Lynch Syndrome. After my second diagnosis with colon cancer at 25, we requested gene testing once again only to realize that many of my genes behave in a way that’s very similar to others with the disease. I don’t have the “traditional form” of Lynch according to tests and my family history (I’m still the only one with young colon cancer diagnosis.) But, between complicated stuff about MLH1 and PMS2 genes – it’s likely that I have some form of Lynch. Thus, the young cases of colon cancer.

Thanks to the testing I know that in the future, my risk for other cancers, namely ovarian and uterine, are also very high… almost likely. So, my doctor didn’t mess around when she realized I had Lynch Syndrome. She knew we’d chosen adoption as our path to kids. So with that, she gave the hard recommendation that I go ahead and have  a total hysterectomy. Even though I’m not even 30 yet. She didn’t push it on me right away, but said to look at my calendar and see if there was a “good” time to have this surgery done. And after several months of thinking about it and weighing the options, I decided to go ahead and do it.

Under The Knife Once Again

So, on this coming Tuesday I head under once again. I’m dragging my feet into this, but I know it’s something I need to do. The opportunity to stop cancer in its tracks and before it starts is why I’m doing this. Even if it does mean opening up my infamous long abdominal scar once again and putting me on a 6-8 week recovery plan. But, when I look at Mae, I know there’s really no other choice. I want to do all I can to stay around as long as I possibly can. So, off to surgery I go.

Unexpected Emotions

This has thrown quite a curve ball for me, since many unexpected (and honestly, many unwelcome) emotions have risen up. Maybe it’s because of counseling a few years ago, but suddenly I’m feeling the emotions that come with surgery and cancer threats. Or then again, this is the first time I’ve gone through anything like this as a mom – so that’s probably playing a part too.

Many thoughts, fears, realities, plans and “what ifs” have run through my mind this time…..

How do I line up childcare for Mae and arrangements for my small business?
Other surgeries haven’t been “easy” in the past – how long will I be out with this one?
How much extra can I work so that we can easily get that high deductible paid off?
How long will I really be recovering in the hospital?
By them “opening me up again,” will she find anything unexpected … like last time?
Will I have blood clots or problems with anesthesia this time?
How long will it take for my stomach to heal once again?
Will my past surgeries cause complications?
After surgery, what does menopause look like for me?
Will I be a sweat ball or hormonal wreck?
What are my risks of taking or not taking hormones?

And then again I too often camp on, “Why do I have to go through this in the first place?!?”

Coming to Terms

Typically, I’d tie up this post and show that there’s some peace and resolve that’s been found amidst life’s challenges. But today, I leave it at … I’m working on it. However, I knew a post was needed to get this off my chest. And, after looking through applications for other young colon cancer survivors for the 2013 Colondar this year – I know I’m not alone. Many others are being told they too have Lynch Syndrome. Many others will also face these hard decisions sooner than later.

Just pray for me Tuesday as surgery comes. Pray for a fast recovery. Pray this surgery STAYS preventative, and nothing else is found. And pray I’ll be back on my feet … and picking up my kid … in no time.

I’ll post when I’m back!

February 26, 2012 at 9:34 am 9 comments

A Polypy Family

Last fall, our family tree had a bit of growth.

I’m not talking about more babies or marriages (although that did happen), but genetically speaking, we had some movement in the genetic family tree.

You see, for about 10 years now, I’ve been the odd ball out when it comes to this colon cancer stuff. I’ve had a great-aunt who was known for polyps and a few great-grandparents who supposedly had colon cancer, but nothing that really gave any doctors insight that my colon cancer diagnosis was a family thing. I’ve had to answer “no” every time I’ve been asked if there’s a family history of the disease. And while that’s still the case, things got a little more interesting a few months ago.

My Cousin Eric

Meet Eric

This handsome stud (sorry gals, he’s got a gorgeous wife) is my cousin Eric. He’s lives in Nebraska and texted me out of nowhere several months ago asking me about blood in the stool. I immediately was concerned, as that was my main symptom of colon cancer.

Genetic testing I underwent a few years ago indicated that my mutated gene (commonly found in Lynch Syndrome)  is most likely traveling through my dad’s side of the family. So, when Eric texted me (cousin on my dad’s side), I IMMEDIATELY told him to get a colonoscopy. Good thing his doctor was already headed there, or I would have driven up to Nebraska myself to make sure he got tested.

Colonoscopies Save Lives

Eric’s colonoscopy found that he had polyps growing in his large intestine. This young, twenty-something hunk (sorry again – he’s married, and actually has a baby on the way) indeed had pre-cancerous growths in his colon. Thankfully, they did a colonoscopy right away given his family history (sorry dude) and symptoms, and were able to remove the polyps safely. Now, Eric knows he’s at high risk for colon cancer and can get screened often to prevent an occurance.

Polypy Cousins

A Polypy Family

Don’t get me wrong, while this might seem like I’m excited, I’m bummed that Eric has to deal with this too – yet so relieved that he caught it early. There’s a suspension that a weird variation of Lynch Syndrome is running through our family, thus the importance of everyone getting screened. (That’s right you Ripleys who are reading this – get your rears CHECKED OUT NOW.)

If you are like our family and have someone who’s been diagnosed with colon cancer — and especially someone diagnosed with colon cancer UNDER AGE 50 — get yourself into a gastroenterologist and get your colon checked NOW.

It’s nothing to play around with.

April 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm 2 comments

Good Colonoscopy Report!

Just wanted to make a quick post and happily report that my colonoscopy yesterday went awesome! Yep, the words colonoscopy and awesome were just used in the same sentence – twice now.

There have been several hurdles that come from having a semicolon, but having a colonoscopy is not one of them. This time, the prep and clean out were pretty easy, especially since I’ve not got much to clean out these days! The day of fasting went well, I found several new updates for my Colonoscopy Survival Kit, and I had a decent evening.
The morning of the test was a little nerve-wracking, as I tried to calm my fears that Dr. T would find some sort of polyp or sign that cancer is trying to crawl back – but he found none! I even had an upper scope performed to give me a baseline scan since I’m a highly suspicious to have Lynch Syndrome, and even that was clear. Everything looked great. And to top it off, Midwest GI has switched their sedation medications to make it a better experience for patients, so I remember talking to the doctor, going to Starbucks afterwards, and even watching a movie once I got home. No more zombie fogginess embarrassment stories.

So yes, that’s my small update about my personal health. Praise the Lord I am IN THE CLEAR.

July 31, 2010 at 10:45 pm 2 comments

Personal Health Update

I often get asked how I’m doing these days health-wise, so I thought I’d take today to give an update.

I pretty much am fully recovered and back to speed after my surgeries and hospital stays last June. It took a little longer than I expected to gain all of my strength back, but it’s rejoined me nonetheless. I’m back to boxing and doing Jillian Michaels’ workouts, which I’m convinced that if cancer won’t kill me – those surely will! Holy cow they are hard!

I was put back into the circuit of receiving checkups from my oncologist every 3-4 months after my diagnosis last summer, but so far everything has come back clear. My lab work is showing that my levels are normal, and my PET scan came back clean. I also had a CT scan that looked good. They did see a few spots around the liver that seem to be fatty deposits. They will keep an eye on them to make sure they’re nothing to be concerned about. I’ll have a follow-up CT scan sometime this summer, as well as an upper & lower GI scope.

I had an interesting time as I added another doctor to my “A Team” of physicians and began meeting with a geneticist. Because I’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer twice now and I’m not even 30, it’s highly suspicious that I have a genetic disorder. I was tested for “FAP,” but it came back negative. Back in the day when I was 17, M.D. Anderson suspected that I might have a disorder called “Lynch Syndrome” but testing couldn’t prove it. This past summer’s diagnosis raised suspicions again, as colon cancer appeared once more. My family and I were reevaluated and retested. While we would have loved to have concrete answers, we didn’t quite receive the certainty we were hoping for. But, reports were still clear and leaning toward there being a genetic problem, science just hasn’t caught up with us yet. I believe that my case has been left open to make us still have faith and hope. We can’t totally explain the two cancer occurrences, but we do know enough to try and stop them from happening again. The doctors have recommended that I be treated as someone with Lynch Syndrome so we can stay on top of the cancer risks and prevent it from returning the best we can!

Other than the frequent scans and more doctors appointments, life is pretty much back to normal. I still go poop (I’m asked that often!) – although because I have less than a foot of colon left, it’s much more often than others. I was very nervous about the foods I would have to avoid for the rest of my life, but it’s really not been that bad. Oils and heavily fried foods seem to be the worst, but I can eat almost anything in moderation – depending on the day, what else I’ve had to eat and my stress level. I’ve not had any more “IBS-like” attacks since my surgery (I was having several the month leading up to the big day) and generally feel pretty good if I watch my diet. As my blog shows, I have been eating more locally grown, organic foods to help me give me the best fuel and energy my body needs.

Of course, I still have my days now and then where I need to stay home, get extra rest, or stay close to the potty – but those are becoming fewer and fewer. I have a clearer understanding now than ever that each day is a gift, and feel so fortunate to be granted another second chance at a healthy life.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement through all of this! As you continue to pray for me and my health, I also ask that you keep fellow cancer soldiers in mind who are undergoing chemo, radiation and other treatments to kill, or hold back their cancers. It’s a rough gig, and they need all of the support we can give. I pray that many others who are currently fighting will also have their health restored and positive health updates to give!

February 11, 2010 at 5:18 am 3 comments


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