Testing, Testing

It was a blessing that Robbyn was in the NICU, because there was no way we would have been able to care for a newborn with all of the testing and appointments ahead of me that week.

I would have loved to sit in the NICU and rock her 24/7, but I had a job to do: fight this cancer.

I was discharged as early as I could be; 24 hours on the dot after delivering Robbyn. I called my nurse navigator at community. (She coordinates all of my appointments, testing, scripts, and financial assistance and she is AMAZING). I called to tell her I had delivered Robbyn the morning before, and was hoping some of my testing could be moved up so we could start chemo ASAP. Not that I was in a hurry or anything.

Well, she moved heaven and earth and got almost everything moved up. I was discharged from St Francis on the 16th and had my mammogram, clip placement, and cardiac echo done on the 17th. Talk about service! The night of the 17th, the night before my PET scan, I was an anxious mess.

I prayed what I have been for what seems hourly the last two weeks, “God give me peace!”

For me, this scan was the most significant piece of missing information. It would tell us if the cancer had started somewhere else, or if it had already spread to other areas of my body.

The next morning, I woke up at 6 am to pray, no, beg God for good results. Ryanne had wandered downstairs sleepy-eyed with tousled hair, crawled in my lap, and slept while I prayed.

I begged God not to leave this little girl without a mommy, and for God to allow me the privilege of watching my three beautiful children grow.

I also prayed for peace if I didn’t hear the results that I wanted and for the strength to keep my eyes fixed on God.

Reed was clingy and could sense probably something was off. Jordan looked like he hadn’t slept in a week. How lucky I am I to have so many people concerned and love me so much?

We got to the cancer center where I was registered, and taken back to a tiny room with nothing but a recliner and a small table. The technician started an IV, then left and came back in the room with a small lock box. She explained that I would be injected with a radioactive tracer that would attach to sugar because fast growing cells use a lot of sugar. Cancer cells are very fast growing; so they would light up on the scan and show if there were cancerous spots anywhere else on my body.

She opened it up the small lock box and inside was a menacing looking metal syringe that resembled something they inject into the villain in a superhero movie to give him super-human powers. She explained that the tracer would stay in my body for 6 hours and advised me not to be near children.

Well great, no seeing Robbyn today unless I want to turn her into a Marvel character.

She went on to tell me that the tracer takes an hour to circulate through my body before they could complete the scan, so I would have to sit in this tiny room until then.

It was then I realized that I had left my purse with Jordan, and asked the technician if she could get it from him. She came back to say, “Um…He and your mom went to the NICU when we told them it would be a while before you are finished.”

Well, I couldn’t be upset that he was so smitten with a certain little gal in the NICU. She was so sweet and had the roles been reversed I would have done the same thing. He is an amazing dad with so much love for our kids.

But with him at the NICU with my purse, I now had to sit in this tiny room in complete silence for an hour.

So I sat.

And prayed.

And begged.


I begged God with everything inside me to take this illness from me. To let this cancer be confined in my breast. To keep me with my husband and kids.

It was then, that I had the biggest epiphany of my 28 years. I was having a tiny glimpse into what Christ must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified. I was sitting in this room, in physical pain, worrying about being separated from my husband and my small children should this cancer kill me.

The pain that I felt had nothing to do with the fear of dying, but rather it all had to do with the separation from my family.

How much more awful must it have been for the holy, perfect, Christ to know that he would willingly take on the sin of the whole world (past, present, and future). On the cross, He took our place as the holy sacrifice, so that we could go to heaven but in the return he had to be separated from God the father while doing so.

God the father is so completely just and holy that he cannot be in the presence of anything unholy (aka: all of us). Because God is so just, someone had to pay the price for our sin. So, Jesus Christ came to earth to live a sinless life, because we clearly cannot and died on the cross to “settle the bill” for our sin so that we can be in the presence of God for eternity.

It has always baffled me why Jesus was so upset in the garden the night before he was crucified. He knew what was about to happen. He knows everything, for pete sake. It was the whole point of him coming to earth, and he knew exactly how the story would end. He knew that he would rise from the dead after three days conquering death like no one had or ever will. So why was he so distraught?

“Father, if it is your will take this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but yours be done. Then an angel of the LORD appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him, and being in agony he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became great like drops of blood falling on the ground.” Luke 22:42-45

I have been told this story in church over and over again but it had never “clicked” with me until now.

He was so distraught because he was going to be separated from his father.

The pain of knowing that he would have the sin of the world on him and would not be able to be in the presence of God, tormented him.

Jesus knew the ending but that didn’t make the separation any easier.

Just as we know the ending; as Christians we win. Jesus Christ has defeated death and Satan. We will go to heaven and be with God for eternity, but that doesn’t make the idea of being separated from our loved ones any easier.

The pain of knowing if I died I would not be near my husband and children was crippling.

It makes it that much more absolutely humbling to know that Christ took on that kind of pain…FOR ME, so that I can have eternal life.

It was at this point, I began to worry since the tracer was attracted to blood sugar and hyperactive cells and maybe I should calm down before I have a panic attack and my whole body lights up like I Christmas tree on the can! (I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works but I didn’t want to take any chances.)

I then prayed for peace…again. I wanted that peace that passes all understanding.

It was then something happened that has never happened to me before. God started bringing bible verses to the front of my mind. No, that’s not a miracle and they are all verses that I have heard before but one right after another they were filling my head.

First I heard, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10

“The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.” Exodus 14:14

“I have told you these thing that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble but take heart for I have overcome the world” John 16:33

“Be anxious about nothing but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

(Disclaimer: I did not know the exact chapter and verse of these at the time)

And then… I fell asleep in the chair, even though minutes earlier I was ready to bolt from the building. It was amazing the overwhelming calm that God had given me.

This was peace, real peace.

I had no idea if he would heal me but I had peace.

The kind of peace that cannot be described.

The actual scan was uneventful and very much like and MRI. As we left, my navigator said she would call as soon as she had the results. We went to eat lunch, then Jordan was going back to the NICU with his sister, since I had been banished due to my radioactive status.

My mom had a few things to pick up, so I was going to ride with her to Meijer. On stop 11 road right by St. Francis, my phone rang.

It was my navigator.

She said she had the results of the PET scan.

My immediate response was to throw up.

I didn’t.

She said the PET scan was clear! I asked about my lymph nodes and she said they were clear too! Praise God! He heard my cry! I could breathe. Really breathe. For the first time in two weeks.

I called Jordan and he whooped and shouted “Babe we’ve got this! Are you ready to fight?”

I love that man so much.

My mom was immediately calling my dad, bawling at the intersection of stop 11 and Emerson…while driving, or at least attempting to drive.


This cancer might not kill me but my mom’s driving may.

There can be no denying that she is my mother because the first words she said to me when she got off the phone with my dad were, “We need ice cream!”

So by golly, we got ice cream!


He is able. We are faithful.

Adam was still is Europe but sent me this prayer in the wee hours of the morning before we met with Community Breast Center. The day before we had received a very bleak prognosis and I was trying my best not to panic. I just kept thinking, “It’s in God’s hands.” I just want to stay in his will for my life.

Nevertheless, in the back of my mind, I could hear “What if God’s will is to take me home to heaven sooner than I planned?”

That was a possibility. It still is. It is for all of us really.

That is where the hope of salvation comes in. Not to be a Debbie-Downer but if you think you are making it out of this world alive you are going to be very disappointed one day!

That is why I feel so strongly about this blog. I am here to tell you if you haven’t heard it before, Christ died for you.

Yes, you.

And if you were the only one who ever accepted his free gift of salvation, He still would have died on the cross just for you and you alone.

As Adam said in his prayer, “We thank you for Jesus and the gift of eternity, and we hold onto that hope in the darkness of this world. The unfettered joy of knowing Christ has suffered so much more than this for us keeps our eyes fixed on you.”

Well, Tuesday morning came. We dropped the kids off at the babysitter and went to carpool with my parents. It was no surprise to find my mom in the kitchen doing what she does best, stress baking.

I was rereading a couple of psalms from my bible over and over again to calm my nerves, while Jordan and my dad ate an unhealthy amount of oatmeal cookies.

The breast center had called the night before and told us in addition to meeting the surgeon; we would also have an ultrasound of my armpit (to see if my cancer had spread), meet with a geneticist, the medical oncologist, and finally the breast surgeon. We had a full day ahead of us. Since the past Saturday, I had been keeping a little notebook full of doctors’ names, information, appointments, and many, MANY questions. On the way up there, mom and I added to our seemingly never-ending list of questions.

Once there, I was whisked from appointment to appointment. Every single person there knew who I was and knew the order of events for the day. They all called me by name and treated me like a person (a person who was scared out of her wits but a person no less). The only missing piece about choosing Community Hospital was I still didn’t have an OBGYN or a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor at a hospital with a NICU.

We had called the office of the OBGYN and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctors several times trying to explain the situation, and the soonest date they had to get me in for an initial visit was two weeks away!

Well, my breast surgeon took care of that too. While I had the ultrasound on my armpit, a nurse came over to tell me that my surgeon had personally called and got me an appointment with the OBGYN that Thursday. I was really liking this lady already, and I hadn’t even met her yet. So the only piece missing from our puzzle now was a maternal-fetal medicine doc.

While that was being figured out, I still had a long day of information ahead of me. It was terrifying not knowing what kind of information bomb was going to be dropped on me next. Every time someone walked into the room I could feel my stomach drop before they even started talking.

Well, it finally happened!

I got my first piece of good news that week.

The ultrasound technician ran her pictures past the radiologist and came back to the room to tell me my lymph nodes looked clinically normal. Thank you, God!

Next on our parade route was meeting the medical oncologist. She came into our very crowded room (Holly had high-tailed it up from Cincinnati by this point and I had two nurse navigators in the room as well) and took me out to examine me in a more private setting.

After explaining how I found the mass for what seemed like the hundredth time that week, she proceeded to tell me that I had done a great job of catching this so quickly and she confirmed that my lymph nodes looked good on the ultrasound as well.

We rejoined the rest of my posse so she could go over a treatment plan. She had a paper in front of her where she wrote down the stage (2), the chemo drugs I would get and how often, the side effects, and then she very confidently circled the box that said cure! CURE!

We asked her many of the questions we had about how this would work with Robbyn still in utero. She explained if we couldn’t get her delivered within two weeks we would go ahead with chemo while pregnant. She went on to explain if we could get her delivered soon, then I could start chemo soon after. I asked her how soon that would be (the doctor the day before had told us 4 weeks) and she responded with “immediately.”

I need to tell you at this point it was at least 5 o’clock, and it was clear that everyone in the building was staying late to accommodate me, doctors included. Now, it was time to march this parade upstairs to the breast surgeon’s office.

She took Jordan, and I back to an exam room, and she performed a breast exam. (I had lost all concern for modesty at this point) She left my gown open and walked across the room and bent down to look at my chest squinting and bobbing from about 5 feet away. It was comical, to say the least.

She and I could both see Jordan looked very disturbed in the corner of the room and I wish I could have taken a picture of his face; it was priceless. She then said, “I’m doing this because nowadays almost all breast cancer patients are survivors and we want to make sure you look good when this is over.”

That was twice in an hour that I was told I would live! She also told me she called the maternal-fetal medicine doctor AGAIN and arranged for me to have an appointment with him the same day as the OBGYN (That Thursday!)

The meeting with her went very similar to the one with the oncologist. She explained my tumor pathology and staged me as 2B based on the large size of the tumor, and we would do 8 treatments of chemo over 16 weeks, double mastectomy, and radiation. She whipped through some more information, and when she got done, she asked if we had any questions. I looked through my list of questions, and she and the oncologist had answered every single one. Holly said “Look at your book. Did everything get answered?” This was the reason I wanted her here. She is my big sister and my forever protector. She is assertive and confident, two things I have always wished God had blessed me with. She has always pushed for me to be heard even when I don’t want to make waves. But her concern was unwarranted this time because both doctors had answered every single question!

Very few times in my life have I been absolutely sure of what God wanted me to do in a situation. To be fair, the blame should fall on me because as I mentioned have not been very good about giving God control and praying with the fervor I had been this week.

I felt this was God’s clear answer about with whom I should entrust mine and Robbyn’s care. Every single question or concern that I had was answered with confidence and clarity by both of my doctors.

God had directed us here.

As my mom said, God gifted these women with the intelligence and the drive to become doctors and prepared them with the knowledge and experience to provide me with the right care. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not the only reason these women went to medical school, but I am a tiny part of a story that God set into motion years ago.

I have read and re-read the prayer Adam sent to me so many times on our short journey. Healing is in Christ’s hands. I will continue to hold on to that hope and that he will leverage it ALL for his kingdom and his glory.

“In God I have put my trust. I will not fear.” Psalm 56:4

He is able. I am faithful.

Our elevator selfie after we heard the word cure! I am the happiest person to ever find out they were getting chemo!


“It’s not a show of HIS power if the odds aren’t in the favor of the world”

The chapel where Adam and all is family prayed for us.

Riding in the car with my mom later in the week, she accidentally pulled out in front of another car and quickly pulled into another lane, she asked jokingly,

“Did you just see your life flash before your eyes?”

I responded with, “Not more than any other day this week.”

Let’s rewind to Monday. After my flurry of phone calls while at Cracker Barrel, a breast surgeon from our second opinion hospital was able to get us in that Monday afternoon. We looked up the surgeon that the office told us we would be meeting. She was board certified with years of experience and a recipient of several excellence awards. Perfect.

Well, not perfect. We get to the office to check in, and the place is empty. I tell the receptionist the name of the surgeon I am supposed to be meeting with, and she shakes her head and says I am meeting with a completely different surgeon.

She makes a Vanna White gesture with her hand pointing to a brochure that says, “New to our practice! NOW ACCEPTING PATIENTS!” Hmm…ok. That’s fine. I know everyone is new at some point in their career, but I also know that I am not your run of the mill breast case. (The sizeable pregnant belly gave that away.)

They called us (Jordan, my mom, and me) back to have an ultrasound so the surgeon could look at the mass, followed by the most awkward breast examine I have ever had. After the ultrasound was finished, she took us into a consultation room. She went on to explain that I had a triple negative tumor, which means they don’t know what is driving the growth. It was negative for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2. She also said it was grade 3; the fastest growing.

SIDE NOTE: The surgeon made it sound like these are two separate pieces of bad news. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t good things, but we found out from my NOW oncologist that these are a double check. If I am triple negative, then it SHOULD be a grade 3 tumor.

The surgeon went on to explain all of the different kinds of mastectomies, lumpectomies, types of incisions and other specific surgical jargon. I pointed to my stomach and asked how this would affect the baby. She said we might not do anything until I am term (7 more weeks!) or they may deliver early. We would have to see a maternal-fetal doctor to find that out. She also told us it would be four weeks after a c-section before I could start chemo and she wasn’t sure how soon they could deliver the baby.

All three of us were tallying up weeks in our head and comparing it with how fast the tumor was growing. Jordan asked her the likelihood of getting all of the cancer out during the surgery, and she said with a shake of her head, “There is no guarantee.” She went on to say she would try to get us in with a geneticist and an oncologist the next couple of weeks.

Then, she handed us a binder made from breast cancer survivors about treatment options. In the car on the way home, Jordan was shouting, “I don’t want a binder from breast cancer survivors right now. At this point we need a binder from breast cancer doctors!” I can laugh at that now.

So we walked out of the consultation with this surgeon, and before we had a chance to discuss it, we all three had basically heard her tell us that my prognosis was not good. I personally thought the surgeon believed I would be dead by the end of the year.

It’s incredible what kind of effect so few words can have on your hope.

In hindsight, we think this surgeon was so new she didn’t feel comfortable saying, “I don’t know the answer to that but let me find out.”

Instead, she left me thinking about how Jordan was going to raise two toddlers and an infant by himself. She left my mom thinking that she would give her and my dad’s burial plots to Jordan and me. And she left my sweet husband in complete shock.

To say this was the most depressing day of my life would be an understatement.

We had no hope.

I knew that everything would work out the way God had already planned but everywhere I looked I saw death,

that Jordan wouldn’t have a wife,

that Reed and Ryanne would cry for me in the middle of the night after I was gone,

and that the tiny baby girl growing in my belly would never have any memories of me.

My brother happened to be in Europe with his family and his wife’s family the week this all transpired. My mom actually told him of the diagnosis during his layover in Philadelphia on their way to Europe. Adam texted me Tuesday morning about 4 am the day we were to meet with the breast surgeon I was supposed to meet originally. I was already up having not slept in over a week. Here was our conversation…

He said it all so perfectly. We have the ear of the King, the creator of the universe wants to hear our cries and answer our prayers. Even if you don’t think you are worthy of healing, forgiveness, grace or God’s love… you are.



Proof that I have mud wrestled (at least a dozen times) and why you should send your children to church camp!


Happy Birthday to Me

I’m a pretty ordinary person. I don’t try to make a lot of waves. I’m a homebody for sure. I would prefer not to be the center of attention if it can be avoided. We aren’t rich by any means nor are we poor. I was not at the top of my class in school but smack in the middle. Nothing too exciting ever happens to me, and to be honest I prefer it that way. Knowing this information, one can see how out of my comfort zone writing a blog actually is!

April 7 was my 28th birthday, but little did I know that April 6, 2018 would be a life changing day for me.

I had my birthday all planned out. We would finally have a night without our kids at the ever swanky Olive Garden, and my large pregnant self wanted an entire Ritter’s ice cream cake for dessert. Nothing too exciting, just like me.

Earlier that week, I had asked my OBGYN if it was normal to have a lump in your breast during pregnancy. He decided it was in an abnormal spot, so he set me up for an Ultrasound the next day. The radiologist looked at it and thought it looked a little abnormal and biopsied it just to be sure. On Friday, my OBGYN called down to the OR (where I work) to have me come up to the office so he could go over my results. I have worked in the medical field long enough to know that wasn’t a good sign.

He came in shaking his head and told me what no one ever wants to hear.

It’s cancer.

The earth seemed to fall out from under me. He asked if he needed to call someone for me or if I needed to sit there a minute, but all I wanted at that moment was to get out of that hospital as quick as I could.


I am 33 weeks pregnant and 27.999 years old?

Oh crap.

Of course this news happened on a Friday afternoon, so I had no idea when I would have any more information on my current situation. I called my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be back down to work; that I had to go home. I asked her to have one of my favorite surgeons call me when he had a break from operating. I needed to ask him some questions about my options. I ran to the locker room and changed clothes as quickly as I could not wanting to see anyone. I practically ran through the parking lot which was not pretty (33 weeks pregnant remember?)

I am a fidgety person, and I prefer to be busy rather than idle, so I started calling people. As long as I was moving, doing, fixing, everything was ok. After a flurry of phone calls to family and doctor’s offices, my now FAVORITE surgeon had personally called a breast surgeon in Indy and got me on her schedule that very next Tuesday. (Have I mentioned he is my favorite?)

And after that, there was nothing to do but wait. That’s when it all sank in.

I was standing in our kitchen with my mom, my face got tingly, and it got very hard to breathe. I wasn’t sure if it was the baby sitting in my lungs or the fact that I was just told I had cancer or that my surgeon had looked at the biopsy report and said he was worried for me.

In times like these people ask,

“Where is God?”

He was right next to me in the doctor’s office. I could feel his presence with me when I called Jordan to tell him the news. I could feel his arms wrapped around me while our families came to sit and pray with us.

Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

And Boy was I broken-hearted! So I know God was with me. I have never doubted God’s love for me, and honestly, I didn’t question it now. As someone who was practically birthed right into the church pew, this was comforting to know about my faith.

I now know beyond a shadow of doubt, that even in the darkest of days, God loves me and He is orchestrating something great out of my circumstances. Maybe it is to just grow me personally in my faith, or maybe it is to have a new platform to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do I know what he is orchestrating is even now?


But this diagnosis will not be in vain. I will use every opportunity as a chance to bring praise and glory to the creator of the universe who has blessed me beyond measure. I want to make it my mission that everyone knows that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us “while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) I want to let others know that we can have hope in this hopeless and broken world, knowing that eternal life in heaven awaits us.

Should this have been my mission before this diagnosis?


I may have wasted opportunities before but I am definitely more aware now and pray God will give me the courage and the strength to continue to grow in my ministry.

I have the most amazing family. I have a church family (both locally and collectively) that has lifted me up in prayer continually the last few weeks and has offered everything short of their firstborn to help our family. I have amazing coworkers and people in the community that I don’t even know personally offering to help.

Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”

So, it was not the birthday I had envisioned but it was a memorable one!

He is able. We are faithful.