We spent an idyllic two years at the University of Virginia, made wonderful life-long friends, and then it was time to go back home and pick up where we left off.
We bought some land and built a house, and I continued to home school and work part-time as a triage nurse.
Time went by, and after a couple of years my mom had thyroid surgery because
of some nodules she was concerned about. The doctor thought she was
over-reacting, but she was her own advocate and insisted that they be removed.
We were all shocked when she got the pathology report back and it was positive
I was at her house when she got the call, and at that moment I knew
that I would also be having my thyroid removed.
We had the same doctor and when I went back in for my next check up, I asked her to check my thyroid gland because of my mom (yes, I had to ask her to examine it–I have a different
The doctor actually recoiled and let out an expletive when she felt my
thyroid gland. That did not encourage me. She told me I also had a nodule and set me up for an ultrasound.
The hardest season of life so far
The report came back that yep, there was indeed a nodule, and she recommended a
biopsy. I said nope, I’ll just go straight to surgery. I wanted it gone.
I didn’t want to wait, I didn’t want to pray about it, I just wanted it out. If
it was positive for cancer, I didn’t want to know about it until after I
already had it out of my body.
So I scheduled surgery.
It went well, and after I got home from the hospital the next day, I got a call from my surgeon. I was foggy-headed from all the meds, but I remember the conversation.
He told me it was positive for cancer, and that I was young and needed treatment. I had two young daughters. Ugh. It was a rough day.
I was thankful that the surgery/removal was already done, but they wanted me to have radiation.
Radiation?? That sounded so creepy and toxic. But, hubby and I decided we wanted to be as thorough as possible with my health, so I agreed to go forward with it.
I had to go without any thyroid medication, or a thyroid gland, for six
whole weeks. This would cause any remaining microscopic cells to be starved and hungry so that they would eat up the radioactive iodine.
I think it was the worst six weeks of my life. Your thyroid gland is involved in everyyyyything in your body. It helps to regulate all of your hormones and metabolic processes. My body went through a huge shock.
I became radioactive
Exhaustion, weight gain, depression, brittle hair and nails—I had all of those in abundance. My little girl asked me when I was going to stop taking naps because I took 2 or 3 a day.
Finally, the day came for treatment. My husband drove me to the cancer
treatment center (a surreal experience in itself), and I swallowed six radioactive capsules that they told me would probably make me feel like I had the flu.
I had to ride in the very back of our van on the way home in order to
minimize exposure to my husband. He had to sleep at the other end of the house
on another floor for four nights because I was radioactive. Our children stayed with my parents.
I got through it and finally I got to start back on medication, and life started to
return to normal.
I was so thankful for Synthroid!
And I lost the 10 pounds I had gained in those six weeks. The alarm I had felt over turning into a different person subsided.
And then the healing began
I was eager to get back into life, so I didn’t really stop to deal with the
fact that I had just been through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I quickly filled up my calendar and my days with activities, work, and summer fun. I wanted to leave that whole experience in the rear view mirror and not look back.
One evening after about a year, my husband and I started talking about all that had happened, and rather suddenly, all of the emotions began tumbling out out as I sat there on the couch. I didn’t even realize I had all of that bottled up inside of me.
It caught me off guard, but once I cried it all out, it felt so freeing to not be carrying that lump of pain and shock and grief silently inside anymore. I just let it spill out to my husband while he listened.
Thankfully, he remained steady and calm, which helped me to have perspective. I was going to be okay.
And that night, the Lord, in his grace, began to heal me and make me forget.
It was a process and it took time, but because I was blessed enough to be physically healthy, I think it was easier to deal with all of the emotions because it everything was behind me.
I was so happy to be healthy again. Our family was healthy and thriving, my
husband was finishing his PhD, and our girls were flourishing in home school.
We were part of a church that we loved. I got a new nursing job working at
home, but sometimes I would have to drive to the hospital, which was an hour away, for meetings.
One day I was headed home during rush hour traffic. I was stopped waiting to make a turn onto a busy road, and the guy behind me accelerated, assuming I was going to pull out really quickly in front of another car. But I didn’t. Unfortunately, his truck crashed into my van before he could react. The impact thrust my vehicle out into the middle of the road and it was a miracle that I didn’t get hit by multiple other vehicles.
I declined to go the the ER and decided to just drive home, even though the back end of my vehicle was crunched and the windshield was gone. It was a long, noisy drive home!
By the time I got home, I was feeling the shock and pain of what had happened. My upper back/cervical spine and neck were injured. Ugh. It affected my left (dominant) arm, and I was generally in pain all over. I had numbness and sometimes my legs felt weak, which was a little unusual for an upper back injury.
I didn’t heal well so it was MRI time.
My chiropractor actually gave me the results because no one had called me, and I could tell the receptionist was nervous as she waited in his office with me. She could see the
report in front of her and she talked about everything but that.
I felt so nervous but I also pretended along with her that everything was fine.
My doctor finally came in and looked it, and rubbed his hand across his
face. He said, “alright, I’m going to tell you what this says, but I don’t
agree with it. I’ve seen this so many times. The report says that they saw a
streak in your spinal cord and they are concerned it is demylenating disease
My world closed in
You hear about these moments but you never really understand them until it
happens to you.
I literally saw and felt my world close in and shrink down to just that report. I’ve seen it depicted with special effects on TV, and that’s just what it felt like. I could almost feel the wind blowing.
He told me I would be getting a 2nd MRI of my brain and spinal cord with
contrast and I argued and said no way. He said, “oh yes, you definitely
are.” (I hate MRIs because they make me feel claustrophobic. Anyone??)
But he was right, that’s exactly what they ordered, with the MS protocol. It was
scheduled for 3 weeks from then.
How did I handle this?
I walked out of my chiropractor office that afternoon feeling shaken. I called my husband and told him what the report said, and my response was, “regardless of what that report says, I am healed.”
The battle was on. I had 3 weeks to win.
And I fully intended to win.
My body was SO symptomatic. I was exhausted, my legs felt weak, and my arms and hands would experience numbness.
I generally just felt awful. The enemy constantly told me how sick I was, how there was
nothing else it could be except MS, and how I was headed for life in a wheel
chair. I wouldn’t be able to be a good wife and mom. My career would gradually
be taken away from me.
Unless what I believed really worked. I knew it did, and I intended for it
to work this time. I became determined, but I also fought almost constant fear
For the next three weeks, I was in the word of God 24/7.
What does that look like?
Back then, I had an MP3 player filled with sermons about healing, about
the faithfulness of God, about who we are in Christ, about how God’s kingdom
Whenever I wasn’t reading healing verses out loud over myself or praying,
I had my headphones in and the Word was going. I slept with it, I listened in
the car, I even had it in one ear when we went to the movies while on a short
I mean I latched on, like a bulldog with a bone.
The Bible says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God
(Romans 10:17). I was hearing, and it was building my faith to receive healing
in my body.
Listening to the Word so much also helped with the fear–if I was
listening to how God has made us to be overcomers, I couldn’t focus on the
fearful thoughts that were constantly trying to find a way into my mind.
Finally, the day came for the MRI.
It was going to be a long one so they gave me some pre-appointment sedation, which really helped. It lasted for about an hour and half but I didn’t really care. My husband took me out for a very nice lunch afterward and I barely remember it.
That was on a Thursday.
On Friday, I just rested. Not physically, I mean I rested in my mind and in my spirit. I didn’t try to find out my test results. I didn’t make any phone calls.
I knew it was now in God’s hands.
Over the weekend I fought fear and anxiety but I also felt peace.
At 9am sharp on Monday morning, the phone rang.
What would the report show?
It was my chiropractor.
He told me that his mom told him never to make any calls before 9am so he waited, and he
asked me if anyone had called my about my MRI results. I said no, and he said
then was going to give them to me.
The MRI of my brain and spinal cord, done with the special MS protocol, was perfectly NORMAL.
They saw nothing but healthy brain, bones, and spinal cord.
They concluded that the previous streaking must have been “artifact.”
I don’t know if it was or not, but I do know that life had been really rough
and I had been feeling awful for several months. But that day, I didn’t
care–it was over with and I was pronounced healthy.
Can you say RELIEF?
I was SO relieved!! God had been faithful to me- yet again!
Over the next few days and weeks, all of my symptoms left. My legs no longer
felt weak. The pain went away. I no longer felt exhausted. I felt…normal
I was healed, and I didn’t have MS!
I was so excited. The Word of God had WORKED.
During this whole time, I didn’t tell hardly anyone, so
very few people knew to be praying for me. I was honestly afraid to tell
anyone. Afraid of what they would say, that they would start to label me, etc.
So this victory was between me and the Lord. He had performed it, He had
honored His word. He had compassion on me, and healed me.
Victory vs. fear
At this point, as you can see, I had come through multiple attacks against
my health victoriously. I fought the way I knew how to fight and win–with the
word of God. With my words, refusing to speak words of sickness or defeat over
Sometimes it was HARD, and I battled A LOT of fear.
But God kept giving me victory. The word of God works when you put it to work.
And, I would have opportunity to put this into practice yet again.
On one of my routine thyroid checkups, the lab value that should be at zero
anytime you have had your thyroid removed, came back at 1.0. That is high.
This is a measure of a protein is only made by the thyroid gland, so if there is any measurable amount in your body, it is made by thyroid cells.
You don’t want any thyroid cells in your body if you’ve had thyroid cancer–that’s the purpose of the radioactive iodine–to kill any remaining microscopic cells so they can’t mutate and become cancer again.
I still had the same doctor at the time, and she was a newer physician and a
bit of an alarmist. She was not encouraging, and she wanted me rechecked every
She did an ultrasound but could’t find anything. I kept going back
in for labs, and the number was still wobbly around 1.0–it went as high as 1.2
at one time, and for some reason, this terrified me.
I could not deal with a recurrence.
The type of cancer I had been diagnosed with is very treatable and has a 97% cure rate. But on occasion it’s possible to have a treatment failure. And you can only have 3 radiation treatments in a lifetime because of the health risks associated with it.
Why was it so easy to imagine the worst?
Staying the course
This went on for several months, and again I didn’t really tell anyone.
But inside, I was dealing with massive amounts of anxiety and fear. One day before
my appointment, I was getting ready to leave the house and the fear was so
strong that it literally took my breath away. That visit was one of the harder
ones–my level had inched up another tenth of a point.
I left the office fully feeling like I was in a battle.
But I kept doing what I knew to do–speak the word of God over myself, and
keep trusting that God is faithful. Every day.
It’s not spectacular or dramatic, but it works. It is a way of life.
And then on one of my appointments, my lab value had returned to zero!
Just like that. Without fanfare or goosebumps. And my doctor, the one who had made
me feel so nervous, told me that it would stay there forever now. And I was
quick to agree with her!
That ended it, and it has been normal for years. I now have a new doctor
that I love, and she has been so encouraging and has provided such great
perspective. She is also an answer to prayer.
What I know
I’ve had some things come at me through the years. I had the opportunity to live in fear and defeat, and be overcome by having to face one health challenge right behind another. It was hard. Sometimes terrifying and overwhelming. But, by the grace of God, I also found the way out every time. It was always the same–the Word of God. It’s alive, and full of power, and it works.
But it doesn’t work just sitting closed up on your coffee table. It works when it is put to work. When it is put into your heart and mind, and believed above all else. It works when it becomes your rock, your shield, your fortress, and your high tower. When it becomes more real to you than what you are through.
I was so thankful that I had learned how to stand against attacks on my health when they came. Because, believe it or not, there was another one looming in my future. It needs its own blog post, so please read on!