Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We have seen the doctor and Sarah is getting some medicine to treat her pain. It was quite difficult for Sarah's doctors in Seattle to coordinate for her to be admitted to the hospital here in Everett. We are hoping that Sarah will get the help that she needs. Sarah has already found the secret diamond in the rough here at the hospital (the oatmeal raisin cookies.)

As the doctor was asking Sarah to rate her pain on a scale of 1 to 10, Sarah started crying. She said that she doesn't remember what it feels like to be without pain. She continued by saying that the pain she might rate at a 7 now would have been a 14 or 15 before.

My sweet wife needs to have a chance to feel good again. I long for the day when is 100% pain free.

More updates will come as they are available.



Sarah has been admitted into the hospital from now until Sunday night. She is mostly ok, but she is having alot of pain due to radiation. Because of all the pain she is having we have been in the emergency room for something like 6 out of the last 10 days. Sarah's doctors at SCCA have allowed her to postpone her radiation for a couple of days and hope that some time feeling better in the hospital will help her to regain some of her much needed coping skills.

Please pray for Sarah. She is desperate to be done with treatment, but just needs to make it through the next two weeks.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 240

What a Christmas…
Reader discretion advised.
This week has been the week from hell. Let’s just say santa didn’t visit this year. Sarah hasn’t wanted to write lately as to not ruin your holidays but now that Christmas is over I thought I should let all of you know what has been going on. On Monday Sarah started having intense nerve pain because her nerve endings are being burned by radiation. Not fun to say the least. She also has two large open sores on her radiated area that are completely raw. Her pain tied to the current status of her skin is becoming quite more than she can handle. Tuesday we went in to the infusion clinic as planned for her dehydration and got as much pain help there as possible. For those of you who don’t know, pills pretty much of any kind, don’t work for Sarah. Her dad is the same way. She hides her pain for as long as she can but when she starts shaking the jig is up and I step in to help her fight the fight. Sleep, or anti-nausea medications even in high doses and receive no benefit. She seems to only get the negative side effects, most commonly nausea. When she is being treated for nausea anyway, the last thing we want her to do is take a bunch of medication that doesn’t work, but only makes her sick. That would be kind of counter-productive. Wednesday, Sarah’s radiation oncologist tried giving her a pain medication that targets nerve pain specifically, but once again after taking the pills she received no pain relief only nausea. Because she had received no relief from pain we went in to the emergency room so she could receive IV pain and anti-nausea meds later that day. These help but don’t last that long. Because the IV medications are short lived, the emergency room really is only able to give her temporary relief. However in this case, some relief is better than none. Thursday, Sarah went back in for radiation and after they sent Sarah up to their infusion clinic so she could start the evening with a little relief and try to skip the emergency room. This really only proved partially helpful and ultimately left Sarah with a sleepless night of agonizing nerve pain. Friday Morning (Christmas Eve) we went into the infusion clinic in Everett as planned to treat Sarah’s dehydration, they tried to treat her pain but nothing seemed to help. Sarah wanted to keep trying things but it was obvious that on that day with the level that her pain was at she was just going to be miserable. This was a call that I had to make and let me tell you, looking Sarah in the eyes and telling her that there was nothing else they could do for her that night was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I am sure it made her feel very hopeless. After that we went home for a few hours and then tried to make the best of the day and went to my parent’s house for the Christmas festivities however bittersweet they may have been for us this year. Friday Sarah tried her hardest all day at her parent’s to make it through without needing to go somewhere for pain relief, but by the end of the night, she was in so much pain she was shaking, and on the verge of tears. I made the decision to take her in to the ER again. There they were able to make her comfortable enough that she fell asleep, but by morning she was already in agonizing pain. This morning, a little worse for wear, Sarah dragged herself out of bed and we went to her parent’s again for their 2nd Christmas celebration. By this evening I could already tell that I would be taking her to the emergency room yet again. So, to review, since Monday Sarah has been in an infusion clinic 3 times, in the ER 3 times and has been poked for an IV access a grand total of 20 times (all in the same arm). Now when I said the week from hell you all know what I’m talking about. Let me tell you Sarah is tired, exhausted, in severe pain, has two raw wounds on her chest, and is 100% at the end of her ability to cope with all of this. I don’t think she will even be able to stand her remaining 7 radiation treatments. Tomorrow I will be calling her radiation oncologist and discussing with her the possibility of cutting Sarah’s radiation short.

Through everything that has happened this week Sarah has been a tremendously good sport. In light of all of her pain she has been a saint making sure to say Merry Christmas to everyone she saw and even going as far as to bring doughnuts in for the entire infusion clinic staff on Christmas Eve. She has gone above and beyond and tried to think about others during this holiday season, but she is just at the end of her rope and doesn’t want to be sick anymore. She does a very good job of hiding her pain and discomfort around people, but all the months of doing that is starting to take a huge toll on my sweet girl.

As I am writing this, we are in the emergency room waiting for an IV therapist to come and put in an IV in Sarah’s poor arm. We have been here for three hours already and they have yet to come and get an IV started so they can get her comfortable. It’s not because they haven’t tried, but Sarah’s arm has hardly any veins left that are viable.

Please pray that the radiation oncologist will see Sarah’s struggle and either come up with a serious solution to fight her pain or discontinue the few radiation treatments she has left.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 239

How many nurses does it take to put in an IV???
One…usually. However tonight was quite a different story. Sarah is in the infusion clinic tonight and the nurses were having a very difficult time finding a vein that would work. Finally on the fourth nurse and 7th try overall they got Sarah’s veins to cooperate. Sarah joked (as she often does) that tonight was like cheap acupuncture. Due to the issues they have had every time trying to get an IV started, Sarah is seriously considering having a chest port put back in. That decision would depend on how much longer her nausea remains an issue.

Sarah is nearing the end of her radiation treatments. Out of 28 she only has 9 left. Woohoo! Her skin is becoming more and more red and irritated with every additional treatment, but her doctor, nurses and radiation therapists are doing everything they can to make these treatments as pleasant as possible. For the most part, they have succeeded in that. Sarah absolutely loves her everyone in the SCCA radiation oncology department.

As Sarah’s treatments come to a close we are very anxious for this New Year to begin so we can start with a clean slate and leave all of this behind us. On that note we have begun to plan numerous vacations for the summer so we can have some time to relax together without the stresses that this year has brought. I often realize that Sarah and I have become acclimatized to life with cancer. Do we like it no, but when you do things day in and day out, that’s what ends up happening. We are both very impatiently waiting for the chance to have fun together again. It will take time for life to return to “normal”, but our “normal” has changed. We see most things in a very different light. We have a new appreciation for things like health, laughter and family. We also have a new appreciation for certain aspects of medical care. It is amazing how things like hospital ice can bring such comfort. Wait….hospital ice…??? Yes hospitals have the most fantastic ice! It isn’t solid, but it also isn’t liquid either. It is somewhere fantastically in between. If anyone is looking for any last minute gift ideas for Sarah, the answer is right here in front of you; a hospital ice machine. Let me tell you she would love you forever. Wait another minute am I even reading what I’m writing? If I got her the ice maker machine I could earn some serious “brownie points” (its sheer genius!!!)

Please pray that with the additional burn creams they have given her, Sarah’s skin would not continue to deteriorate with the remaining radiation treatments. Last night was especially tough for Sarah. Her skin is hurting so she took some pain killers. The meds didn’t take away her pain, but they made her nauseous. The combo of pain and nausea kept her up all night. She literally didn’t sleep one wink. Exhaustion has definitely set in. Sarah told me this morning that she watched me set my alarm and was wide awake when it went off for me to wake up. How frustrating that must have been…However Sarah always puts the positive spin on things. Today, we were talking about last night and she said, “Honey, it just gave me a chance to brush up on my late-night infomercials. Can I interest you in a micro-Hibachi or some Ginsu knives? Only $19.95, but wait! If you order now well throw in a second one for free!!!” As funny as that may sound, please pray that sleepless nights don’t continue to happen.

Thanks for reading! You are all awesome!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 238

3am sure gets lonely...but wait...I have you!
I am once again up writing in the wee hours of the morning because my brain won’t turn off. I am a thinker and there is not much I can do but clear my mind and focus on the blessings.

My pink skin has started turning a bright shade of red. It is uncomfortable to sleep and a little sore but now that it is red I know exactly where to put my aloe gel! My doctor told me I am 60% done with my treatment and my skin looks very well for what it has been through. While Kirk was helping me put aloe gel on the back of my shoulder he asked if this is the worst part. I smiled and said “Oh no! This is a walk in the park in comparison to chemo and surgery!” I hope Kirk felt better after hearing that but I don’t think he did. My husband can’t stand to see me in any kind of pain so when I get a tiny poke for a blood draw he still holds my hand tight and asks me if I’m okay. I’m telling you…I’ve got the Husband of the Year!

I could complain about all the things that are keeping my mind up but what would that get me? A night feeling sorry for myself that’s what! No thank you. I want to keep my spirits high so I am choosing to think of the blessings. They are being poured over my life so I don’t have to look very far. It is so easy to focus on the awful things in our days and completely overlook all the blessings. I for one don’t want to miss out on all the sprinkles of joy God puts in my every day. I am so very thankful for each and every helping of blessing.

What I am thankful for today: The radiation/oncology team at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance! 5 days a week they greet me with smiles. They remember my name, tease me about how many scarves I own, and offer to come back from lunch early to get me on my way sooner. We laugh and talk about “regular stuff” and leave out the fact I am there for cancer treatment. I’m pretty sure I will have withdrawals once our “visits” come to a close. They are just awesome people and I am attached! Thank you God for putting the right doctors and therapists over my care.

Another thing I am thankful for…You! Thanks for catching up with me and my journey. I know I am lifted up in prayer each day and I cherish all the love and support that you give. We may not have even met but you are very special and dear to my heart. Thank you.

Love Always,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 237

Fun facts about Sarah:
Her hair is growing like crazy. It is now an inch and a quarter! We thought it was coming in straight and a little darker but as the months go by we are seeing soft curls…well half curls; her hair isn’t long enough to be full curls yet. Sarah is excited to go through all the hair styles from being bald to french braids. What a trooper this girl is. She shelved her wigs and head scarves as soon as possible and has been sporting the Audrey Hepburn look ever since. Occasionally people stare at my darling wife and boy does it make me mad but Sarah shrugs it off and makes a joke about it and says “they are just staring at how gorgeous I am!” Sarah doesn’t know how right she is. People come up to her everywhere and say things like “I just love your hair” or “You are so brave to cut your hair so short”; she smiles, takes the compliment and hands them a blogspot ribbon.

Another Sarah fact is she is a yarn fanatic! Our apartment looks like a yarn ball exploded. Her notes, hats, pictures and of course yarn is scattered on the table and couch. Every day I see new creations that are so very “Sarah”. She soon will launch Emalene, a business she has started with my sister. I can’t wait to see what this new year will bring!

Keep Sarah in your prayers. She goes into the infusion clinic on Friday for fluids and hopefully her nausea won’t return. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and our prayers flowing!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 236

This week is the start of our new experiment to fight Sarah’s nausea. As I mentioned before, Sarah will be going in to the infusion clinic twice a week for hopefully just fluids to see if keeping well hydrated stops her nausea dead in its tracks. We do have one concern. Every time Sarah goes in she has to get an IV. This is very hard on her veins and is becoming more of a problem because after her surgery Sarah can now only get IV’s in her left arm. The doctor’s are talking about the possibility of putting in another port in her chest. Sarah really does not want to do this as it would require another surgery. Please pray with me that the Sarah’s nausea will subside very soon so we can leave this all behind us.

As radiation continues, Sarah skin continues to get more and more red and irritated. She says that by Christmas her skin will be as red as Rudolph’s nose and Santa will need her on Christmas Eve to guide his sleigh. Guess who gets to join in on the reindeer games this year.

Your support means the world to us. Keep the love coming our way.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 235

An update from Kirk:
Well, we are in the infusion clinic again today. Sarah isn't extremely sick today, but she would be this weekend if we didn't get her fixed up tonight. It is so strange that IV fluids, anti-nausea meds, and pain meds are what help her system feel better on a temporary basis, but somehow they do. I was thinking about this all the other day and realized that the only thing she receives that would last for days is the IV fluids. The other two drugs wear off in a couple of hours. It was with this thought that I came up with an idea. If Sarah's doctor wrote a series prescription for her to routinely get fluids twice a week instead of once, she might never get dehydrated and hopefully not get nauseous. I ran this idea by Sarah's doctor and he was all for trying it. So, from this week on Sarah will be getting IV fluids alone to see if staying hydrated keeps her nausea at bay. Please pray with us that this will help Sarah feel better. We realize that twice a week in the infusion clinic sounds not so great, but its all about perspective. When nausea and vomiting are the other option, the infusion clinic and an IV are a walk in the park.

This week we have seen a couple of specialists. The first was the SCCA nutritionist. The nutritionist has laid out a plan not to fix Sarah's nausea, but to try and help her body fight/deal with it. She asked Sarah to eat small portions every 2 to 3 hrs; never eating a large meal. Keeping something in her stomach at all times will hopefully help to lessen the severity nausea and help maintain a decent weight. The second was a sleep specialist at Swedish. Sarah discussed all of her troubles sleeping and was asked many different questions. The final verdict was that Sarah's insomnia is caused by everything she is going through (My first thought was, "Tell me something I don't know...") However what she continued to tell us was that this type of insomnia is very similar to post-traumatic stress induced insomnia. In this case, because Sarah's brain activity is so strong due to everything she has to think about and be worried about, the medications she has tried are rendered inneffective. Wow, that explains alot!!! The sleep specialist then told us how in these cases it is lifestyle changes that offer the greatest relief. So then Sarah said, "Well if you prescribed me a baseball bat, that would change my lifestyle." My Sarah never misses an opportunity to insert something that makes her situation light-hearted. I will always love that about her.

Please pray that these things we are trying to do help Sarah on all fronts actually work. She is desperate for sleep, desperate for nausea relief, and desperate to be done with all this cancer "stuff." I cannot thank you all enough for supporting my Sarah as you all have over these past 9 months. She has needed every bit you have given!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 234

My life is all over the place isn’t it. One day I’m in bed without the strength to lift my head and the next I’m having fun decorating a Christmas tree…I guess I can be grateful for never having a dull moment.

Yesterday I felt awful. I wasn’t expecting to feel so nauseous at least until Thursday! It’s pretty bad when you can look at a calendar and say “Oh can we plan for Tuesday instead of Friday because I’ll need to go to the hospital that day.” I’m getting good at predicting how long I can last…I can predict the hour that my nausea will turn into…something else. It’s like being on a game show and the prize is going to the hospital and getting stuck with a needle! Alright, so not a great prize package but the “feeling good” part sure does beat “new car” smell. In Kirk’s case he would rather be nauseated and have a new car but that’s a man for you. I, on the other hand, would like to go one week without having to go to the hospital…hmmmm…how many weeks has it been? I’m going to look. (Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?) I looked back and the first time I went in for fluids and anti-nausea meds was September 27th! Yikes, that’s like 10 weeks in a row. No wonder my arm is black and blue, it never has time to heal. Wow, I just realized that I can map out doctor appointments, special events, hospital visits and every lovers quarrel I have with Kirk! This is my online diary and you have the key! Don’t you feel special? I’m sure I write some things that make you want to say “I could have gone all my life without knowing that piece of information” but that wouldn’t be real life would it? I have to make the brave guys that read my blog squirm a little. I am, however, grateful for all my readers to have stuck with me through thick and thin. You keep me writing and I wonder how far my story is reaching…hold on a second…I’ll look! This month my blog has been read by people in Germany, India, the U.K., and Italy…and that’s only this month! If I look back Australia, Russia, France, and the Netherlands have hit my site! That’s a wide mileage range from readers. If you are one of those readers from out of the country “Welcome”! I hope I have been a good ambassador for Sarah’s Hope and also from the state of Washington. If you happen to want me to come to your country and visit you I’m all for that as well. Now I’m not being a good hostess; I invited myself to reader’s homes and somehow I don’t think that’s the proper etiquette. I’m just excited! If anyone who lives farther than Winthrop, and if you don’t know where Winthrop is then you count, wants two ambassadors for Sarah’s Hope and Breast Cancer survivorship in their neck of the woods I am amped up just thinking about visiting you! Can you imagine if my blog was the door to missions and traveling the world? Well, I am going to believe that God can use anything to bring his will to come so I’ll keep an open mind and an open schedule.

Today I decorated the Christmas tree with my mom. It’s something that we do together that we take pride in. Our tree could be in a magazine…seriously! Martha come check out this tree…it looks like it has jewelry on! My mom loves buying special ornaments that you can remember where they came from. Like mission trips to Biloxi, Mississippi, when our family went to the nutcracker and of course when we all went to Hawaii! She buys matching ornaments for all us girls so no matter where we are all of our memories come together to celebrate family ties and Christmas. Like every year, as soon the tree skirt is down, Max (the dog) is under the tree taking his rightful place as the first present of Christmas. I love decorating with my mom for the holidays. It’s just so much fun coming to Mom and Dad’s house when the tree is lit up, stockings are hung and the scent of cinnamon is in the air. I felt little again, filled with wonder for what the season will bring. Cookies and bows are coming up next!

I wanted to thank everyone who gave me a book or gave me a gift card for a book store. I have to go back even farther than that…I borrowed some of the books that my Mom received when she was recovering from cancer treatments. I have read many pages full of laughter, tears and “Wow” moments. I have highlighted and dog-eared so many encouraging verses, poems, stories and each book has offered me something new. Thank you for making my sleepless nights a little less lonely. With all the “keep your head up high” and “you go girl” pep talks or should I say pep reads, I find myself wanting to spur on others to keep fighting the good fight! Hey that’s another thing I could travel and do. Sarah the traveling speaker! Man, I am just itching to spread my wings and fly aren’t I? I guess if getting up in front of tons of people and feeling a little out of my element will let me check off some dream list then sign me up!

The radiation therapy is starting to show up on my skin. I can see a slight color difference but luckily my skin hasn’t been feeling any of the symptoms. Please pray that the effects on my skin will be minimal and that the radiation won’t zap me of my energy.

Thank you to all my readers both near and far for taking time out of your day to think about me. I feel very special that I am in your thoughts and prayers.

Love Always,


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 233

A Quick Update from Kirk....
We were surprised today that Sarah's nausea came back so quickly this time. We were just in the infusion clinic on Thursday and tonight on our way back from her radiation appointment it was all Sarah could do to not throw up in the car. She hates the fact that she has to have a vomit bag be her most important accessory. Needless to say I immediately called and arranged for her to go into the infusion clinic. What we were amazed by tonight was that even with getting a liter of fluid on Thursday as well as drinking lots of liquids throughout the weekend, Sarah was dehydrated yet again. Tonight Sarah had a liter and a half of fluid and her body just soaked it all up. She appeared to be really, really dry. How could that be even though she drinks lots of fluids? We are asking ourselves that very same question. We would like to see if possibly getting IV hydration every couple of days instead of once a week keeps her from getting nauseous. Well, for now the mystery continues. The good news is that on Thursday Sarah is going to see a sleep specialist at Swedish. Hopefully they will be able to get a plan going for Sarah so that she can get some much needed continuous sleep. As an added help, after today’s radiation session, Sarah met with the Nutritionist at SCCA. We are coming up with a plan that will hopefully help Sarah’s body keep weight on and help to ease the nausea.

Thanks for reading. You’re support is making a huge difference!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 232

God is good...
If you only receive one thing from Sarah’s Hope please let it be the knowledge that my hope is in God.

My morning started with me being so weak that I could barely lift my head. It is in our weakest moments where God shines. As I stood in my closet staring at clothes, my frustration turned to anger. I started yelling at the enemy for taking my strength away, my passion for life, and my ability to hold my head high. He has taken way too much from me to stand back and not fight. Let me tell you God and I put the enemy in his place…right under our heels. I am done with being so weak that the enemy of my soul doesn’t have to be worried about me. I don’t know why I screamed but I screamed for God to give me supernatural strength. I shook as I asked for God to strengthen every muscle, every bone, every inch of me. I am done with not being a threat to the enemy. I actually strive to be in the enemy’s sights every minute because if I’m not I am not being God’s hands and feet. Strive with me to keep the enemy on his toes. We are children of God and we have a great purpose in front of us.

After my outburst of anger and plea for strength I was overwhelmed by the love of my Heavenly Father. I was reminded of Psalm 139, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” My Father knows me. He knew all the thoughts that came to my lips this morning even before I awoke. Psalm 139 verse 13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Verse 16b “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” I don’t know about you but those words are new to me today. God knows me. He planned my life from the very beginning with the knowledge that I would suffer and still stand by Him. It gives me peace to know my every step is known; nothing is a surprise for Him. I am on the winning team…we are on the winning team! I was flooded with the knowledge of His love for me today. I wept tears of joy as I felt His presence filling my closet. I had a cry where a tissue just wasn’t going to cut it and I had grab for my bath towel to catch all the tears that fell from my cheeks. God and I met this morning. Not in church or after hours of prayer but in my closet. Where I have no armor on to shield me from the world; where I am real and vulnerable; where there is seriously no room for anybody else. In my closet is where God met me today and where He made me feel loved…from my inmost being to my outmost woman, I am loved by God.

Thank you for following this rollercoaster of a life. I am blessed to have you and I hope that my ah-ha moments touch you as well.

Love always,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 231

Can it get any worse?
Yes, I asked the question…can it get any worse? The inner woman knows the answer is yes but the outer woman who is not dealing with life so well at the moment is screaming out…why…why… oh why. Can you picture me cross legged, throwing my hands up in the air and sobbing like a three year old in the middle of the floor? You can’t? Well, I’ll have Kirk take a picture in 5 minutes. Better yet…a video! I’m seriously losing it! I wanted to think that I have been at my lowest point and I am only on the rise but these last couple weeks have sure knocked me for a loop. My days are running into each other and I feel like every minute is a dream. Did I just finish my seventh round of radiation or did I go to Maui and get sunburned? Are Kirk and I married or are we just roommates who see one another in passing? I’m pretty sure about the seventh treatment and the marriage thing but everything else is getting a bit hazy. My poor husband…what he must go through each day. I try to hold things together but really Kirk is the glue; without him I’d be lost in all this chaos. Kirk worries about me at work, after work and he has been known to wake up and check on me. God when all this is over give me the ability to buy him his dream guitar! Kirk deserves the best and I can tell you most days I’m not a slice of paradise but you know what? Kirk loves me just the same. What a man. I have the best husband and sorry but he doesn’t have any brothers. I am a blessed girl and I hope I remember that my bad days aren’t just mine but ours and I need to realize that Kirk is dealing with life right along with me. So when I ask can it get any worse…I know it could. I could be without my partner, my best friend, my husband. Thank you God that you have given me the gift of a constant love…from You and from my husband.

If you see my husband can you do me a favor? I don’t give him near enough the praise he deserves for being “Husband of the Year” so will you help me? I don’t expect you to give him hugs and kisses but if you see him please let him know he is amazing. It’s not hard to see how wonderful Kirk’s heart is so don’t hold back, let the guy know that the world sees what an amazing man he is and that we are all proud of him!

Love Always,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 230

A Note From Kirk:
Sarah has been doing fairly well since starting radiation. Her skin has become a little red, but it hasn't caused her any discomfort so far. She still is having the weekly nausea, but now her new oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has taken the reigns on that issue and has promised us that she will find the root of the problem. We have been absolutely thrilled with SCCA. They really show how much they care about their patients. It also very nice to see that they don't do the same "cookie cutter" treatments for every patient. Being partnered with the UW, they are constantly looking at all of Sarah's problems/concerns on a case by case basis. Never once have they done something just because that's the way its done. They are always on the leading edge of all the available treatments. I cannot tell you how much peace of mind it gives me to know that my wife's care is in the hands of some of the best doctors in the field of cancer.

Sarah is in the infusion clinic tonight getting her weekly fix of IV fluids, anti-nausea meds, and pain meds. She has not been sleeping almost at all, so I hope that all these IV meds make her drowsy enough to get a full night's sleep. We are very hopeful that Sarah's oncologist Dr. Korde will find a solution to all the nausea and maybe with some relief from that, normalcy for Sarah will start to return. I am very excited that this is the last month of this so far arduous year. Sarah will be done with radiation on January 5th and that marks the end of all the "tough" stuff. Once radiation is completed, Sarah will have 6 about months off and then begin all of her reconstructive surgery. I don't know about Sarah, but for me her reconstruction process doesn't feel like a negative. It is restoring and not taking something away from my sweet girl.

It has been really difficult to get into the habit of going to Seattle five days a week for Sarah's radiation treatments. With Sarah's exhaustion due to lack of sleep, Seattle every day has just added alot to her plate. For the next five weeks she will just feel like she is constantly playing catch up.

Please pray for Sarah over the next five weeks. She desperately needs rest in order to cope with this incredibly busy radiation schedule. For about two weeks she has only been sleeping about two to three hours a night and maybe only ten minutes at a atime after that. Not fun, and leading to extreme exhaustion for her. Her smiles are always there but with no sleep I can see the energy fading that it takes too keep up that beautiful smile.

Thanks for supporting my girl,


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayer Request...

Please pray for Sarah. She is not sleeping. This morning when I woke up she had only been asleep for under 3 hours and was wide awake when I left the house. If she doesn't find a sleep aid soon as the effects of radiation continue, I worry about her mind and body. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she fights her sleepless days and nights. Sarah joked with her doctor yesterday if she could be prescribed a baseball bat to knock her out! My wife is getting desperate but always seems to keep her smile going...I love that about her.

Thank you for your continued support.

Day 229

I am writing to you at 2 in the morning. I am having trouble sleeping…again. Yesterday I was up until 4am and Kirk’s alarm clock went off at 6. Can you guess that at radiation today I was a walking zombie? I probably wasn’t all that pleasant either but lack of sleep, nausea and a splitting headache will do that to the best of us right? I hope so or I’m in trouble. Radiation went just fine today. I’m thinking about buying my own gown that actually fits. Each day as I desperately hold tight to my clothes, purse and gown as I walk from the dressing rooms to the radiation “vault”, I have almost flashed unsuspecting patients, technicians and doctors. I don’t want to spend my Christmas and New Year in jail for indecent exposure! They will call me Sassy McFlasherson! Alright the hour is not making me sleepy just silly! After radiation I lucked out and got an appointment with my oncologist! She will be taking on the challenge of my ongoing nausea and dizziness. She prescribed some new meds and although I have to get used to taking meds around the clock again I have hope in the new approach. I am looking forward to the day when all this is a memory and I can do something good with this experience but I’m struggling at this very moment. This last week I was reminded to be thankful. I have to admit I‘ve been wrestling with the thought of being thankful for everything. In Thessalonians it says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Please know that I am so thankful for what God has given me through all of you and others but still I struggle with being thankful for everything. In the end of each storm I travel through I can see the good that has been done and the lessons I have learned so I guess I must wait out the ongoing storms to see His perfect plan. And I know that takes faith…a heaping helping of faith. Press on Sarah, press on! God has not gone! He walks beside you and is with you as you write these words. He would never leave His precious daughter in her darkest hours. You are His princess and as such you are under the protection of His wings. Those words are of the Holy Spirit who lives in me. God spurs me on to see past the present and look to the horizon for the future! I must be thankful in everything for God has my best interest in mind. Kirk and I are living proof that God loves His people. We have been very blessed over the past 8 months and I see the blessings sprinkled through our lives…alright in our case the blessings have been like a supersoaker wetting us down from head to toe but doesn’t that just make you smile? God loves His children so much that in most cases He doesn’t give us the minimum but He will surround us with love and provision! So be thankful in everything, even when the whole picture is not known for God knows and trust me when I say we are all in good hands.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Love Always,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 228

Busy Bee...
This week Sarah has been quite the busy bee with things on her plate. Some of them fun, but some of them not so fun. Wednesday Sarah had her second radiation treatment. Sarah has not noticed any effects of radiation, but most of those effects, like fatigue and skin redness, will start showing after a couple of weeks. Later in the evening on Wednesday, there was a youth event at our church. There was a concert which I was playing guitar for and Sarah sang backup vocals. It was kind of a big deal for her to do but she feels as though God wants her to start singing more and more. It was a great opportunity for her and she was up on stage with me lookin' like a rockstar. She had alot of fun.We will post some pictures of it as soon as our friend sends them to us.

On Thanksgiving, Sarah cooked her two signature Thanksgiving things: green bean casserole and special cranberry sauce with apples (it is delicious...let me tell you). At noon we headed to my parents house for the day. All of my dad's family was there and we had a great time just talking and spending time together. As you all know, Sarah is learning to play the violin. So, this year we had Grandpa Lien show Sarah a few things that might help her in her learning. Grandpa Lien plays beautifully, and as you also know it is one of his violins from the '40s that she is priveliged to learn on. We ended the evening with one of Sarah's favorite traditions. Everyone gets together in a circle and says what they are thankful for and why. Sarah said that she was thankful that God always has a plan and can always make good out of a horrible situation. I said I was thankful that Sarah is cancer-free and that I now have a job that I absolutely love. It was a really great opportunity to hear thankfullness from everyone's perspective.The day ended however on kind of a downer for my sweet wife. She was feeling nauseous yet again.

This morning, hoping that her nausea had gotten a little better, Sarah and I went to Fred Meyer at 5AM for another one of Sarah's favorite Thanksgiving traditions: getting black Friday half price socks. I know what you're thinking, "Socks???" but Sarah absolutely loves getting half price socks on black Friday. She does it every year. After Sarah almost fell over twice in the store from dizziness, I decided I had better get her home to get some more much needed sleep. When we got home, we jumped in bed, slept for a few more hours, woke up, and went to Sarah's doctor to see about her nausea. Unfortunately, we are not coming up with a solution other than IV hydration and anti-nausea medication. So here we are at the infusion clinic once again. Sarah was especially bummed to be here tonight because we had to miss out on a second thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle. However, when Sarah isn't able to make it to a party, one way or another the party always comes to her. My mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and cousin all came to visit us at the infusion clinic and stayed for a couple of hours. It was so nice of them to come and we are very thankful for great family!

While we are here in the clinic, it is easy to feel sorry for ourselves, but tonight we are thinking of our good family friend who has been in critical care since Thursday night. Our hearts go out to both he and his wife. We have been praying for a speedy recovery for him and hope you will pray for him too.

Now that Sarah has more and more energy, Ellice and her are picking up where they left off and starting back up there baby hat making business called Emalene. Sarah is so excited and is more driven than I have seen her in months. My cousin Kristy actually bought the first hat on Thanksgiving to give to her friend's new baby. If you don't remember the specifics, Sarah and Ellice will be hand crocheting baby hats to sell on 50% of the sale of every hat will be going towards charities that support the African nations. Whether it be children, animals, or wells for villages, Sarah and Ellice just have a heart for that area. Sarah is excited to have something to put some time and energy into and is excited to see where it goes.

Thanks for all your prayers and support. We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 227

Holy cow what a day…
In anticipation for radiation I couldn’t get myself to sleep last night even though I had enough medication in my body to knock out an elephant! My brain just wouldn’t settle down. I’m told that radiation is a cinch compared to everything else I’ve been through but the thoughts of the unknown were lingering. I didn’t get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning and the second that Kirk left for work and I was alone my mind started up again with the what ifs. I bet everyone’s mind does this every now and then but there are some of us that have had this “what if” question twirling around in our heads since Kindergarten. Consider yourself blessed if you are a low key, go with the flow person because being passionate and willful about everything can be draining at times…a lot of times.

When I finally gave up on trying to fall back asleep this morning, I turned to a book in hopes of occupying my thoughts…it worked…only for a short time but still, I had a break! Next I turned to my stretches. I hate my stretches. All these exercises do is remind me that I have poor mobility in my arms and I just get frustrated and end up pushing myself too hard and being sore for days. I know, it’s my own fault and I can’t seem to get it in my head that the road to recovery isn’t a race track and it takes time. Kirk luckily came home from work just in time to save me from over doing it. We were on the road soon thereafter to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Kirk checked me in, we sat down in the waiting area, and I closed my eyes and imagined my Maui beach in all its tranquility. I was just enjoying burying my toes in the hot sand when I heard “Mrs. Lien?” My beach will just have to wait. I was led to the back rooms where I changed into the ‘one size fits none’ gown and then I entered the radiation room. The walls and door on this room are thick so no radiation escapes and hits anyone…but what about me? What is this radiation stuff really doing to my body? The “what ifs” started up again. First the technicians did X-rays then they drew all over my neck to my waist and numbered each section 1-5. They are radiating 5 sections so it took what felt like forever to even start the first session. The whole time I was getting prepped, X-rayed, and then radiated, my arms had to be over my head. Holding my arms above my head was pretty difficult due to the surgeries and scar tissue, so it was pretty much agony at the last half. Thankfully normal days will only take 10-15 minutes. After my session Kirk joined me in one of the back offices and we were educated on how to care for my skin during the process; special aloe 3 times a day, no deodorant on my right side, fragrance-free soaps and lotions, no sun exposure, no shaving with a regular razor and no wearing underwire bras. That last one I’ve got covered because bras went out the window months ago! I’ll never go back! We left a little overloaded with information and 27 pre-scheduled radiation days and times, but overall it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was told that I won’t start feeling the effects of the radiation for at least 2 weeks so I’m grateful for that. Please keep Kirk and me in your prayers as the rest of this year will be crazy busy with radiation, physical therapy, infusion trips and of course the holidays.

Thank you to those who sent me comments and texts about prayer during my appointment today. I feel loved by so many and it truly makes a difference.

Love Always,


We are at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance right now for Sarah's first radiation appointment. She is very nervous and we could really use some prayer right now. Please pray for peace for Sarah as she goes through this last phase of her treatment.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 226

A Note From Sarah:
I am stepping out of my comfort zone again. I was stirred to sing for a youth outreach that is at our church. Kirk has been having practices so I know all the music and volunteered to sing. I’m a little nervous since the last time I sang in public was in high school and that was so I could get Kirk’s attention…it didn’t work by the way…he played hard to get but I got him in the end! After morning worship we had a really long practice and after all that singing I needed to drink some tea and use sign language for the rest of the evening. On stage Kirk and I are right next to each other; him with his guitars and me with my microphone. We are like rock stars! Okay the ‘stage’ might be going to my head but what can I say… the limelight can be fun. God is nudging me in new directions and although I don’t feel completely prepared I take the steps anyways. If God is nudging then He will equip me with everything I need. Last week it was violin, this week it is singing, who knows what’s coming for me next. All I have to say is God keeps it interesting.

I have Roman again tonight. I thought we would try a sleep over again since last week I ended up in the infusion clinic and wasn’t able to be the fun Auntie for that long. The moment Roman stepped foot in my door he was running full force waiting for someone to chase him. Of course we played tag, hide and seek, funny faces and tickle fights for hours. Our fun suddenly came to a screeching halt when there was a funny odor in the air…you guessed it…dirty diaper! Without missing a beat Kirk yells “It’s all you babe, I just can’t”. He is such a baby about baby poop. Kirk says he will be different with our babies but somehow I think I’ll get stuck with diaper duty. However, after the long wait for us to be able to have kids I don’t think I’ll mind. Roman is just now nodding off wrapped up in Uncle Kirk’s arms. It is sweet to see them snuggled up together. I can’t wait to have my four babies and spending time with Roman is soothing to my longing heart. Thank you Bethany for letting me have precious time with your precious baby boy.

I thank each and every one of you for thinking of me today. Writing to you has become so important to me. My blog is my diary and it helps me vent, process and gush about life. Since you are reading this you are an important part of my life. Thank you for all your prayers and words of encouragement…you really brighten up my world.

Love Always,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 225

Letting Go...
I am about to face another mountain. Am I all smiles as I pick up my rope, carabineers and pull on my hiking boots? Not remotely. Radiation is the next item on the agenda so while I gear up for the 5 days a week for 6 weeks adventure please pray that I don’t lose it. I’m told I’m in the home stretch but it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’ve missed out on so much due to cancer and I’m not happy about it! I’m actually quite mad about it! Today as I was chilled to the bone by the nip in the air, I realized I missed out on Spring, Summer and most of Fall because I’ve been sick. I long to be warmed by the sun while I sip on iced tea but I have been forced to bundle up for Winter instead. The effects of cancer during Winter are horrible. Because of my relentless nausea I have lost weight so I am shivering and layering with no end in sight. My head is freezing and to be completely honest with you while I am writing this I have a heating pad on my head. You can imagine that I am quite a sight; bundled up in sweatshirts and blankets with the heating pad around my head. On a lighter note since it is Winter maybe I can stop shaving my leg hair that has started to grow back… excuse will be I need extra warmth….not working for you? I don’t think it will work out for Kirk either. Back to the radiation topic…I start my treatment on Tuesday afternoon and have to come back the next day for more. The Thanksgiving weekend I’m off the hook but then Monday will start the 5 days a week schedule. This will be killer on the mileage for my poor Jetta. Seattle every day until the end of the year will definitely put a dent in her resale value but I gotta do what I gotta do. I’ll be asking for gas cards for Christmas! Each treatment is less than 10 minutes but with each treatment my symptoms will get worse. A sunburn in the middle of winter would be okay if it was from a beach in Hawaii but from a machine in a cold room with me in a hospital gown is not what I’ll be looking forward to. I have had about enough of cancer treatment but it is nearing the finish line. I think after all this I need another trip to my happy place…Maui….Kirk honey, are you reading this? I’ll go to bed dreaming of sunshine, beaches and a red convertible mustang tonight.

Even though I am facing another mountain I give it to God. I can’t control something like radiation so my only option is to let it go and give it up to God. God will sustain me. He sustains my strength and my ability to smile. Without God I would be nothing. He is my strength and my song!

He will redeem my soul in peace from the
battle which is against me.
Psalm 55:18

Love Always,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 224

Only God could love a crazy woman like me...
Can someone just lock me up and throw away the key? For whose sake you may ask? Well, mostly for Kirk’s protection, but by the way I have been feeling and acting it might just be better if I was locked away from everyone. I can’t control my emotions. One minute I’m as high as a kite thinking about all my goals and the things I want to accomplish and the next minute I’m thinking even if I had 100 years I still couldn’t get everything done. Dwelling on everything that is holding me back, is not a positive way to spend the day, however that was my Wednesday. I was always…always told if I put my mind to it I could do anything but is that really true? My heart seems to think time doesn’t exist, money isn’t an object, and that my body is in tip top shape. My heart has so many big dreams that when another day passes and I’m still in the same place as yesterday I want to shake myself and say “You are dreaming too big for your own good. Dream something tangible so you don’t get disappointed”. God knows my heart and He puts things there to hold tight to and God is never wrong so I wait. I wait for the Lord to rain fulfilled promises over me. When I said “I do” I wanted a simple life. To travel, buy a house, have kids, get a dog and to grow old with the one I love. I guess that was too simple a life for me so God started adding things to my list of heart’s desires. Now it has gotten complicated and I don’t know where to turn so Kirk and I can move forward. I feel like I’m lost in life. What am I to do with my experience with breast cancer? Do I write a book? Go to every support group there is hoping to witness to those who are hurting? Do I become a counselor? What am I supposed to do with it? I’m lost. God has been with me and is with me even as I write this but while He is with me I am lost. I am lost but not alone which does give me comfort. I need a glance into the future just to know where Kirk and I should be headed. Should we get partnered up with a ministry in the U.S.? Should we step onto a plane to Africa and see what happens? Should I start speaking to any group that will listen? I want to be used for amazing things and I believe that God will keep His words to me but I am only human and time sure slows down once you are waiting for a promise to be fulfilled.

I took a step of faith this week and waded out in the water. I started having this intense desire to play the cello after Kirk and I got married. I want to have faith that this dream isn’t a passing whim but that God wants to use the cello so I can praise Him. The cello is a hard instrument to get my hands on so I’m starting with what our family has….a violin…Grandpa Lien’s violin. This violin has traveled the country with Grandpa and played many songs full of joy and praise and I am honored that it is resting in my hands. I took the steps of faith to get it freshened up, new strings, a new bow and prayed over both myself and the violin for miracles. The first note was shaky and didn’t sound the greatest but I kept on going. I kept on going until my eyes filled with tears and my arm sank to my side. My dream was right in front of me and I couldn’t play. Heaven help our neighbor’s ears. I laid everything down and cried. Nothing could stop the failure I felt. I felt stupid for not knowing what to do. I was embarrassed that anyone heard me. I ran to my room like a child and buried my face in my pillow and sobbed. That moment wasn’t only about my inability to play the violin, but about many other dreams that I have crumpled up and thrown away only to come back and smooth out their creases. So quickly I give up when things don’t go as I thought they would. I forget that amazing miracles can take time and walking in faith will make my Heavenly Father proud. So… sorry neighbors, I’m picking my violin back up, putting in my ear plugs and stepping out of the boat onto the water towards Jesus.

Love Always,

Day 223

Frustration takes its toll…
Sarah was just in the infusion clinic on Friday and we were back again Monday. After Friday in the clinic, Sarah felt pretty good, but then on Saturday there was a surprise birthday party for her mom in Lynnwood. To keep the surprise alive, Sarah took on bringing all the supplies and setting everything up. When she feels so good she wants to do…do…do, but then pays for it big time the next day. This of course makes her feel like she is trapped in an 80 year old’s body. On Sunday, she was so sore from all the work she did Saturday night, and even though she probably shouldn’t have, she agreed to take baby Ro-Ro overnight. Because she had overdone it so much, Sarah’s nausea hit hard again Sunday night. So here she is all sore, watching a baby, and handing him off to me so she could go throw up. Doesn’t that just sound like a lot? Sarah is so determined to not let cancer hold her back that sometimes she admittedly does way more than she should. In the past I have tried to stop her from doing so much, but that has proven to be worse. It’s a mistake because all the doing makes her feel so good mentally and emotionally and not doing the things that bring her joy, leads to frustration and depression. On the other hand it is equally as frustrating and depressing to be constantly nauseous. When you are throwing up for two out of three days, out of control emotions definitely creep in. Sarah just wants to be able to move on and live a normal life again. We both do. This time of cancer has taught us many invaluable things, but it has also at times pushed us to the edge of insanity. No one should ever have to deal with this much pressure and stress so we feel for others who are walking this road as well. The blessing however has been that through this incredibly rough time, we have never felt alone. We have had wonderful family support but most of all we have felt God’s presence walking with us every step. I won’t say that it has been easy to stay positive, but as you all know Sarah especially has been quite a testimony of having a great attitude in the midst of great hardship. She gets hit every day from the effects of cancer and she only lets it daze her for a short time then she is back in the ring for more. She is my fighter girl and for that, I am truly, truly proud of her.

I hope that this nausea will cease very soon. It is becoming more than Sarah can handle and this would be our biggest prayer request. My Sarah is desperate to consistently feel better and I am equally as desperate to see her be able to be herself again.

Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 222

What a swing from Wednesday…
As you already read, Sarah was doing so great on Wednesday only to have her nausea creep back up on Thursday. So, here we are at the infusion clinic getting Sarah all fixed up for the next week. We are hearing more and more that some people just have these symptoms for multiple months while their body is trying to get rid of all the residual chemo drugs left behind. I hope that with time the nausea, dizziness, and headaches will just lessen in intensity and eventually completely fade away.

I am so proud of my sweet Sarah. She has not let any of this cramp her style. The minute she is feeling great she is back to being Ms. Independent. She loves driving and Wednesday was such a great day for her. The blog over the last few days really indicates how well Sarah was feeling. I love when she gets a feeling of something God wants her to share and she just puts it out there for all of you to read. I hope some of what Sarah has shared about what she is learning in her life has meant something to you her readers I know it has meant a lot to me.

As the next step of her battle with cancer nears, please keep Sarah in your prayers. We have heard that radiation can be simple compared to all the other treatments and surgeries, but we’ve also heard that radiation can be quite the burden to bear as well. No one really knows exactly how her body will handle it, but either way five days a week, for six weeks, in Seattle already sounds overwhelming.

Now that we are home, Sarah is feeling much better. We are thankful that God has helped us find a temporary cure for Sarah’s symptoms. It is very nice having something that keeps her going.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 221

Free as a bird...
I was free today! No feeling sick, no feelings of weakness, my emotions are in check (that’s a rare thing indeed) and I busted out of the apartment with nothing holding me back! So what did I do with my freedom you may ask? I drove my Jetta. That may not sound very exciting to you but it was a thrill for me. I haven’t been alone in my car for so very long and my car missed me I could tell. No one drives her like I do. I know her strengths and weaknesses and when we are a pair we shine. Kirk has no ‘connection’ with my Jetta so when she has a little hiccup he raises his voice at her and I have to stand up in defense for she has no voice. Not driving for months at a time will sure make the roads feel a bit wild. I must have caused a back up trying to get on Highway 2 this morning; I was so cautious and I felt like an ostrich stretching out my neck as far as it would go for the perfect moment for me to squeeze in. As soon as I entered a major highway it all started coming back…my hands loosed their python grip on the steering wheel, I remembered I had mirrors and gave my neck a break, and then out came the country music! Not listening to the radio for months will make every song an adventure and I belted out the ol’ familiar ones…sorry if I distracted any of you while you were enjoying your morning commute but I was having a ball. I felt extra special today because I was asked to take a friend to an appointment. I can’t tell you how much my heart needed to feel needed. I was excited to give something back to society and I hope my ability to give back more is just around the corner. Thanks Julia for a fun morning of chit chat and laughter! After I dropped Julia off I couldn’t just go back home. I had just started to fly again and everything seems new and different and I had the strength to go on! Kirk’s work was just a few minutes away so off I went to see his new office. I’m always amazed by everything he knows. If you don’t know, Kirk is a Network Tech with knowledge about computers that I can’t even begin to understand. He showed off his big computer screen, I met a few co-workers, he walked me to my car and kissed me goodbye. I was off again….what other trouble could I get into? Trouble makers…hmmm…oh I knew who to call if I wanted some trouble….my dad. He’s always up to something. Sure enough… I met him at his work, followed him home, and spent most of the day with him. He kept me busy at his house and then running to an appointment with him. By the time I got back to my car I was ready to call it a day. Kirk would be getting off work so I thought I could beat him home and meet him at the door with hugs and kisses. Now I am just writing on my not so private diary and going to settle in for a good movie with the man I love.

Thanks for all the prayers for strength and health. God answers the call of His children…I am walking proof! Thank you Lord. Here’s to another good day!

Love Always,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 220

A Note From Sarah:
I have been feeling so energized these last couple days as you may be able to tell by my recent posts. God is challenging my thinking and He is just spilling out of my lips and out of my heart. I’m sorry to say I’m awaiting the backlash from the enemy for my wonderful ‘energetic, Ah-Ha’ last couple days but please pray that God will fight that battle for me and I don’t have to stand at the front lines like I have so many times. I hope you are finding God as I have been.

Today I spent the day at my parent’s house with my nephew Roman learning new things and exploring the unfamiliar. As he started on his breakfast we made funny faces and fed each other the dried fruit I had dehydrated last week. I’ve become quite the Suzy Home Maker since being locked up indoors for so long. Roman enjoys all the yummy snacks Auntie makes for him…I bet his mom and dad wouldn’t like the bits of cookies and ice cream I sneak in but what’s an auntie to do when he gives the ‘Roman face’? We played a version of tag and hide and seek, it was a mixture of both the games and it made it double the fun. I’m so happy to have the energy to keep up with the little monkey! In the middle of what seemed like the 100th time hiding behind the couch, Roman grabbed his blanket and let out a yawn. I scooped him up and downstairs we went for the classic nap movies. He picked out the most interesting box and snuggled in next to me. What a joy it is being this little baby’s auntie. I’m so proud of everything he does and I know it is because my baby sister is such a good mommy. Way to go Bets for having such a sweet Prince to call your own!

I’m switching gears so get ready for the change into another episode of “An Insider’s Look Into the Mind of Sarah Lien”. I’m starting out really cheesy so please forgive me but I watched a movie about a Disney Princess and ‘Happily Ever Afters’. I watched Mulan for nap time and it just about broke my heart. If you are not familiar with the movie it is about a girl who only wants to bring her family honor but she doesn’t fit in the perfect mold of what it normally implies. The main song is entitled ‘Reflections’. She sings “Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? Why is my reflection someone I don’t know? When will my reflection show who I am inside?” Those words really hit a tender note in my heart. How can a Disney movie bring me to my emotional knees? I grew up wanting to be a Disney princess (and really who’s to say that I’m not…) so I am a sucker for these chest clenching songs but come on I’m 25 years old so I need to get a grip. Right? Maybe not because those words do ring true for me. I do stand in front of the mirror some days, most days, and not recognize who is staring back at me. I look completely different than I did this time last year. I had long hair, good color in my now tired cheeks, a sassy figure and an attitude to match. I had all the hopes in the world and I desperately wanted to start a family while traveling the world and never thinking my whole world would do a nose dive into an unfamiliar and frightening place. I can’t help but remember what my body used to look like. Do you want to know what I see when I look into the mirror? I see seven scars, four tattoo marks, a black and blue arm from IV needles, an un-natural chest that some days makes me cringe, cracks in my fingernails, pale skin, short hair, skinny arms and legs where muscle used to be and when I look into that mirror I see hollow, exhausted eyes staring back at me. You may not see those things when you see me but I am around “cancer Sarah” a lot these days and that is who I see in the mirror. Please look back at the words from the song before you shut your computer screens off and quickly call Kirk to make sure I’m not alone. “Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? Why is my reflection someone I don’t know? When will my reflection show who I am inside?” Who I see in the mirror is not always how I feel inside. That is the frustrating part! I have the desire to soar like the eagles! Hold my head up high and live each day with excitement for what comes next! Deep down I know I am beautiful in God’s eyes and I know I am beautiful in Kirk’s eyes also, Kirk tells me every morning and night but it somehow gets lost in all the other junk my mind is thinking. So when I look in the mirror and see a stranger my confidence level drops and I feel pain but the “Real Sarah” who is in here itching to be seen fights for me every day to remember who I am and who I am going to be. This is just a season that won’t last forever so I need to keep holding my head up above the water and trust that God knows what He is accomplishing in this time. And while I have an audience I will get up on my soap box and proclaim the wonders that He is doing in my life in the midst of this storm.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

This is my season to shine in a new and different way! Thank you for being a part of my life and for the support you give. I am always amazed.

Love Always,
This was me in March, just before I started my battle against cancer. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, this is what I expect to see.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 219

What do you want?
In the gospel of John the first words that are recorded from the lips of Jesus Christ are “What do you want?” I have been toiling over that question for a while and still I don’t have a true answer. I asked Kirk last night while we were driving home and he was puzzled for an answer as well. What do you want? Can you give an answer right away or do you have to really think about it? I guess if the question is coming from God I would expect my heart and mind to ponder before I spoke. Don’t you think? I mean if the question "What do you want?" was coming from my mom I would say “more yarn please, I’m almost out”. And my dad I would say “I’m craving your curry dinner, Daddy”. And to Kirk I wouldn’t miss a beat and shout with excitement “I want to go on vacation with you”. But what kind of answer would I give God? He already knows the desires of my heart and isn’t it silly that I can’t come up with a simple answer. I’m desperate for so many things and I can’t come up with an answer. Tell me this doesn’t have anything to do with having Chemo-brain! Would you be taken aback by this simple question too? Beth Moore puts it in a way that I can better wrap my head around, “What is that One thing that would make your life complete?” You know maybe it’s not so simple after all. I am a woman, even if cancer is trying to make me less of one, and with being a woman I think I complicate the simplest of things. Okay sisters I’m not trying to give up ground here to the men but girls we do this! (Sorry men who are joining Sarah’s Hope today, I’m just needing to band with my sisters at this moment.) If God were to be sitting across from me at my table and say “Sarah, what is it that you want? Just ask of your Father.” Just thinking about the scene makes me get butterflies down in my belly. Does He want a life changing answer like "I want all the promises that you have given me to come to pass" Or does He want a selfless answer like "world peace and the end of world hunger?" Could it be so simple as "Lord, I want to feel beautiful again?" I think it can be all those answers on different occasions. When we go to the Lord each day don’t you think He meets us at that place and says “Child, what can I do for you today?” God knows me and my answer will be different each and every day: strength, wisdom, a child, the spiritual gift of music, no nausea, for my scars to fade, for my marriage to never stop growing, the opportunity to travel, for emotional pain to be washed away. The list is endless and I hope I never stop coming to God with what I need for He is the only one who can truly satisfy my desires.

I am sitting in my living room wishing that I could be living my life instead of watching life go on without me through my windows. I know, I know I’ve been told numerous times this is a time for healing and rest but somehow I can’t settle on healing and rest being the only things that God will use me for in this time. I want my life to start! Can anyone blame me? I’ve been cooped up since March only having my good days being few and far apart. God has put such a fire in my soul to serve people not only here but in Africa, Australia, Europe and basically everywhere else but in my apartment. My mamma Lien shared a sermon from Israel Houghton and the message was "We are already sitting in the middle of his increase (blessing)". As I think about what Israel is saying I look around and I do see blessing all around me! I have a roof over my head, a "cancer free" bill of health, a husband who adores me, friends who support me and a family that would cross oceans for me. So if God asked me “Sarah, what is it that you want?” I’d be stumped again because I am sitting in the middle of His plan for my life. For as I sit in my confining apartment aching to spread my cramped wings and fly I am doing exactly what God wants me to do at this very point in my life. I am writing a blog, I am spending time with my family, I am having alone time with God, I am messing around with yarn and I am finding out what really matters in life. So when I think back to Beth Moore’s question, “What is that One thing that would make your life complete?” I would have to say I already have it but can I have more? Wouldn’t it make God smile ear to ear to ask his children “What do you want?” and for us to smile and say “more of you Father, just more of you”.

Love Always,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 218

My Sunday Morning…or should I say our Sunday morning…just God’s and mine.
Kirk went to church this morning even though he wasn’t feeling well. It takes a lot for Kirk to not play for worship; that is his sacred time with God and a cold wouldn’t hold my Kirk back. Kirk said I wasn’t going to church because he didn’t want me to strain myself more and I am so happy I stayed home to have “church service” in my bedroom. I started my day with Jesus. Is there any better way to start your day? Absolutely not! I received such a pouring out of God’s love and compassion this morning. When I am weak why isn’t my first thought to go right to praising Him? That is something I am trying to change.

I spent some of my morning with Beth Moore saying “Amen, sister” and losing ourselves in the Word. Her message was to Guard our Hearts. “Let us fix our eyes upon him.” Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Our hearts are fountains from which emotions burst! Beth said you can’t have a heart that is dry, barren and empty. I believe this. I believe we can feel barren, but in our hearts it is not barren and desolate; we are only hurting for the One we love to come and transform our hurt and loneliness into a joyful love song. Whatever our hearts are feeling we are “spraying” those feeling on others. Beth said to picture our hearts as fountains. Luke 6:45 says, “For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.” Our hearts affect every aspect of our lives. If we have a bitter heart we will spray bitterness on those around us. If we have an angry heart we will spray anger on those around us. But if we have a joyful heart we will spread that joy around like a wild fire. I don’t know what your heart is spraying on others but I have to admit I haven’t been “blessing” others lately. I’ve had a tired heart, a sad heart, a hurting heart and a frustrated heart. I also have to admit that I have had a fake heart. I fake my emotions to many, to hopefully hide the real pain that I am feeling. Maybe I do it to trick myself or to make all of you think I am some kind of super hero that doesn’t fall down and need God to pick me back up. But please know if God was not with me I wouldn’t still be here fighting. If I have had a fake heart, and I know I have, I have been spreading “fakeness” around to those around me and I am deeply sorry. My hope is that my heart will change. My hope is that my heart will be filled with passion, happiness, joy, and love. I will be praying that God controls my heart and scoops out all the muck and replaces it with what is in His own heart. After I meditated on what I had heard from Beth Moore I had to have more. Beth Moore will do that to you, she gives you a taste of the goodness and awesomeness of God and you go searching for more of the only one who can quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. All I can say is that I wanted more.

Kirk has these crazy man headphones that block out all other noise and just about pop your eyes out of your head when at full volume but I have come to be inseparable with them. I was listening to Jesus Culture in my bedroom with these crazy man headphones and when all other noise is cancelled out and it can be just God and me singing love songs to one another it seriously takes my breath away. The song that really hit my heart is Your Love Never Fails, His love never ever fails me and never ever will fail me. Another line that made me grab my chest is You make all things work together for my good, you make all things work together for my good, you make all things work together for my good. As I grabbed my chest I felt the absence of my breasts, the pain that still lingers to the touch and the scars that are so visible….but in this time that I felt what had been taken away from me and what I am left with, I knew that those words Your love never fails and You make all things work together for my good were for me at that very moment. I’m not the same when I spend time with my God. My heart is soothed by His words of goodness and passion for me. I challenge you to spend some time with God praising him, not thinking about who else can hear you but push everything else aside and just love on Him. That’s all He wants from us. He wants us to set everything that takes us away from Him and say “Father none of this matters to me if you aren’t in it, I set it aside to spend time falling back in love with you.” I have God bumps all over me and His arms are holding me comforting me telling me “Sarah, I love you daughter”. My eyes are flowing with tears of joy and thanksgiving. I am so grateful to have a God that will do something good with the horrible things that I have had to face. God is nothing but good and glorious and I believe with all my heart that He is with me catching my every tear and holding me as I cry and He will punish the enemy that much more for me. Injustice won’t stand unpunished.

Exodus 33:18 Exodus 34:5-6a,8

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.

Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.” Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

Love Always,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 217

More Sickness...
Sarah and I are both home sick this weekend. I can't believe that on top of everything we have going we had to get sick but, we did. Sore throats, cold sweats, clammy palms, headaches, you name it we've got it. I think it is mostly due to the fact over the past week we have not been able to get very much sleep. This whole week Sarah was dealing with so much pain from her fill that she would wake up every half hour; frustrating to say the least. On Thursday night Sarah got really, really nauseous so we only got about three hours of sleep leading up to Sarah’s big day of appointments on Friday.

Friday was quite the long day to say the least. First we didn’t get very much sleep and then to top it all off Sarah’s nausea snuck up really fast Thursday night. I called Sarah’s primary care doctor first thing and asked him to send in the orders for Sarah to go to the infusion clinic so we could get Sarah feeling better as soon as we returned from Seattle. Our day started at 9 AM at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for Sarah’s first physical therapy appointment. The appointment went really well but Sarah came out of it feeling even more nauseous than before. Sarah was telling me that she wasn’t going to make it to the infusion clinic later that day, but needed one of her doctors in Seattle to help her get fluids and anti-nausea meds. On that note we headed for her next appointment at UW. Sarah was there to have her expanders drained to prepare for radiation. When we arrived they got right into their ER and Sarah was on her way to feeling better. Because of the ER visit we were a little late arriving back at SCCA for Sarah’s radiation prep but they got everything done none the less. Because we were late getting there we obviously late leaving so it was traffic, traffic, traffic, coming home from Seattle to Snohomish. By the time the day was all said and done, we were both completely exhausted. It is not fun being sick on top of all this, but we are hoping to feel better soon.

Please pray that Sarah and I will start feeling better soon so that we have the strength to get through this last bit of Sarah’s journey.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 216

Please keep us in your prayers. Sarah was feeling pretty well, but then tonight at about 9:00 all of a sudden nausea hit. Sarah is feeling sick in other ways so I kind of think she might have a bug, but who knows. Also, tomorrow will be quite the long day. We start in the early morning at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for Sarah’s first physical therapy appointment. Sarah is going to be working to get more range of motion in her arms. After that we go over to UW where Sarah will have her expanders completely deflated to prepare for radiation. Then, will be heading back over to SCCA for Sarah’s initial radiation prep appointment. It is going to be a long day and with Sarah not feeling well, I am sure it will be extra challenging. We will most likely end the day in the infusion clinic so Sarah can get fluids as well as anti-nausea and pain meds to help her feel better. To keep her mind off of all the pain and nausea Sarah has been making baby hats like a mother expecting octuplets. I don’t know how well it is working, but I have been praying that God would bring her some relief.

Thanks for all your prayers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 215

A note From Kirk:
Today Sarah had a few different appointments and I need to share with you how they went. At 11:00 she had an appointment with her radiologist to talk about her upcoming radiation treatments. Sarah will be getting all of her prep work done on Friday which includes radiation tattoos, making an upper body mold to hold her still during treatments, and a preliminary CT scan. Once all of that prep work is done, Sarah will start radiation about a week and a half later and will receive radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks. They told her all the risks, all the possible side effects, and everything she should expect over the next two months. I know all of this is probably weighing heavy on her mind but I am very excited for Sarah to get this radiation over with so she can move on and be done with all of her cancer treatment!

Because Sarah has had this continuing cycle of nausea and dizziness one of the tests her doctor wanted to do was an upper endoscopy to look at the upper end of her gastro-intestinal system. She finally had that test today at 2:00. The good news; the test was totally normal. The bad news; we still have no idea where the nausea is coming from. Hopefully there won’t be too many more tests of this nature for my poor Sarah to go through. After all she has had to deal with; this test was just one more thing to add to the list of un-fun things she has had to do in her life.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. Please continue in your prayer for this time of radiation. It would be my hope that possible side effects would be extremely minimal and that there would be as little scar tissue development as possible. Thanks to you all for supporting my girl!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 214

Happy Halloween!
I forgot how much fun trick or treating was! I know I am way too old to be going door to door begging for candy but my sister, Bethany and Jonny, came over with Roman last night and we all went around the block to get candy for the little one. We definitely pulled a fast one on the neighbors because Roman isn’t even old enough to eat all that candy. Oh well, the joke’s on them and twix are all mine. Kirk and I are in a mild disagreement. I love dressing up in fun costumes and playing make believe but my darling husband gets absolutely no enjoyment from it at all. I’ve always wanted to dress up “couples” style like Romeo and Juliet or Peanut butter and Jelly but I am without a partner. This year was no different so as we walked Roman around the block I went as Raggedy Andy and Kirk dressed up like a husband that was cold…he was still cuter than any of the other husbands though. Bethany was pretty cute too all dressed up as the Queen of Hearts. However, Ro-Ro stole the show! He dressed up as a bright orange pumpkin that was so adorable that he received extra candy from the older women. What a charmer that little one is. Bethany and I were children once again running from porch to porch teaching Roman the ways of the “Pros”.

I hope auntie Sarah gets invited next year to tag along and get a cut of the candy. Maybe next year Kirk and I can dress up like Barbie and Ken. However I better get started on Kirk because it will take me all year to convince him to do it.

Love Always,

Prayer Request: Tomorrow I have a consultation with my radiologist as well as an upper GI scan. Please pray that both appointments go well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 213

“Pink the Rink” Night!
We should “Pink” everyday! How often do you get to see man, woman and child all wearing pink at a hockey game none the less? What a fantastic game it turned out to be. The Tips fought hard and we enjoyed every minute of the cowbells and slap shots. Sherri had reserved the Crow’s Nest for the Sarah’s Hope entourage so smiles, hugs, pizza and laughter was the name of the game up there. Thanks Sherri for all your planning and hard work. We all had an awesome time! I also wanted to thank Joy Knox from the Comprehensive Breast Center for inviting my mom and me to be a part of this special event. Joy, you have been a real inspiration to those who are looking at fighting one of the roughest roads ahead of them. Knowing we have a friend in you gives each one of us a sense of peace because you are fighting on our side.

Before the game started Momma Hawk and I were honored to be a part of a special group of men and women who have been affected by breast cancer. It isn’t the most fun thing to have in common with another woman but it sure bonds girls faster than super glue. I met a lady named Kashia and she was so funny and uplifting. We are now friends on facebook. I hope we never lose touch! Each woman who was on the ice that night has such an amazing story. I wish we could have had coffee before hand and gotten to know one another’s hearts. Cancer can ruin lives but in its destruction it can create friendships and bonds that can never be broken. I’m so happy I met that group of survivors and I’m also so happy that not one of us slipped on the ice! Now that was a miracle!

Thank you to all my family and friends for coming out in support of my mom and me! I hope you had as much fun as we did. Kirk and I appreciate you much more than you will ever realize. Thanks for everything!

Love Always,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 212

I am reading a book called Why? By Anne Graham Lotz. I just finished with a chapter that ended with her writing “Why me?” and she continues to say “Whenever that question tends to fill my mind, I hear Him whisper to my heart, “Anne, why not you? Just trust Me!"

I stopped reading and thought about what I had just read. Why not me? I know I would gingerly say “no thank you” if someone asked me to travel the perilous road that is cancer. But in the same thought if God Himself had asked me to take on this burden I think I would have said “alright” because I do trust God that He knows what He is doing and I know that He wouldn’t make His daughter hurt for nothing. He has great things for me in the future and I am honored to suffer in His name because justice and good will come from my struggles. God never lets us down, we aren't just sticking around long enough to see the horrible be turned into something beautiful.

I look around at my family and friends and think if one of us had to go through cancer why not me? I have been praying to God to use me in any way that He sees fit and why would I back down when now more than ever I can shine for Him when I have the attention of many. We are all in a battle and I am on the front lines. God has given me weapons to use and He has protected me in many occasions. As I pray for God to fight my battles we have celebrated victories but the one thing I have to be brave enough to do is stand in the front and give the enemy my warrior face and yell “You have no authority over me! I am a daughter of God and I will stand by Him forever! You have lost this battle so flee in the name of my savior Jesus Christ!” Ohhh..I just got goose bumps! His name is so powerful and holy I just can’t help but feel His awesome light coursing through my veins.

I have quite the road ahead of me but look at what I have come through! I am proud of myself, maybe I should be more humble but come on I have had sickness and death come knocking on my door and I being the sweet and timid woman I am came out on my porch with shot guns blazing screaming at the top of my lungs “Be gone in the name of Jesus Christ, I have much to accomplish in His name”!

More “knocking” has come in the way of results of a CT scan I had done on Tuesday. The scan showed that my stomach was distended (swollen), my right ovary has a rather large cyst and that I have kidney stones. Doesn’t my life get more exciting every day? I was told that the ovarian cyst will probably go away on its own and I will have another CT in a month to confirm. Please pray that the cyst will go away on its own and that it is not cancerous. My kidney stones are in my kidney so they are not a problem until they move. This is all information that doesn’t really give me any answers to why I’m sick all the time but gives me more to be concerned about. God will never give me more than I can handle so does that mean I have supernatural coping skills? I guess it does and I better take that as a blessing!

On to much more fun things! I am going to be an honorary guest at the SilverTips game tomorrow. The Tips are “Pinking the Rink” for breast cancer month and my mom and I were asked to be in a video and meet the starting line up on the ice! Come on out to show your support!

Breast cancer has sure given me some awesome experiences don’t you think? I can’t wait to see what other doors open up for Kirk and I. Thank you for all your love and support. I never dreamed my life would touch so many.

Love Always,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Interview

What is your and Kirk's "song"?
Sarah: “our” song is…
Kirk (interjects) : Oddly enough, it’s called The Break-up Song’
Sarah: No.
Kirk: I guess “our” song is ‘The Very Thought of You’.
Sarah: You guess?
Sarah: What’s our “Fun Song”
Kirk: It’s called ‘The Break-up song’ by The Greg Kihn Band
Kirk: But my favorite song is: ‘I Still haven’t found what I’m looking for’
Sarah (interjects): I’m right here babe.
Ellice (moderator): Okay, moving on…

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
Sarah: Mmmm (with a smile…a GRIN actually)
Sarah: I’m thinking about all the possibilities.
Sarah: I could read people’s mind and win every rock, paper, scissor contest for the rest of my life.
Kirk:  Invisibility.
Sarah: Invisibility?! Your clothes aren’t invisible so you’d have to walk around naked. In your parents house, are you comfortable with that?
Sarah: Okay, I change my answer. I want to fly…to get away from ‘Naked Man’.

What is your favorite sitcom?
Kirk: Well…
Mom Lien interjects(singing): ‘Friends are friends forever…’
Sarah: My all time is ‘Friends'.
Kirk: Seinfeld. It’s the most watched sitcom of all time.
Sarah (interjecting): I knew Ross & Rachel were going to be together forever.  Kirk, are you my Ross & am I your Rachel?
Kirk: Sarah, don’t compare our lives to a sitcom.

Sarah and Kirk: you are playing the lead role in a movie and the director asks you what the title should be. What would it be?
Kirk: What would you say, Sarah?
 - pause - 
Kirk: All right, my movie would be called ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’…because I’ve been saying that a lot.
Sarah: My mind is going to like ‘When Harry Met Sarah’.
Kirk: You’re using regurgitated movie titles.
Sarah: Instead of ‘Serendipity’, ‘Sarahdipity’.
Sarah: Okay…the movie would be: ‘The Autobiography of Sarah’. I would be playing myself, in a movie, in real life.  The Cast: ‘Sarah Lien – as herself’. What! (in response to Kirk’s funny look) My life could be a movie.

What is Sarah’s favorite restaurant?
Kirk: I don’t know.
Sarah: I like different restaurants for different foods. For bruchetta, it’s Taphouse Grill, and for salad it’s Conto’s, and for dessert The Cheesecake Factory.

What is Kirk’s favorite car?
Kirk: Porshe 911.
Sarah: Can that fit a carseat?
Kirk: Yeah, in the front seat…or the trunk.
Sarah: Kirk!!!

What have you been doing to have fun or keep your time occupied since the surgery?
Sarah: Umm…
Kirk interjects (in a funny little voice): The emergency room is a lot fun.
Sarah: Other than making friends in the E.R., I have been running out of yarn and being totally captivated by ‘Swamp People’ – the TV serious.
Kirk: They hunt alligators.

Do you have boy & girl names picked out for your first child?
Kirk: James Edward Alton
Sarah: Jillian
Kirk: And she’s going to call her ‘Little Jilly Bean’.
Sarah: Jillian Sarah Jane.
Sarah: I hope my first two are twins. (To Kirk) But then you couldn’t get your sports car.

Sarah: if you could be a male for one day, what professional sport would you like to play?
Sarah: Like you have to be a male to play a professional sport. Oh really, women can’t do that, huh?
Sarah: Chris (Author of the question), in your world, do women still have the right to vote?
Ellice: So, you’re not going to answer the question, are you.
Sarah: No, no.
Sarah: In case you haven’t noticed, women play all sports.

Kirk: what is your most memorable vacation and why?
Kirk: My most memorable vacation was my two week honeymoon in Hawaii.
Sarah: Ahhh. Now you don’t have to sleep on the couch tonight.
Kirk: The thing is, I wouldn’t really know the difference…I fall asleep in two seconds.
Sarah: What if someone kidnapped me in the middle of the night?!
Kirk: I wouldn’t know.

Closing thoughts:
Sarah (in a patrician tone): ‘These are the days of our lives…’
Kirk: Peace, y’all.