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.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 212

A Note From Kirk:
So here we are again…One more time in the Emergency Room. My poor wife has just been dragged through a knot hole backwards. We are trying to stay on top of her nausea and dizziness, but some days it just gets out of hand fast. I am writing you from the ER at the Providence Pacific Campus while Sarah is getting fluids and meds to help her feel better. Better however, is only temporary for now. Sarah is being put through a lot of different tests trying to determine the source of all this sickness. I cannot tell you all how much I want Sarah to be able to go a week without being sick. I can just see and feel the frustration within her. Can you even imagine being nauseated and dizzy for six weeks straight. All I can say is that Sarah's smile should be considered miraculous at this point. After everything my sweet girl has been through the fact that she can still find the joy to smile like she does just amazes me! It brings me inspiration and I hope it does the same for all of you.

Please pray that we find the source of Sarah’s nausea very, very soon. I keep saying I don’t know how much longer she can take this, but somehow God continues to sustain her. However, the simple truth is: I don’t want her to have to take any more. I am ready for my Sarah to finally get some relief.

Thank you for all of the support you give by just reading and caring!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pink The Rink!

Have you heard!
Sarah and her mom, Barb, will be featured guests on October 29th at the Everett Silvertips game. They will be on the ice before the game meeting the starting lineup. A video will be played on the jumbo screen that features both Sarah and Barb. Come support these women and the fight against breast cancer with a fun night out! Please contact Sherri (info on flyer) if you would like to join us in the Crow's Nest suite. Space is limited so if your interested please respond as soon as possible Crow's Nest tickets cost $20 see flyer below. If the Crow's Nest is not for you, but you still want to support the cause, general seating costs $20 and includes a Pink the Rink shirt. Let's all show how much these special women inspire us by coming out to support them in their night to shine.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 211

At least it’s Friday...
This morning Kirk and I went to Seattle for an appointment with my plastic surgeon for a fill. I have been dreading fills because when I’m nauseous and throwing up my chest muscles get used violently and they don’t have a chance to totally recover before the next fill. When my doctor examined me he was very surprised at how well my reconstruction was going and was excited to hear that I was happy as well. We left with 60 more ccs of fluid, a couple of smiles and 3 more appointments. What’s next? Radiation would be the answer. I’m straining my eyes to see the end of the treatment road but it’s a little blurry. Yesterday I thought I struck gold with a diagnosis for my nausea and dizziness! Our family friend’s sister has had breast cancer as well and after chemotherapy her body refused to absorb liquids. She would have to go in to the hospital to get fluids every couple of days. Isn’t it scary what chemo can do to our bodies? I guess it is poison so what would we expect? I brought the diagnosis of the inability to absorb fluids up with my doctor and by golly my blood work and other tests don’t support my theory. How much more of this can I take? This unknown problem is driving me bonkers day and night. We didn’t find out what the underlying issue was today but I did get more fluids, nausea medication and a pain medication for my headache and chest pain. Every time I receive the “magic 3” I feel fantastic for at least 24 hours and today is no different. My body has been “reset” to normal but my mind is slowly fizzling out. I will be squeezing every last drop of happiness and fun out of this weekend! Who knows when I will feel great again at the start of a weekend.

Love Always,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 210

My Dad:
When I was a little girl I dreamt of many things. I wanted to somehow wake up one morning with red hair like Princess Ariel from the Little Mermaid and make the whole ocean dance while I sang. I wanted to grow up and be a veterinarian and talk to the animals like Dr. Dolittle. I wanted to live in a castle with my Prince Charming and have a fairy god mother who dressed us up each night for a ball. I wanted to fly like a bird and soar through the sky. It’s funny the dreams children have. One of my favorite dreams is the one where I wanted to marry someone just like my daddy. When my dad used to tuck me in a night as a little girl did he know I never wanted him to leave me? That I always wanted to be his best friend, never moving out and to hunt and fish and get dirty just because I wanted to spend time with him? The room lights up when my dad walks in. Smiles flash because Daddy has arrived! Even Roman, my 1 year old nephew, can’t help screaming in delight when Grandpa Jim walks through the door. My daddy is strong in more ways than one. His knowledge of history, music, movies and how to win every board game is incredible. He loves his family so much that I think sometimes it hurts. He is the funniest guy around and I hope that he rubbed off on me a little bit of his wit and charm. My daddy worries for me and when I am in pain his heart is breaking with me. My dad is amazing and God blessed me with a man just like my dad. Some dreams do come true. I guess I was drawn to a version of my dad because I love him so very much. You gotta hand it to him…living with 3 strong willed, driven and emotional women over the past 20 years has made him our rock. That’s right Dad you are our rock. Us woman have these things called emotional meltdowns and we depend on our men to stand strong and tough out the storm with us. I am so thankful for my husband and my dad. The Hawkins/Lien women would be puddles on the floor without their encouragement, hugs, spaghetti and I can’t forget the curry. Daddy you have been on my mind so this one’s for you! I love you so much and I can’t wait for all your girls to be well and happy. Thanks for being the best.

Love Always,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 209

A Note From Sarah:
I might hold the record for being in the E.R. once a week for the past 5 weeks! Oh wait that is not a good thing. I tell ya when you start having a welcoming committee when you check in to the emergency room something has gone awry. I went to my doctor yesterday because of some nausea and extreme dizziness and before I knew it I was in a wheelchair heading for the next available bed. My heart rate was erratic, my dizziness was making me stumble and my nausea was hitting high notes. Another doctor, another medicine regiment, another I.V. and another “I’m sorry we don’t know what’s wrong with you”. After 5 weeks of visits my arm looks like a war zone and I have given so much blood and urine that they probably have enough to clone me. We got out of the E.R. late and prayed that this would be the last time but my logical brain wanted to ask them to have a bed ready in 6 days. I guess we will see what happens. Today I am doing much better. Like all the other times I feel great for at least 24 hours then I start sliding back down the mountain into the pit of despair. Going from sick to well to sick to well over and over is quite exhausting. Can’t I just be better? I have to start radiation soon and 5 days a week for 6 weeks is going to put me over the edge if I still have no relief from nausea and dizziness. What is it called when you get “past” the end of your rope? Insanity? Well whatever it is called I think Kirk and I are there. Whenever we get ahead it feels like we are pulled three steps backward. How much more “backwards” can we go before we fall off the cliff? I try to put my rose colored glasses on and see the positive around me but some days all I can see is just a horrible world tinted pink. I am reminded that my life could be worse. My mom told me about a girl who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and she is only 15. I wasn’t emotionally ready for breast cancer at 24 and she has to walk this road when she is only 15. My heart is breaking for her. I am so blessed that I was 24 when I was diagnosed…that’s an odd thing to say but it is truly a blessing that cancer waited this long. As I am writing this God is spiritually shaking me to wake up from this woe is me kick and see that my life is full of blessings and joy. I may not be able to see them right away but if I overlook the irritants at the surface of my life and look deeper I see a bright future with gifts and promises from God. Kirk’s dad said that if we could go through something this tough and hang on to God is the midst of it, then in future trials we would be “unstoppable”. I like the sound of that don’t you? To be unstoppable for God sounds great to me!

Thanks for taking the time to check in with me. I’m amazed at how many people my life is reaching. I’ll keep writing and you keep reading!

Love Always,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 208

My 5:15 M.R.I.
Praise be to God for keeping me safe. It is only by His mighty hand that I am free from cancer. I am still in shock from having my M.R.I. done and don’t understand why I can’t shake off the seriousness when my results came back finding nothing wrong. My scan was clean but the fear that I felt has not left without leaving scars. Fear has become one of the enemy’s greatest weapons against me. It can stop me in an instant but I am wising up to the enemy’s game. For the last few months fear has had its days numbered with me but when I was on the schedule to have my brain scanned for “abnormalities” my fear defeating strategies flew out the window. I don’t even know where to begin. How do I explain how nausea turned into a moment that I will never forget? My whole life flashed before my eyes. Not just my 25 years but the life that I haven’t even lived yet was being played in my mind. The places that I haven’t been to, the memories that I haven’t yet created and the children that I’ve only seen in my dreams gripped my heart as I waited to hear if my worst fears were my reality. Only God knows how hard it was for me to sit in the waiting room with my husband and friends and not sob. I was so scared it hurt. I had beaten breast cancer but could I beat cancer again? I tried to trick myself into thinking it wasn’t that serious but the fear that swept over me could not be masked. I held tight to Kirk’s hand and to what God had promised me and waited for my doctor’s call. That was one of the most important calls of my life because it could have changed my entire future. I think that is why I am still in shock because my life could have been changed forever with one phone call. Life is so fragile and each day should be lived as though it was our last. My 5:15 M.R.I. reminded me of that. It reminded me that I should stop and look around at what I could be missing. It reminded me not to go to bed angry and to never ever part from my husband without a kiss worthy of fireworks. It reminded me that my dreams are actually goals that can be accomplished. It reminded me that family and friends are gifts to be cherished. If I had to endure fear to remind myself of all of this it was well worth the struggle. My life can be bitter sweet sometimes but I always have the choice at which to focus on. For Kirk and me, we choose to look at the “sweet”!

Thank you for lifting my family and me up in your thoughts and prayers. I hope you are inspired by my words as I am inspired by your encouraging comments to keep on going. Some days I wouldn’t have had the strength to get out of bed without you. I am blessed by each and every one of you. Thank you.

Love Always,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Prayer Answered!!!

Tonight at 5:15, Sarah had an MRI of her head to see if there was anything going on that could be casuing all of her nausea. Her biggest fear was that they would find something serious. Uncertain of what was to come God was with Sarah in the MRI room and He was with me in the waiting room giving us peace. Well, the verdict is in! Sarah has absolutely nothing going wrong in her head. The scan was completely normal and for this we are so very thankful! God is good and God is mighty!!

Sarah said that she now knows for sure that there is nothing wrong in her head, but she playfully pointed out that because I have not had my head checked I should always agree with her on every decision. Let me tell you I might just have to get my own MRI done so I can return to making decisions again.

Thanks for all your prayers!

Please Pray!!!

At 5:15 today Sarah is having a precautionary MRI of her head just to see if there is something going on that is causing the nausea.  Please pray as Sarah is afraid of them finding brain cancer.  Her doctor is not concerned but it is just one of the things they want to cross off of the list for possible causes of nausea.

Thanks to all of you faithful readers and prayer warriors!

Day 207

A Note From Kirk:
Tonight was truly frustrating for my sweet wife. For four weeks in a row, Sarah has wound up in the ER for really high levels of nausea. This week was no different. It was only last Thursday that she found herself in the ER and now this Thursday she was back again. I guess we get another punch in our “Frequent Visitor’s Pass.”

We have no idea what is causing the nausea and not being able to resolve it has been more than Sarah can handle at times. Her pancreas enzyme levels have come down a bit so that rules out pancreatitis and the EKG she had done tonight was normal so heart trouble is out as well. While we are truly grateful that she doesn’t have either of those things we do still truly want an answer to this puzzle. She is doing really great overall, but this nausea seems to always push her over the edge. When a 25 year old woman can’t leave the house without her lipstick and vomit bag, you can imagine how quickly things could become a bit overwhelming.

We went to the ER at about two in the afternoon and were promptly taken back and put in a room. The nurse came to start an IV but had a lot of trouble. She tried twice but was unsuccessful both times. Another nurse came and undertook the third attempt and finally got it right. However, I feel so bad for my poor Sarah. Every time they tried to place an IV they had to poke her and then dig around with the needle to try and find her tiny little veins. Ouch!!! Pretty soon we will be playing “connect the dots” with the needle prick marks on Sarah’s poor arm. Thankfully, the third time was finally the charm. We left the ER at about 6:30 with once again no answers as to why her nausea persists week after week. Frustrating!!! In the coming week we are going to work with Sarah’s doctor until we find the source of the nausea. We don’t want to be in the ER next week, but I fear they may be holding a bed for us just in case.

Please pray with us that the nausea Sarah is having will be cut off. As her husband, I can honestly tell you I don’t know how much more of it she can handle. Her pain isn’t real bad anymore and her healing process is going absolutely fantastic, but this pesky nausea keeps rearing its ugly head, stopping her from gaining ground in her complete recovery from all of this. We need your prayers!!!

Thank you everyone for your continued support. You are all such a great inspiration to Sarah and I know she definitely inspires all of you.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 206

An update from Sarah:
Does everyone have those days were you just can’t pull yourself out of bed? That was me this morning. I don’t know what happened. I had a wonderful weekend and now I am just a bump on a log without the desire to take a step out of the bedroom. It seems like most days I download every stressful thing to you. It sure helps me to not hold it all in but I hope you don’t get bogged down with my day to day. I literally stayed in bed for most of the day. Now that I’ve found the Lifetime movie channel, Animal Planet and of course HGTV whole day marathons I will never be the same. Now I know how to be a single mother on the lamb “only if necessary…of course”, wrestle an alligator out of the water for gumbo, while hanging sheer linen drapes that cascade down to the floor. T.V. is making me one of those “accomplished” women who pick up a little something from here and there and who knows when alligator wranglin’ might need to pay our car payment…so I consider myself grateful that I am a fast learner! By the way I’m going to start trying those wranglin’ moves on Kirk so keep it a secret so I’ll have the element of surprise!

After Kirk got home we decided to go get some dinner so I jumped into the shower that is now taking longer because I have to wash and condition my hair. I also have to shave my legs. This job is turning into more than I can handle right now. My arms get so tired and I still have mobility problems so shaving my legs can get tricky…I was flexible before and still missed the hard to reach areas so you can imagine my the difficulty I am having. I am supposed to ask for help but does that cross the line? “Excuse me church secretary….yes, I need to put together a sign-up sheet at the visitor center for help shaving my legs every couple days…do you need to check with pastor about this or are we good?” I’m considering bathing in Nair because this post chemo hair is coming in so thick I may be related to Big Foot. I’m sure Kirk would appreciate my attention to detail in the prickly leg department so I am trying. In the bathroom today I got one leg done so beautifully I was shocked with the attention to detail…the problem is I spent all my energy on only one leg and had no energy left for the second. Sitting out on the couch with Kirk in PJ Capri pants looks like it may have been a bad idea. He isn’t sharing the blanket with me… does that tell you anything?

Hopefully tomorrow I will have the energy to shave my other leg and do some more of my Bible study homework for Thursday. Friday is another fill and we will see how that turns out. I’m still having pain from the last fill but boy am I happy with how I am starting to look and feel. Fortunately my self confidence is on the rise but that could just be my cup size? Just kidding Girls and Guys! I would cry if I didn’t laugh so you are my audience. (Hey Kirk…do you think my followers are going to get scared off by that last comment? Hope not!)

Thanks for tuning in to hear me chat about my journey with breast cancer. God allowed me to take on this challenge because I was and am strong enough to take it on and WIN. My Heavenly Father loves me and trusts me to let His light shine through me in this trial and my main goal is to make Him proud of me.

Love you all. Thanks for all the comments that pick me up during the day. You all are amazing to read, pray, write, send flowers, cook and my favorite, be there for hugs. God blessed me with a very special family and friend support group that I could never do without. You Rock my readers! Lots of love to you.

Love Always,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 205

A Note from Sarah:
I have had a fantastic weekend! It started a little shaky with being sick on Thursday but Friday I felt so much better after my E.R. visit. I should get a punch card for the E.R., “get your 10th visit free!” I think I’m getting close! I haven’t been nauseated since Thursday and let’s pray that the “nausea cycle” doesn’t start back up in a couple days. On Friday, I went to my primary doctor and he looked over all the tests and diagnosis paperwork from the E.R. and guess what…we are now back to having the mysterious nausea cycle undiagnosed! My doctor doesn’t think my pancreas is the problem unless I am an avid drinker and illegal drug user. Which I don’t think I am but I am on so many medications that who really knows what I do in my sleep. I am now on a couple new drugs to try (the legal kind) and we are going to see what happens this next week. So far my body has been able to handle the drugs that are normally very hard on the stomach so thank you Jesus for the extra strength that I need.

I also had a fill done on Friday morning that went well. My aunt Lynda took me to Seattle and we had a great time chatting the whole way there and back. The UW medical team took off my drain dressings and said everything was healing up wonderfully and I am so happy that my side pain has vanished since the drains came out! I had a little more saline injected than my first fill so my chest is a bit tighter than I was expecting but my results are making the doctors very happy. I am pretty happy about the results as well.

Okay back to my fantastic weekend! Family came in from out of town and we all had a blast. My parents had friends and family over on Friday night and the house was packed. It was so good to see everyone and give lots of “gentle” hugs. I tried my hardest to obey the doctor’s orders not to lift more than gallon of milk but I became an outlaw all weekend! I couldn’t help but sweep my nephew Roman up in my arms after I had chased him across the living room. And when a royal princess named Elizabeth (my niece) asks to twirl with you like a ballerina you can’t say no. Elizabeth is going to be three in December and boy does she have an imagination! We played hide and seek, tag, mamma bird and baby bird and we played with Roman’s train. My favorite game was “Princess and Dragon”. Elizabeth got a princess dress from Nanna Barb complete with shoes, jewels, gloves and a purse so you can guess who ended up being the dragon…who knows maybe I didn’t moisturize enough that day? Anyways Elizabeth and Roman would come near my “cave” and yell “Wake Up Dragon!” and I would open my eyes, roar with all my might and flap my dragon wings (bright pink tissue paper in each hand) and chase them all around the house. Their only safety was jumping into the arms of their parents, the Kings and Queens, and the angry dragon would fly back to her cave. I had so much fun being the fun playful auntie. I may have over done it a bit over the weekend but when I look back at this visit I will say I didn’t let cancer hold me back from making unforgettable memories with my niece and nephew that I will cherish forever. At the end of the night when we were saying our final good-byes to Joe, Susan and Elizabeth I was already getting excited to see their faces again. How much bigger will Elizabeth be? What new things will she know? I am such a sucker for kids and I do have my favorites and sweet Elizabeth you are sitting high on my list! Joe, Susan and Elizabeth, I love you all and can’t wait to see you soon!

Sunday Kirk and I had a down day. We were both exhausted from the busy weekend. Kirk had to recharge his batteries for the week of work coming up and I had to rest from playing pretend and having way too much fun. I couldn’t help but picture Kirk and I with 4 babies of our own running around playing pretend in costumes. I want to be a mother so badly but I have to have patience. God’s timing is the best and I have learned that God wants nothing but good for me so the best is yet to come!

Thanks everyone for keeping up with Kirk and me on our journey we call life. It has already turned out to be one full of “surprises” around every turn but with God and your support I know we can make it.

Love Always,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 204

An update from Sarah:
I did not want to wake up this morning. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Of course we all do at some point. I was having a glorious time sleeping without those drains in and I never wanted to leave. Again God is so good for healing my body enough to free myself of those nasty things! He knew what I could take and He delivered me. When I got up this morning I had some low level nausea. However, I knew the enemy wanted me to be sick so I couldn’t spend time with God. I got ready anyways but always kept a bathroom in sight at all times just in case I felt worse. On Thursday mornings I am going to a new Bible study on Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer at Father’s House in Granite Falls. My mom and Sherri have done studies there and they invited me to this one. I am enjoying her book so much. I am learning a lot about myself and I just love getting closer to my Heavenly Father in the process! I do not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit! Positive minds produce positive lives! Expect miracles in your life! Okay did anyone else need to hear those quotes? I sure did. I underlined so much that you could barely read it after I was done. I love our group known as the “Pumpkin Ladies”. At first we were like oh man we are pumpkins? But we have come to love being Plump and Orange…just kidding but our group is super fun and I will enjoy the rest of this study, I just know I will.

After Bible study my mom drove me to her house and by golly that nausea crept right back up on me and pounced hard. I was on the phone to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, UW Medicine, the oncall doctor of my primary doctor, the Cancer Partnership and no one could tell me what has been going on. It seems like every 3 to 5 days I have uncontrollable nausea and vomiting and this has been going on for weeks now. After spending countless hours on the phone with every doctor known to mankind, I broke down and asked my mom to take me in to the ER for fluids, anti-nausea meds and some pain killers because I just couldn’t keep anything down. I’m becoming a pro at check-in and I think they should have an express line like they do with airline counters! I’m just complaining now since there was only a five minute wait and I got into a private room with a wave of the nurse’s magic wand. I gave them everything I had to give…blood pressure, temp, blood, urine, and my story about what has been going on and the frustration it has caused because no one seems to be able to diagnose my ongoing problem…until now! I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket but my ER Doctor said my blood levels showed that my pancreas is having issues. I was in the ER on the 27th and my enzyme levels were on the high side but tonight my levels had doubled since then and they believe everything I am feeling could be symptoms of pancreatitis. The mystery may have been solved and I am so thrilled! They offered to admit me because pancreatitis can change fast if not treated but I wanted to come home and treat it on my own…well Kirk is on board and he is fantastic with keeping me up to date on meds and monitoring my diet so I don’t slip up and fall back into the “nausea cycle”. My husband is amazing and I am so happy he is all mine! I have to go on the BRAT diet with low protein for about a week but I am craving everything I shouldn’t and can’t eat, especially mac and cheese! I am going to gain some serious weight when this BRAT diet week is over. Anyone want to join me for an ice cream, mac and cheese, and mashed potato party…bring your big forks! So long story short I have to be on bland food for a while to see if my pancreas will recover. I will keep you updated on this developing story; you know I will. This morning at Bible study Katie said a fun quote. It went like this, “Without tests in your life there would be no testimony.” So true Katie! Thanks for sharing that with our group.

Friday morning I have another fill at the UW. I am nervous and excited again so we will see what they end up doing because of all this sickness I have been dealing with. They will also check out my drain bandages too to see how those are healing.

Please pray that my fill goes well in the morning without complications. Also pray for my pancreas to heal and these waves of getting sick each week stops. In Jesus’ name I come against these afflictions so please pray with me that I will be healed.

I love you all and thank God for you.

Love Always,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 203

An update from Sarah:
So long…farewell…auf Wiedersehen, good night! This was playing in my head while I was getting my drains out. Yes! They are finally out. Hallelujah I thought this day would never come! I had my surgery on September 13th and they have been my worst enemy…I guess since I woke up from anesthesia. I posted on Facebook this morning that I was having a bed day because we were desperately trying to record lower drainage numbers and not moving your arms helps but it can drive you crazy. I posted that I was “stuck in bed wanting nothing more than to go on vacation to Maui.” And that “Maybe I will put on a CD of wave music, crank up the heat and lay in bed with my swimsuit on.” Then we got the call. UW Medicine called and said they believed the numbers were low enough that we could give it a try and take them out. Both of them! Yahoo for me! I jumped out of bed, and got ready so fast there were flames! I have been so miserable and the time had come! We didn’t wait long before getting called back to the exam room and they didn’t even offer me a gown becuase it was going to be so quick and easy. All she did was cut a stitch and they were out. Freedom at last! I am writing this right before I go to sleep and I am so excited about sleeping without those painful drains.

Thank you all for praying for patience and comfort while I had my drains in. I am so grateful to have prayer showered on me daily by you. Kirk and I feel so loved and we thank God for you.

Love Always,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 202: A few moments later...

Kirk and I ended up in the E.R. again, but this time it wasn’t for me. Our sister, Ellice had to go to the hospital for some breathing problems. I know how difficult it is to bring yourself to say “yes. I do need to go into the E.R.” and how stressful it can be so Kirk and I wanted to support our sister to the fullest and be there every step of the way. Kirk loves Ellice so much that I don’t think anyone could have talked him out of being the one to drive her to the emergency room. Mom Lien and I weren’t far behind praying and rebuking the enemy for once again attacking our family. There was absolutely no wait after checking in at the E.R. desk…thank you Jesus…and we were in a private room within minutes! The doctors were quick to figure out how to soothe her excessive cough and settle her inconsistent breathing. After a couple hours things evened out and Ellice was ready to go home with a bronchitis diagnosis, a handful of meds, an exhausted chest and a sticker that called her a Super Star! Which to all of you who haven’t met my other sister please know the Super Star sticker doesn’t even tell you the half of it! We finally got her home and her breathing was giving her a break. Kirk and I gave great big hugs and kisses and headed back to our house in Snohomish.

"Please Lord protect my sister tonight. Guard her with your angels and send her your ultimate comfort and peace as she sleeps tonight."

Day 202

A Note From Sarah:
So today was a bit better than the last. Kirk demanded I have a “bed day” to recuperate from using my arms too much which caused some extra drainage. Extra drainage is bad because if I can’t get the amount down I will have to live with these horrid drains until I reach my 30’s! So bed days include me doing absolutely nothing and Kirk doing absolutely everything but giving me a massage. And you know what? If I had asked him to do that I would have gotten a massage as well! So let’s all give a big thumbs up to bed days! Lord thank you for this amazing man you have given me. What on earth would I do without him? He can reach the top shelf for laundry soap, tie up my drains for me to take a shower, sleep with only one pillow while I have the other eight, eat his dinner in the other room to make sure the smell doesn’t upset my stomach, remember every medicine at every time they are needed and also find time buy me more strawberry Gatorade when we are running low. God you don’t make too many men of this caliber do you and you let me find him. Once you find a keeper what do you do? Well in my case I stalked him until he finally noticed me and now look we are happily married with stars in our eyes…most days and no restraining order has been necessary. I say most days because ever since March 2010, I am the culprit of making things crazy. It all usually starts with me getting nauseous and not being able to take my pills. Then comes the fun Sarah…the one that if you look at me wrong or say something that I just can’t handle, I fling myself over the wall of inconsolable souls without a lick of thought. It doesn’t matter what anyone has to say I cry. Not a few tears and off we go, but the big alligator tears while throwing myself in a heap on the floor. I say things like “no one knows how I feel…” or “I don’t even know how I feel”. When all of this emotional breakdown was happening I pulled up my bootstraps, said, “I can do this” and started rewinding a movie for Roman our nephew to watch as my Mom known as “Nanna” Barb folded towels. I started to put myself back together and asked Kirk to start the movie even though it wasn’t all the way at the beginning. Kirk pressed play on the Disney Fox and the Hound and I about sunk to the floor. The next sentence I write I am not proud of so please bear with me. I started to yell at my beloved husband because he had inadvertently started the movie at the saddest part ever and just let me cry my little heart out with nothing to stop it. My poor husband never knows when the time bomb is going to go off, but maybe we should come up with a secret code word that could at least get him in the car and a couple streets over before it starts. Save Kirk, Save Kirk from his wicked, wicked wife…alright I’m not that bad…at least I hope I’m not that bad. Maybe Kirk will have to start up a blog to get out his true feelings. Or, maybe Kirk and I should write a book about being only 24 but having the world think that you have to be at least 50 to be able to deal with all of this. I’ll let you know if any editors call up and offer us a book deal.

On a lighter note, I have found something that lifts my spirits higher than high! I have known about this pleasure of mine for awhile and I don’t do it as often as I should to reduce my stress. It may be a little awkward for some of you but if you have never tried this you can’t roll your eyes. When I am having a horrible day and nothing can get me out of my funk, Kirk takes me to Bridge’s Pet Store to look at the puppies. I know I’m not in the market because our apartment is a dog free zone but just to sit there and have them lick your fingers and occasionally nibble on them just makes my heart melt into a puddle. I never get up the courage to ask if I can just play with them or give them a walk or just snuggle but I should. Bridge’s Pet Store if you read this please let me come play with your puppies. My day would be a whole lot brighter if you would open your store to me for a little bit of time. I would even be willing to give the puppies baths which oddly enough would lift my spirits even higher.

Love Always,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 201

A confession from Sarah:
I never take up anyone on their offers to help. What is wrong with me? Here I am suffering and making my husband run around like mad because I can’t accept help. I’m admitting to all of you (I’d probably freak out if I knew the real number) that I have a problem with accepting help to hopefully gain some ground on my addiction with saying “Oh I think I’m fine” when in reality my insides are screaming, “All I need is help.” It’s an addiction that Kirk and my parents know about and try to help me out with. I guess I should be happy that this is not a so called bad addiction but it is causing pain and difficulty where there should be peace. I have so many family members, friends, and readers, that would do just about anything for me and do I take you up on your kindness? No. I don’t know what is going on inside of me that refuses to let people help me but I have got to get over this or it will overcome me. Has anyone else had this problem? I know in this time I’m suppose to rest and not overly use my arms so I can get my drains out as soon as possible, but how can I not use my arms when the house is getting more and more cluttered by the day? I finally snap and bend over, reach top shelves, pick up something that is just about over the weight limit and stare at the vacuum until I start to cry. I have had so many people offer to help with dishes, housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and just plain ol’ sitting in bed with me to watch an old Audrey Hepburn movie. But as desperate as I am I don’t take those who love me up on it. I think it is because they are simple chores that as a wife I should be able to accomplish with no help. I feel helpless some days and I get so embarrassed when Kirk comes home to chores that can go on for days. If you offer to help and I hesitate for a split second just stalk me home and do whatever you want to do. God has got to help me with this horrible one woman show I call life and I think you all can help. When I got sick I thought I should still be able to do everything and boy have I tried and boy did I exhaust myself every time. I guess I don’t put two and two together …cancer and surgery equal weakness and the need for help. Is that something everyone else knows but me? I’ll try to be better. I promise. If not for me then I will try for Kirk. I love Kirk so much and he picks up all the slack and I feel like I need to give him the only help I can…your help. Again if you offer to clean, run errands, sit with me, fold laundry or just be here while I take a shower don’t you dare let me say no. Push me till it hurts and I will eventually crumble and be grateful on the inside and outside. Thank you in advance for helping a hurting woman in need.

Also, I don’t want to sound like a broken record but Kirk and I almost went into the emergency room again Sunday night. I couldn’t keep anything down, especially pain medication and I was at the end of my rope. My mom said the ER is a zoo on Sunday nights so we opted out of that and did the next best thing…go home to mom and dad’s house. I was back on the B.R.A.T. diet which is bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. When you are craving Stouffers Mac and Cheese applesauce just doesn’t cut it. Somehow Mom’s house always brings the peace I need and I settle right down…but it could have also been the fact that my mother was feeding me applesauce by the spoonful like she does with my 1 year old nephew. My arms were in so much pain that I took what I could get and let my mom do the “Here comes the airplane” but I bet my mother loved every second of it. I got to use the big spoon and not the colored plastic spoons just in case you were wondering. I am still in so much pain but Kirk and my doctors have been talking and saying my body has had just about enough pain killers and it is revolting. Nausea, headaches, chills, mood swings and crying about everything is my body telling the world I’m done with being sick so please leave me alone. On one hand I wish they could just back away slowly so I wouldn’t have to deal with anymore of this but on the other hand how am I suppose to inspire other women on this road if I wasn’t brave enough to keep pressing on myself? I will press on till I’m done and even after I’m done I will never stop pressing on for those who are walking the same road I did. God give me strength in order to walk this path. I know that you are with me every step of the way and I am so grateful that I am not alone.

Love Always,

Day 200

An Exciting Note from Sarah:
On Saturday I was in a parade! I have shared with some of you that being in a parade was on my “list” and I finally got the opportunity to do it! Sherri offered me a place in the Granite Falls Railroad Days Parade and Kirk and I jumped at the chance. Her Alfy’s location was featured and she wanted to give me the opportunity to ride in style with the Alfy’s entourage. We started thinking of how Sarah’s Hope could be featured and I immediately thought of dressing up in a pink dress, wearing a crown and riding in one of my favorite cars! Duh…a red mustang convertible. I think I’m starting to have an obsession with them. Luckily I know a man that loves me like a daughter and has a fabulous red mustang convertible! Our family friend Randy Wolf let me enter his mustang in the parade as the official car of Sarah’s Hope! Thanks Randy! Randy’s daughter, Jen, and Jen’s husband, Chris, were my drivers and the candy throwers. If you got nailed by a sucker sorry about that! Thanks Jen and Chris. You two are awesome and I know deep down inside you were just waiting for the chance to be in a parade! The Alfy’s entourage…and by entourage I mean I’m pretty sure we had the largest group there, started out with a soccer team that Granite Falls Alfy’s sponsors, followed by the Sarah’s Hope Breast Cancer Princess mustang, then came the dancing pizza slices (more about them later). The slices were followed by Sherri, Austin,Becca and Rob who are getting pretty good at throwing Alfy’s merchandise at crowds without injuring them. And last but definitely not least came the Alfy’s bus who was driven by Bob Jones and my Kirk Lien was there right beside him in case things got dicey. Bob and Kirk bonded in that 40 minutes and now we are all jealous of what they have. Now back to those pizza slices also known as Momma and Papa Hawk! Man if we had video of their “street moves” we would win the $100,000 prize money from America’s Funniest Videos. My parents can really shake it and they know the moves that bring men, women and children to tears. I am so proud of them I can barely stand it…and guess what else? My mom had a cold and she brought the heat like no other pizza slice I have ever seen! Let’s all give a “Whoop Whoop” for my favorite pizza slice parents. I love you guys and maybe you can teach me some of your moves? I don’t think Sherri has to worry about who is going to be the pizza slices for next year. My parents have done it two years in a row so far and I think their Alfy’s parade streak has just begun. Maybe Kirk and I should come up with more costumes and join my parents but we would first have to learn the sacred moves of the pros.

Thank you all who came out to the Granite Falls Railroad Days and cheered the Alfy’s crew on! I am so grateful to everyone at Alfy’s for their never ending help and love. Thanks Bob, Sherri, Becca, Austin, Rob and the rest of the Alfy’s family! Also I want to thank Heather Mayer for taking pictures of the event. I gave her such short notice but Heather really is wonderful and she came out ready to go. All of her pictures are fantastic and I am so happy she is my friend. Thanks Heather for all you do for Kirk and me.

I hope the Railroad Days crowd won’t soon forget us because I won’t ever forget the moments when I saw all the little girls looking up at me and sheepishly waving at a woman who is fighting for her life wearing a tiara and a pink dress. To those girls I was a princess. Thank you everyone for making me feel beautiful and loved just like a princess.

By the way my followers are just about to 90! How amazing is that! Once the goal of 90 is hit the next is 100! Can you believe how close we are to breaking 100 followers? It’s all because of you! Thank you!

Love Always,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 199

A note from Sarah:
So I am hurting. Hurting in a good way I guess. I had my first “fill” Friday morning down in Seattle and it was exciting yet painful. For those of you who missed what a “fill” is here is the scoop. I had expanders put in during surgery so we could expand my muscle and skin out to eventually put in permanent saline implants to replace the breast tissue that was taken in surgery. Isn’t modern medicine amazing? Friday morning we made the exhausting trek to Seattle through the never ending traffic for an appointment that only took about 10 minutes. Yeah it’s that fast! Prep the skin, needle prick, saline fluid, “How does that feel”, circle band aid, “See you next Friday”, appointment counter, and then the parking garage! I forgot how quick those appointments were. I went with my mom a handful of times when she was going through her expansion process but I guess it is a little different when you are in the hot seat. After I was done with my “fill” I started feeling tight across my chest and I took some muscle relaxers to calm the muscle spasms that can occur. About an hour later I took some pain medicine and Kirk put me to bed to sleep off my medicine hangover and to forget about extreme pressure on my chest. I woke up hours later to my cell phone ringing and I felt so much better! I was a little embarrassed at the doctor’s office, my skin is so dry that I look like I’m molting. Okay it’s not that bad but have you ever thought of filling your entire bathtub with lemon verbena lotion and locking the door for an hour? Oh…just me huh? Well I think I’m so dry because it is so hard to put lotion on due to these darn drains. I still have two but hopefully they will be gone by this week! Come to think of it the drains make everything difficult. Showering is such a hassle, so is sleeping and shaving. Somehow my prayers for my leg hair not to come back didn’t make it to heaven or God thought He couldn’t make it so obvious that I am His favorite!

Love Always,