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 Etsy.com. 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…..my 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,