Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Sarah's surgery went just great! Overall she is doing very well but she is having a decent amount of pain on her right side. Sarah will be staying one night in the hospital here at UW and then she will go home tomorrow. I have taken the rest of the week off and will be home with my sweet wife just helping her recover. Thanks for all your prayers!


Sarah is in surgery....

Sarah went in to surgery and everything is going according to plan so far. She will be in surgery for 2-3 hrs and she will spend one night in the hospital then go home tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Surgery...Coming Soon

Sarah's reconstructive surgery is coming up really soon. It is on Wednesday the 19th, just one week from today. Even though the thought of surgery is never fun, Sarah is really looking forward to getting the painful tissue expanders removed from her chest and having her permanent implants placed. However, we do still need quite a lot of prayer on this subject. Sarah and I have put a lot of hope in the idea that this surgery could really help her get past the health issues she has been facing for the last year. Ever since Sarah’s double mastectomy surgery a year ago, she has had to be on almost constant pain medication due to the discomfort of the expanders. That pain medication, while necessary now, has wreaked havoc on Sarah’s body. She has been almost always nauseous 24/7, sometimes throwing up, she can’t eat all that well, and she has had lots of problems with dehydration. All these symptoms started after her first surgery when she had to start on pain medication. Our hope, is that with the comfortable permanent implants, Sarah’s pain would drastically decrease taking with it all of the terrible side effects of the pain meds that she has had to deal with. This hope is not a pipe dream, but based on the experiences of people like Sarah’s mom who have walked this same road and have told us of their experiences. The prayer we need is in a specific area. We desperately need this surgery to be the change that brings back Sarah’s ability to eat well, exercise, and do many of the day-to-day tasks that she so desperately wants to return to doing. She has been constantly held back by searing pain and difficult side effects of harsh medications. We truly believe that the removal of pain and meds will be the catalyst to launch Sarah into full recovery from the past year and a half of treatments and setbacks. Please pray with us that God will act on Sarah’s behalf and bring a real change followed by complete restoration for her. We are somewhat afraid that nothing will change and this time of pain and sickness will continue, but we are whole-heartedly putting all of our eggs in this “Final Surgery” basket. Please put all of your eggs in there with us!
P.S. Even though Sarah has had all of this to deal with, she has still somehow found a way to keep her dream of helping children in Africa alive! Sarah has listed her first Emalene crocheted baby hat for sale on Etsy. She will be listing more and more of her items in the days to come. I am so very proud that Sarah is taking life by force and living her dreams.
The link to Sarah's Etsy shop is:
On her page you will find all of the hats that she has listed!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thanks for the prayers...

Sarah's MRI was crystal clear. She has no problems with her head!

Thanks everyone for praying.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Prayer Request

Tomorrow Sarah is having an MRI of her head. Sarah has had some dizziness and has fainted a few times over the past few weeks. Sarah has had bruises on her legs and bumps on her head from falling when she passes out. It has been very scary for her to wake up on the floor not knowing how long she has been out. I have become more and more worried about her safety when I leave her home when I'm at work, but I know that God is her protector.

The MRI is at 2:15 so please pray that all will be well. Sarah's doctors are just not willing to take any chances that something is wrong. However, they don't think that they will find anything either. Please pray that the results will come quickly as this will be a scary time of waiting for Sarah and the rest of us.

Thanks for praying,


On a happier note...we celebrated Sarah's dad's birthday tonight with lots of family and friends and some special guests Sarah's niece Elizabeth and her parents Joe and Susan. It was a wonderful night of laughter before Sarah's hard day tomorrow. We will treasure all the fun that we had.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Plese Pray...

Sarah's health has taken a few steps back lately. She has been struggling once again with dehydration. The hard thing is that her main doctor right now has told her that he thinks she doesn't need fluids and that she is not truly dehydrated. However, all of the nurses she sees tell her that she is clearly dehydrated. Frustrating! Whenever Sarah goes in for hydration, it always takes the nurses numerous tries to get an IV started leaving her hand sore for days. This is a clear sign of dehydration. This dehydration leaves Sarah feeling very nauseous and often leads to her throwing up. As you can imagine this puts a serious damper on her nutrition. We are trying to get Sarah on a schedule of weekly infusions of fluid just to give her body a weekly boost.
One positive note is that for now Sarah has found a pain med that does seem to be helping, but with every medication comes a slurry of side effects. More nausea...more drowsiness...when does it end. The truth is...until Sarah can be off of most of her medications needed for pain and nausea, alot of the negative side effects won't improve. With that in mind, we are looking forward very eagerly to Sarah's last surgery. Her full reconstruction. This surgery will remove the painful tissue expanders that are in Sarah's chest now and replace them with more comfortable permanent implants. It is my feeling that with the source of pain in her chest gone, Sarah will be able to get off most of her tough medications. In my mind this should vastly improve her ability to fully recover from the last year and a half of treatments.

Sarah is also struggling a great deal with depression (who can blame her). My poor wife has been sick now for a year and a half. Sarah's birthday is coming up this month and when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she commented that truly she wanted the last two years of her life back. She was 24 when this all started and now she will be 26. I am sure it is hard to look back and realize that two years of your twenties have been taken away from you. My biggest prayer request would be that very soon God would give my wife the complete recovery that she longs for and that he would enable us to live out some of our dreams so we can put all of this sickness and hurt behind us.

Thanks for continuing to love my wife.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Quick Note...

Sarah feels bad that she has not been keeping up with the blog posts, but life for her has been a little hard to face lately. Sarah's anti-depressant medication (along with her pain Med) has been contributing to her abnormal heart function and as a result, the dose has had to be reduced. From my view this has not been a change for the better. Sarah still has so much pain and sadness staring her in the face that it is hard for her to see the areas in which she has improved by leaps and bounds.

I am writing this to all of you to let you know that Sarah hasn't forgotten about all of her supporters. She told me that she has tried to write posts, but feels terrible coming to "Sarah's Hope" to write when she feels very very void of that hope. Please continue to pray for and love my wife as she continues to fight. She will come around soon and every time she gets through a tougher season like this last month or so she comes through 100% stronger and more alive than before.

Thank you all so much for your diligent support of my sweet, sweet wife. She does not deserve the hurt she has been through this last year and a half, but she does deserve a group of supporters like you.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Garage Sale Day One a Success!

The first day of our Sarah's Hope Fundraiser garage sale was a blazing success! We sold a ton of stuff and raised a lot of funds. Thank you to everyone who donated and to everyone who came and bought. We still have a lot of stuff to sell so come on out Saturday and Sunday to show your support. If you still have a donation for the sale go ahead and bring it to the sale any time.

Garage Sale Location:
1723 93rd Dr SE
Lake Stevens, WA 98258

For Questions Contact:
Kirk @ 425-232-0756

Thanks again!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank you to everyone who has supported Kirk and I in getting this garage sale going! I'm so happy and blessed to have so much love bestowed toward us. Please keep the donations coming and please, please, please remember to come out and leave with treasure! The sale is August 5th, 6th, and 7th and will be located at 1723 93rd Drive SE, Lake Stevens, WA 98258.

While I am trying to get support for the garage sale, life is just kicking my behind! If my body keeps rejecting fluids and food, I'll be in the hospital again soon. Another visit to the ER equals another bill. When will it end?

Please hear my cry for help. I feel like I'm on the losing end of this battle. Cover me with protection and Your healing touch.

More details about the garage sale below

Thursday, July 7, 2011

We Need Your Help!!!

As you well know we are always up for fundraising efforts and Kirk’s family has offered to put together a Fundraiser Garage Sale! The Lien Family will put the sale on but WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! Garage Sales aren’t much of sales without stuff and that is exactly where you come in. We need your stuff to SELL, SELL, SELL. Please donate your gently used items to us so we can in turn pay for our medical bills.

Also remember to stop by and show your support. The garage sale is August 5th, 6th, and 7th at: 1723 93rd Dr SE, Lake Stevens, Wa 98258.

Donation contact for North of Marysville: Bonnie Lien (425) 232-6344
Donation contact for South of Marysville: Kirk Lien (425) 232-0756

Hurry and donate soon! The garage sale is in a week and a half.

Garage Sale Items
- Cell phones—no older than 3 years
- Puzzles and Board Games
- Furniture (sofas and other large pieces)
- Sporting goods (good condition)
- Small appliances (toasters, irons, blenders, etc)
- Musical instruments (no organs please)
- Bedding (good condition)
- Dishes and cookware
- Home decor
- Fishing gear
- Baby items (good condition)
- DVD players (working condition)
- DVD’s
- Video Games (games and consoles in working condition)
- Computer monitors (flat screen)
- TV’s (flat screen)
- Tools (working condition)
- Weedeaters, edgers, lawnmowers (working condition)
- Camping gear
- Bikes (working condition) 

Please No Books, Clothing, Computers, Printers, Tube TV’s. Thanks

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 285

I can’t believe this is my life right now. I am 25 years old. Isn’t this the time in your life that you are supposed to feel the best? The time where you jump at the chance of adventure? Where energy comes in endless supply? This should be a time in my life when I get fun travel magazines in the mail not stacks and stacks of medical bills that are rapidly depleting my cancer fund. Or a time when I should be playing tennis with my husband instead of barely being able to make it up the front stairs to the door. I am falling further and further from the woman I once was. I am always tired, always in pain and I have to take medications by the handfuls; and those handfuls cause horrible side effects. I don’t sleep without nightmares. I don’t move without pain searing throughout my body. I feel so much guilt for the things I am not able to do. I want to be the wife that cleans the house and makes dinner for my husband when he comes home from work and I want to be the friend who cooks a meal for a girlfriend in need. I can start trying to do those things, but right in the middle of it my legs start to ache and quiver, or my head starts to feel so dizzy I almost fall down. I stop and rest which only makes things worse. A time of rest quickly turns into a complete emotional meltdown. I am so frustrated that because of my physical weakness I am unable to complete even the simplest of tasks. I have tried doctor after doctor, medication after medication, vitamin after vitamin and nothing makes me feel like Sarah Elizabeth Lien the 25 year old woman that has an amazing future ahead of her. In fact I don’t remember that Sarah. All I know is the exhausted, sick and depressed Sarah that has lost some of her hope in feeling better. Will I ever be whole again? Will I ever overcome this dark cloud in my head? Will I ever smile without it being forced? I know there are some things that make me happy no matter what but they can never last forever. Flowers, babies, my nephew Roman; I can’t make flowers bloom all year round, I can’t hold newborn babies all day long and I think my sister Bethany would miss her child if Roman moved in with me. So it’s back to the drawing board for happiness for me.  I need some help for happiness.

God, please let me see the beauty everywhere I look. I want happiness. I want wholeness. It has been too long since I have felt well. Please heal my body. Please lay your mighty hand over me and heal every muscle, every bone, and every cell. Keep me tucked away in the safety of your arms. Heal me O God.

Love Always,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 284

I told you all I would put an update on here the next day, but I got so caught up in the whole "hospital" thing that I totally forgot. On Wednesday at about 3:30 in the afternoon Sarah was finally discharged. For all of Tuesday and Wednesday the hospital was only using medicine that Sarah could have at home. They seemingly have found a regiment of medications that will work for now. One big change is that Sarah's pain doctor will be slowly reducing the dose of Sarah's pain cocktail to find the least dose that is still effective. That way there will be less impact on her stomach. Now that Sarah is much more stable and is eating again, she should also be able to do some very very light exercise to strengthen herself which should really help the pain in her muscles and joints. Her doctor's are now looking to make a lot of little changes that will hopefully yield big results overall.

Just as all of you have been thinking that Sarah and I can't catch a break lately...just wait...there's more. On Thursday, I was at work and Sarah and her Mom were at our new apartment we just moved to a couple of weeks ago. They decided to make some lunch and fired up the oven for the first time to make some Texas toast. As the oven got going suddenly smoke started barreling out, quickly a fire started that even more quickly began to get out of control. With some flour, a fire extinguisher, some help from the landlord and finally the fire department (called by Sarah), the fire was finally put out. The final result let me tell you was less than pleasing. There was a huge cloud of thick black smoke that covered the entire apartment. All that smoke settled as thick sticky dust over every single knook and cranny of the apartment. It took countless hours of seemingly endless cleaning to finally get things close to normal. We very thankfully had the help of both sets of our parents. Without them we could not have done it. There was no permanent dammage done to the apartment but we lost a couple of essentials. A cupcake pan, a pizza pan, two kitchen rugs, a cooling rack, the tops to our pyrex glassware, an entire bottle of laundry soap (we had to wash all our clothes, curtains, pillows, etc.) I think that is everything oh oven. haha. We can laugh about it now but for the last day and a half it has been no laughing matter. The smell of smoke is still somewhat present and I am sure it will take a while to dissipate, but the good news is that no one was hurt and no priceless belongings were ruined.

We thank the Lord that he always has his angels surrounding us and keeping us protected, but we are pleading with Him to stop thew hits that seemingly just keep coming. Please pray that Sarah and I could finally enter a season in our lives where things start to look up again.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 283

Monday, Sarah was admitted to the hospital at the University of Washington. The plan, in short, is to find a solution for pain and nausea that will work for her at home. Since Monday, they have managed to get Sarah to a more stable state where she can eat and drink without vomiting. This is a very good thing as she has not eaten since Thursday. Tomorrow (Wednesday) the doctors here will start to try new means of pain and nausea control until a solution that is tested and proven here at the hospital is found. It is not fun for Sarah to be at the hospital, but at the moment it is the only place she has been stable for a couple of weeks.

Thanks for all the prayers over the last couple of days. We feel them and could not make it without them. I will update the blog tomorrow with info as to what the "plan" is.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 282

When will she feel better???
Sarah has been so sick for so long that she doesn't remember what it feels like to be healthy. She is completely at her wits end with pain and nausea. For the last few months, Sarah has been on a pain cocktail to try and help manage her pain. That cockail, while she tolerated it early on, is now making her incredibly nauseous. For the past week and a half, Sarah has consistently had a very high level of nausea, but that nausea has now become vomiting. Sarah is unable to keep food, most medications, or large quantities of fluids down, a very bad cycle which has led to numerous emergency room visits. Now Sarah's only option is stop the pain cocktail to help the nausea, but then be in searing pain 24/7. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance wants to admit her to the hospital to try and stabilize her while also trying to find a different solution to combat her pain. While this might sound like a simple solution to most, one more IV poke, one more trial and error with different medications, or one more time throwing up from a new medication will almost literally send her over the edge of insanity.

We need your help! We need prayer. Prayer for pain....Prayer for nausea...Prayer that God would FINALLY move his hand and bring my suffering wife some quick relief. I struggle to undestand all the reasons why Sarah needs to be so sick this far out from her treatments. I struggle to be able to keep my frustration under the radar so I don't further add to Sarah's. I am powerless to do anything for my wife and that is very very difficult. To see someone you love so much be in so much pain and agony and not be able to do one thing to help is heartbreaking. Please plead with me that God will see Sarah's hurt and decide to act on her behalf. God has helped us in so many ways this last year and I am eternally grateful for the grace He has shown, but what I need now is for my wife to be whole again. Please join with me and intercede for our sweet Sarah.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 281

Wow, how awful can one person feel? I like to think I’d take the cake but I know there are worse off people than me and I have such a heart for them because I truly know what it means to hurt…emotionally and physically. Tomorrow I have another appointment in Seattle at the Cancer Care Alliance’s pain clinic and I am hoping for a miracle. My levels of pain and nausea are just putting me right on the brink of being out of commission. Kirk has been a life saver this last week! I hurt when I’m awake, I hurt when I’m asleep…oh that pretty much covers my day and night. I just want to feel good for a little while and be able to pick up my nephew without tensing up my whole body. To jump into my husband’s arms and not have him worry if he is going to hurt me if he hugs me. To sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time without nightmares or awakening pain jolts. I know it will get better so for now I will picture my great big sun hat sitting in a chair nestled in the sand on my beach in Hawaii feeling the warmth of the sun and hearing the light crashing of the waves on the shore. Anyone care to join me?

With all this pain and nausea I had to figure out something I could do to get my mind off all the hurt. And guess what? I did it! I found a hobby that doesn’t cost me but saves me money! Couponing! I can coupon when I am sick and when I’m having not such a bad day. Today Kirk and I went shopping and I saved us $20 on grocery items we were going to buy anyways! At the checkout counter I wanted balloons to fall from the ceiling and confetti everywhere you looked but I didn’t get all that. I did however get a Good Job from the cashier and a hug from my Hubby. I can’t wait until our next shopping trip…what will I save then?

Thank you for the continued prayer and financial gifts. It has been very hard with me not working and the extra funds have kept us out of debt from all the cancer treatments. We would be in a very different position without the help of family and friends. The aftermath of cancer has been a hard one but with a support group like ours it is easy to see that we are well taken care of by God and by YOU

Love Always,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 280

The Aftermath of Cancer vs. Sarah Elizabeth Lien
This last month I have needed a V.I.P. access card with the short line at the check in counter at the E.R. I am asking who is on staff that night and I have my favorite rooms…it’s getting sad. Last night we were on the phone with the pain clinic on-call doctor at the University of Washington and she said because of how I was doing she was worried about dehydration and not being able to keep my meds down. Her advice was to go to the E.R. and ask to be admitted. I think I was being stubborn last night because it was a really rough night of sleeping in the bathroom but the negatives of going to the hospital are all I can think about. I feel like if I give in and go I am losing some part of this battle and I just start to cry. I feel so weak and vulnerable but I know I am in God’s hands. Please pray for me. I need your help to get through this and you have not failed me yet! Pray! Pray! Pray!

Let’s see how today goes…..

Love Always,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 279

Looking for a Rainbow...
I wish I could tell you good news but I don’t have much to say to brighten your day. I was in the E.R. again with nausea symptoms along with pain and more pain. I have started my new regimen of my pain cocktail that consists of taking it four times a day but it doesn't seem to be helping all that much. My pain specialist says the nausea is being caused by my body getting used to the new pain cocktail and it will take some time for everything to calm down a bit and my body will accept the pain medicine. If the pain doesn’t settle down I may have to up the dose and that may cause more nausea so I am on a road that may not have a happy ending until God heals me completely…oh please pray that a miracle happens because our God is certainly capable of miraculous miracles! It just seems like with all this rain falling down on me every day making life more and more difficult to cope with, there should be a sign of a rainbow somewhere. I’m looking but don’t see one but I could sure use a boost by finding that leprechaun and his pot of gold!

I have been pushing my body harder than I should be these last couple days and I am paying for it with "I told you so's" from family members and horrible pain and exhaustion. The reason I push my body so hard is I won’t let the effects of cancer hold me back any longer. I won’t let cancer hold me back from making a fort with my nephew and climbing on all fours to play with trucks under the table. I won’t let cancer hold me back from spending an entire morning at the Zoo with my sister Bethany, who is a nanny, gather up her little "chicks" and scoop them up in arms, give piggyback rides and lift them up as high as possible to see the giraffes. Let’s just say I over did it…a little…okay a lot, but when will I have that moment again? Realistically…never. I want to savor each day. Remember the Sunday School song "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it"? That’s what I want to do. Every day is a gift and I won’t let cancer take away my gifts from God. Be mindful that I don’t feel this way every day…some mornings when the pain is searing through my chest and back I say "this day is lost…let’s try for tomorrow". I hate losing time, not checking something off my to do list, accomplishing a goal and when I stay in bed or curled up in a ball on the couch I feel worse at the end of the day because I am a purpose driven person and when there are hundreds of things on my plate there is no time to lose. Cancer may have gotten me down this last year and a half but cancer doesn’t know who its dealing with…I’m a Lien…formally a Hawkins and when you mix those two together you better watch out because I am a force to be reckoned with. Just wait until Kirk and I have kids…watch out world!

Okay, I feel a little better now. I have left you with a sweet thought mixed with a little sunshine. Thank you to all those who have responded to our fundraiser letter; it never ceases to amaze me of the generosity of our family and friends. Cancer is so expensive. Thank the Lord Kirk and I have insurance, without insurance the average yearly cost of cancer treatment is $300,000! And that doesn't even count all the follow up treatments for years to come. God has really provided for us in every way and all of you are part of that support circle that has been raising us up in prayer and in love. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I’d be lost without all of you. Thank you for being there for me.

Love Always and Forever,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fundraiser Letter

Click On Image To Enlarge
Click On Image To Enlarge

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 278

ER Once Again...
For the past three weeks Sarah has been having a continual increase in pain due to the nerves in her chest and arm waking back up in the aftermath of her double mastectomy surgery. What her pain feels like is when your leg falls asleep and feels like pins and needles when you move or touch it , but x100. Every time she moves or touches her chest it is excruciating.

We finally got Sarah in to the pain clinic at SCCA and they put her on a new regiment of medication that will get this new pain under control. However, this new regiment will take 3-5 days to start to make a difference and probably 1-2 weeks to completely control the pain. To give you an idea of how resistent Sarah is to medication, the pain clinic had her try a pain medication that was 50x stronger than morphine and it had no effect on her at all.

Last night we were on our way back from picking up the new medications when Sarah's pain started to worsen. It was so bad that I made the decision to take her to emergency room. They kept giving her more and more pain medications but nothing helped. She was there for about six hours and her pain was not touched at all. By the time we made the decisionn to go home Sarah was in intense pain and was very frustrated by not getting any relief in the ER. We headed home and tried to go to bed. This morning Sarah's pain hadn't lessened, but the breakthrough shooting pains that sent her over the edge had ceased. She is feeling a little better and we are eager for her new pain control regiment to take full effect.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 277

Mother’s Day
First of all if you are a mom I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I have two moms and it was very special spending some time dedicated to just them! I love you Mom! I love you Mom2!

I had an emotional mother’s day. I was angry that cancer was still holding me back from what I wished for my life and I was sad because Kirk and I have 17 embryos but had no baby to hold. I cried in the shower. Cried getting dressed and cried just wishing the sadness would pass. As it now stands I have 689 days left until I can start to have children. Pathetic that I know the days? I don’t think so, I see it as a woman that is very excited to be a mother.

Kirk being a sweetheart took me to the pet store to see the little cuddly puppies and although it made me forget about the sadness for a while, the smile slowly faded and I was gloomy once again. What made the whole day turn around was….Roman! Roman was slated to come over to my house for a couple nights and it has been so wonderful to hold this precious boy and read him a story before naptime and have picnics in the kitchen and secretly wear my very high, and very expensive heels around the living room. We made a fort under the table and played with cars until his little eyes were drooping. He crawled up into my lap and fell asleep. I am so happy to have a nephew who is fun and is always a darling. I have one more night with Mr. Roman and I can’t tell you what adventures will come next.

Thank you Bethany for allowing me to babysit your son. He heals my longing heart with his laughter and hugs. You are a super sweet sister to share him with me. Let’s start calling the day after Mother’s Day Happy Aunties Day!

Love Always,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 276

Craft Fair
The craft fair day had finally come and I was going to be showing my handmade creations to the public! I was excited but nervous…what if no one liked my gifts? Kirk and I set up my table at Lake Connor Park and we waited until the first customers walked through the doors. I met some great people who owned lots at the park that I hope I will see again this summer; also I met some people who had baby showers and grandchildren coming soon so my business cards were flying. Overall I wished that there was a little more customer flow but what do you expect for Mother’s Day weekend? What I did not expect was the generosity of the people who stopped by my table. Some people came by and read my sign that I give 50% of their purchase to charities who support children in Africa and they just handed me money and said “it is great what you are doing”. The whole reason Emalene was started was to help African children so you can imagine that my heart melted with every donation.

Thank you everyone who stopped by my table. You are not only helping me but you are supporting a much bigger cause. I even had the pleasure of meeting one of my faithful blog reader’s family. Thanks Heidi! (I hope that is your name…I still have chemo brain…it’s a miracle I remember my phone number these days.) Thank you to everyone who has been excited for this business venture. I hope I can make a mark for a greater cause and if not at least I’m making baby’s heads warmer.

Love Always,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Come On Down!!!

Come on down to Lake Connor Park in Lake Stevens. I am having my first sale of Emalene hats at their craft fair. I give 50% of my profit to charities that benefit the children of Africa. I have such a heart for them and this is my way to show them love.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 275

Trying to walk forward
The effects of cancer still cripples me down to my knees. I’m lying in bed sick from hotflashes, intense pain, nausea, and a headache that is making the room spin. I am in Cle Elum helping my friend Sherri cook for some 25 pastors and I feel helpless; unable to be away from the bathroom and unable to help a friend that has gone above and beyond for me. I’m so done with having cancer run my life. When will I be in charge again? I know that the road to recovery is taking 3 steps forward and 1 step back but some days it feels like I’m taking more steps backward than forward. Please pray with me that I will be able to help my friend serve these pastors and for complete healing will be on the horizon.

Lord, I want to serve your people and not let those who count on me down. Heal me Father. I want to be your hands and feet but I feel like my body is holding me back. Have mercy on your daughter and give me strength for the days to come. Thank you for the gifts that you give: my husband, my family, my friends. Father you bless me day in and day out; please give me strength to do your will and help those in need. I love you. Amen. 

Love Always,

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 274

5 steps forward 2 steps back…
Sarah has been doing so great lately, but once again the recovery from cancer continues to take its toll. Over the last month, Sarah has been starting to decrease the amount of pain cocktail she was taking because she was starting to feel pain free. She was so proud of herself and she was looking forward to her independence from pain medication. However, over the last week Sarah’s nerve endings in her chest were starting to wake up and cause serious pain. During Sarah’s double mastectomy surgery all of her nerves in her chest were cut leaving her numb in most of her upper torso. Now, she is starting to regain her feeling but unfortunately all the feeling that has come back has been pain. This is a new symptom and her doctors are trying to figure out how to manage this new pain. We have been working with Sarah’s pain specialist, but he is unable to see her and make medication changes until late next week. To add to the problem Sarah has been experiencing very severe hot flashes. These hot flashes are due to a hormone blocker medication that Sarah is taking to improve the percentage of staying cancer free. Imagine trying to sleep when one minute you have ice flowing through your veins and the next there is sweat rolling down your forehead. As you can guess the hot flashes and pain are causing Sarah to average 1 to 2 hours of sleep per night. So, when you can’t see your pain specialist for a week and a half and you haven’t slept in days, you are left with few options. For Sarah just about her only option for relief was the emergency room. My Sarah fought as hard as she could to be strong but the pain and sleep deprivation just overwhelmed her on Thursday night. This was very disappointing to Sarah because of all the hard work and persistence on her part to be able to live free of pain medication and hospital visits. At the hospital she was given pain relief and a sleep aid and it made a world of difference. Please keep Sarah in your prayers for her pain and sleeplessness. Thank you.

At the moment Sarah is very focused on finally being able to sell some baby hats for her new business Emalene. Sarah has a huge heart for under-privileged children in Africa and with Emalene her dream of helping them will become a reality. A portion of every hat sold will be donated to benefit the children of Africa.  Sarah is getting ready to participate in her first ever craft fair. Because she is not sleeping, she has had lots of extra time to get hats made. The lack of sleep is certainly not a good thing, but it has allowed her to get a ton done. The craft fair will be May 7th and 8th at Lake Connor Park in Lake Stevens from 10a-3:30p. Come on out and show your support for Sarah and the hurting children of Africa.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 273

I want to thank each and every one of you who congratulated me on my great news. It touches my heart that so many of my friends and family called, wrote, texted, treated us to dinner and all but wrote in the sky how happy and proud of me you are. I am so blessed to have had an army of support backing me up in my fight for life…which I won! There are not words enough to describe the gratefulness I feel to have been shown so much love. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for crying with me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for loving me. You made the difference and I hope that I will show you that I will not take for granted this life that was spared. I will make a mark in history because I have a purpose and I believe that purpose is to serve God’s people. I am the Lord’s hands and feet and I will do whatever and go wherever there is a need. Thank you for giving me the courage to live without fear. Your prayers and encouraging words help me stand tall and feel that my survival is no accident but the divine plan of God. I have much to do and my goals in these next few months are to strengthen my body and mind for what God has in store for my future. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Love Always,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 272

News... and boy do I mean good news! I’m going to keep this short and sweet so we can all shout a joyful noise of praise. This last week I had a string of appointments at Seattle Cancer Care that lasted from 7a to late afternoon and by the last examination table I was told by all my doctors that I was doing way better than anyone could have imagined. My pain specialist was floored about my progress. My oncologist said it is amazing what I have accomplished in just one year. Then the best news came. My surgeon took my hand and told me my chance of getting breast cancer again is one to two percent. You don’t know what I left in that room when we walked out the door…weights fell off my shoulders when I heard that my percent of getting cancer again was as close to zero as we can get. I celebrate life because I have a life to live. I can breathe a sigh of relief and take the next step in my life with a smile on my face. I have beaten cancer. Sarah Elizabeth Lien has fought her battle and won.

Thank you for cheering me on to get this far! I still have much to accomplish to get back to where cancer found me but I am making up ground faster than doctors can even dream possible. And that is ONLY due to your prayers, donations, support and your love. Please keep me in your hearts as I work to regain what was lost plus much much more.

Love Always,

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 271

I'm Back!!!
I’m back and ready to stay at least for a little while. First Minnesota then California, what was I thinking? I had some great fun with a little pain but man it was totally worth it. I feel like I’m living again! On the road and flying about the country is liberating. Excuse me "normal life", Here I Come! As you read in the last post Minnesota was very enjoyable. Spending time with our family is always a special treat and I can’t wait for them to come here and visit us in the summer. We were only home for one night between Minnesota and California so it was crazy packing. When we left Minnesota it was snowing and when we got to California the sun was shining with gusto so out came the sunscreen! It was fantastic until the clouds came and sent us running back to our hotel in our ponchos! Can you picture all of us in orange and white ponchos running through the rain to the tram? It was quite a sight to see. The sun did come out for one glorious day and we enjoyed every minute of it…my red cheeks and nose are proof! It was so much fun reconnecting with my cousin and her daughter. When you visit California you can’t miss a certain theme park sporting mouse ears can you? I was feeling good for the first two days but then the third day my weak legs couldn’t walk without pain searing through my body so guess what I got to do? Use an electronic scooter! I was so embarrassed that I wanted to stay behind but I did get my party in the fast lane a couple times so by the end of the day I was the superhero of the lines. The most wonderful thing about Minnesota and California besides family was I didn’t need to go into the hospital or need emergency meds at all! God sure gave me a gift these last couple weeks. I still haven’t needed to go into the hospital for nausea or dehydration so is this the turning point we have all been waiting for? Please pray with me that I have weathered the nausea and dehydration storm and God has healed my body completely. Thank you Lord for safety on our trips with lots of laughter and fun!

On to another note, March 16th was the one year anniversary of my diagnosis. I know! Can you believe it? One year ago I was a woman seeking what to do next in life and BAM! I had a stage 3 rare aggressive breast cancer that could have taken my life at 24 years old. I feel the need to celebrate life! How would you celebrate life? Get a tattoo? Go skydiving? Buy my dream car? Take a trip around the world? Buy a house? I am at a loss at how to celebrate that I am alive and well. I am still in shock that I had my life flipped upside down but didn’t God do a miracle in the midst of a tragedy? He sure held us in His mighty hand through each trial and triumph. I want to do something amazing with my life….God saved me for a reason right? I guess I am wondering what my next step should be. What course do I take now? Where is God leading me? I am so ready to live yet I’m a little afraid. What if I can’t do what I used to? What if I don’t regain what I have lost? All I know is I have survived cancer and that I have more to do in this lifetime…I just have to wait and see where my path leads me.

Thanks for keeping me close to your heart in thoughts and prayer.

Love Always,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 270

How can being on vacation with your family wear you out? Isn’t vacationing supposed to be relaxing and rejuvenating? Well maybe not our family vacations. Between running through the house being the scary dragon to my niece and nephew, dancing to the Footloose soundtrack with my sister in the living room and walking on a frozen lake with my daring husband….I call that…FUN with a dash of ADVENTURE! I’m so happy when I spend time with family and friends my heart and mind heal…my body may take a bit longer but praise God that my soul is healing!

I wanted to share the news with you! I hope you think it is as exciting as I did when I heard it. My Muga heart scan came back perfect so that means no damage was done to my heart from medications or procedures. I would like to think other parts of me haven’t been damaged either and I have faith God has kept me safe. Also…..drumroll please…… last PET scan came back CLEAR! No signs of cancer from the tip of my nose to the bottom of my toes. Isn’t that wonderful? I sure think so! I am officially cancer free and hope to stay that way for at least my 5 year goal of freedom from such a horrible affliction. And what a great way to celebrate a clean scan by going on a trip with my loved ones?

This week I also get to spend more time with family and that means more healing for my wounded soul and more laughter to tone my abs….doesn’t that count as exercise? It does in my book! Come on and join me and laugh your way to swimsuit season! Family is what counts, it keeps me going, it keeps me from giving up. How could I let my husband down by not greeting him at the door when he gets home from work? How can I let my niece down and not spin her around and around like a ballerina until both of us are so dizzy we look like bobbleheads? How can I let my nephew down and not cart him around in a Tupperware bin that he calls a “train”? How can I let my mom and dad down and not be the bossy first born….someone has got to be! I have to be Sarah…the girl everyone can count on and rely on to be there for each need. I want to be there. I need to be there. I don’t want cancer to take away my ability to be there for my family. No way in deed. I will be the cheerful greeter, the dragon, the train conductor, and of course the bossy first born. I will always be there for my family because my family will always be there for me.

Love Always,

Vacation....oh how I love vacations!

We are heading to the airport now in MN going home to good ol Seattle! Lord please keep us all in your hand of protection as we travel home today. We had so much fun visiting family and friends. I will post pictures soon of all the fun we had. Thanks for keeping Kirk, my family and me in your prayers this last week.
Love Always,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


As I sit writing to you I am holding on by a thread battling with nausea. I know it has been a long war with this enemy called nausea and I am at the mercy of God to keep me strong. I ask my family to pray when these waves of sickness come upon me and today my mother reminded me of something. My mom and dad are avid prayers for their daughters and I am so glad to have them in my corner of the ring. My mom prayed that no one knows my body better than God does. I know that but somehow it rings truer today. She prayed that even though she carried me in her womb she doesn’t have the know-how to what is hurting my body. She prayed that even though the doctors can do hundreds of scans and tests even they don’t have the know-how to what is hurting my body either. Only my Heavenly Father does and I have faith He will heal me when the time is right. Oh Lord let the time be near! I hold the Bible close to my heart and think of all the people Jesus healed just by words or by touch. God is bigger than this nausea and if I suffer I know God is suffering too with me and for me. As much as my earthly father yearns for my healing and strength I know my Heavenly Father wants me not to hurt even more.

I can’t remember where I heard this but I wanted to share it with you. A woman asks “Why do bad things happen to good people? Doesn’t God care?” She is answered with a story. If we were walking together and you fell and hurt yourself, did I mean for you to get hurt and want you to be in pain or would I stop, bring you to your feet and help you recover? That is what God does in our relationship. He walks with us each step and when we stumble or in my case… fall off a cliff; He doesn’t leave our side. He simply gathers us up in His arms and helps us heal; hour by hour, day by day, month by month or year by year. Only God can tell us when our hurting will cease but don’t you think it is amazing that He sticks with us through thick and thin. He is my rock in my storms…I hope He is yours.

Love Always,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 269

Okay you know how swimsuit shopping is meltdown island for every woman? Try trying on swimsuits in my situation. I have the opportunity to go on a trip with my family and there is a pool and I am not going to let my cousin down and not join her swimming. But truthfully I felt so embarrassed trying on these tops that you can see scars from my port, scars from lymph node dissection and each side, darker skin lines from radiation and not to mention my four tattoo marks from radiation. I just felt very ugly and different. I hope in the future these feelings will change and I will learn to put the blinders on when it comes to my body but I want to love my body and not hide it. I want to be a sexy 25 year old that doesn’t wear a turtleneck swimsuit that goes down to my knees…my mother and father might be happier if I did plus I wouldn’t have to use so much sunscreen…look there’s light at the end of this tunnel! I just wish my body didn’t look like such a war zone and I felt comfortable in my own skin. God has the power to change my way of thinking and how I look at myself…anyway, isn’t it inside beauty that really counts?

I wanted to update my prayer request list a little differently tonight. I recently went to a counselor and I wrote down some things that have been twirling in my head and I wanted to share them with you so we can all be very specific in our prayers. Here it goes:

Independence. I need independence something fierce. I haven’t been able to drive because of the pain cocktail and it has really taken a toll on me mentally. I want to get out on the road just me and the Jetta.

Complete healing for nausea. This back and forth, wishy washy game needs to come to a close. God please intervene and take a stand for me. Heal my stomach or whatever is causing this horrible nausea.

Energy and Strength. My body needs to remember I’m on the mend and get well fast. Everything seems to be on the slow track from weak to strong but with prayer (…and the Wii Fit) it all can change!

Business Woman. Pray for the ability to start and upkeep my business. I need the drive and confidence to run a small business and I want to be proud of it. Also I need God’s creativity to rain down on me.

Expectations. I expect so much from myself and when I can’t achieve my goals I feel like I am a failure and don’t give myself grace. I let myself down and I don’t forgive myself. God let me let it all go.

Memories. Our apartment reminds me of having cancer and being sick in each and every room. We need God to set something in our laps (house/apt.) so I can heal in peace without painful memories.

So that’s the first six I could think of. Please pray with me and for me. I know I am not alone in this fight. I have many friends and family cheering me on and it comforts my soul. God please ease my troubled mind and hear these prayers. Your word says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that You did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love and of a sound mind. I will hold You to it God because I do not need to be fearful but I do need to have love and a sound mind.

Love Always,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 268

Yesterday was a complete and total nightmare. As we were headed down to Seattle yesterday for Sarah's heart scan, she began to feel very nauseous. While we were in the waiting room, Sarah ran to the bathroom and threw up. Because she was so sick they gave her something to help her nausea. Sarah didn’t get almost any relief from that, but decided to carry on with the MUGA scan anyway. I am sure it took a lot of strength, but my sweet girl composed herself and laid still for the scan for about a half an hour. Finally she was done with the scan and we headed home. Once home I started her on two different anti-nausea medications and after a while she started to feel better.

This morning we are headed down to SCCA again for Sarah’s PET scan. This scan will show if there is any cancer left in her body. We know that there is not, but Sarah wanted to do this scan for her own peace of mind. Having said that, please pray for Sarah this morning because if there is cancer in her body still this scan will show it. Deep down we know Sarah is cancer free, but it is still scary to think about. Please pray for strength, peace of mind, and a great outcome.

Thanks for praying,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Info and Prayer Requests

Yesterday, when Sarah woke up, she had alot of nausea for some reason. Even though it has been two and a half weeks since she has needed to go into the infusion clinic (Hallelujah!), she made the decision to go in, not so much for the fluids, but more for the anti-nausea medication they have been authorized to give her. After one higher dose and about an hour nap, Sarah was feeling much better and was ready to go home. Today, we are headed down to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance because Sarah has a MUGA scan which checks the function of her heart. Sarah has been having some swelling in her feet and lower legs and although her Oncologist believes it to just be a sign of extended malnutrition, a heart scan is in order to be on the safe side. Tomorrow, Sarah is going down to Seattle again for a PET scan. This scan will cap off all of her cancer treatment and will prove that there is no longer any cancer in her body. While that may sound exciting (and truthfully it is) Sarah is not happy about having all of tese scans done. She is simply ready to be done with it all. Done with medication, done with doctor appointments, done with big scans, done with surgeries, done with having her expanders filled, just done. My poor girl has been through the ringer and I cannot blame her for wanting to be done.

Because of all the appointments she has coming up and all the meds that she is still having to take, Sarah feels alot like she is taking one step forward and five steps back. Her depression is really kicking up a notch and for this Sarah really needs some serious prayer. Her doctors did increase her dose of anti-depressants, but all that Sarah is going through is proving to be very hard to overcome.

Please pray that joy will soon find my sweet wife. Pray that excitement will soon find her eyes. Pray that she will be able to look forward to tomorrow instead of dreading the next day and what might hurt or how sick she could possibly be. Sarah does have some good days, but she desperately needs a good week, month, and year.

Thanks for your support and bring on the prayer!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 267

I forget sometimes the feelings that I hold in so close to my heart. I have such an emotional rollercoaster when I think of certain topics…well mostly one. One word, and you all can probably guess it, children. Yes, children. I’m like a broken record when I say I long for them but you know when you are told you can’t have something and then you want it even more? That’s me all the way.

Kirk and I said we wanted to wait to have children for 4 years of marriage. We wanted to travel. We wanted to go on mission trips. We wanted to have bought a house. I barely have done any of those things but the longing is still there. I was recently talking to a friend who has two children plus a new baby and she is tired and needs a mommy resting day. At first I was like please just be happy you get to have this precious baby but after a few minutes I knew that if I was in her position I would need a mommy break x5! Every season women will have different emotions. I long for children now but looking on the bright side…Kirk and I could fly to Maui at a moment’s notice and not think anything about it. Without kids we can stay out at long as we want, spend money on dinner and a movie instead of diapers! When I think about it I’m so happy we don’t have kids during this time in our lives…could you imagine having kids when you are going through cancer? Cheers to the women who have done it and are doing it right now! You are my heroes!

I still get sad some days. A couple days ago I got a baby shower invitation in the mail and I just stood in the kitchen and cried. Tears slid down my cheeks as I asked God why Kirk and I couldn’t have had a carefree life: marriage, travel, health, house, children, a puppy and of course the white picket fence. Maybe that life doesn’t exist for anyone but I hope I never stop believing in my happily ever after, there are a couple chapters being added into my book but I believe we will get back on track soon.

I watched my nephew Roman last night and today. At this moment Roman is sitting in my lap snuggling up because naptime is soon. It soothes my heart that this little one loves me so much. When I leave a room he points and yells “T!!!” (Roman can’t say Auntie Sarah so I’m just the “T” out of Auntie) He makes me love him more and more each day.

In Ecclesiastes 3 the Bible says there is a time for everything. I know that I have shared these verses with you in the past but they are so important to me. God knows that each day brings new emotions, new trials, and new happiness. God also knows my every thought and He knows my heart so I am safe under the protection of His hand.

I don’t know what this time and season will bring but I am excited for new things. God has thrown new goals and desires in my heart…starting with Emalene. I never thought God would call me to run a business. I don’t know the first thing about it but God is with me in every step I take. Isn’t that comforting to know God is right alongside of you helping you accomplish the desires of your heart? Well it sure is comforting to me. Now I just need to work on my confidence levels.

I have to be honest with you and say I’m in need of confidence. I am being challenged by God and my husband about confidence in myself and I fail each test they throw at me. Is there a book “Confidence For Dummies?” Or how about a 1 hour class I can take for me to learn that I am pretty, smart, courageous and that I have the “know how” to run a business? I’m sure God will help me with this as well…all it takes is time.

Medical News:
I’m sure you really read my blog to hear about the medical stuff and could skip the above but this is my online diary that you have the key to.

Next week I have a couple procedures to look forward to. I have a Muga scan to check out my heart because one of the pain meds can affect my heart. The next thing I have is a P.E.T. scan to do a final check on my entire body for any signs of cancer. I thought since I am finished with most of my treatments for breast cancer I wanted a scan just to ease my mind and settle down the “what ifs”. The final procedure next week is a fill for my expanders. We are expanding very slowly so we don’t stress out my radiated skin.

On another note I have not needed to go into the infusion clinic for two weeks now. All that has changed is me drinking Alkaline water. God works in mysterious ways and if He can use simple water to heal me then let’s do it!

Thank you all for reading about Kirk’s and my life. Sometimes these posts get so crazy I think they should be turned into a book or a movie…okay now I’m getting ahead of myself. I love all of you and the prayer that you give me is amazing. There is power in prayer and I am walking proof of that!

Love Always,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 266

I used my hair dryer!

This might be a puff piece to you but all I’ve got to say is Wow! The dryer doesn’t do exactly what it used to do to my hair but I’ll figure it out. Right now it just makes my curly short hair fluffy and not what we would call stylish but it is something new and I’m all for it. Next time you use your hair dryer cherish it because I had no reason to use mine for close to a year and it was not the most fun thing I’ve done with my hair.

Okay I’m just going to come out and say it…some or most of you already know this but I’m depressed. This whole last year has stripped all of the “old Sarah” away and this “right now Sarah” isn’t cutting it for me or for Kirk. I don’t know who I am right now. I constantly let myself down with what I can’t do and then feel like a horrible wife for not getting anything done because I’m so weak. Some days I stare at a basket full of laundry and just melt to the floor and weep. I want to be strong enough to get the laundry done but I can’t muster up an ounce of strength in order to just think of the first step. Have you ever had one of those moments? I am having one of those moments just about every day. The dishes, laundry, a dusty shelf, and a messy bed are huge obstacles for me to conquer and sadly most days I am defeated. I am lucky though because Kirk’s mom comes and cleans for me; I am so grateful but deep down I am embarrassed that I can’t clean my own house. I have so many things getting the best of me right now but my main worst enemy is myself. I put so much pressure on myself to get things done by a certain time and when the deadline comes and goes I feel like a failure. I need help with all of this but where do I start? When I am feeling better this drive to accomplish things and giving myself deadlines will be great especially if I want to run a business but right now I need to give myself a break. Where’s the switch in my brain that tells me to calm down and rest? I also want to be honest with you and say my marriage has changed because of cancer…what marriage wouldn’t I guess. Things just are different between us. Kirk has seen the ugliest parts of his wife and while he loves me more because of it, I am so embarrassed. I hate for him to see my scars. I feel ugly in front of him. We used to laugh and play like newlyweds but all of that has been stolen away from us and I hate it. I want the playfulness to come back but maybe it can’t after you see your spouse lose all her hair, throw up in the car, change dressings after surgeries and gain weight from meds and chemotherapy. Again Kirk would say all this has brought us closer together but for me it has robbed me of my dignity. I want some secrets from my husband like him seeing me hover over the toilet for hours because of my stomach…I could go to the grave without him having that in his memory. Both Kirk and I want things to change for the better. However, things have negatively changed for us and we are the first ones to say “No way! We are not going to be like this…we want our old selves back and we will fight for it till the end”.

With saying all that you may say “Sarah, you need to go to a counselor!” and I will cut you off before you are done and say “Boy, do I know it”. Yesterday we had our first session with a counselor who is not only familiar with medicine and its effects but also she is familiar with cancer and everything that comes along with it. I want to talk to her for hours and hours so I can let my brain rest but I’ll have to wait till next time. She partners with Seattle Cancer Alliance so Seattle is where we have to travel to get the best treatment. Sorry Jetta for all the miles we are putting on you but I gotta do what I gotta do.

Please pray for progress to be made for Kirk’s and my relationship. My friendship with my husband is so important to me and I don’t know what I would do without his laughter. Just keep us in your prayers. God is powerful and He answers prayer. Be grateful for what you have and ask Him for what you need. Please just pray a special prayer for Kirk and me. I love you all. Thank you.

Love Always,

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Great News!

Sarah made the decision this week to not go into the infusion clinic at all for extra fluids! She is drinking a different type of water at home and so far so good. Her body seems to be staying hydrated much better. Sarah would be ecstatic if she could stop having to go into the infusion clinic. As far as Sarah's health goes, this week has been pretty good. Please pray with us that this trend continues. Sarah had her expanders partly filled again today. This was the first time since before radiation and its exciting, but at the same time we need to be sure that Sarah doesn't experience any pain from these fills. Please also pray that this weekend will be a relaxing time for Sarah that is pain and nausea free.

-Kirk & Sarah

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 265

What in the world am I doing? I’m starting a business while I’m still on the on outskirts of getting well from cancer treatments. I am crazy or just ambitious? I’m going with crazy. I have set up a tiny office in my second bedroom with inspirational things to keep me smiling and focused but seriously my confidence is dwindling. I think that is the main reason that I started the Beth Moore Confidence study. Beth Moore can say so many deep and inspirational things that rock my core. I can spring into action and say these things to another person such as a friend who is in need or another cancer survivor that needs a pick me up after hearing test results. But when I read these words and try to have them sink in or straighten up my posture and speak them out loud hoping to spur the confined Sarah just waiting to spring into life; I just feel dumb and wait for something to happen and by the way nothing ever does.

Maybe if I share what I learned today with you I will be taught again and maybe just maybe someone will be changed because of what I chose to write about today.

Do not throw away your confidence. Why do we never feel good enough? Not good enough for others, not good enough for jobs, not good enough for ourselves and mostly not good enough for God? Beth Moore stated today “God can make the simplest person stunningly wise”. Really? I need to be wise so badly because I feel like the simplest woman on the face of this planet. Before March 2010 I had my life figured out. Kirk and I were going to travel for mission trips and pleasure, Buy a fixer upper home, bring home a dog from the shelter for a second chance, have babies, you know the whole white picket fence sort of life. When does everything change and why does it have to change to fast? “We have been created with brilliance because we were created in the image of God”. Does that put pressure on anyone else? I have been created in the image of a God I cannot ever fully understand but love with all my heart. As I think of everything that I think I could be better at. Being a woman of God, being a godly wife, daughter, and sister, being a business woman, being a spiritual mentor, someday being a mother. You can see I have a lot on my mind that I think I could easily fail at and that is why I’m so heavily seeking God confidence in each goal. The enemy is desperately looking for treasures that we have trashed so he can attack us where it really counts. Like right now I’m trying very hard to start my business, Emalene. It’s a simple business where I want to sell my baby/toddler hats and it has been my dream for a year now. The enemy knows how very important Emalene is to me for my confidence and independence and he is shooting his piercing arrows right where they will do the most damage. I look at my hats now and think they are hideous. I look at myself in the mirror and can’t take myself seriously as anything but a sick woman ridden with cancer scars. I think of myself as an untrained, unwise, and unrealistic girl that has put time and energy into something that might make me fall on my face in front of a million people. The enemy is shooting his arrows pretty accurately these days and I am losing my strength to hold up my shield to block them; I’m starting to believe everything but God is whispering to me “Pull your confidence out of the trash can and stand tall”. Ladies and Gents If God is behind me then I will not fail but it is so hard taking on a new venture. I need my brain to think about Emalene instead of cancer. Cancer cannot run my life anymore. It can derail my train cars once in a while but only for a short while and then I have to get back on my path to victory that God has laid out for me. He has paved the way and I won’t let Him down not to walk on it!

Please pray for me to have a sound mind in Christ. I need some serious prayer for strength and confidence in trying new things…I don’t want to only be known for cancer anymore. I want to be known for following the way of the Lord and being a light in the darkness. Thank you for your confidence in me!

Love Always,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 264

Thank you all for your messages assuring me that it is okay to have a bad day…or two…and be honest about it. I try and try to sweep my emotions under the rug but you know how it is; one day the ugly dust monster comes out to play when company has just arrived! I guess all I wanted to say is thank you for sticking with me and being my cheering squad who has got my back!

I’m trying to get better with my emotions. They are just so ugly with no sign of any hope. Sarah’s Hope, I know but it’s hard to have hope each day. New challenges are brought forth each day and when you are already on the breaking point I must be careful of what I take on. But I do need something to get out of bed for…as thrilling as getting up to a hurting body and taking pills every 4, 6, and 24 hours seems it’s not too glamorous. I have mentioned starting up my own business in the past but I’m finally going to do it! I need that “something” to get out of bed for. I need that sense of purpose! I got myself all geared up today about what amazing things I could do while brainstorming for my “baby” when I felt a tiny twinge of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. Fear does NOT come from our Lord. Victory comes from our Lord along with all-consuming love. I was having such a hard time dealing with fear and self-esteem issues I went to my spiritual mentor Beth Moore to get an espresso shot of God. This is a study I have done before but how many times can you hear the truth? A million times for me! Man did I need a jump start today and boy did I get one. Beth starts out saying Do not throw away your confidence and pray for the gift of God confidence. Hebrews 10: 35-36 says “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to preserve so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” I have to say I have been throwing my confidence in the trash can and turning on the trash compactor on it…how is it ever going to survive? It is so hard to be strong these days for me…I bet it is hard for all of us to be strong so please don’t think I think I’m the only one going through struggles. Another topic Beth touched on is if we are constantly being hit in the areas of our effectiveness we ought to figure out very quickly that it is the enemy’s attacks that are breaking us down and not just a bad day. The enemy knows our weaknesses very well and he uses his knowledge when we are at our weakest or when we are doing our best. The enemy doesn’t want me to start my business because my little business will help children in Africa, prove that there is life after cancer, spread my story even farther than it has gone already and most importantly let the world know that God is the center of my world and He should be the center of yours. I have big dreams but I’d rather have big dreams than no dreams.

My body hurts but I’m not letting the enemy keep me in bed. I’m not letting him be grumpy to my husband. I’m not letting him wash away my confidence because I am praying for the gift of God confidence. People don’t throw away your confidence…you have a right to it so stand tall and fight for it!

Love Always,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 263

What am I to do? Be happy? Be sad? I can’t stand not knowing what to think or what to feel. I actually know what I think and feel but how boring and dreary would that be writing about my pain and suffering every day? With each post, I want to share how I am healing, how my life has changed and what amazing things I am going to do with my new found desire for life, but I am consumed with pain, anxiousness, weakness and hopelessness. My blog is Sarah’s Hope but what happens when Sarah has a very serious lack of hope right now?

I thought after my treatments with chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation I would be on the road to recovering. Nothing is farther from that goal! It feels like I’m weaker each day but then I have one day where my body doesn’t hurt that bad and I feel like my life is turning around but the joke is always on me to get my hopes up and have them be trampled on for when I wake up the next day I can barely move out of bed. I’m 25! What 25 year old feels like garbage each day and prays for God to intervene so she can live…actually live? Right now I’m living from alarm clock to alarm clock for pain medications, drinking special water for body health, going to the hospital twice a week for dehydration and taking naps every chance I can get. I want to drive. I want to be left alone for more than 2 hours before someone calls to check if I’ve fallen down. I want to start my own business. I want to work with flowers and babies and to organize. I want to feel normal. I want to feel free. I want to be talked to about something other than cancer…but that’s the thing…nothing, absolutely nothing is happening for me except cancer so conversation topics are limited. I feel like I’m on a deserted island…trapped… and have written HELP in the sand waiting for an airplane to see my distress call…will anyone ever see my help sign? I need something special in my life. I need a break. I need something that I want to get out of bed for. I know I’m still defending my life from cancer but is that all I can do right now? Maybe it is but I’m pleading that it isn’t all that I can do. I am a girl who has survived the first attacks of breast cancer but that is not who I really am…it is what I have done. Who I am is a young woman looking for more out of life. I want so much and I am so afraid that cancer had defeated me by defining who I am. Will the world forget my name after I don’t have traumatic things happening to me each and every week? What am I doing but being sick? I want my To: Sarah, From: God package to come complete with a guide book “What to Do Next”. I have a mind full of wonder, excitement, and dreams but I barely have the energy to write all of them down. It just isn’t fair. I want to do something to help the children of Africa. I want to do something to help women who are walking in the same pink ribbon shoes that I am walking in. I want to count down the days to when I can call myself a mother. You can see I have many dreams and I need help getting to fulfill all of them but first comes my strength and health. I just get overwhelmed at times and break down. Only God knows what my husband thinks when he comes home from work and I am crying while doing dishes or sobbing over a wrinkled shirt wondering if my life is over. I’m just on the border line of being alright and the strange thing is I fear I will never be whole again.

Again something comes up and I can’t post on the blog until the night! I went shopping with my mom and my nephew today for about 2 hours and after I got back home I started to throw up uncontrollably. Kirk and I had to cancel our dinner plans with friends and schedule instead for me to go to the hospital for fluids and anti-nausea medication…this is my life! Will it ever get better?

Thank you for listening to me have a meltdown. You are always there to hear me celebrate good times and try to forget hard times. God bless you all.

Love Always,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 262

I wanted to start a little different today. Below are some questions I frequently get asked and I wanted to share my answers to all my readers. I hope you enjoy seeing a peek into my soul…it is damaged and bruised but it will push on.

How is your pain doing?
My pain is overwhelming. I have been in touch with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Pain Clinic at least once a week trying new medications and dose changes. I feel weaker than ever and I seem to only get worse as the weeks go by. Today I started a new medication cocktail but I must wait 24-48 hours for it to fully kick in. I’m praying that this will be the last “new” medication we will have to try and I will finally receive some relief. My pain level is normally at an 8, which is very high, but with this new cocktail it should go down to a more manageable number such as a 5.

What is the hardest thing you are going through this week?
There are a few things I am having trouble with this last week. I am having trouble with feeling like I don’t have the strength to do anything on my own. I get panicked that in the middle of most activities I have to take a break and rest… for goodness sakes…..I’m 25 years old I shouldn’t have to take a rest after folding laundry! I am also feeling like such a horrible wife. I am unable to clean our house, do laundry, go grocery shopping, cook a meal, well basically everything that a wife is supposed to do. I feel like Kirk should run away from me because I am the neediest woman on the face of the planet. I push myself as hard as I can to do the dishes before Kirk comes home to the point of tears because my legs are too weak to stand but I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t get them done. I’m losing my mind being this weak. God help me be strong! Not just on the inside but on the outside too! Another issue that is becoming a major problem is my dignity. Because of all the things I have had to go through, medical appointments, weight issues, bleeding issues, hospital visits, and personal questions from every medical form possible I feel like I have lost all but an ounce of my dignity. I have no secrets from the world. I have no secrets from my husband…trust me it is good to have some secrets from your spouse. Such as how many times you can throw up in the car in a single trip or what your head looks like when patches of hair are missing. This week has not been the worst week ever but it is one of the few I won’t be forgetting.

What is the one thing you want to do but you are unable to right now?
I want to fly. Not crazy fly like a bird but I want to get on an airplane and fly to Maui. I need a Maui trip more than anything right now. You have no idea how that island soothes the soul. God took special time creating my island and I am desperate to get back there and enjoy it.

What scares you in your treatment process at this time?
Most of my treatment processes are over right now but there is one that hasn’t started yet and it is scaring me already. My hormone therapy. Hormone therapy should keep my estrogen levels down enough to keep the cancer from returning. I haven’t started the medication yet so technically there is nothing keeping the cancer from returning. That is a little unnerving right now.

Who is your angel in disguise these days?
You may have guessed it but I have many! First of all I have my husband. This man doesn’t complain after he comes home and I haven’t had the strength to get out of bed and pick up the house. He doesn’t get upset that I don’t have the energy to go anywhere and we are stuck sitting on the couch all weekend. Kirk is just satisfied being with me, caring for me, loving me and holding me while I cry. If Kirk isn’t an angel sent to me from God I don’t know what he is.

More angels…my family! Each and every member of my family. Especially my mom. My mom pushes me to live. She pushes me to get stronger. She pushes me to stand tall and fight for what is mine. A big reason why I fight hard is because I have a strong woman holding me up and her name is Barb Hawkins, my mother. She has walked the road before me and now she walks the road beside me. I love you mom. I couldn’t do this without your guidance and confidence.

Is it hard keeping up your smile?
Yes. It is hard to keep smiling when my heart is breaking and tears are only seconds away. It is hard to keep smiling when all I want to do is hide my face and scream in frustration. The hardest part of keeping a smile on my face is the fact that all I want to do is smile for real. I want joy to conquer all. I want victory over cancer and smile because I have won. I smile because I know one day I will have victory and that my life will be wonderful again. Kirk and I will succeed and we will have our happily ever after…at last.

Thanks for holding me close to your hearts as you watch me walk this journey. Pray Pray Pray and then Pray some more. The Lord listens to his children and I know He hears our every word.

Love Always,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 261

Tonight we had a lot of fun. We went to a 50’s themed costume Super Bowl party. Even though Sarah felt awful today she wanted to get out and do something normal for a change. Sarah went as a “Pink Lady” and I went as a “greaser.” We hung out with family and friends and had a really great time. Thanks Bob and Sherri for hosting the best parties.

I was so proud of Sarah because she has won the best ladies costume two years in a row. Last year was Vegas themed and we went as a bride and groom. I’ll tell you what…she won best costume last year but she looked much better on our actual wedding day.

This next week will be a lot of doctor appointments and we are in desperate need of prayer. Monday Sarah has a follow-up appointment with her radiation oncologist and Tuesday she has another appointment with the pain specialist at SCCA. Also on Tuesday she has her regular appointment at the infusion clinic for fluids. By the end of the week, we are going to try and get in to see a doctor about the hard area under Sarah’s arm. Please pray that this turns out to be nothing serious. Finally on Friday she has her regular appointment at the infusion clinic for fluids again.

Maybe by this weekend, Sarah will be feeling well enough for me to take her out on Monday for Valentine’s Day.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 260

Enough is Enough...
We have had a long and rough week. Since Sarah has been on blood thinner for her leg clots, she has a couple of issues with bleeding. She now has to go through a series of tests and it is just stressing her out. Her doctor decided that the risks and side effects of Sarah taking blood thinner are too great for the little benefit she is receiving from it. He has OK’d her to stop taking her blood thinners immediately. We both thought that after her radiation we would be done and things would settle down. I guess we thought wrong. It seems as though Sarah has had to deal with every complication possible. If it isn‘t cancer, its blood clots, if it isn’t blood clots its pain, if it isn’t pain it’s sleeplessness…and the list goes on. It seems like it will never end. We had thought that Sarah wasn’t going to need fluids from the infusion clinic anymore, but that hasn’t been true either. We have continued to need to come in so Sarah can stay hydrated. We are trying to keep in mind that Sarah has been through hell and back and her body will need some serious time to fully recover. We don’t know why, but Sarah is not sleeping at all. On average she gets about 1 hour a night. This is obviously not enough sleep, but we don’t know what to do about it. I feel bad that I can sleep whenever I lay my head down and Sarah can’t get a wink. Even though Sarah may hold a tiny grudge against me for getting such great sleep, she still gets up in the morning and makes me a lunch to take with me to work. She is a very thoughtful and caring wife in the midst of all that she is dealing with.

Prayer Request: Sarah has a hard area under her arm. She asked her doctor about it today and he wanted her to have it checked out by her oncologist. Anyone who has gone through cancer understands the fear of it returning. Sarah is very scared and worried that the news will not be good. It is very possible that it is just scar tissue, but until proven the worry is there. Please pray for Sarah that while she waits to see what the verdict is on this God will bring her peace. Also, please pray that it is 100% negative for cancer.

We are in the infusion clinic now and Sarah is almost done getting her fluids. They are also able to give her some IV sleep medication which we have proven works. They will give it to her right before we go and most likely Sarah will sleep better tonight.

Thanks for reading. Sarah and I will try to write more often, but it has just been a really long couple of weeks. Prayer is always helpful!!!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 259

Tonight we are in the infusion clinic as planned. Sarah is starting to need less and less fluids, but she doesn't want to get off track and become severely dehydrated. Sarah is still having quite a lot of pain in her body. She is starting to regain feeling in certain parts of her chest, but the feeling is coming back as pain and discomfort. She is working with a pain specialist at SCCA, but he hasn't found a great solution so far. She is still taking a long acting pain med, but is trying to find a quick acting medication that will give her some immediate relief when her pain is at its worst.

Last night Sarah and I had little Roman (or not so little anymore) for a fun sleepover with Auntie and Uncle. Sarah is having more and more fun with Roman as she gets more and more strength. Little Ro wasn't feeling very well but his Auntie Sarah took good care of him. She was trying to help him learn to blow his nose, she took his temperature often, she made sure he was drinking enough fluids, and she rubbed his little back after each cough. She is the best auntie a little boy could ask for.

For the past week Sarah has been caught in an uphill battle with her sleep again. She is back to the place where exhaustion is setting in but sleep never comes. Over the last two nights Sarah has probably only gotten 2 hours of sleep total. Sarah definitely needs to get some sleep soon and sleep for her is our main prayer request.


Day 258

Tonight we are in the infusion clinic as planned. Sarah is starting to need less and less fluids, but she doesn't want to get off track and become severely dehydrated. Sarah is still having quite a lot of pain in her body. She is starting to regain feeling in certain parts of her chest, but the feeling is coming back as pain and discomfort. She is working with a pain specialist at SCCA, but he hasn't found a great solution so far. She is still taking a long acting pain med, but is trying to find a quick acting medication that will give her some immediate relief when her pain is at its worst.

Last night Sarah and I had little Roman (or not so little anymore) for a fun sleepover with Auntie and Uncle. Sarah is having more and more fun with Roman as she gets more and more strength. Little Ro wasn't feeling very well but his Auntie Sarah took good care of him. She was trying to help him learn to blow his nose, she took his temperature often, she made sure he was drinking enough fluids, and she rubbed his little back after each cough. She is the best auntie a little boy could ask for.

For the past week Sarah has been caught in an uphill battle with her sleep again. She is back to the place where exhaustion is setting in but sleep never comes. Over the last two nights Sarah has probably only gotten 2 hours of sleep total. Sarah definitely needs to get some sleep soon and sleep for her is our main prayer request.