Friday, November 23, 2012

Gobble till ya wobble

I hope that all of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving had a whole new meaning for me this year. Before I was diagnosed with cancer, Thanksgiving was just a day to eat (way too much). I never took the time to appreciate what I had, or be thankful for it. I took everything for granted, including my health. Throughout the last 11 months, that has all changed. 

During my chemo treatments, I witnessed the most heartbreaking things you could ever imagine. I was woken up by a mother who was screaming for help in the hallway, because her daughter was unresponsive. I have been in a room next to a baby with a blood disease who had been in the hospital for over three months, and who's parents had been there only one day out of the three months. I've seen an elderly couple find out that their loved one had passed away, and watched them breakdown in each others arms. I've seen patients that had much, much worse diseases than I had, that were younger than me. I lost one of my best friends to cancer. All of this opened my eyes to how blessed I actually am.

I am thankful for my cancer, and for remission. I'm thankful for everything I've learned. I'm thankful that I'm not the same person that I was last year. I'm thankful that I have the best family anyone could ever ask for, and I'm thankful for all of the friends I have made who have been through the same thing as me. I'm thankful to live in such a supportive community, I'm thankful for Duke University hospital, my doctors, the nurses on 5100, and for Dr. Brigman, who took care of Henry and saved my life. I'm thankful for my primary doctor who ordered the MRI that detected Henry early, before it had spread anywhere, and I am thankful for my life.

The thing that I was most thankful for this Thanksgiving, however, is my new relationship with God. Before this, I didn't have a strong relationship with him. I would pray every now and then, go to church a few times a year, & open up a Bible maybe twice a year. I was selfish and never gave Him the glory he deserved. Now, however, I have a very strong relationship with him. He kept me safe while they pumped poison through me twenty seven times. He deserves all the glory for my remission. We serve an AWESOME God, and ever since I really let him enter my heart, my life has been so much easier. When I worry, I give it to God. When I'm scared, He wraps his arms around me. When I'm sick, He heals me. When I pray, He so graciously answers all of my prayers. I have a much better outlook on my life now, and I know He will be with me through every trial, and through every celebration. If you're walking with God, what do you have to worry about? Nothing, because "God's got this." (Right, Corey?)

Right.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Tell everyone that there is a God"

When I was in seventh grade, I was sitting alone at a smoky mountain basketball game. A guy named Corey Fish came and sat by me, introduced himself, and talked to me for the rest of the game. Little did we know that we would need each other a few years later, when we were both diagnosed with cancer.

Corey and his parents were the first people to visit me in the hospital when I was diagnosed. They brought me a chemo survival kit, equipped with everything I would need to entertain myself during my treatments.

Whenever I was having a tough day, I would text Corey and he would say the same thing every time. "Gods got this." His faith was the strongest I have ever seen, and he helped me strengthen my faith as well.

Tonight, as we mourn the loss or our precious Corey, we should also remember to celebrate the fact that he is no longer hurting. He never has to lay in a hospital bed ever again. No
More needle pokes, or doctors, or chemo, or frustration. He is in paradise now with our sweet Karla (probably chatting away about what a pain cancer was!) we sure will miss him... But it's not goodbye. It's never goodbye, it's "see ya later" :)

Corey's last words were "Tell everything that there is a God." Doesn't that give you chills? Corey was sent here to strengthen the faith of hundreds of other people tonight. And when you have your doubts about God, which I know most people do sometimes, remember these words Corey said. There is a God. Thank you Corey Fish, for the constant reminder.. Thank you for being the biggest inspiration of my life. Thank you for helping me fight for my life while you were also fighting for your own. I love you.

Please send up prayers for Corey's family and friends tonight. Please also pray for the Foxx family as they deal with the unexpected loss of an amazing woman.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. when life throws toy a curve ball you hit a home run. but what do
You do when life throws you a grenade? you pray" - corey fish

Everyone, there IS a God.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

What a blessed day

I am feeling so very blessed tonight as I reflect on my day today.

As a lot of you reading this already know, our community lost an amazing angel named Karla Allred a few years ago to Rhabdomyosarcoma. I knew her through church and basketball, and watching her strength and her faith grow during her treatments is what made me so strong when I went through mine. Knowing that she has been watching over me this entire time has been my strength throughout my journey, and I couldn't have done it without her. I always feel her presence with me. Even though she wasn't physically with me, I know that her spirit is what got me through my toughest days. This morning at church, I received an amazing gift from her family. Now, not only do I wear my cross around my neck, but I also wear Karla's. Talk about a good luck charm! I'm so glad I have an angel watching over me that knows exactly what I have been through. Karla and I had very similar cancers, which is so ironic because I live in such a small community, and sarcomas are so rare. I love you so much Karla Allred. You and your family have been the light and inspiration for my family and I. 

After church, I had more blessings to come. I got to have lunch with my friend Riley Schwalm, who is in 6th grade and is battling leukemia (and kicking butt!). I have never smiled so much while talking to one person in my life! She is so full of energy and life, and her happiness just reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for, even when I think I have it bad. The people that I have met that have battled the same thing as I have are the most amazing people I've ever met in my life. It's very hard to talk to people that don't understand what you have gone through, and haven't gained the wisdom that you have. I am so lucky to know the Schwalm family and be able to vent to people that know what it's like.

I ask that you please say a very special prayer for Corey Fish tonight. He has Graft vs Host disease from his stem cell transplant, and he and his mother Rene have been at Chapel Hill for several months now. They need all of the prayers they can get. God has a very special plan for Corey, and we all know the miracles God can perform. Corey's faith throughout his cancer has been absolutely mind blowing. It's amazing that the people that have gone through the most miserable times seem to have the strongest faith. Prayers for the Fish family, we love you guys so very much,

I also ask that you please pray for me. I am going back to Duke friday for scans to make sure there are no signs of cancer anywhere in my body. I am very nervous, but I have a good feeling about it. I am also excited though, because I miss all of my wonderful doctors and nurses!

Please pray for my dog, Zeke, who cut his foot open today. My dogs tend to be very accident prone.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. You guys are what makes it truly special. God bless.

Jackie