Monday, December 9, 2019

Through the Storm...

2019 has certainly been a year of trial and suffering, of appointments and treatments, of hope and of pain. I ended chemotherapy three weeks ago. My doctor called it off because my body was revolting (as it should with a full year of radiation and poison in my body.) The side effects have decreased immensely although I have some residual effects. My oncology team (includes liver, colon, lung and kidney surgeons) met last week and decided AGAINST surgery for the remaining one inch tumor that is floating in my pelvis. The risk to benefit ratio was too high. Currently my cancer markers are at the lowest ever (1.5) and not increasing. Because I am already stage four metastasized cancer, (meaning the cancer has already spread to different body organs multiple times), I cannot say that I am cancer free or in remission. But the doctors are all on board to monitor and treat me if it spreads again or comes back. It is likely that it will, so I continue my fight in chasing cancer.

I did not leave his office in despair. I left determined. I left knowing that I have so much and I will continue to pray and fight and live life to the fullest. The words to the song “Christ Alone” kept repeating in my head and my heart:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust is Jesus' name

Christ alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior's love
Through the storm
He is Lord
Lord of all

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil
-- (Hillsong United)

Gosh darn, for those of you who know that song, don’t you just feel the amazing power of Christ as you belt out those words at the top of your lungs? When we sing it at church I can’t help but lift my hands and my whole body up in thanksgiving and praise. “My hope is built on nothing less!” My hope is not built on the doctor’s words or the scans or the surgeries or the blood work. My hope is built on “Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” I have been in the storm and through it all I know with all my heart that “He is Lord, Lord of all!” (If you don’t know the song, look it up and blast it!)

You know what chasing cancer has done for me? It has taught me to live in the present and the unknown. All those years that I thought I was controlling things—never have, never will. God is in control. He may be mysterious, He may not answer things the way I want, but He indeed is the “anchor that holds within the veil.” 

Chasing cancer has taught me to pick and choose my battles, to be grateful for the little and the big things, to prioritize my time, to give myself grace and rest, to love more fully. It has taught me who is important and how to say no. It has taught me that drawing near to God is so much better than “working for God.” It has taught me the difference between joy and happiness.

Chasing cancer has deepened my faith. It has revealed God’s truth and His promises to me. It has taught me the importance of loyalty, integrity and authenticity. Even though I may have sleepless nights or anxious moments, or hold tightly to the reigns of control, God always draws me near. He holds me tightly. He doesn’t leave my side. He is my great Comfort. He is my rock, my refuge and my strength.
Chasing cancer has emboldened me to share my faith, to testify of my deep love for Jesus, and to proclaim that it He is WHO makes me strong.

So this is my reality—I will be chasing cancer the rest of my life. I do not know when it will show up again and I will probably never be in remission. But that doesn’t mean I won’t stop praying for miracles. I will continue to pray for a clear scan and no more tumors. I am not in denial of my reality, but I am going to use every moment of my life to proclaim Christ and to give Him glory. I will continue to live with Him and live for Him.

God has given me so many gifts during this continuous battle. I have deepened relationships with those closest to me, I have met new people who have fought as bad ass warriors beside me, I have learned the gift of living in the unknown and being okay with the “right now, but not yet.” I have been reminded of the brokenness of our world and that this is NOT our eternal dwelling place. I am not afraid. I am victorious because of Christ in me.

My earnest prayer for each of you is that you would take whatever you may be “chasing” and give it to Jesus. Trust Him with a child like faith. You don’t need to know all the answers. You don’t need to debate the “legalistic” issues. Jesus died on the cross so you might be free. So let Him take what you are chasing and live a grateful and full life.  

1 comment:

Kendall Valenzuela said...

Amen!!! 🙌🏼 Another beautiful & bold message, Kirsten. Our hope is built on nothing less... I am SO grateful for you—my courageous, strong, thoughtful and encouraging friend (and also am grateful for your team of doctors @ UCSD.) Thank you for continuing to share your journey & story. I trust God is holding you close, and know He will never leave or forsake you. I love you, and will continue praying for healing, strength and a full remission. 🎄❤️🎁