Clinical Trial Fears.

I have this devastating guttural cry, woe-is-me, I’m done, this isn’t fair moment every time I get diagnosed. Yesterday I had that moment.

A clinical trial, it seemed like it would be a straight forward, almost easy road. But there is no easy road with cancer. I sat in the REI garage crying and contemplating the different roads I could take. I could go forward with the trial, I could do surgery and radiation again, or I could skip treatment all together. The latter sounds so enticing, to just be done, to just go back to normal until cancer runs it’s course. This isn’t the first time I’ve explored the idea, but the truth is, all roads have sacrifice. So then after I realize that there are no easy roads, I feel trapped. I feel like cancer has me trapped, there is no escape, I have no choice. Then in the midst of my self-smothering, I panic.

The clinical trial is a systemic infusion every 2 weeks for the next year.

The next year.

The very words make me squirm. I long for home, no, I long for stability, for a calm to this chaos, for a schedule. The last year and a half I’ve been a gypsy, going from one place to the next. I’ve barely been able to hang all my clothes in the closet and now I have to make the trek to Seattle every 2 weeks for a year.  After 8 weeks and 2 biopsies they will determine whether I am responding well to the drug or not. If I don’t respond, there is a risk that my tumor will continue to get bigger and spread, leaving surgery, radiation, or chemo as my only options. It’s already grown to the point that it’s a painful lump pushing against my throat. That possibility scares me so much. I’m the 1% girl remember? Stats bring me no comfort, neither do others success.

But what if it works? What if my tumors dissolve into nothing and the cancer slowly fades from my body? From my life? What if? And it’s in the what if’s that we can make ourselves crazy. I’ve been telling people that being diagnosed for the 3rd time makes me feel kind of like I’m living out Groundhog Day, but the cancer version. So every time that I begin to go into panic mode, every time that to ask the Lord to just kill me know and be done with it, every time I doubt His plan and insist that mine’s better, every time that I start to look at other 23 year olds and envy their freedom, in these moments, when I feel all loss of control, that the Lord lifts my downcast face to meet His gaze. He says, “Look at me daughter.” When I look up, I imagine Him staring back with tears in His eyes, because He hates this too. Then I look back on the first diagnosis, the devastation, the wondering if I’ll live past Christmas, then I reflect back on the second diagnosis, the anger, the wondering if I’ll ever get married, and as my gaze shifts from poor me, from the weak, feeble, and untrusting human to the all knowing, kind, merciful, and GOOD GOD, I remember…


Greater things are yet to come. I will make it, and I will be okay. Not because I’m good, or brave, or strong, but because God is good and brave and strong. He has brought me through 2 battles with cancer, and He is gearing me up for the 3rd.


Greater things are yet to come.


PS: Shout out to my girl Rose for traveling from KANSAS every 2 weeks, I should focus on my blessings.

Also if you want to be praying for my travels, it’s an 8 hour drive to Seattle from Kfalls so we are trying to figure our some flying options. If anyone has a private plane, I mean and it’s on your heart… 😉 I go in for a brain scan and a CT scan today to get restaged. Prayers that I don’t have any other tumors would be appreciated! LOVE you all dearly!

Going to War.

I’m tired. I’ve become too familiar with this term in the last 2 years. I feel lately as though it’s a permanent state. Fatigue. An abnormal amount of it. I guess that’s not crazy considering my body has been fighting a life-threatening tumor. It annoys me though. Maybe it’s also the fact that I just turned 23 years old…Nahhhh. But I can say that I am so incredibly grateful for another year of life. 23 blessed years. Thank you for all the birthday wishes and encouragements. It was tempting to douse the celebration of my birthday in the worry, anxiety, and stress of Adams treatment and my upcoming treatment. I’m grateful for friends and my husband who help me focus on the present and the excitement of the celebration of life.

Adam and I head to Seattle on Tuesday and I get a bunch of tests done on Thursday. They want to try a new clinical trial on me before we go to surgery and radiation. It’s a gamble. Last time my body didn’t respond to the trial and 3 tumors grew in the meantime, but if it works, GAME CHANGER. We could actually get ahead of this thing instead of the old game of whack-a-mole. It’s a risk I’m willing to take if it means skipping surgery and radiation.

My heart has actually been in a healthy state of peace. Adam and I were talking about it the other day. We are different warriors, this time. This is my 3rd battle. No, this is my 3rd war, I’ve had a dozen or more battles now. But I have 2 wars under my belt and I’m wiser because of it. I’m not stronger, nor am I more capable. I am still David with his slingshot. But, imagine if David was able to fight Goliath 3 different times. On the 3rd he would be able to reflect on the last 2 battles and have a wave of calm and trust as he saw God’s strength and power come through for him. He would approach the 3rd battle boldly, and with less fear. He would have more confidence that the God he serves is powerful and good. He would doubt less and he would learn from the first 2 battles. He would look back and see that He is just as weak and still wields only a slingshot, but he would see his God who is more than capable and wields something better than a sword.

It’s a hard decision everyday to wake up and remember that I GET a 3rd chance to fight this war better, instead of being angry and bitter towards God saying that I HAVE to fight this a 3rd time. I want to look back on the mountain of faithfulness, I want to look back at the wars and see Gods strength through me.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.”

The tumor is that “you have a gumball stuck in your throat” lump on the right of my scar.





The English language is so odd. Like how the word LIMBO can mean “an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution” but it can also refer to the “How low can you go” stick game. In this instance I’m not referring to the stick limbo, although now that I think about it, I feel as though I’m being forced to go lower and lower. You start out standing, then you’re squating, and before you know it you’re barely off the ground, trying with all your might to stay up. I’m in the medical limbo. I’ve played this game before, it’s a hurry-up-and-wait kind of thing. My biopsy results were inconclusive. I’m supposed to watch the lump for the next week. Sit and watch to see if it disappears or get’s bigger. It’s an odd thing, to sit and watch. To wait as a life threatening beast either grows or decides to disappear. But here’s the thing about waiting, you’re forced to rely solely on the Lord.

I can’t do a thing about this lump. I can’t remove it, I can’t go to the doctor, I can’t take a pill, I can’t drink a certain tea or eat a certain root, I can’t sniff a certain oil or sleep a certain amount, I am not in control. The things I can do, the things I am in control of are my perspective, my relationship and dependance on the Lord, and my attitude. I intend to do the best I can in those areas.

A huge way that I’m able to control my perspective during this time, is to focus on all the blessings in my life! It’s hard to do at times, but it’s easier these days because my ENTIRE house is filled with blessings. It’s a house of gratitude no doubt. Allow me to walk you through it. When you walk up to my HOG (house of gratitude, now referred to as my HOG), you see two cars in the driveway. Each car was given to us graciously. Inside our home you walk into the living room. Each couch was given to us, the window hanging on the wall was given to us, the rug was given to us, the coffee table was given to us, the lamp was given to us. Heading into the kitchen in my HOG you will see a cute dining room table that was given to us, and the kitchen itself is filled with gizmos and gadgets…GIVEN TO US. As if that isn’t enough to convince you, in our bedroom the BED was given to us, the dresser was given to us, there is not one area, one room, one foot in my house that I can escape gratitude! My HOG got me thinking, isn’t that really the case EVERYWHERE we go? Isn’t every house a HOG, isn’t every breath, flower, kiss, rain drop, grain of sand, a thing to be grateful for? Everything has been given to us, we deserve none of it. The intense Irish music playing in this coffee shop, the laptop I type on, 10 fingers, a husband, all given to me. How often I forget to be grateful, but how essential it is for our souls. You can’t have an attitude of gratitude and be an angry, bitter, or sad person. Sure you are allowed to have your moments, even your days, but as I am tempted to demand that I have the life I am told by the world that I’m entitled to, I will take a moment to look at all that I have that I don’t even deserve.

Thank you all for helping me during this time, your kindness and generosity, your words, they all help me keep a positive perspective during this waiting!Please pray for this week of waiting, but even more please pray for my husband Adam! Next week we head to Spokane for his Lyme treatment and I am begging the Lord that it will work. Love you all and I’m grateful for you ALL.


I Want the American Dream.

Last night I panicked. I panicked over finances, I panicked over change, I panicked over being a new wife, I panicked over not being able to work, I panicked over the biopsy, I panicked over the next battle I am about to face, I panicked over the unknown.

As Adam and I sat in the car in front of our house, I began to cry for the 30th time since my recent diagnosis. He asked me what was wrong. I honestly told him that I know if I trust God all the panic and anxiety wouldn’t be there. But I refuse to be humble, I refuse to trust Him right now because I’m mad at Him. He then asked me if I’ve complained to God yet? He reminded me of David in the Psalms, crying out in anger to the Lord.  What an amazing husband God has gifted me with. So as worship music filled the car,  I closed my tear filled eyes, and I complained.

It felt odd at first, not that I haven’t been mad at God before, but telling Him about it directly was kind of a new thing. As I started my prayer, “God, I’m super mad at you. I’m frustrated and confused and I don’t want to do this. Why me? Why me again? Why me a 3rd time?” I froze. A question plagued my mind. Why am I so mad at God? I didn’t want to answer. But as the Holy Spirit probed further my only answer was, “because He took away my comfort.” Immediately I cried. Because He took away my comfort. I mean if I’m honest, honest to the depths of my soul, I want to be normal. Take that further and I want to be what our world says is comfortable. I want the cookie cutter, I want the American dream, I want the white picket fence. I cringed at the thought. For the last 4 months I’ve been comfortable, and in that comfort joy came easily. Now that…poop has hit the fan…it’s hard to find joy. Therefore I’m mad at God. I’m uncomfortable.

Suddenly I was tempted to feel ashamed. I know that God is an empathetic God, I’m learning that at least. He wasn’t sitting there as I complained to Him going, “Well Hade you know what just suck it up and glorify me already. Why do you have to be so stubborn and difficult all the time?” Nope. He said, “I know my sweet daughter, cry, be frustrated, be in pain and anguish, I am too. I hate the evil and disease in this world. I hate that you are suffering.” I paused to wipe the tears from my eyes, and I actually smiled.


Because God is the constant source of our joy. Or He should be. So in the comfortable or the uncomfortable. In the beautiful and in the ugly. In the stability or the chaos. He is unchanging. And so I sit here, after a long, difficult day. After yet another biopsy, after another IV, after another hospital visit, and I’m still frustrated, I’m still scared, I’m still confused, but I’m not mad at God for allowing me to be uncomfortable. I choose to seek joy, I choose to seek God.


Frustrating Fly.

I went to a little bbq last night at my parent’s house. Normally I love being social, people fuel me, but not last night. I just wanted to go home and curl up in my fluffy white comforter, in my safety. I asked myself why I wanted to seclude myself, I know that being alone in my mind is a very bad place during these times. Once again I came up with an analogy…

We are all running on the grass, running the race of life. Somewhere along my race I tripped on a little tiny pebble (my tumor) and fell into the mud. Now this is nasty, sticky mud that’s nearly impossible to get out of. I’m stuck in the middle of the grass, in this mud pit. I can’t move but I can watch everyone around me run freely on the grass. At times people will stop and wave to me and shout, “I wish we could help you!” But their race continues on. Mine doesn’t, it’s paused. Whether it’s a temporary pause or a permanent pause I’m not sure. But it’s hard for me to be around people during this time. I’m envious. I was running in the grass. My path was clearly marked. Marriage. Job. Family. I got married and I had several job opportunities in line. I was set to be a “normal” person again. I even had kids on my mind. After all I just had to be clear for a year before I could get pregnant. 4 months down. And then this tiny lump appears in my neck.

How can such a small thing cause so much damage? That’s been my question lately. I mean a little bump threatens my life, it wrecks all my plans, it causes so much pain and despair. This tiny lump that feels as though I could just pluck it out and move on with my life is actually enough to kill me. It’s frustrating. It’s like that fly in your house. That big, juicy fly that makes the loudest buzzing. Life is fine until you see it one day. Then it’s all you can think about. It’s all you can hear. It distracts you from everything you’re doing. You lose sleep. You follow it with your eyes. You use every household item to kill it. A fly swatter, a towel, hairspray, a cup, and yet it escapes you every time. It could have been there for weeks but now that you know about it you are obsessed.

There’s a fly in my neck. In fact, I just found out, there are two.

I’m having a hard time trusting God. My plan seemed so perfect. I was going to work part time to help Adam and allow him to go to school. I was going to learn to be a good wife. I was going to cook more. I was going to take a photography class. I was going to join worship team again. I had a plan. And at this very moment I really don’t see how God’s plan is better. Yet I am forced to think about Job. He and I are becoming very good friends. The hits just kept on coming for Job (like Merkel keeps coming for me), yet God had a much bigger and better plan.

I’m going to Skylakes for an ultrasound guided needle biopsy at 8 a.m. tomorrow. I’m honestly dreading it. It hurts. And in a way it brings back awful memories of my first diagnosis. They jab this giant needle in your neck and plunge it back and forth. But I am trying to be grateful that God gave me an appointment so soon, especially since a second tumor has already emerged. Sheesh Merkel is aggressive! Thank you for all the prayers and support already, if you could lift up my biopsy I would appreciate it so much. And pray that it doesn’t hurt or that I fall asleep or something! Love you all.




Round 3.

Round 3. I can’t believe I’m even writing this blog. Cancer was a far off memory, a nightmare that I haven’t thought about. The summer was pure bliss. A little slice of cancer free heaven. I felt so much peace and joy that I forgot about the evil little disease floating around my body, searching for the next cell to attack. A wedding, a honeymoon, and a clear scan. Talk about excitement, and then this weekend as my hand caressed the bottom of my chin, I felt a familiar, round, lump.

A tumor.

My mind went into a whirl, directly outside of the faint little scar, right next to the area fried by radiation, a little tumor has staked it’s claim.

Round 3.

That’s the thing about Merkel, it’s not a “one and done” kind of cancer. Each diagnosis, each battle feels like I’ve been diagnosed with cancer all over again. I keep repeating “Round 3” in my mind. In less than two years I will have battled this cancer 3 times. I hate it. I hate the dread paired with finding a new tumor. I hate looking in the mirror and wondering what new scar this will add to the collection. What new terror will this behold? I had to tell my husband and my family. That’s probably one of the most hurtful parts of this entire ordeal. Walking into the house knowing that I was about to deliver the worst news to them. Turning their normal, maybe even happy day, into one of despair. Seeing the look on their faces, the look where you know their heart just dropped into the pit of their stomach. Seeing the tears involuntarily rush down their cheeks and seeing them experience the guttural cry. I gazed around the room as I looked upon my Mom and Dad, my Sister and Alec, and my husband. In the midst of all the pain I felt so much gratitude. These people are the soldiers on the front line, and just the front line. I can’t imagine how many warriors back them up. How many prayers will go up when I post? How many people will cry in despair? How many people will cling to the Lord? That I’ll never know.

When Adam and I were sitting on my couch I paused crying for a moment and thought, “What can we do this time? How can we fight better? How can we glorify God more? How can we trust more? What do you want God?” See even though my heart is broken that I have another battle ahead of me, I have an advantage. 3rd times the charm right? How will God use cancer to bless me this time?



Hayden Palm.

Hello blog world and virtual family! Man, where to even begin. The last month has been packed full to the brim, I mean overflowing with news and happenings.

So to keep from writing a book, I will give you a general overview of life lately. Number one thing is, I GOT MARRIED! Yep, married the love of my life Adam Palm on August 27th. It was fast and furious. But hey, when you know you know. After all we’ve been through together it was the perfect next move for us. Then we went on a 10 day honeymoon to Costa Rica, man what a blast! It was a beautiful trip and such a nice way to relax and recoup after the wedding craziness. Then we had one day before we left for Seattle. In that one day we looked at what felt like a bajillion houses, feeling discouraged at Klamath’s rental market we left for Seattle thinking we’d never find a home.

In Seattle I had my routine scan and blood test, although this time we got to attend the Merkel dinner. Man, what an awesome event. To think that I attended last year as a girl in the midst of radiation and I got to return as a married woman and a survivor of 1 year. God is GOOD. The dinner was awesome. I adore seeing my Merkel family like Rose, Jim, Steve, Phyllis, Carol, and Don. It’s an amazing feeling to look around the room ( even though it’s mostly old white guys) and see people that know exactly what I’m going through. It’s a room full of hope.  Hope that we can all fight this, hope in that we have all fought this and as long as we sit at the dinner table we are winning. Everyone remembered me as the “girl who spoke last year”. I mean I kind of stand out, being the youngest and a woman. My scans came back clear! Man what a huge weight lifted. Tumor free for another 3 months. When the doctors left the room Adam leapt up in excitement, it’s so cool to have my best friend by my side for life.

So now I am in Klamath Falls, man it’s just a black hole! It’s the town you vow to leave but always come back too. Adam and I ended up finding the cutest little rental. Well, cute now. It’s an old house with some, let’s just say “character”. But it’s a good starter home. Adam is starting work as a substitute and he starts EMT classes at the end of this month. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet, photography is in full swing and God has blessed the business a lot! It’s so nice to be doing “real” life. Having 3 months of peace is the best feeling in the world. God has been so gracious to us during the first month of our marriage. People have been extremely generous and very helpful. I will never cease to be amazed at how God uses community to enrich my life. Thank you for being there for me through EVERYTHING. And for hanging in there as I let the craziness of life affect my blogging. God is showing me that it’s important to share our lives with one another. The good and the bad. Every part, and so I want to challenge myself to share the good with you guys. It’s easier for me to write about the bad, and the hard times. But boy right now the times are good and I want to PRAISE God with you all!

Here’s to the next chapter of the Merkel Miracle, starting as Mrs. Palm.


Is Hade still Alive!? August 10, 2016.

Wow, well you guys, I am still alive! In fact I’m more than just alive, I’m alive and well! This summer has been a breath of fresh air, a cool drink of water, I have actually spent the last two months feeling like a “normal” 22 year old. God is so gracious to give me a break and not only that but, I’m getting married! For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, Adam and I are getting married in 17 days. We’ve been planning on an August wedding since April but we set the date in June and got officially engaged in July. It was kind of backwards, but who would expect anything different from me?! We set the date before the engagement because unlike “normal” people, we have to plan around scans and treatment, August 27th seemed to be the perfect day before the medical chaos.

So the ring story, it’s actually quite unique so in the end it was worth the wait! Sometime in June I posted a picture of Adam and I announcing our engagement. Many of you didn’t notice that I was actually covering my left hand! Hahaha, I didn’t yet have the ring but I wasn’t sure when it was coming. Week after week passed and I was going out of my mind. You see, I thought I already knew what ring I was getting. Awhile back Adam had purchased a ring for this girl that he used to date and decided not to propose, so she never even knew it existed. He tried to sell it and had no luck so he kept it through the years. When he told me about it I wanted to see it. It was a pretty ring, and it fit me! So being the bargain brained person that I am I told him that if he ever proposes to me that he could just use that ring and save his money. So, skip forward to when Adam was moving here to Klamath, he calls me up one day in a bit of a panic and tells me that he lost the ring during his move. I felt so bad! But then I started doing research on plan B rings. I mean if the ring was truly lost I needed to give him some ideas. This was the first time I really even thought about what kind of rings I liked. I sent him picture after picture, only enough none of them looked like the ring he already had. So later in the week I decided to look through his stuff to make sure he didn’t misplace it. Bumbadadum! It was sitting peacefully in his camera bag, waiting for me to find it. So the ring was found and in my mind I figured Adam would disregard the pictures I had sent him.

Fast forward to the month of July and the passing weeks. It was so hard for me because I was telling people I was getting married but had no ring on! I found myself sticking my hand in my pocket or conveniently running it through my hair, anything to avoid the glance at my left finger and the look of confusion. Adam felt so terrible, he didn’t want to give anything away but he just told me to trust that that the day will come and he is working on it. But I was thinking, what’s there to work on!? You have the ring?

So the day was upon us, July 25th. I knew it would be the day because Adam asked me to take work off. He picked me up in the morning after cleaning my car, and then we drove to Ashland. The whole time I was trying to plan a reaction. I mean I’m a control freak you guys, but also because I kind of suck at reactions to gifts and surprises and I usually practice in the mirror. So we get to Lithia park and Adam takes out a complete picnic set. We find this beautiful secluded spot by the creek and lay out the blanket. Next thing I know rose petals are being scattered around me, I wonder who made that a thing, you know rose petals being the essence of romance? Anyway we then enjoyed a picnic lunch and the whole time I kept trying to stall. I had been waiting for this moment for weeks, why was I now trying to stall!? Well, I guess I was just trying to savor the moment, we dream about this moment. We watch YouTube proposals and long for the Bachelor proposal, we romanticize this Nicholas Sparks moment, so I wanted to savor it. Finally it was time, Adam read me a letter he wrote to me and I held back tears, I mean makeup. Then he cleverly had me open a gift while he got the ring out and BAM! He’s down on one knee. The truth is the actual down-on-one-knee part lasts for a second in reality. I mean in movies and stuff it seems like that is an everlasting moment, but maybe that’s because I practically said yes before he could get the words out! When he opened the little black box though, LIGHTING STRUCK THE EARTH AND ALL HUMANS WENT BLIND. That ring though! It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.

Turns out, it wasn’t good enough for Adam to just give me an old ring. He wanted me to have exactly what I wanted and he wanted to show me how much he loves me by putting in time and effort. The ring is a halo set ring that was custom built by Holiday Jewelry. The middle diamond is from Adam but the outer diamonds are from a ring that I inherited from my lovely grandmother Mame. It couldn’t be more special to me, and to think that I have a piece that also reminds me of Mame, I just, I have no words. It was well worth the awkwardness, and it was well worth the wait!

I’m so excited to marry the love of my life! Thank you God!


If I See Another Needle… June 13, 2016.

June 13, 2016.

It’s been awhile, I know I’ve kept you all  eagerly waiting to see what’s next in the life of Merkel girl! So I went to Seattle last week for the dreaded monthly scan. Man what a rough week. I often look at the things that happen in my life and wonder if I’m the only one who feels the theme of life is, “If it can go wrong it will go wrong”, or “does it ever go right” or “why can’t things just go smoothly?”. So I started my week of appointments with my normal blood draw, 8 viles of blood, chatting briefly with the nurse, (usually about how my favorite vein is just so good and juicy) and then I went on my way to the next one. The rest of the day was pretty basic, radiology check up,  the CT scan and then home.

Tuesday I saw the team and discussed my CT results, they also discussed what the next 3 months look like for me and all that good medical stuff. Off to the lab again because they forgot to order 3 of my blood tests (they could have had it done the previous day). The nurse was a nice woman, chatty as all get out but nice. She found my treasured vein and had no problem drawing my vile of blood. She cleaned up and as she threw away the needle she looked at the table with a horrified expression. “Oh honey! I am so so sorry but I forgot to draw the other 2 viles of blood! Here I was chatting away and I forgot.” I didn’t even have the energy to react, why should I be surprised? Once again she hit the good vein, drew more blood, and sent me on my way.

The next stop that day was the hospital. I had to get a special test done to see if I qualify for this T-Cell therapy so next time if I get diagnosed I have options. I lay on the bed and direct the nurse to my juicy vein. Usually they gawk and awe over how easy it is to get an IV in there, not this time. This time she told me that it’s shot, overworked, messed up. This has never happened to me before so I don’t have a Plan B vein. She looks around and for some reason decides that the side of my elbow would be the best decision. The straight needle goes in and hits nothing, so she wiggles it around hoping to have success. After moving and shoving and coming up dry she yanks it out and tries the other arm. At this point I mentally checked out. There was no use in getting upset or focusing on the pain or even caring. With the straight needle in the left arm and an IV on the right my blood began leaving my body. 4 hours later and 12 liters of blood the test was finally finished. I was exhausted, frustrated, and ready to go postal as I sat in traffic for 40 minutes. In the back of my mind I was clinging to the tiny bit of hope and relief that ahead of me I had only 2 appointments and they didn’t involve needles!

The next morning I had a visit with my plastic surgeon, things were going well until he realized that my scar tissue was super tight. “I think we should inject some steroids to help the healing process.” I’m sure I went dead in the face. Of course, why not, why am I even surprised? We walked to another room, the room where he cut a chunk of my face out, and he got the needle out. I leaned back and 1, 2, 3…7 shots to the face later and I was holding back tears. Not really because of the pain, mainly in absolute frustration.

That night I went home defeated. I reached a serious breaking point. I walked into my room, closed the door, and cried. Guttural cry, our old friend. I told God that I was done. That I didn’t want to live this life, this cancer life. That I was tired of the doctors and needles and tests and results and people and statistics and changes. That if I couldn’t be a normal 22 year old with a normal life then it wasn’t worth it for me. I told Him that I tried my best, that I did everything He wanted. I wondered what dying would be like, I thought about ending it all. Would it be that bad to just be done? Would it be so terrible if the Lord just made my heart stop so I don’t have to do this anymore? It may sound extreme, but I’m willing to be transparent and vulnerable here because I bet I’m not alone in questioning whether this life is worth it or not. I mean cancer aside look at the world we live in. Suffering and heartache, death, shooting, insecurity, self-hatred, self-harm, bullying, drugs, having to put a freaking steering wheel lock in your car. It’s enough to make anyone question!

As I wrestled with this I was reminded that we were not made for this Earth. Suffering is a promised part of this Christian life. This is not “our best life now”. So we look to Jesus for our hope and strength and continue to trust God’s plan for our lives. 2 Corinthians 4:17



Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my scan was clear!  So we celebrate for another small victory  🙂


It’s Okay Not to be Okay. June 1, 2016.

June 1, 2016.

I haven’t been okay. There’s something about this two month waiting period in between scans that is really hard for me. The past month I’ve been really struggling with depression and insecurity. This time has been different in that I don’t have anxiety about the future as much as I am just dealing with the emotions from the past. I feel like a stranger, like an imposter. I look in the mirror and I have a different face, the face that I became familiar with for 21 years is gone, not only is it gone, but it is never coming back. I can never go back. There are times when I want to act like cancer is a broken leg, like it’s just a season and it will pass, just like getting your cast off, you then can move forward and look back and say, “Boy that was a crappy season of life!” But I am coming to the realization that cancer isn’t a season for me, there’s no getting my cast off and moving on. I will never be rid of it, I will never be told that I’m cured, I will never go back to the old and familiar me. I will always live with the possibility that it will come back, I will always have my scars, I will always have the memories, I will always have side effects of cancer, in one year my life has completely changed.

I cried all night as I looked through old photos of me smiling, teeth showing, skin radiant and smooth, eyes bright and the guttural cry met me once again. I felt as if I was mourning the loss of the old me. I looked at that old girl and thought, “She was beautiful, if only she spent those years confident and not taking the fact that she can even smile for granted.” I can only take so much of the stares, of the lady at the grocery store gasping and asking what happened, of little kids pointing and asking their Mom what’s wrong with my face. I have fallen into the trap of comparison. I am envious of the girl with the radiant smile, the one who lights up a room, who’s laughter isn’t held back by the paralysis in her lip. I am envious of the girl who’s complexion is buttery and smooth, who can reach up and feel a gentle softness rather than the deep divots of a scar.  I am envious of the girl who has beautiful cheekbones and a symmetrical face. I am envious of the girl who’s biggest concern is finishing up a final and not wondering if she will get to enjoy her summer or spend it in the hospital.

I’m not okay right now. And for a long time I haven’t allowed myself to struggle. I haven’t grieved. I’ve experienced trauma and I have been through a lot in the last year. It is difficult for me to even type this out because I feel ashamed, I immediately tell myself, “How could you do this Hade? How could you think that? How could you say all these things when there are people who can’t see or walk or talk?” How could you talk about how hard this is when Jesus gave you the ultimate gift of eternal life?” And when I am lying in my bed sobbing, I think that God is saying the same things to me. I don’t picture Him holding me, I picture Him scolding me. You see, I really haven’t seen God as an empathetic God, as a caring and compassionate God, as a God full of grace and as a God who’s “strength is made perfect in my weakness”. I haven’t allowed God to hold me and say, “It’s okay not to be okay Hade, I understand and my heart hurts for you.”