Sunday, March 23, 2014

One year and making each day count

The one year anniversary of my diagnosis was on March 1.

On my "cancer-versy" I met up with a young, local mom who is also TNBC survivor to spend the day at the zoo with our little girls. She was diagnosed when her daughter was six weeks old. (Note: WHY is this terrible disease happening to many beautiful, young women? I wish I had millions of dollars to pour into research to understand what's causing this? I hate cancer so much). Then that evening Jonathan I ordered Thai food, drank wine, and hung out with Elise -- thanking God that we'd survived this year.

I've spent a lot of the day thinking about the prayers God answered this year, how much I've been through, and how much I've changed. My faith in God is so much stronger, I think much less about the distant future, and I focus on appreciating the things in life that really matter. March 1, 2013 was such a horrible day that I honestly feel blessed just to have made it through that day and the 364 that followed.

Here is Elise on March 1, 2014. What a difference a year makes.
God, I love this girl.

Shortly after I was diagnosed I found a private, online group that is called the "Kick Ass Cancer Mamas." All of us were diagnosed with cancer while pregnant or with young children (the majority of us with breast cancer). Several women in this group have been and are an amazing resource for me. They've given me encouragement, medical advice, prayers, group therapy, and so much more.

This week I learned that one of my TNBC sisters from the group now has metastasis to the liver. Also known as Stage IV breast cancer. She was declared cancer free a year ago but the f*ing cancer is back. I'm just so mad and sad that this happened to her. Did I mention that I hate cancer?! (Note: If you want to read more and contribute to her fund, go here.)

Hearing that her cancer is back has made me examine my life yet again. So often I feel like I've beat this beast and can move on, but then there are times like this when I wonder if I'm just living on borrowed time and the cancer will return to get me any day. But then I remember that the reality is, all of us are living on borrowed time. I'm just more keenly aware of it at the young age of 30. All us will die someday and give an account of our lives to God. There is no way around that, so you gotta make each day count. 

I actually feel pretty darn good these days, so every morning I tell myself "today, I am healthy" and aim to make each day count. I do this by...
  • Cherishing every moment with Elise, even when she is up in middle of the night.
  • Working hard at my job to make good money so that we can pay for Jonathan's master's degree and he can have a great career like I do.
  • Seeing my family and extended family as much as I can.
  • Looking for opportunities to serve and help people with my time, prayers, or resources. 
  • Keeping in contact with friends, both new and old, and finding quality time to spend together. Every weekend I try to see someone (or multiple someones) that I care about.
  • Telling my story as much as I can so that people will see the power of God and His ability to answer prayers. If you read my prayer request page, you'll be amazed at just how many specific prayers God has answered over the course of this year. I want people to see that when times get tough God will provide emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Jesus said in John 16, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." After this year I know that this statement is true, and my prayers is that others do too. 


  1. It's amazing the difference a year can make. This year marked 2 years since my MIL's surgery for colon cancer. Just thinking back this year we realized how grateful we all are that she's still here and doing great. Your positivity in this is just amazing.

  2. What a powerful narrative Kirsten. I can only imagine how this past year has been for you and I am inspired by your words. It is amazing how caught up we can get in the things that don't really matter, and it is imperative that we keep looking at how we are spending our precious days to insure that we are doing our level best to really live life in a meaningful fashion. I share your faith in God and am glad that you have been able to derive strength through prayer. Thank you for sharing so openly. You are a beautiful person with a wonderful family. I look forward to seeing you on our next trip to San Diego. Meanwhile, may God bless you and yours with all things good.

  3. I love the picture of Elise on your 'Cancer-Versy'!
    Your words are hard hitting and strong - we all take far too much for granted. You are such an insane inspiration!

  4. Praise God for a Cancer-Versy! I'll be praying for your friend, we recently found out my Dad has cancer, it's stage 3 or 4 but they've yet to determine where it is coming from. Hopefully the scan they did this week will help, he should be starting Chemo soon.

  5. Exceptional writing. At this time we are very busy own working. There is very short time for entertainment. This time is appropriate for sleeping. This author don not watch TV before blogging. It is one type good news.

  6. You have such a great attitude. I love that you are helping others with your story. It is important to enjoy each day b/c you just never know what the future holds. We have to appreciate the time we have. But so glad you are healthy and hoping it stays that way! Praying for your friend.

  7. I like checking in here every so often because I heard about you from your father (my former thesis chair) in the context of the fact that you and I shared the same due date last year. So often your thoughts put everything into perspective for me. I am so glad you are doing well and still sharing your message and your faith here. Your daughter is precious :) I had no idea being a mom would be so much fun. Thanks for being a blessing!