I Have Cancer

I’m still not used to saying those words. I have cancer. It’s very strange. I mean, I’m no stranger to its affects. Cancer is everywhere. Many people around me have endured battles with the cancer beast, and, thankfully, many of them have won their battles. But it still feels foreign to claim this disease for myself.

The more people I tell, the more questions I’m asked (and the more opinions I hear…). I love my friends and I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have. Truly. But I’m writing this in an attempt to preemptively answer as many questions as possible (and thus, cut down on the number of times I have to repeat myself).

Before I get to the details, I feel like I should confess that I feel incredibly exposed right now. I’m a very private person. Chalk it up to my introverted nature or my history with abuse, but there are few people with whom I feel comfortable sharing the intimate details of my life. And you know how dogs like to go into a corner and lick their wounds alone? That’s me. I would rather take a beating than be the center of attention, and right now I feel like I’ve been thrown naked up on stage.

All that said, I have a lot of amazing people in my life who want to be here for me and want to know how to help. I don’t take that lightly and it is incredibly humbling. I’m deeply thankful for you all. So in spite of my inclination to keep things to myself, I’m sharing these details so you’ll know what’s going on and how to pray. And I sincerely am happy to talk to you all and answer any questions you might have. I just ask that you please be gentle with me, and please understand if I don’t answer everything or it takes me some time. Chances are, it’s not you–it’s me.

So. I have cancer. It’s a cancer of the plasma cells, and it’s considered treatable but incurable. Some people live with it for several years before symptoms start to show up; some people have to start aggressive treatment immediately and only live for a short time. I already have several of the symptoms, but my immune system is too weak to try chemo & radiation at this point (and chemo & radiation may or may not do any good anyway). There are some other treatments we may try later, but right now we’ll just be treating the symptoms. And waiting, watching, and praying.

Everyone responds differently to this disease. Mine manifests itself mostly through bone pain and migraines/headaches. I feel lightheaded a lot. My platelets keep dropping too low. I’m also completely exhausted, but I can rarely sleep for more than a few hours at a time. I have several bone lesions (tumors) already, mainly on my arms and legs. Most of them are only detectable by scan because they’re on the insides of my bones. But there is one lesion that pokes out on my left foot, and it serves as a daily reminder that I really am sick.

Since the cancer is unseen, hiding out in my blood, sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s true. I still look like me. I have a really high tolerance for pain. I still try to keep going every day like I used to, and some days I pull it off. But then I crash and I’m reminded that this is my current reality.

And the reality is that, unless God chooses to supernaturally heal me here on earth, this cancer is going to be what eventually kills me. To be clear, I absolutely do believe that God can heal me now, and I’m praying to that end. But I’m okay knowing that He may not. I want you all to be okay, too.

I’m not scared to die. I’m not angry with God. I don’t lie awake and wonder why me? I’ve seen the depravity and affects of a fallen world my whole life, and I’m under no illusion that I should be immune to it.

What I’m scared of is not living my life to the fullest. I’m angry with myself for missed opportunities. I lie awake and wonder why I wasted so much time. We don’t get to choose how we die, but we get to choose how we live.

So I’m working on choosing to live fully. That doesn’t mean I’m not sad. I am. Some days I’m so sad that I don’t know if I can move. But I’m not sad because I’m sick. I’m sad because I’ve discovered what I want more than anything else on this earth, and it’s not something I can have. I’m sad because people I love are hurting. I’m sad because there are thousands of orphans and widows, and most days I’m more concerned with how broken I feel right now than I am with helping them.

My tendency is to put on a happy face and make light of everything, because I don’t want to make anyone else sad or uncomfortable. But several friends have reminded me lately that it’s not my job to make everyone else comfortable, and that it’s good to feel. So I’m going to allow myself to feel sad right now. Maybe eventually I’ll wake up and see that some of the sad things have come untrue. Either way, I know that God is big enough to handle both my sickness and my sadness. I hope you know that, too.

Christ in me is the hope of glory. Hallelujah.

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14 thoughts on “I Have Cancer

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your news and being vulnerable to express your feelings. I am just so sorry this is happening to you though I am very grateful that God has you in His arms and will equip you for every step of this journey. All things are possible with God and I am praying diligently for your healing. As you manage this disease, there is no doubt God will provide blessings in the midst of your difficulties. I’m praying you will see them each and every day – especially on the hard days and that you never forget you have many friends and family that love you and are here for you. May God’s promise below be a blessing to you today. It’s one I cling to often.

    “Do not throw away ‘your’ confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you. Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

    Love – T

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  3. Hi Amber,
    I wish we could have talked more when I saw you at the Beth Moore conference. Thrilled you got to meet her and have her pray over you.
    I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer but I do know “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”. Greater is God than all this worldly junk we have to deal with. Totally understand you being sad and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not OK to be sad. I would be going into my corner too.
    Will pray that when your in that corner you can claim Ps 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” He’s right there in that corner with you.
    Love you, praying for you, and believing in a miracle.

  4. I am a friend of Lindsay Lep. I will put you on our church’s prayer list. I attend a small country church. Aulds Chapel Bible Church. If you want to listen to some of our pastors sermons. Go to auldschapel.buzzsprout.com. Last Sunday’s lesson was (better to suffer humbly). I am so sorry that you are having to go through this but I am so happy that you are a Christian. My husband has multiple sclerosis & I have rheumatoid arthritis ….we both have bad days at times but we carry on & we know this is all for a reason & when my mom passed away in 2006 from cancer. I wanted to question God as to why but then I said why not? We live in a fallen world & sickness is all around us. Praying for you & KEEP THE FAITH!!!!

  5. I had no idea you’re dealing with this. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story. I’m standing in faith beside you, praying for healing. Your words are beautiful. You’re truly an amazing person with so much light to share with the world. God allows the hardest challenges on those who can bare the load and testify of his grace through it all. God bless you Amber! Much love

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