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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

1 1/2 weeks in...

 “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed, They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3 Let’s start with the positives!! Last week I completed my first round of 5 days of chemo. Monday was my first day. I had labs drawn and then met with Dr. Oh. We had impatiently been waiting on my PET scan results for a week. Thankfully, the PET scan was all clear. No signs of cancer anywhere. A lot of you have asked then why is chemotherapy necessary? Because of the high grade of my tumor (aggressiveness), it has a high likelihood of coming back without it. But, with chemotherapy regimen, it’s like a 95% cure rate. So now we press on…. Day 1 treatment went very well and uneventful.  I had my handsome hubby by my side the entire time. Chemo day 2 was spent with Cory again. Tuesdays are a longer day for me because I get all 3 drugs in my regimen. Mondays and Wednesday thru Friday are only 2 chemo drugs. The third one on Tuesday I actually get weekly on Tuesdays.  Wednesday went good as well. My friend and mentor Carol spent the day with me. My time with her is always so authentic and Spirit filled. This woman has suffered through many of her own trials, yet she is one whose love for Jesus radiates her very being. Every word from her mouth is an encouragement and truth filled. She has been encouraging me and mentoring me over the last several years on several things so I was honored to have her come along with me on this journey. Wednesday evening I started feeling a little nausea but nothing too bad. Thursday was day 4. My dear friend Aly came along for this journey. Because of the nausea the previous day, they added a med to my regimen to help with this, which then made me sleep almost the entire time. I was a boring companion for Aly. Thankfully she’s a good sport. Our conversations are always great and Jesus focused. But Aly also has a way of keepin it real and making light of any situation. She keeps me laughing and is always finding a positive in any situation. Thursday evening, some nausea started to set in and I finally had to start taking some of the oral meds they had given me for home. Friday morning, I woke up feeling ok but that quickly changed a few hours into my day. My treatment was a little later in the morning than it had been all week. My friend Amy came and took me to my treatment. The car ride didn’t go too well. About ten minutes away from my appointment, I got really sick in the car. By the time we got to the cancer center, I was in a bad place. Poor Amy, I feel so terrible for what she had to endure. I caused quite a commotion from what I hear. When she took me inside evidently I looked horrible, so they got me in a room. I likely had a vasovagal event from all the dry-heaving and that caused me to nearly pass out and drop my blood pressure. I woke up lying down with about 10 people in my room. A little embarrassing, but at least keeping things interesting.  Thankfully, after getting some IV fluids, I was better and was able to receive my last treatment for the week. Thank you Amy for taking such great care of me and for reading scripture over me. What a comfort! Saturday things went downhill. I was nauseous for most of the day and the oral meds weren’t helping. By the evening I was dry heaving and couldn’t stop. We called the on-call doctor and he recommended I come in to be admitted for IV fluids and IV nausea meds. I spent about 36 hours in the hospital. I was so thankful to be able to go home on Monday morning. I would say each day this week the nausea has gotten a little better, but my appetite has been nil. Tuesday of this week, I went in for my weekly med. All went well and was a quick visit. I would say that today has been a pretty emotional day. Just feeling very weary and not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel very clearly. One thing that I have always said with this blog is that I will always be honest. Its one thing to read and be told about side effects from chemotherapy, but it’s certainly another thing to experience it firsthand. There is nothing to truly prepare you for what is to come. I do know that chemotherapy is different for everyone…. different meds, different side effects, and different tolerances. Cancer just sucks. No other way to say it. No matter what your diagnosis is. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world. One filled with so much sadness and pain, yet the Lord has continued to show me signs of hope along the way. There is one lady that I have seen several times getting treatments the same time I have been. She has to be around my age. She looks like she is probably in her third trimester of her pregnancy. This absolutely broke me. I have no idea her name or her diagnosis. But ugh… Cancer sucks. She is always alone. I can only imagine her poor husband is working to continue to support his family and her family or friends are watching her other children at home. Who knows what her situation is, but I have been praying for her and how I can reach out to her. I am a doer- always have been. As I have mentioned before several times, I have struggled with control. Fear arises from this struggle anytime I felt I had no control. I now truly understand I have no control, never have and never will. It is a relief of sorts. It takes off the pressure of having to make sure I have done everything right. For years I have prayed for the Lord to show me and teach me how to not worry, how to not be fearful. Over the last year, I have clearly heard from Him the word “rest”. Just rest in Him. Ok, well if you are a type-A, perfectionist doer like me then you have no idea what it means to rest. If I am awake, then I am always doing something. I am not a sit-around type person. Now I am starting to truly grasp what He was telling me. It’s in surrendering fully to Him and trusting that He is in control ... in believing this truth, I will find rest. I will find freedom. In Him. I (we) can never find freedom in anything else other than Him. So many of our precious friends have come together to love us so well. We have gotten gift cards for food, meals, cards, texts, emails, phone calls, etc…. we have never felt so loved. Very overwhelmed actually at the outpouring of support we have received. Thank you to everyone! Sorry I haven't been able to personally thank you all. But know we love each of you and are so thankful.  I got a lot of cards at one time and I decided I would just read a few every day of my treatments so that I would have encouragement for that specific day. Last Tuesday, I grabbed two cards from my stash and threw them in my bag. When I opened those cards, they both referenced the passage from 2 Chronicles 20.  “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  2 Chronicles 20:15 This was definitely a word from the Lord for me. This passage has meant so much to me.  The passage from 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 is when King Jehoshaphat was leading the army of Judah. They were in the midst of a war against surrounding armies and the king was alarmed at what they were up against. Then the Lord spoke to one of the King’s men named Jahaziel. The Lord told him “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow you will march out against them…. You will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you..”  2 Chronicles 20:15-17 This is where it gets good… The next morning, the army of Judah headed into battle. The King appointed several men to walk ahead of the army singing praises to the Lord. At the moment they began to sing and praise the Lord, the Lord caused the opposing armies to turn against each other, killing each other until no one was standing. The army of Judah had to do NOTHING but rest and trust in the Lord to fight the battle for them. Finally Lord, you have given me eyes to see and ears to hear your truth. For so long, I have been doing all I can do to trust you more and serve you better. When all you want me, or any of us, to do is just have faith and trust You to handle it all. We can never do enough. It's already been done for us when your son Jesus took our place on the cross. We are free. Thank you Lord for this truth. I pray that this passage would speak to you as it has me. I pray that you can ask the Lord to show you what strongholds the enemy has on your heart that keeps you from fully trusting and believing His goodness for your life. I am finding freedom from doing this. Yes, it is through walking an ugly battle with cancer but this is the journey the Lord is allowing me to walk through. Before this, if someone would've told me me that, I would have said no way am praying that, the Lord may give me cancer or something terrible that would kill me to learn to trust him. I know that when some of you read that statement you cringed thinking the worst as well. Our God is good and fear doesn't come from Him. He is everything. He is bigger than anything, including my worst fear and your worst fear. All He wants is for us to live and walk in His grace so we are free to love and serve. We are not bound by the enemy any longer when we believe in Him. Jesus took the power of the enemy away when He conquered death. What a gift! “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 I know the Lord is not through with me. He is refining me for sure. I love that He is fighting for me. I love that because of this cancer people will be able to see exactly what He is capable of. I know that not every one’s prognosis is not like mine and I hate that. I know that nothing in life is certain. Nothing. But what is certain is that NOTHING can separate me from his love. Not cancer. Not death. Those were the two things I feared the most before this journey began. In this journey, the Lord is graciously showing me He is bigger. He is better. He is everything. Prayer requests: 1). Continued relief from treatment side effects. Nausea would completely go away and I would be able to start eating more. I need to remain as physically strong as possible heading into round 2. 2). Mental stamina. Despite having hope and faith in the Lord, I am human. This is hard. This sucks. I feel terrible. I can’t live life right now. I am going to lose my hair sooner than later. Pray that I would never lose sight of His truth and promises through the good, the bad and the ugly. 3). My family.

  • Cory has been absolutely amazing. The way he has stepped up and led our family has been incredible. I am so thankful the Lord gave him to me and our kids. What a blessing. He loves us so well and has selflessly served me over the last week when I could barely do anything.

  • Emma and Will are doing good. They’ve been in grandparent heaven and have been showered with lots of love, junk food and toys J. Pray for protection over them as mom starts to physically look different over the next few weeks. That they would know how much I love them even though I am not “the same”.

  • Grandparents and friends that have stepped up and made huge sacrifices to serve us over the last week and in the weeks to come.

4). Round 2 starts August 17th. It will be a Monday through Friday daily treatment again. They are going to make a few adjustments to hopefully prevent the same sickness from coming back again.  Jesus, this is all for you! Holly

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