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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Post-Chemo Update

t’s been a few weeks since my last post. I went for my first checkup with Dr. Oh on Monday, October 12th. Everything went great. I had labs drawn and all were normal. I can officially say I am in remission at this time. My doctor told me the chances of the cancer coming back are very low but it’s something that I will remain under close follow-up over the next few years. I go back in December to get a scan and see him again. I am so thankful for Dr. Oh and his amazing staff. Here he is, along with Paige (his nurse) and Jennifer (his scheduler and fellow ovarian cancer survivor- Praise God!!)

 Me & Dr. Oh

 Me & Paige

Me & Jennifer (fellow OC survivor) Last weekend, I should’ve gotten “Wife of the Year Award”. I surprised Cory with tickets to go to the Texas A&M vs Alabama game in College Station. He was so excited and we had a great time despite the loss. We were able to catch up with some great friends and enjoy a kid-free day together.

This past week I was able to go with three of my friends to see Chris in concert in College Station. It was a great time of worship together. I am so thankful for genuine friendships with Jesus-loving women. We are all a hot mess but it is amazing being able to encourage one another and point each other back to Him.

Honestly, I have been in a weird place, in a funk of some sort. During the concert, I realized what my problem was. Honestly, I can’t remember which song it was but I just cried. I realized that I hadn’t been honest with God. During this journey, I feel I’ve done a great job at celebrating the victories and trusting the Lord during every step of the way. Most times I didn’t have a choice. But, I have failed at allowing myself to process all the emotions that come along with a difficult journey.  Now that the chemo is over I’ve had some time to catch my breath and begin to process what has just happened to me over these last few months. In this I have experienced some anger and bitterness. I have internalized and hidden these emotions because I have felt guilty for having them. How could I be mad or upset about my circumstances when the Lord has done so much for me? But, I will be real for a minute. I have found myself irritated and bitter at certain parts of this trial. I am irritated I do not have any hair and that I have to wear a hat every day.  Vivian (aka the wig) has been retired for the most part. She itches, makes my head hot and gives me a headache. And lets be honest, everyone knows it’s not real so who am I kidding?  I know it’s just hair and it will grow back, but I am a little tired of going out in public and having everyone stare with their “poor girl with cancer” look. I know, I know, this is why I have internalized these emotions- they’re quite ridiculous. I've also thought several times, Why did it have to be cancer? I would've told others about you in other ways.  Then the Holy Spirit reminds me ... no, not in this way. You couldn't have without this. You were holding back giving all of yourself to me. Remember when I told you years back, I want you to share your story. This is your story. A story of complete surrender. I am doing things that can not be accomplished by man. Many will see my miracles in your life.   I think this is where so many of you can probably relate. Insert your “trial” and the emotions we experience are all very similar. Rather than being honest with God about how I feel, I have stuffed these feelings down deep and tried to move on past them. By doing this, I created distance between me and the Lord. There’s been days in the last few weeks that I haven’t wanted to spend time in the word. The perfectionist in me wanted to get myself together before I could spend “quality” time with the Lord.  The unfortunate thing is that isn’t possible. As I stood there at the concert, allowing the arena to sing over me, I wept. Thankfully I realized what I was doing and I just apologized to God. Lord I am sorry for trying to hide from you. Lord, you just want me. All of me. You have just been waiting for me to run to your arms. He knows my heart, He created me. He knew this would happen to me and how I would react to it. How could I think that I could hide this from him? He wants me (and YOU) to come to him with everything. Just like David, we can cry out to God and share our hearts with Him. The good, the bad and the ugly. The best part is that by doing this we will only grow closer to the Lord. He will never think any different of us or love us any less. We were designed to have an intimate daily relationship with the Lord. This means that when we believe in Jesus and accept that He is our Savior, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in us. He is our guide and desires that deep level of communication with us. I love reading about David in the Psalms because he may be in the worst place possible mentally, feeling the lowest of the low, but he is honest with God. Then at the end of every Psalm he praises the Lord with all his soul. He is real, authentic and his life is an example to so many of us. Then there’s the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. I have been reading about her life this week through the IF daily devotional.  She was unable to have children and was devastated by this. One day she went to the tabernacle to pray to the Lord. The priest Eli witnessed her pleading and praying, crying her heart out to the Lord asking for a child. I love this picture in the scripture…. “But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:15 I have never personally struggled with infertility, but I can only imagine how devastated she must feel. In the midst of her trial she poured her heart out to the Lord. I can only assume Hannah must have also struggled through times when she was angry, bitter, doubtful and fearful. After so long, the Lord honored her and gave her a son, one that would go on to be one of Israel’s most faithful judges. The take home point here is that the Lord is faithful and can do anything. He may not answer every prayer we have but He will never leave us or forsake us. He desires a deep relationship with us and only wants the very best for us.   We don’t have to have it all together to come to the Lord. He wants us just as we are- messy, broken people. Thankfully the bible is full of people whose lives were a disaster until they found Jesus. It was when their lives were turned upside down for Him, that they found freedom in following Him. Thousands of lives were changed during the process. Jesus, I pray you will continue to turn my life upside-down. There is still so much work to be done to make me more like you. I am so thankful for your grace and mercy and your unrelenting love for me. Jesus, it’s all for you. Every single day. Break every chain. You are enough. Specific prayer requests: 1). Physical health. - I am feeling much better these days but am still struggling with fatigue and lower stamina. Dr. Oh said it can take 3months to a year to feel “normal” again. This has been a struggle for me. - My next visit and scan in December. Pray for me to rest in God’s sovereignty. As I think any person in remission from cancer can relate, there’s always a chance it can return (whether 1% or 100% or anywhere in between). Pray against the enemy reminding me of this. 2). My precious family. - We are all trying to find our way post-cancer treatment. Finding our new “normal”. - The Lord is already moving in big ways in us. We have had a definite shift in our focus and our relationships with Jesus. This whole experience has created a new sense of urgency and excitement to change how we live our lives and to focus on how the Lord has called us to live. 3). My transition back to work. - I am aiming to start back to work mid-November. While I am so excited, it will be a big change for my family as I have been home since this journey started in June. It will be challenging physically for me as well. 

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