Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a little something we wrote.

a sweet girl emailed me and asked if we would write a little something for a newsletter. she is the campaign coordinator for the Hampton Roads (area where we live) Light the Night walks which raises money for blood cancers. Its through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


so here it is... 


had never worried much about my health. I don't think many of us do until we have to. For me it started with leg cramps, night sweats, and pain in my right rib. Pain I assumed was my body changing post pregnancy. My husband, Justin and I had welcomed our sweet little Ava into the world in January 2010. I figured the pain I was having was normal and I was not very concerned about it. We were headed out of town for the month of August so right before we left I figured I should at least get a physical and maybe get some pain medication for my rib and leg pain. That doctor appointment started what would become a whirlwind of appointments that would lead to a diagnosis we never imagined. After a day of ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood work we got that call. The one where my doctor says, "no rush, but can you come into my office by 5pm (its 4:30pm) and be sure to bring your husband." I dropped the phone and began to weep. I had held it together all day never imagining anything serious would come out of this. It was just a little pain. Well for us the diagnosis was Lymphoma (nodular sclerosis hodgkin's lymphoma). Justin and I walk out to our car and look at each other and say," we will beat this," but we are numb. We know one thing. God is good and we trust His plan for our lives not our own. Within the next few weeks we find out its stage 4 due to the cancer being found in my chest, right rib, and hip. Chemotherapy begins two days later where I will start my 12 rounds of treatment. Every other Thursday beginning in August and ending in February 2011.

Days after my diagnosis I woke up in the middle of the night and started a little blog. A way to keep our friends and family involved in this new journey. Within days we received an overwhelming outpour of cards, emails, flowers, gifts, and phone calls. It was honestly incredible. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. For many people, near and far that did not know what to do or what to say our dear family and friends (some strangers too) in Kentucky and Tennessee rallied around us and raised money, made t-shirts, created team libby bracelets, and walked in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Night the Light walk. As we received pictures from the walk. A giant card from our family in northern Kentucky with pictures from the race. Money that was raised. T-shirts mailed to us. We did not feel alone. People were in this with us. And that has made all the difference.

I have completed eight treatments and I have four more to go. At this point we have been given news that my chemotherapy is working and the cancer in my body is not only not growing, but barely exists! God is good. We have experienced much fear and heartache and still do today. As this has been a scary road for us. In the midst of it all we have experienced the love of God in a way we never knew existed. I see life differently now and I think that is a gift. Our marriage is different. The way I love our daughter looks and feels different. Everything has changed. In such a short time. And I am so thankful for that. I did not know anything about Lymphoma before I was diagnosed or about the Light the Night walk. But its such a beautiful picture of family, friends, and strangers coming together for a common goal: to fight this deadly disease.

From my husband, Justin...

What can you say if you have an amazing and extraordinary wife? Not much. You can just be thankful and hope not to mess it up. Many of you husbands know what I'm talking about. As a spouse with a wife who has cancer, I have felt powerless. As a husband, I have felt overwhelmed. As a caregiver, I have felt inadequate. As a Christian, I have felt ALIVE. It's amazing what God will do through our weakness, and He has done much. He has showed me, for one thing, what an amazing wife I have been blessed with.

Mostly I am in awe of Libby. She has endured through pain upon pain, triumphing over despair by continuing to read, pray, dream, and well... blog. Her blog and the attention has reminded her of what I always tried to remind her -- that she has a voice. Her voice includes words and experiences that are being used by God to affect people in transformational ways. I don't have much advice for spouses out there, but if I could say anything, it's this: remind your wife/husband that in the midst of feeling run down, beat up, sick, and tired, that they still have a shot of using cancer. That is can be used for the greatest purpose of a human life: to Glorify God Himself.

Libby's cancer has not been wasted, and darling, I have never been more proud of anyone in my life who was able to transcend a situation and use it for good. Well done Lib -- I could not have done it as well as you with such profound beauty. (Also, you really do look amazing in your hat :) (i have a bald spot that justin just informed me off as i am in hair loss denial...so now i wear hats).

We do have cancer -- but we have each other, and we have Jesus. So in that, we have everything. God Bless you cancer patients and spouses this holiday season. Regardless of where you are at, EXPLORE, O please explore the idea of how not to waste this disease, though terrifying as it is. And may you feel the grace that is yours in Christ this Christmas.


12 comments:

  1. As I sit here once again in tears after reading your blog, I'm amazed by the strength and love the the two of you have. Libby, you know that I have always had a lot of respect and love for you and what you do for the girls and all of those around you. Now I will say, thank you for what you have given me. My prayers and talks with Him have increased and my faith along with it. Thank you Libby for sharing your story, your faith, and your love with us.

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  2. Your such an inspiration Libby! I just lost my hair this weekend from my chemo so now Im trying to do the hat/scarf look too!

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  3. well written sis...love u!...becky

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  4. you are such a light. i've been reading your blog off and on for a few months, and every time i read it, your strength gives me hope and reassurance. it assures me that our Almighty God is in every situation. whether that be on a large scale like international affairs, or just the pure, personal simplicity of knowing your heart. yours. and justin's and ava's. ava is so blessed to have you as her mother. so many young women in this world, including myself, would give so much to have a mother who loves and follows Jesus. remember that. the maternal role of being exactly who God has made you as His child, is more encouraging to a daughter than you might know.
    it is incredible the way the God is revealing life's joys to you in a time of such trial. His love is just that. it's incredible. almost hard to believe, but that's how great His truth is.
    God bless you and your family this Christmas. soak in every moment of each other's love and peaceful, comforting presence. i'm praying for you!

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  5. Once again Libby, you continue to amaze me. Your faith in God, your strength while enduring this chapter in your life, your love for Justin and Ava. And your love for Jesus. It is all just never-ending and I think you are just awesome. I think of you and pray for you each and every day, often times several times a day. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience and for being so open and honest. Your writing and descriptions of what you are goig through are just so tangible. I will continue to pray for you and your family and may the peace of God comfort you always. Take care of yourself!

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  6. "Transformational" in such a pass-it-forward way! You have definitely not wasted your cancer! I don't have cancer or a child who has cancer, but I have a teen struggling - and how you handle your struggle so encourages me in how I deal with my struggle - Faith Overcomes! You two are such a blessing:)

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  7. I have goosebumps all over! God is good and you two continue to show that through your testimony. Ava is so blessed to have parents like you.

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  8. Libby--you used capitals! At first I thought it couldn't be you writing, but once I started, there was no mistaking your honest expressions of pain, joy, faith and hope so prevalent throughout your blog. God has certainly used you and Justin as encouragers for all who struggle with illness. We hold you before the Lord, praying that he might bless you with exactly what you need for each day.

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  9. Thanks...such a wonderful post!

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  10. so great libby girl! you are so gifted. i love you!

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  11. Today we found out my sister-in-law has lung cancer (and to think she has never smoked a day in her life) as I learned this news, I thought of what I've learned about living with cancer through reading your blog. One of the things that came to mind is how much you have appreciated cards, notes, and even those gifts that have arrived so as my sister-in-law begins her journey, I'm going to get creative to make sure she has some things to brighten her day - from me and from others. Thank you for being willing to share your journey and for teaching us how to encourage others.

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  12. I found out about your blog from a mutual friend and check it pretty much everyday to read about your journey. I struggle to find words adequate enough to describe my amazement with your continuous faith and courage! I absolutely love reading about Ms. Ava (I have a son close to her age) and how you use this to grow as a mommy, as well as how you and Justin are growing stronger as husband and wife. You are one awesome lady who touches the world with a light that cannot be extinguished! Your ability to let Christ shine through in every aspect of your experiences is humbling and nothing short of awesome :)

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