“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”  John 1:16 (NLT)

To be completely raw and honest, one of the most difficult parts of this journey for me to anticipate is the hair loss.  I fear not being attractive to my husband.  I fear losing my femininity (especially considering a likely mastectomy in the future also).  I fear the looks and stares as hair loss just screams “CANCER” anywhere I go.  It will be a constant reminder of my sickness each time I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  When I think of this part of the journey to come, my eyes fill with tears  (as they are now even as I’m typing this).   I KNOW in my head that hair is no big deal. It’s just hair for goodness sakes!  But in my heart it still feels like a big deal.  I want to be honest and share the hard parts of this journey with you all as well.

I’ve talked with the Lord a lot about this heart struggle with my hair.  And, as He does, He gently meets me where I am and reminds me that He’s in this part of the journey, too.  So often when I encounter something hard, I just want Him to take it away; remove it from me.  But more times than not, instead of navigating me AROUND the Hard, God lavishes His grace, and carries me THROUGH the hard.  It’s not the easier way, but it’s the sweeter way.  As I go through the hard I can experience His grace and provision.  He draws me nearer to Himself and there is more depth to my heart-understanding of who God is.

That brings me to how I’ve seen His grace abound this week.

I wanted to get one last family photo session with my long hair, since it will be a very long while before my hair is this long again.  My very special friend Sarah Cain came over to do my hair and makeup.  She said she just wanted me to feel beautiful.  And my friend Becky Williamson came down from Fort Mill to photograph our family.  We took pictures in and around our home and neighborhood, and we had lots of laughs  (and maybe a tantrum or two from a certain tired three year old!) 🙂  I am so excited to see the pictures!

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Another fun part of the week was on Wednesday when my friends hosted a “hair party” for me!  When facing hair loss, it is best to cut your hair short prior to starting chemo.  I knew this would be a hard day for me, not necessarily because of the hair cut, but because of what the hair cut represented: the first step on the way to losing all of my hair.  My sweet friends wanted to turn it into a celebration of friendship, and my friends Amanda, Stefini and Brooke even decided to get their hair cut too to support me.  Seriously, I’m blown away by their love.

Sarah was an absolute blessing because she stayed late and cut all of our hair! AND she’s very pregnant, and I’m sure was extrememly tired after working all day, but so graciously stayed till 9:30 cutting our hair. We got Zoe’s to eat (my favorite) and we shared lots of laughter.  It was a night I will always remember.

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the ‘before’ shot – with our long hair

I’m just in awe of how God weaves our stories with one another.  I met Sarah about eight months ago through a “Divine Appointment”.  I shared a testimony at Focus about my “divine appointment at a hair appointment”.  I could do a whole entire post on this girl and how our lives have been intertwined in just 8 short months!

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the “after” with dear friend Sarah (due end of June!)

I have to give a huge THANK YOU to this dear friend, Amanda.  We met 11 years ago through Maria Owens who set up a “friend date”.   I walked with her through a dark valley of suffering in 2014.  It was a joy for me to encourage her and be a first hand witness to God’s grace through trial.  In God’s perfect plan, much healing in her life has taken place, and now she is strong and ready to help ME fight with joy!  Amanda loves fierce and loyal, and I could write for days on all that she means to me.  She’s taking the lead on my care team, so if you offer to help our family (which is so appreciated!) I will be sending you to her! I love you Amanda!

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last shot of “Sweet & Spicy” before our hair cuts (that’s what we call ourselves)

And last but CERTAINLY not least, another glimmer of grace in this journey is that I have gotten to talk with my sister more! The Lord took her family to Houston at the end of last year, so it’s been difficult to be away from her during this time.  But, God’s love and a sister’s love spans beyond miles.  God laid it on my heart this week to begin praying and journalling through the Psalms as I go through treatments.  There are 150 Psalms, so with doing one a day that will get me right around the time my treatments will be over.  I asked my sister and we are doing this together, which is so exciting to me because we’ve never been able to be in a bible study together.  But now through texting and phone calls we can share time together in God’s word!  What a blessing!

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sisters with babies….2010

Can’t you SEE all the glimmers of grace! His grace abounds!  I could write so many more, from the gifts, to the meals, to the CUPCAKES (yum) to the times of prayer to the sweet family times.  His grace abounds.

 

Update:

All went well with the echocardiogram, the results won’t be available for 3 days but I have no reason to believe that there is anything of concern.  This was just to get a baseline on my heart function before starting chemo.

My port surgery was this morning (Thursday 5/7).  Dr. Tucker inserted a port on the left side of my chest.  Everything went well and there have been no complications!  The pain has been a little more than I expected but I’m staying on top of it with pain meds.  My parents graciously offered to watch the children overnight tonight so I can recover.  I miss them!

My first chemo treatment will be next WEDNESDAY, 5/12 at 8am.  It will likely last until 4pm.  They wanted me to come in on Tuesday, but Samuel & Selah’s preschool graduation is that day, and no way I’m missing that!