The Journey Begins

Christ is my author.  He wrote my life.  God makes no mistakes.  I was first diagnosed with cancer the summer of 1996.  My cancer story does not begin here.  I graduated from high school.  I received my degree in Elementary Education.  I married the man of my dreams.  I had a baby.  Not just any baby.  A miracle baby.  The most amazing little human being that I have ever laid my eyes on.

The nurse laid her on my stomach and immediately all the pains of childbirth disappeared.  She was everything.  Michael Phelps on the starting block.  Chocolate chip cookies in the oven.  The sun rising.  Christmas Eve.  She was the possibility of everything.  I would give it to her.  I was raised in a family with eight children, I babysat, I nannied, I had a degree in Elementary Education and teaching experience behind me.  I thought I had this kid thing down pat.  But when my eyes first fell on her, my whole entire world got flipped upside down.  From the moment she came into our lives, her Daddy and I worked harder, we researched with intensity, we read more, and we did everything to better ourselves and the world that surrounded her.  We were about to learn that we were completely out of control.

Prior to Madison’s birth, we researched.  We had been given the green light to try to get pregnant. However, with my medical past, it would be incredibly hard to get pregnant and once I was pregnant, it would be incredibly hard to keep the baby.  God had different plans, I got pregnant right away with my little miracle baby.  When Madison was three months old, we visited a genetic counselor.  We were not prepared for what we were about to hear.  We had been told that Madison had a 50% chance of inheriting my cancer gene.  We had been told that if she inherited cancer, she would have her thyroid removed and that would be the end of the story.  Well, on this day, we held our three month old miracle in our arms as the genetic counselor told us it was not that easy.  She had a 50% chance of inheriting my cancer gene.  If it was positive, she would have surgery to have her thyroid removed.  However, that would not be the end.  She would spend her life having routine scans, blood work, and the label of cancer hovering over her entire life.

No.  I had given God my life.  I had accepted cancer in my life since the age of 15.  He could not have my daughter.  He could not have my baby.  No God.  This was too much.  He was asking too much of me.

James (my husband, Madison’s Daddy) and I prayed.  We prayed every morning.  We prayed every night.  We prayed during the day.  We prayed together.  We prayed alone.  I was angry.  I was angry at God.  This was my daughter.  She needed me.  I would protect her.  I would give her everything.  I had trusted God with my life.  I had defended my faith to the bitter end and now I questioned everything.  Was it all real?  Was there a God?  Did he hear my prayers?  Could he change anything?  Did he love Madison?  I wanted so much to claim control.  I wanted so much to be in charge.  I wanted so much to walk away from my faith and say, “I’ve got this.”  But I had nothing.  I could do nothing.  I was completely helpless.  I fell to my knees.

James and I placed infant Madison on our bed.  She was laid upon the altar.  We literally fell to our knees.  We prayed.  We begged.  I cried out to God and I begged him for the health and for the life of my baby.  “God, I need you.  You are the only one who can save her.  I can do nothing.”

I learned to pray.

And this is where my cancer journey began.  It did not begin when I was fifteen and I was diagnosed with cancer.  I could have given that.  I could have given myself.  I could have given my life and never trusted God in this way.  It was here, when I had to lay my daughter on the altar and say, “God, she is yours.  She is not mine.  I trust you.  I trust you with my baby.  I trust you with my everything.”

We did not get an answer.  We played with our precious baby.  We cared for her every need and every desire.  I placed her soft cheek to mine and sang softly of the love of Jesus.  I was singing more to myself than to her, reminding myself of God’s promises.  I began to realize that as much as I loved Madison, I was only getting a tiny glimpse of the love that God has for me.  I am his daughter.  He held me in his arms and loved me just like I love Madison.

Why then?  Why would he give me cancer?  If I am his daughter, and he loves me, why would God give me cancer?  I looked at my life as a parent.  I took Madison to the pediatrician to get shots.  She cried.  It hurt.  She had no idea why I was letting this happen.  I allowed it to happen.  Why?  Because I love her.  I allowed this hurtful thing to happen because I love her.  Even though she did not understand it, it was the best thing for her.

I learned just a little bit more of how much my Heavenly Father loves me.

Time passed, we continued to pray.  We were waiting on results from the genetic counselor to see if Madison had tested positive for the gene.  It was a simple blood test, but the results took time.  Two months had passed and we still had no result.  One night, as James and I crawled into bed, I turned to James, “She is going to be ok.  God told me she is going to be ok.”  I had not heard an audible voice, but he spoke directly to my heart.  As I started to pray, he said, “OK. I will answer your prayer.  Madison will be healthy.  Now, pray for something else.”  I had not gotten the results from the doctor, but I knew, my daughter was healthy.

Two more weeks passed, then on July 31, 2007, I received the call, “Madison is healthy.  She tested negative for the gene.  She has no more chance of getting cancer than the general public.  You never need to see a doctor about this for her ever again.”

Those were the hardest two and a  half months of my life.  But I learned Madison is not mine.  She belongs to God.  And he is a much better parent than I am.  Not only can he give her the world, he can give her a perfect heaven.

And this is where my journey begins.  This is where I learned what real hurt is.  This is where I learned real fear.  This is where I learned to trust God.  I learned to pray.  I learned I am not in control.

My name is Caroline.  I have cancer.  I have battled an extremely rare form of MEN2A cancer for the last 18 years.  I travel frequently from TN to Duke University Hospital in NC to see doctors and specialists.  I have scans.  I have blood work.  I have been left with Addison’s Disease.  I take lots of medicine.  I have a medical alert bracelet.  I get sick.  I crave salt.  I have scars covering my neck and my stomach.  I have a scar on my arm and on my leg.  My back itches.  I have a husband that loves me.  I have a daughter that needs me.

My name is Caroline.  I have cancer.  I have God.  I have a beautiful life.

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144 thoughts on “The Journey Begins

  1. Caroline,

    Stopped by to check out your blog and was indeed impressed. Great job my friend. Appreciate you sharing your journey. Great that you are sharing your love and wisdom with others.

    All I will say is just live one day at a time. Future is too uncertain anyway. May be next moment a giant asteroid will take us out before we blink, or may be they will find a total cure for all cancers and all diseases and we all will live 300 years in great health.

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  2. Your story and blog are more inspiring than I could ever be; I feel as if I don’t have much to give in return with my blog but thank you so much for following it; Perhaps some of my stories can make you smile and if so, I’v accomplished my goal.

    My mom has had a rare form of leukemia for almost 20 years now and although she complains about aches and pains, it’s mostly typical Jewish neurotic syndrome. She’s almost 80 and sadly, will never have the beautiful sense of appreciating all the time she’s had like you do. I’d send her to your blog but they’re too old world to try the internet so I will print and read to her

    Keep smiling πŸ™‚

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  3. God makes mistakes too. Believe me. Otherwise the evil people wouldn’t be in charge. People would actually use their brains.
    In my opinion, religion is a crime. Guess why? Nice writing. I could use a proof-reader.
    Bye the way, the best cancer research, is, to ask the person why he/she thinks he/she is sick. Every type of cancer has a meaning. It comes from ones own negative wishes, or from the “loved” ones around you.

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  4. Thank you for following my blog, and giving me the opportunity to ‘meet’ you. I can say nothing that you have not already figured out. πŸ™‚
    Such illness either brings people closer, or separates them. Like you, I was blessed that it brought us closer together.
    Keep plodding on, and keep trusting your Father πŸ™‚
    {{hugs}}}
    Susan

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  5. Wow, just read this post and I’m in complete awe with how amazing you write. Your story strikes so many chords with me. Besides from the husband and daughter aspect, I’ve faced a lot of similar experiences to you. I also have a blog recording my journey facing a rare cancer. My blog is called My Beautiful Nightmare but I have nowhere near as many readers as you! I would love if you could get back to me with some tips on how you expanded your readership

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And yes, we have a lot in common! Hope we can encourage each other! Tips? When I began blogging, I read that the most successful blogs write daily and post at the same time daily. I have followed that and it really helps build relationships with my blogging friends. πŸ˜„ happy writing

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        • Yes. Don’t force it. Write when you are inspired. I love that WordPress has the option to schedule posts. Some days I write several and some days I don’t have the time to write at all.

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          • You’re already following btw. I got the notification a while ago saying so. It’s weird how you’ve to send a request to follow me because my setting say my blog is on public, is it to receive email notifications that you have to send the request?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Very weird. No, I pushed “follow” and got a notification saying the blog was private and I had to be approved. I don’t know. I am definitely no techie. But I am glad it went through 😊 officially following

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              • Ahh I’m in that box too, no techie but I’ll have one IE any male to look at the issue in the morning. That would explain why I have so few followers versus the length I’ve been on here. Can’t believe wordpress might have been lying to me this whole time though! >:O I just posted a new blog post there, did you receive it? If not I have a facebook page where all my post updates go to πŸ˜‰

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  6. A beautiful post Caroline, expressing a wonderful truth about our magnificent God. He really is all you say, and even more. I thank you for each and every one of these posts of yours that I have read, and I hope 2015 is everything you hoped it would be.

    Liked by 1 person

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