Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

Health & Heart Update

I’ve been wanting to update you all on my health for awhile now, but have had a hard time coming up with the words to express

How do I communicate such joy and gratefulness?

My most recent blood tests show perfect hormone levels.  Perfect iron levels. Perfect calcium levels.  A vitamin D level to brag about (I have been working on getting this up, SO important for cancer, and immunity in general).  My liver and kidneys are working as they should. My blood cell counts are all great.  My digestive system is amazing.  My energy level is great.  No naps needed.  I only have 2 prescriptions that I take, which is a MAJOR change from the last year.

Who am I that You are mindful of me? Psalm 8:4

Perfect hormone levels are a HUGE gift.  A few months ago my estrogen was so high we were trying to decide whether to take out my ovaries or use drugs to shut them down.  Either option would bring on instant menopause.  I got a glimpse of what this feels like when I was adjusting to the drug, Tamoxifen, that I will take for 5 years.  Not fun.  I honestly think it has been many years since my hormones were where they should be. I think this contributed to getting cancer.  I have begged God at times to straighten me out.  It has been its own battle, and I can’t believe I sit here stable, with no emotional highs and lows.
God has answered a prayer that I have put before him since 2001, and He did it through cancer.  Without cancer, I would not have changed my eating habits to a plant based diet.  Without cancer I would not have had to switch from one anti-anxiety medication to another, since the first was not compatible with my cancer meds.  I dreaded the switch, it turned out to be exactly what my body needed.

His ways are mysterious.  Isaiah 45:15

Am I thankful for cancer?  No.

Am I thankful for what God has done in my life through cancer?  Yes.  A million times, Yes.

There are many things I have to thank Him for, but the one that makes my heart feel so full, is the perspective of eternity that it brings.  I see life in light of eternity now.  I tangibly get how this life is temporary.  I have felt glimpses of my body shutting down, the first week of my last chemo treatment was a scary feeling, to feel my body being overwhelmed, weaker than prior treatments  and staying weak longer.  It scared me.  I was so grateful it was the last treatment.

This perspective is one that I rebelled against at first.  I HATED that I had to come to grips with my mortality and live with the statistics that I do.

I had to learn how to come to grips with 50/50.

My Stage 3, 6 centimeter, lymph node involvement, 1ml. away from chest wall margin cancer gives me a 50/50 chance of being alive in 10 years.  Many survivors don’t like to know their statistics.  I had to know, so I could learn to live with them.

For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content. Philippians 4:12

Easy to say that verse when I am in remission, have my energy, and things are looking good.  But I can honestly say that in the midst of battle, this verse became very real to me and I definitely came a long way in my lessons in contentment.  I believe the key to contentment is thankfulness. I may only have 10 years, but I know some that only have 10 months, so I give thanks even for scary statistics.  Perspective.  As I practice thankfulness, counting the many gifts, I literally feel like my heart will burst with thankfulness.

This in itself is a gift, recognizing that EACH DAY is a gift.

I have learned this by watching those I love, die. Cancer has brought the sick into my life.  Each one of them are a precious gift.  I will not allow their deaths to bring fear, they would not want that. I will learn from their courage.  I especially learned from my L girls words on her deathbed, “I am just so thankful for this day.”

I am learning from her words.  I am learning to look at the future and laugh, despite having a future that is unknown.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Don’t get me wrong, I want to grow old, I long to know my grandchildren, and see my children age.  I beg God for this, yet I am learning to say,

 “Not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42

I am learning how to say this because I have learned who He is.  He is trustworthy no matter what the future.

He holds the future in His hands.

Because of this, I lean into Him and rest, even in a future that could bring pain, loss, and death.

Many of you know that I read the book, “Jesus Calling“almost everyday.  It brings such truth to my mind, and I depended on it when I was sick.  There were very few days where I didn’t read it before lifting my head from my pillow, just so I could face the fears and struggles of the day that cancer brings.  Today’s entry was awesome.

I must share:

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

January 26, p. 63

(this book writes from the perspective of Jesus talking to us)

Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life.  Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties.  This is a false hope!
As I told My disciples, in the world you will have trouble.  Link your hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven.  Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One.

It is possible to enjoy Me and glorify Me in the midst of adverse circumstances.  In fact, My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark.  That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of My indwelling Spirit.  When things seem all wrong, trust Me anyway.  I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man…
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:4,7

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  • Anonymous
    April 14, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Amy, came across your blog on Pinterest, the one about lemon water and its benefits, started reading and realized we had been on very similar journeys at the same time. I was diagnosed with my second breast cancer in Aug 2010, had lumpectomy on my birthday in Sept, started chemo 3 weeks later, 6 of those buggers, followed by 35 radiation treatments. my first BC was other side 13 years before, had lumpectomy and radiation then, no chemo needed. I too felt God’s love and sustaining presence through this journey. Fatigue was my main issue, and it took me months to get over that, but now I feel great and enjoy each day he has blessed me with. Blessings to you for continued health. I plan to dance at my grands weddings in 20 or so years!

  • IntoxicatingVixenBoutique
    April 12, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Stumbled across your blog, very inspiring, congratulations on your progress! <3

  • Susan
    April 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Such an amazing, inspirational, motivational story. Moved me to tears. Praying for complete, total restoration and healing for you and many DECADES of great health and happiness. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous
    February 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    You are a true inspiration! I believe there is a reason God guided me to this blog today, I read much of what I needed to hear and also need to bring into my life. May the Good Lord and his Angels keep you and your family and surround you with peace.


  • Angie
    January 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Amy. I follow you on pinterest… liking so many things you have pinned that I started following you not knowing of your cancer journey. I just read this post and sat and wept. I, too, am a cancer survivor. Three types, four times. Cancer free today.

    I love how you said it: “Am I thankful for cancer? No. Am I thankful for what God has done in my life through cancer? Yes. A million times, Yes.” Amen to that! God has done so many wonderful things in my life and in the lives of my children and husband and friends because of this.

    So thankful you have a good report. I love “meeting” sisters… in Christ and in the cancer battle. May God continue to bless you and keep you cancer free!

    He has given so much, hasn’t HE?

  • Michelle DeRusha@Graceful
    January 29, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Praising God for your great health report, Amy — and I for one and SO thankful that I got to meet you today in person! What a delight! I look forward to many more occasions like that and am eager to get to know you better.

    BTW, I just started Jesus Calling in January — and I loved, loved the entry you quoted here. It stopped me in my tracks a couple of days ago — and was a message that I really needed to hear.

  • Budget Design Girl
    January 29, 2012 at 12:09 am

    You are such an inspiration! Whenever you do a post about your cancer, it always brings a flood of emotions for me. In May I will be cancer free (God willing) for 3 years.
    Your words and descriptions SO resonate, and I have had so many of your thoughts, fears, and joys in the last three years.
    My Chemo was 6 months, every other week. It made me so sick, I was on anti-nausea meds around the clock. (And I am NOT a person who likes to take prescription drugs!)
    Like you, I overhauled my lifestyle, and while I was a healthy eater before, I am a clean eating, juicing, plant based diet girl now also. (Loved Kris Carr’s book, and Anti Cancer, and many, many more!)
    You inspire me with every post, and I wish that I would have had the courage, and the strength to blog about my cancer journey while I was going through it. I have often thought of writing about it for myself, but I now wish I would have at least tried to journal during that time. It is very cathartic, I think to look back at where we have been, and be able to take stock, and thank god for all that we have.
    God bless you, Amy!! You are very special, and I will continue to include you in my prayers!

  • Taletha
    January 28, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I’m so happy that everything came out so well. I’ve been a silent follower of your blog for a while now. I love all of your healthy eating ideas and now I’m really starting to read all of your cancer posts as well. My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and it came as a shock to all of us. Thankfully they caught it early. I’ve been trying to pull ideas from your blog about diet and everything for her.
    Also, thanks for sharing the Jesus Calling book. I’m definitely going to have to check it out.
    Congrats again and may God continue to keep looking out for you and give you the strength and support you need.

  • Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun
    January 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Rejoicing with you and appreciating the tips you’ve shared here as well! I could use a bit better self care myself… 😉

  • Helen Dooley
    January 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Im so happy for you. I love the Jesus Calling book. My Husband bought this for me 2 Christmas ago. I wish you the best!

  • Patricia
    January 27, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Such Joyous Words and News you have shared in your post.
    I thank God that you Grace my life everytime I read your blog.
    With Sincere Gratitude for God, and to God – for you!


  • Amy Bowman
    January 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    @ Everyone–look at all of you celebrating with me. I truly am so thankful for all of YOU!

    @ Jen–I am taking Trader Joes brand of Vitamin D, I take 10,000 iu’s. Taking such high doses does need one to get their blood levels checked once in awhile. I honestly think my hormones are straight from my dietary changes. Eliminating animal products. If you can’t do this, at least do only organic dairy and organic grass fed meat. Expensive, but worth your health. I agree with Patricia, –lack of absorption. If I were in your shoes, I would detox by eating very clean…tons of fruits and veg, green smoothies (recipe on the blog), and juicing if you can. When I started doing this, my body just started to behave in every way. A plant based diet is HUGE.
    Not an easy answer, but so worth health and the idea of getting to stay
    away from doctors and surgeons and expensive prescriptions!!

  • Jen
    January 27, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Great post. It’s odd how we all seem to think that we have until old age to be here, when that’s simply not true. It’s hard to keep perspective though when things are going smooth. We take life for granted!

    I have to ask how you got your vit. D levels up (mine are extremely low and have been for a few years even with consistent mega-doses of 5,000-10,000 IUs daily) and also what you did, other than prayer, to even our your hormones. I struggle with both of those as well.

    I’m so thankful that God has carried you so far, Amy. It’s wonderful.

    • Patricia
      January 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Patricia
      January 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Reply to Jen – 8:46 PM Posting –
      Your vitamin D level could be so low due to its lack of absorption into the system – nothing to do with the amount you are taking. Something in your body, or something else you are taking/ingesting, could be blocking the vitamin D
      Check with your doctor on that angle.

  • adventuresindinner
    January 27, 2012 at 3:16 am

    So very happy for you 🙂

  • jeana
    January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    So happy for you! Your joy is beautiful, thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous
    January 27, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Thank God for watching over you and your family. I think every month calls for a celebration party………miss you

  • rkbsnana
    January 27, 2012 at 1:54 am

    So very well said. You are a witness for God. May you be richly blessed.

  • Anonymous
    January 27, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Thanks for sharing your journey, you are so inspirational in the midst of it all. JESUS calling is such a good book. There is also an app/or you can purchace the book for your smartphone (can journal with it and read corresponding scripture verses) so even if I don’t have my book with me I generally have my phone and can read it ANYWHERE:o) Great way to start the day. Will keep you in my prayers as you continue your journey!! Thanks again for sharing

    • Anonymous
      January 27, 2012 at 1:27 am

      PS. THere is Jesus calling for kids too!

  • Steve
    January 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    So happy for your joy. Grateful to God for the provision that He has provided through your platform for inspiration and encouragement here at the blog.

    SO proud of all you’ve accomplished. I know how challenging this medium can be…even without all the obstacles you’ve been brought through the past year.

    Joining your thanks giving today!

  • Mary Ann
    January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Amen & amen! What a wonderful testimony of the faithfulness & goodness of our mighty God. Thank you for reminding me that I need to live each day in the light of eternity. It is so easy to get our eyes off of the importance of today, the gift of today. Truly tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us.
    I’m grateful you take the time to share these things with us…

  • Robyn
    January 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    God is Good!…I am So happy for your wonderful health report!!! and I am even happier for you because you have the Love of Christ in your heart and ingrained in your soul..I have been chronically ill for 20 years and like you, my future is uncertain but when I think about it I realize everyone elses is too it’s just some of us know a a little more than others.. Like you, I have really been trying to get to know the Lord and depend on Him for everything in my life. My every breath. The biggest trouble I had was ‘trusting’ in Him, it’s a lot harder than people think.. It’s easy to say but very hard to do but I am getting there. I have some SO much further than I was 6 months ago…
    As for the 10 yr statistic on your type of cancer, they are making strides everyday.. In 10 years who knows how far they will have come.. Never stop hoping, never stop dreaming..
    Sending my love,

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Dee from Tennessee

    Glory to God for such good reports – praise Him, Praise Him I do!! Thank you Lord, thank you Lord for lifting Amy up ! (I am going to order that book!!) Love and prayers always from the rollin’ hills and mts of East Tennessee!!

  • Wendy Franz
    January 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Oh, Amy! I am rejoicing in your place in life, heart and mind today!!! I am going through trials of my own being a self-employed remodeling contractor who is having a VERY deep money valley right now. But, God is good and he is with us and will get us through this. Add to that that my dad died suddenly a week and a half ago, and when I was reading Jesus Calling too this morning, it was just what I needed! I loved, “I am not concerned with right circumstances, I am concerned with right responses.” When going through such a dark time, there are ample opportunities for not-right responses and to instead choose to show God’s light within and respond well. God bless your journey and thank you for being a blessing to mine!

  • Anonymous
    January 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    The most important thing through this journey is your relationship with Christ. Did it draw you closer to HIM? Do you read more and pray more then ever before? Through these obstacles God is refining us and chiseling all the imperfections we have. To die is to gain! We praise God for all He has done for you!

  • erin
    January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    God is so good!

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