The week the cancer was gone…

Yes, I know I have not posted as much as I wanted to this week, but I’m in Disney!! I will catch up when I get back tomorrow. A few more movies to post and stories to tell. Disclaimer: This post will be written from a human perspective.

So, we are in Disney! The magic kingdom, year of a million dreams, the place where dreams come true. Well, my wish and dream is that this stupid tumor would go away now! Well, it is not gone, but it did “disappear” this week. Other than a bad day on Thursday and an occasional fleeting thought about it, I was cancer free this week.

I got lost in my family and in the magic that is Disney. I got lost in my kids. Their excitement, their faces, their laughter. I got lost in my wife. Being by my side, playing with our kids, her smiles! I got lost in a wonderful thing and the cancer was gone.

As I write this, the reality is starting to sloooowly creep back in and I know that Tuesday is only a few days away. Tuesday is my next chemo treatment and trust me, I am not looking forward to it!

However, for one week, I got to escape life, escape cancer, and get lost in my family and I loved every minute of it!!

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9 Responses

  1. uncle stef… sounds like you had a good time. i am so happy that you got to have a good time with your lovely family.
    still praying,
    Kels

  2. What an amazing and real post Stef. We missed you this week, but my thoughts have been for you and your family and the time that you are having. I will never, ever, look at Disney the same again. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  3. Stef~

    Hi! We do not know each other, but I have been meaning to write to you. I am a long time friend & former classmate of Michael Crawford. I am the one with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). He sent out a prayer request which has been forwarded on to many, many people around the country.

    Don’t you just love those weeks when the disease is gone? I actually just love those days let alone weeks! About 8 months after I began the battle with RA, I was heading to surf camp for a week as I was a youth leader for the high school at my church. I wasn’t on medicine at the time…in fact, I hadn’t been officially diagnosed. All I know is I was 29 and felt like I was 89. I really didn’t even want to go because I felt so miserable. I was so focused on what I couldn’t do that week, that I was blind to what God COULD do that week. Truly the only reason I went was because I got 2 of my high school boys that I had been praying for to go if I went. So there I was in beautiful San Diego for a week of fun with the youth. There were some difficult times as I couldn’t physically do much. I had to observe the fun most of the time. I sat & watched the kids surf. I sat & watched them play volleyball. This was hard for me as I love to be playing & right in the middle of the action all the time. Although it was difficult, I actually wouldn’t change it for a minute. I was blessed with really being able to enjoy those around me. I too, was lost in the teens excitement & laughter. One of the things I loved from the previous year was kayaking across the San Diego Bay from our camp to Sea World. I thought there is no way I can do it this year. The two boys I brought told me I was going to ride along as they paddled us the 3 miles round trip. Our youth pastor had me go as the only adult with all 32 students. This was such a special time for me. For those few hours, my disease was gone. God even gave me the strength to paddle some. That is a day I will treasure for life. I felt so free moving across that water…free from pain…free from immobility…free from worries…just free! I remember I couldn’t stop smiling & laughing.

    That week really helped me put my focus back on God and off of me. In those previous 8 months I had been suffering without a diagnosis. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me although my husband & I had a pretty good idea. It took another 2 months after camp to come up with RA. At the end of that week, the 2 boys I brought to summer camp has made a public decision to rededicate their lives to Christ. God just reminded me again that it’s not about me…it’s all about Him! What if I would have focused on the “can’t” of my disease in my decision for going or not going? I can’t surf. I can’t run around with the kids. I can’t even cut my own food. Well, two guys who mean so much to me wouldn’t have gone in which they wouldn’t have made that decision for Christ. I’m so thankful that “we can” in Christ…we can do anything because He can do anything…AMEN!

    Sorry this has turned out to be such a novel, but your story has really touched my life. I took chemo (a MUCH lower dose than you though) in pill form every week for a year & a half. It was not fun. Then I went to the hospital every 6-8 weeks to get an infusion of another powerful drug. I would be in the room with others getting their treatments for various things. I was usually by far the youngest. Other people would say, “I can’t believe you have RA! You’re so young!” Well, I decided that was my mission from God to be a witness & encouragement to those in that room with me. God chose us for a reason to go through what we are going through. Although I do not always understand why or even quite frankly sometimes rejoice in it, we must continue in the faith that God has work to do & He’s using us & our situations to complete it.

    The following has become my life verse since all this happened. I cling to this passage of Scripture. In fact, for the Arthritis Walk this year, I called my team…Team Strength with this passage as our backbone.

    Isaiah 40:28-31
    “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the universe. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

    Finally, today in church we sang one of my favorite songs that I’m sure you know, but my husband & I thought of you…may it bring you & your family some comfort & encouragement!

    Matt Redman – You Never Let Go

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
    Your perfect love is casting out fear
    And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
    I won’t turn back
    I know You are near

    And I will fear no evil
    For my God is with me
    And if my God is with me
    Whom then shall I fear?
    Whom then shall I fear?

    Chorus:
    Oh no, You never let go
    Through the calm and through the storm
    Oh no, You never let go
    In every high and every low
    Oh no, You never let go
    Lord, You never let go of me

    And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
    A glorious light beyond all compare
    And there will be an end to these troubles
    But until that day comes
    We’ll live to know You here on the earth

    Chorus:

    Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
    And there will be an end to these troubles
    But until that day comes
    Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

    Chorus: (2x’s)

    Many prayers are being sent your way for you & your family! May God continue to give you the strength & peace that only He can give!

    ~Michelle~

  4. Hey Stef –

    Glad you had an awesome trip. We’re taking our young family to Disney the week of Labor Day. I can’t wait to see it all … and experience the magic with the kids.

    I stay amazed at your faith, positive attitude, and uplifting spirit. To think that I’ve been concerned with “who will take care of my business while I’m gone – who will ship my orders”, etc …. it’s a small issue to wonder about in light of what some others, as yourself, would face .. yet, you’re able to go … escape … enjoy, and celebrate life with your family.

    A ka-zillion kudos to you.
    For the Kingdom,
    Fred
    http://www.FredMcKinnon.Com
    TheWorshipCommunity.Com

  5. P.S.

    Remember that the Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God cannot protect you! 🙂

  6. Michelle,

    WOW, thanks for your post! What a great story and I see that you share the same positive attitude that I have.
    I have been praying for you and we can journey together with God leading the way!!
    Stef

  7. What a gift you had last week. I am so glad that you were lost in your family. Quality time like that is life-giving… for all of you. No doubt you added time to everyone’s life by laughing & playing together.

  8. Stef~

    I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you today. I know (on a small scale) the feeling of what is coming so I wanted to write you this familiar passage of Scripture to uplift you & help you get through these next few days.

    Psalm 23 (NLT)

    “The Lord is my shephard; I have everything I need.
    He lets me rest in green medows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
    He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.

    Even when I walk through the dark valley of death,
    I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
    Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.

    You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
    You welcome me as a guest, anointin my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
    Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

    Plenty of water & plenty of rest! Saltines always helped me too…well, not always…but most of the time that’s about all I could stomach! Prayers are being sent your way!

    ~Michelle

  9. Stef,

    Today I bought the new BarlowGirl cd and I found a song that I think is perfect for everything that is going on right now. I know that this is only the beginning and the road ahead looks dark and scary but just keep fighting. We are all in this together. You are an amazing person and this has been proven by the amazing number of people who have surrounded our family and who have stepped up to help. You are not alone in this battle. We are all fighting right along with you. We may not be doing it physically but we’re here emotionally and spiritually to cheer you on. I love you and I’m here anytime you need me.

    Kristen

    One More Round
    BarlowGirl

    Round one wasn’t what I thought it’d be
    Round two I’m struggling to breathe
    3, 4, 5, 6, 7 times I wondered why I stepped inside this ring
    I may be knocked down and so bruised
    But I’m here to tell you
    That I may be knocked down but not for the count
    1, 2, 3, 4
    So take my one more round
    I’ll just keep fighting

    One more round
    You’re messing me up but I’m still here
    One more round
    I’ll come out swinging
    One more round
    I’m telling you now I’m not gonna lose it here

    It’s so hard to get up off the floor again
    But I know that victory is when
    I’m pushing through the pain that tries to feed me lies that I won’t reach the end
    I may be bloodied and so bruised
    But I’m here to tell you
    That I may be knocked down but not for the count
    1, 2, 3, 4

    So take me one more round
    I’ll just keep fighting
    One more round
    Your messing me up but I’m still here
    One more round
    I’ll come out swinging
    One more round
    I’m telling you now I’m not gonna lose it

    I am not defeated
    Though you cannot see it
    I have never won a battle on my own
    I find strength in weakness
    I find hope in believing
    God is for me who can take me down?
    So take me one more round

    I’ll just keep fighting
    One more round
    You’re messing me up but I’m still here
    One more round
    I’ll come out swinging
    One more round
    I’m telling you now I’m not gonna lose it here
    I’m not gonna go down now
    Try to bring me
    I’ll come out swinging

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