Life is hard, but God is good.

Dec 01

I am afraid my cancer is going to come back.

It is hard to admit: I am afraid.

I want to be filled with faith and confidence and joy and oblivion.  I want to be strong and brave.  So soon after receiving my NED status, I want to be all frolick-y and happy dance-y.  The fear is sneaky; it doesn’t get to me all the time.  I work against the fear, but it lurks nonetheless.  So how do I deal with the fear?

I have choices: I can study the statistics about breast cancer and recurrence and read journal articles and eat a diet that may or may not help my odds.  I can read my medical chart and compare notes with other patients.  My medical team has done (and are doing) e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. that medical science has to offer.  The problem is that no one, not one of my doctors, promises that it will be enough.  That’s hard.

It’s hard to walk around momming my kids, doing laundry, going to the grocery store, and Christmas shopping when I think (at a most unexpected moment), “Oh, geesh.  I just felt a twinge in my scar tissue.  Is my cancer coming back?  Should I tell Dr. Wonderful?  Wait, now my shoulder hurts–but my purse does weigh twenty pounds.  Back to the twinge.  Did it hurt or did it just feel weird?  Is weird normal?  Should I worry about it, or ?  Wait, Jen, you just need to do today well.”

It’s a lot of thinking for the cereal aisle, right?

I’ve been praying about how to make these worries and thoughts go away.  Or at least how to deal with the worries.  They are, I think, legitimate.  I don’t think I’m turning in to a hypochondriacal mess; my fear is real.  But these thoughts are not productive or helpful.  As with most hard things over the past year, I’ve had to process and pray and think about how to handle this really craptacular problem that most people don’t have to deal with.  Worry over big hairy scary cancer recurrence is most definitely craptacular.

And again.

Again, I am back to my faith in God.

God healed me.

And God made the medical science that healed me, so God wins again.

I remind myself of the truth of what I have experienced thus far: God healed my spine, God healed my liver (twice!), God wiped all cancer from my body: I am cancer free.  I spent time today finding verses about healing.  I’m replacing fear with truth, and I feel peace returning.  Thank you Jesus.

Cancer.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  —2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Cancer.  For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  –Phillipians 2:13

Cancer.  Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  –James 5:14-15

Like anyone else, I am beat down daily with lies, fear, ugliness, and problems.

I rise daily and face the day and the challenges with the strength of the Lord, my healer.  I choose God.  I choose faith.  I choose life.  Life is hard, but God is good.

And peace cometh.



  1. Sheila /

    I’ve been reading both yours and your mother’s blogs for months. Some days I get your published blogs in my inbox and I think ” I am too tired tonight to sort through and read…” but then I can’t help but to think “maybe today is a day she really needs my prayers and extra positive energy”. My prayers are going out to you tonight. You do such a great job of always trying to be positive and faithful, it’s ok to sometimes have fear. That’s when your readers kick in and offer the extra you need! I admire you for your determination to be such a strong and beautiful wife, mother, and daughter. Know that we’re out here pulling for you!

  2. Patty Wheeler /

    Jen…what beautiful sentiments and we all are scared but you handle your fears with grace and dignity. Just try and concentrate on the celebrations with your family and know that as you know God and the love of your family and friends are with you every step you take. Your Brad is something special…

  3. Kim Rourke /

    Thank you for being human! This is still all so new that you would have to be super human not to be scared, and overwhelmed by that emotion at times. You turned to the right place, your faith. That and a hug from your hubby may be the ticket to at least ease the feeling. Have you ever done yoga or tai chi? Just a thought…

  4. Fear is normal. It is what you do with the fear that counts. As hard as it really, truly, craptacularly is, you are doing the right thing with that fear — beating it back with spiritual weapons and spiritual armor. May you experience abundant, amazing peace. ♥

  5. Sharon Hajek /

    Breathe in peace. Now breathe out fear.
    Breath in peace. Now breathe out fear.

    May that be the rhythm of your breathing. It matches the living of your faith.

  6. I love how your faith in God transforms the fear. Let’s all hold those thoughts…

  7. My friend, you are truly amazing. It’s ok to be afraid. That’s humanity. God is good…all the time. I have a friend who sings that song. Life is hard, but God is good. It’s an awesome reminder that He is in control.

  8. When I was dealing with worry & anxiety a few years ago I was told to read a book called Calm My Anxious Heart. By the first chapter my anxieties were cut in half. It gave me REAL life things to do. It said to focus on things that are real and repeat them. I had a fear of my husband dying. I would repeat….God loves me…..right now my husband is alive… family loves me….my husband loves me. Focus on things that are True & Right. It helped me!

  9. Praying fervently with you…

    May the Blessed Controller of all things continue to replace each fear with faith and fill you with peace as you trust in Him. This verse comes to mind…
    Isaiah 26:3
    You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

    Have you read the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow? It’s one of my favorites. Praying for you….

  10. When you feel fear, please let our prayers for you help lift you. Tonight, our God will hear extra prayers from me for you, your family and your caregivers. God bless you!

  11. Sending up prayers for peace & reassurance in your heart. I did laugh though about the weight of your purse- I can relate so well. Enjoy the Christmas season! God is good and He will continue to bless you!

  12. jen geverdt /

    Bravo, Jen. Doing it here, too.

  13. Me too. Afraid that is. I am almost three years NED and it still hits me some days in the most unexpected places. Thank you for taking time to share those those verses, I’m holding on to them too today. When I was diagnosed my Oncologist gave me a word to hold on to…. surrender. I come back to it often. It feels good to let go of the fear even though it’s usually still lurking on the corners. Gratitude is bigger than fear…. I hold on to that too. Thinking of you today. xx

  14. You are a courageous soul in the face of real fear..I have been praying for you & your family for quite a while now, like many others, & will continue. God’s Blessings, Jen.

  15. Genora /

    Everthing you are feeling is normal…..Pray about Evertyhing, Worry about Nothing…..Let go ….and Let God! For He has not given us the spirit of fear…..But of Power,Love and a Sound Mind.

  16. I think fear is the biggest battle we have. I am almost 2 years into my own fight with cancer. It’s not gone, but it’s stable. We’re nearing the next set of scans and re-evaluating treatment, and at times I find myself almost paralyzed with fear. I have to choose over and over to take one day at a time, to choose joy in the little moments, to remember god is in control. For anyone, but especially mothers with cancer (I’m 37) fear is going to be present, at times more than others.

  17. Dave Schreier /

    Praying for you, your heart, and your fear. Thanks for being honest.

  18. Unfortunately, fear does become part of the journey. Because we’re just people. It’s a daily “handing over” to God–which is something we should be doing every day anyway, but in crisis, this discipline becomes the life-line. I pray for you the peace that passes understanding. Love.

  19. Jen, I so relate to your entry. Some of the things I think about to deal with life after cancer thoughts; we were caught completely off guard by our diagnosis, a total shock to our system so it is normal to have some “post traumatic fear”, we had no aches, twinges or pain to indicate that we had cancer, so now when we experience any of these, why would we think that it is cancer? If any cancer cells try to start growing again we will catch them so much sooner than last time( remember they were growing for 6-8 yrs before we found them). What we did experience this year is that God is so close to us, he loves and cares for us more than we can imagine. He wants the best for us. He has a plan for our lives, and we cannot change that. I can’t waste my days in worrying, I just have to rest in the peace that He is in control and has promised me eternal life. I really hope and pray that His plan for you is to live to be a Grandma and enjoy all the days leading up to that time.

  20. Amen sister! Thank you for your honesty and your faithful surrender. I hope you don’t mind, but I shared your post on FB, asking my friends to pray for you. xoxoxo

  21. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Ah Jen, I’m 12 yrs out from my last battle with the big ‘C’ and I still have the same fears and feelings you describe. And I still go to God for peace and wisdom on how to deal with those fears. You are doing what you need to do today and doing it well. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Rest in God’s loving hands and feel His peace.

  22. Cindy Jones /

    Jen, I hear you!! I have battled with fear/anxiety for quite some time now and the perfect fix is surrendering it to God. I had an epiphany last night when I laid my recent fear at the foot of the cross, I felt clearly that God impressed upon me—hey this is not your deal to worry about anything I got it all under control. You remain living your life trusting me and I promise I will keep it all together the way it’s supposed to go according to my will and remember It will turn out for your good.

  23. I am in love with your thought process and with your transparency. Thank you for continuing to blog and for being you.

  24. Tiffany /

    I have been reading your blogs now for several months and I get so much comfort from the things that you write. Although I don’t have cancer I have been dealing with one of the biggest challenges of my life and each day hearing your optimism has helped me. My husband and I are foster parents and have had a baby with us for th elast five months. Originally presented to us as a case that would likely go to adoption it looks like that may not be the case now. Our hopes and dreams of becomming parents seem to be crumbling before our eyes and while I know that God has a plan and I know that he will always be there for me I am scared of losing the only child I have ever mothered. I have been having an especially hard time this last week and when I read this post I felt immediatley felt a connection with what you are experiencing. I am scared daily of what the next few months will bring and I try so hard not to be scared. When I am scared I scenario make and then what was a little thing to be scared of becomes larger and larger until I feel like I am drowning. I try very hard to pray and to seek God but it is hard to keep the negative thoughts away sometimes. My husband and I have both been reading your quote at the end of your blog over and over agan and I think it is going to be our new mantra… Life is hard, but God is good. And Peace cometh… THank you for those words…

  25. I love your ‘do today well’. Hoping you do that today and that your fear takes a backseat to all the goodness in your life.

  26. Maia Simon /

    Jen, bless you. I have only just started reading your blog, though I know you helped sustain my sister through her year long treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I have dealt with various chronic illnesses my entire life; when I was 22, the surgeon who removed my left lung told me I would not live to be 40. This coming April, with God’s grace, I will be 66.
    I so identify with your methodology for dealing with fears. I’d like to share with you a story of my own.

    In April of 2005 I heard a friend redefine faith not to be believing in things one cannot see to trust without reservation. It was a knife in my heart! Trust without reservation!

    So I went home and wrestled with the angel of God for 2 weeks and finally decided that I could step up to trust without reservation. Ten days later, I collapsed with the worst MS exacerbation I had ever had. I could not stand or walk or wiggle my toes. As I lay on the gurney in the hall in the emergency room (for 8 hours!) I said to God, “You couldn’t just take me at my word?”

    But I had decided to trust without reservation, so I had to figure out how to think about this. I said, “God, I would prefer to walk. I trust your will for me. I trust that if I spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair (and wearing a diaper) that I will have a rich, full, rewarding life. And I would prefer to walk.”

    At 2 in the morning I was admitted to a room full of chaos. One woman was dying and surrounded by everyone she ever knew.. One was bleeding and crying. I asked God what could I add that would help. The nurses brought me ear plugs and closed the curtain and I practiced the presence of God, breathing in God, breathing peace into the room, for the rest of the night, wishing one woman peace on her journey on, and the other peace and healing.

    It was two hospitalizations and 3 weeks in rehab before I was walking again. I fired the physiologist who said that “this might be the attack from which I don’t recover.”

    Trusting God without reservation freed me from fear and filled me with joy and gratitude. I would have these huge emotional breakdowns as I would realize how privileged I was, and how grateful I was. I remember thinking one day in July, in rehab, that of all the people in the world who could not walk that day, that I was in this tiny minority, in an air-conditioned room, with a button to push to have someone come help me to the bathroom, with people teaching me to walk each day, with meals being brought to my bedside. with receiving the best medical care available. So, I would sink into that buoyant sea of gratitude and float.

    Seven years later I am still trusting God without reservation, except, of course for when I don’t. And then I remember my decision to trust without reservation and am saved again.

    Thank you for all you do and all you are. May you and yours be truly blessed.