Thursday, January 16, 2020

If I Can Do This, You Can Too! (My Story)

        Here’s my story of how I challenged my Cancer diagnosis and won! I’m confident if I can do this, so can you! This testimony gives insight into how Cancer-Free Party began too.

        Mid-February, 2013, I woke up and went downstairs like any other morning. Only this time, as I reached the bottom, I collapsed to the floor. Not just to my knees but flat on my face. My head was spinning and I was unable to move. I tried my hardest to remain conscious. Thoughts were whirling of calling someone, anyone, but I’d left my phone upstairs. In a few seconds, that seemed like an hour, I regained enough strength to start crying out to Jesus. As I lie there motionless, the Lord moved, and I steadily gathered my composure.

        Later in the day, I called a good friend who happens to be a doctor. My thought was to meet her for coffee with the full intention of hearing what her diagnosis would be regarding my health. Not knowing my intentions, she agreed to meet the next day at our favorite place.

        I pulled up and met her in the parking lot, and before we entered the building, she noticed how pale and weak I was. She hurried me back to her car, where she spent the next hour trying to convince me to go to the emergency room. I spent that whole time trying to assure her that I was going to be alright at least overnight. She was so concerned I'd pass out while driving back home that she followed me. As I parked and got out of my vehicle, I slowly walked over to her car and once again let her know that I would be alright.

        The next day she squeezed me into her already busy schedule for a few tests. When I left her office, I felt a bit unsure about the outcome but was trying to be hopeful I could pray through this health issue. 

        Within the week, she called asking when she could come by to give me my results. Her countenance was solemn as she came in and sat down. “You have Cancer,” she said. It hit my mind like a death verdict, but I responded with a smile as if I had no worries. Inside me, I went into shock as the words penetrated my soul. Deep down, I already knew I had Cancer but was hoping I’d never have to deal with this horrid disease. I had been in pain for quite some time, not just a little twinge but a deep ache. Anyone who has had Cancer would understand this description. This kind of pain is just different than any other I’d ever dealt with before. At that point, I seemed to have gotten my head together enough to ask my Doctor/friend about how long she felt I had to make any serious decision. She very, very, very reluctantly said, “Six months, at the very most.” 

        As she left the house, two of my other friends were there trying to create some pseudo upbeat mood. So, they decided we should go to a restaurant. I guess the unspoken consensus was that eating was a way to stuff our emotions about the dreaded diagnosis. Stuffing this could never have been possible. Maybe, it was more in helping them cope with the news. For me, my feelings were being covered-up as the shock began numbing my emotions. 

        We got our jackets on and walked out into the frigid February night air. Everyone made small talk as we headed to some nearby burger joint to begin pushing down our anxiety and dread. In the car, I acted unaffected and smiled politely in the “light” atmosphere my friends were trying to exude. 
At the restaurant, life was continuing. I was there physically, but my mind was still reeling from the diagnosis bomb my doctor friend had just dropped on me. The restaurant’s 1960’s background music was blaring as my friends strategized how they were going to help me during my process. All the while, I sat there trying to swallow the dry unappetizing burger and with a blank expression looking at the mount of fries while trying to fight back the tears. I gave my food one last look, realizing I wasn’t hungry and pushed away from the basket. Thankfully, shock once again continued to keep my fears under the surface. 

        While sipping on my drink, I leaned back in my chair and watched the others as they finished. To me, everything sounded muffled and jumbled up. I could hear their voices, but due to my mind trying to process what was going to be happening in my life, I didn’t hear a word. 

        I like plans, and for the first time, I had no plan. Every time I tried to pull one together, confusion overwhelmed my thoughts again. I had so many questions that had very uncertain answers.
What was life going to be like for me? I’m alone, with no children and no spouse. My parents live three hours away. Could I go through Cancer alone? What am I to do with the church since I am the founder and currently their pastor? I know I have Jesus but who was going to physically be here to drive me when I need help? Who’s going to load the groceries when I’m too weak? Who’ll help keep me straighten out my thoughts when I have “chemo brain”? At that point, I honestly couldn’t figure out how I could fit Cancer into my busy schedule? I liked my life the way it was. I didn’t want Cancer hijacking my life with months or years of downtime!

        My questions soon turned into despair, and I was ready to leave the restaurant. I just wanted to go back home and be alone with all my thoughts. It took all I had not to scream out, “This isn’t fair.” I was so upset and felt like breaking down and bawling, right there. I wanted to. I truly did. Just as I started to get emotional, I thought, “Wait, you can’t because you’re their pastor. Kathy, aren’t you supposed to be superhuman, moving in the supernatural, at all times?” I manage to keep everything suppressed and put on my “game face,” at least for the rest of the ride home.

        From then on, I was relentless in my conversation with God. When I wasn’t begging Him, I was shaking my fist and asking, “Why, Why, Why? Why do I have Cancer?” God seemed so distant to me, and it was as if He didn’t see my situation at all. Silently, I continued crying out for His help. I needed a miracle so badly. With no answers from God, I somehow made an unconscious decision to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Or what I call, walking through life on autopilot. Amazingly, I went through the motions and kept telling myself to push forward, just like I always do. And I did.

        I was so determined to get God’s attention. In these regular conversations with God, they would go something like this. “No, this can’t be happening to me! I’m an ordained minister of the Most High God. I’ve been faithful to You. You have healed me so many times before and I know You can heal me of this too. Cancer is just a little bigger than the rest. It’s just the big “C” word. The word us Christians hate to speak about for fear we’ll get the disease. God, I know You’re stronger and more powerful than Cancer. You can heal me; I know You can! It’s Your promise to me – health!” I would then pause, and all I’d feel was my heart pounding with anxiety. It was as if my whole being was begging God for this one miracle. 

        I chose to do nothing medically at that time. I told everyone that I wanted to see how God would deal with this situation. Either, He was going to heal me miraculously or not. If I chose the conventional way, I was looking at surgery with hard treatments. Surely, God didn’t want me to go through all that kind of pain! Right, God? Each time I’d wait for assuring words, but instead, all I heard were crickets.

        It seemed that God was so silent. Or was He? Truthfully, He probably couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I don’t think I never stopped petitioning Him on why I was the best candidate to receive a miracle. I continually wondered how I was going to get God on board with my plan of a miracle? 
If truth be told, I didn’t want to hear what God had to say. This is what I did know. He wanted to take me by the hand and walk with me through this dark valley. God wanted to position me so I would triumph fearlessly over Cancer, once and for all. He wanted me to know that I could go through this because HE is with Me, HE is with Me, HE is with ME! Because I always triumph with God! I’d love to say that I was totally on board with God at this point, but I wasn’t. My heart did understand, but my mind wasn’t quite sure I could fully trust that God would walk with me through this shadowy valley. 

        My congregation was terrific to me during this time. Others, well not so much. They wondered as much as I did at what brought about this Cancer. I guess they thought it was due to some secret sin; surely, there had to be a sin if I had Cancer. Honestly, I was sinless and consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ. When I reflect, I wonder what they would have thought if I had been in sin? Would it be death for sure? These are the times that show how valuable it is to extend mercy when people go through hard trials, and not to jump to any conclusions prematurely. Even if there had been the grossest of sin, it doesn’t mean death because of God’s Grace, and Mercy is available to all. 

        The question remained, “How did this Cancer enter into my life? In all actuality, God was doing something more significant than what met my eye. The issue of whether I was in sin or not was irrelevant. What everyone, including myself, hadn’t realized; I was an extremely broken person. All of these wounds were due to the many rejections throughout my lifetime. That’s how Cancer entered in. 

        It was through the cracked, shattered, itty-bitty pieces, which was called, me. Places no one could see, except God. I don’t think I could bear to look at all the fragments. If I did, I might not be able to handle the pain of it. There were way too many, and I had buried them far too deeply. It would take an experienced excavator to unearth all those buried hurts.   
        Even though I knew I’d make it through Cancer with God beside me, I just flat out didn’t want to go that route. I knew it would take me places that I didn’t think I was emotionally nor physically strong enough to go. Places I didn’t want to go. I felt like I already had the measure of faith, trust, love, etc., that I wished to have in Christ. But, God in His infinite wisdom, knew better. God knew that my Cancer journey was the vehicle that He would use to heal me. Not only of Cancer but the cracks and shattered, broken pieces. As I wrung my hands, thinking about going down this hard path, I still wasn’t convinced that I had it in me. And I didn’t. I needed God to carry me. 

        I most certainly knew this trial was way out of my league. Oh, how I needed a strength exchange. What I came to learn was I needed a deeper trust in my Lord. I had to know that no matter how I got through this, I could trust God. You see, before this trial, if you were to ask me if I thought I was a strong person, my answer would have been a firm yes. If need be, I could run in my strength through most of life’s challenges, all the while giving God the glory! Don’t get me wrong, I trusted God, but if I could get by on my own strength, I did.

        You see, Cancer was just the thing that humbled me to the point of realizing how much I had relied on that strength to get me through life. Oh, I prayed and sought God in everything, but when times would get tough, I could pretty much count on me and my strength. That’s what broken people do; they learn how to live in survival mode. What a wake-up call this trial proved to be. Cancer afforded me with the ultimate revelation of holding onto God like never before. 

        Could I trust God fully and let go of all control? Could I take God’s hand, lean on Him, and let Him carry me through this? This strong survivalist wasn’t entirely sure. So, I continued spending my days on auto-pilot constantly petitioning God for a miracle. “Lord, please remove this cup from me.” As I faced the inevitable surgery and treatments, fears grew immensely. Anxiety told me I couldn’t handle Cancer’s harshness. This dread drove me back to my measly efforts of trying to reason with God. 

        The phone rang. It was a trusted friend that I’d ministered with on several occasions. She told me about a healing meeting in Southeast Kansas. I was so excited because this recognized minister has consistent, documented miracles, many of which I’ve witnessed. After hearing this news, I was elated. I was blowing kisses to Heaven. This meeting was going to be my answer, my ticket to the miracle. Instantly, I put my faith into action to believe God for my miracle! O, happy day (breaking out into song)! I finally got through to God, and He has brought the answer! No surgery, no chemotherapy, no radiation treatments, and no side-effects for me! Wooo Hooo!

        After a four hour drive, which seemed like six, I arrived at the meeting during the praise and worship portion. I waved and smiled at people I knew to let them know I made it there alright. There was an excitement in the air. Everyone was on the same page, knowing that this was my night for a miracle! The Evangelist started calling people to the front for prayer. I could barely contain myself as my faith skyrocketed! My heart was beating so fast with anticipation of my miracle. With each step towards the front, I thanked God for answering me. I was confident I’d walk out of this meeting entirely healed with no more pain or tiredness. I’m next in line! It’s my turn! Yea God!

        I explained my diagnosis, and he commenced praying. God truly touched me that night, and I felt Him! I skipped out of the meeting with the Evangelist’s last words echoing in my mind. “You are healed, DO NOT FEAR.” It was just that night that those words would be highlighted. I’d continue to hear “Do not fear” within my mind and spirit over the next several months. 
        I was enormously encouraged as significant changes were going on within my body. It wasn’t the complete miracle I’d hoped for, but I did receive a portion of my healing. Confidently, I knew God was going to fulfill this miracle, supernaturally. You know, without surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Just “DO NOT FEAR”!

        Over the next months, guess what I had to do? You guessed it; I had to fight fear. Four months went by, then five and six. Here I am at the six-month deadline that my Doctor gave me. I knew I wasn’t ready to give up and walk through the valley of the dreaded Giant, Cancer, either. So, I forged on past the six-month expiration date while fighting fear every step of the way. 

        Everywhere I went, I kept hearing of more and more people dying from Cancer. With each report, fear would overwhelm me. My mind vacillated back and forth; in faith, one minute and fighting fear the next. Often I was walloped with such trepidation that I felt I’d never regain faith. That was when the silent screams of, “Help me, God,” would start up all over again. During this constant battle, I mastered a calm and collected look. I smiled when I felt like falling apart. My mask always portrayed that everything was perfect in my life. Only God knew the war that waged within me. 

        Amid this emotional and physical upheaval, an amazing thing happened. The Lord gave me downloads in my mind’s eye of paintings with corresponding scriptures. They are what I call “creative affirmations” of His faithfulness to me. One day, I decided to paint my interpretation of what my mind had seen. 

        The first one was a beautiful wing with the scripture, Ruth 2:12. Under whose wings I’ve come to trust. I was in dire need of putting my trust in the Lord, and this scripture set my focus on Him. The next download was a song I received while driving my car. I pulled over and recorded it on my phone. Then other visions began pouring over me. These affirmations from God proved to be a roadmap of sorts that provided me with such beneficial support for my Cancer journey.

        Then, sometime around the latter part of July, I started noticing changes in my body that weren’t so positive. In fact, they were very negative. These changes spurred me on all the more to defeat Cancer and all its fears! By this time, you could say I was a veteran at pulling down those fearful thoughts. I’d had quite a few months of practice and was feeling pretty accomplished. I stayed determined not to let Cancer take over, no matter how I felt.

        Finally, one day I’d had enough, and I couldn’t push forward any longer. I prayed a very simple prayer. “Lord, please intervene before it’s too late.” Indeed, the Lord intervened and answered this small, elementary prayer. The very next morning, there was a significant shift in my body that made everything worse. What I didn’t know at the time was the tumor had grown so large that it started to shut down specific functions in my body. When the tumor shifted, it caused the pain to be so excruciating that it forced me to make a decision. 

        This turn of events expedited the surgery, and then the dreaded treatment. My auto-pilot was shut down. The mask was off, and I had no more smiles. I had no more silent screams, and I was no longer vacillating. I had no more natural strength. I was way too tired to fight in this insufficient survival mode. 

        I was in Denver ministering at the time. I took the redeye back to Kansas City in so much pain I could barely sit through the hour and a half long flight. This flight was the only one I’ve ever taken where they bumped me up to first-class with no added charges. It was a sign that God was with me and taking control of my life. Upon landing, I headed to the hospital emergency room and was admitted for a week's worth of extensive tests. Due to the nine-month wait, the doctors were sure it had metastasized elsewhere. Miraculously, it hadn't. Yes, I did receive a miracle. It just didn't happen the way I thought nor to the extent I'd hoped. But, God kept me, in which I'm very grateful. 
My parents already knew I dreaded this whole situation and that I was teetering about committing to treatments. They were concerned and yet supportive, having just gone through Cancer with my Dad a few years earlier. 

        My Mom has always had a very stable calmness about her, never loud or demanding. She seems to have this loving way of steering you to a decision that she feels is best, all the while letting you think that it was your idea all along. So, when I say that Mom grabbed hold of me, what I'm saying is that she calmly looked me in the eye and grabbed hold of my thoughts. It was her life-changing comment that was a turning point in my battle. This statement is what I want you to grasp because it's the inspiration behind my business, Cancer-Free Party. She calmly said, "Kathy, you're going to take the treatment, and we're going to start planning your Cancer-Free Party now." 

        This comment, "start planning your Cancer-Free Party, now," what Mom did was she put my mind in a victory stance. She positioned me in triumph over Cancer. Right then, I was placed in my Cancer-Free future! She was saying, "God's with you. Kathy, you're already this very moment! You're going to make it through this, and you're going to beat cancer once and for all." 
She also said without saying, "No matter what the Doctors say, no matter the reports, no matter the fears you have or other people's concerns about your situation, no matter how hard the treatment is...YOU ARE CANCER-FREE! NOW! Girl, set your mind on your celebration, and don't look back!" 

        Mom wasn't waiting for when the medical field declared me Cancer-Free to start planning my Cancer-Free Party. She had me start planning it before my first treatment began. By putting my mind on the party planning, it further helped to establish a mindset of beating Cancer! This shift of focus with party planning abolished all fears. It brought total victory in my thought life, which in turn help complete the healing process in my body! 

        My surgery was around Thanksgiving of that year. I made it through, but two weeks later, complications sent me back into the hospital for another long week. Then, finally, I was dismissed on Christmas Eve! Oh, what a year.

        Then, it was chemotherapy for the New Year. Yea, me.

        During treatments, one of the main things I made sure to do was spend time dreaming about my two Cancer-Free Parties. Yes, you read that right, two! I planned and enjoyed both of them! As Joyce Meyers always says, “Double for my trouble” (based on Isaiah 61:7.) 
        As treatment progressed, Mom would ask me to update her on my party planning. Anyone who knows Mom knows she loves to cook, so she was particularly interested when it came to the menu I choose. We spent an ample amount of time talking about my favs, fajitas, and jalapeno poppers. Party planning proved to help set my focus on something fun and uplifting rather than walking through the nightmare of the valley. 

        I continued through my trial, and the unheard-of happened. My trust in God arose. I truly knew I was in God’s hands and no longer battled fear. God didn’t promise me that it would be easy. The promise was that God was going to be with me on this journey. And, He indeed was. God was the fourth man in that fiery furnace of surgery, treatment, setbacks, and side-effects. God didn’t just stop there! He healed my emotional brokenness that was the cause for this trial anyways. I was made whole.  

        Finally, the day I’d been waiting for was here! Wooo Hooo! Fifteen months after my initial diagnosis I was declared Cancer-Free! I do know everyone has a different story of surviving Cancer. We’re all unique; no two stories are alike. 

        On this side of Cancer, I’m very grateful for everything I learned from this experience. I know I now possess valuable techniques to help anyone become and stay Cancer-free! And, I know how to get you out of the valley of the shadow of death. And, how to place you back into the abundant life again. You know, the one that God promises in His Word - especially for you! He’s giving me tools to identify where and how Cancer enters one’s life. I also understand the importance and how needful the creative affirmations God gave me genuinely are. And, they are proven. 

        Bonus! So, here’s your takeaway! If I can walk this walk and get through Cancer victoriously, so can YOU! No matter the obstacles, setbacks, or stage you’re in, you can do it because of God! He, too, wants to walk beside you through your journey. 

        I would love to help navigate you through your healing process. Let’s get those broken places healed and whole, so Cancer stays gone! And, help reset your focus. As the old saying goes, “if you change your mind (focus,) you can change every aspect of your life.” 

        It’s time to stop surviving and thrive again!

        If you’d love to be a part of the Cancer-Free Party movement, go to our Facebook page and message us to submit your name for our expert prayer group to pray for you. Then, go to our YouTube page and check out the free classes that accompany the books I’ve written. Oh, and order a copy of my books on Amazon. A list of titles will be at the end of this. 

        Never forget, you’re a giant killer. So, come on and challenge the odds, reset your focus, and celebrate a healthy, vibrant life by planning your Cancer-Free Party Now!  

Let Me Pray For YOU!

        Father, I thank you for my Cancer-Free friend. Help reset their focus on an incredibly healthy future that is filled to the brim with life. A life that is designed to be and stay Cancer-Free. Help this precious one place their emphasis on celebrating the victory over Cancer, NOW. I thank You, Father, for this valuable tool of party planning that positions them to receive life! Father, I also ask for You to give them a deeper relationship with You, one greater than ever before. As they walk through this valley in Your loving arms, provide them with new hope, steadfast courage, and above all - perfect health. I agree with You, Father, right now that this one is Cancer-Free and will stay that way! And I celebrate with them in their triumph! In Jesus’ name, I ask Amen. 

List of Books on Amazon

My Ah-maz-ing Cancer-Free Party Planner -

My Ah-maz-ing Cancerversary Party Planner
Color Your World: Cancer Warrior Coloring Book
Journaling My Cancer-Free Journey
31-Day Joy Challenge - How to Ditch Rejection - Devotional

More Books Coming Soon

Cancer-Free! Challenge the Odds by Fighting Spiritually - Caleb's Story
From Surviving to Thriving - Discover What's Delayed Your Destiny
My Cancer-Free Dream Journal

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