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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Hope Amidst the Darkness

Once upon a time, there was a woman who battled breast cancer. She fought with courage for 474 days. The mental, the physical and the emotional battles wore her down but they did not break her. She had come through each new challenge a little braver, a little stronger.

As the light of a brighter tomorrow began to dawn for the woman, the world around her descended into chaos. Suddenly, the life of isolation she had led for her own safety was being thrust upon all of humanity. And so she withdrew from the world once more.

Days turned to weeks, weeks to months and still the world remained shut up. All the while, the woman’s health began to fail again. The hope that had started to blaze began to flicker and threatened to go out.


This, my dear friends, is where my story is on this beautifully snowy December day. I am struggling and this was the easiest way I could find to tell you.

For as far back as I can remember, I have had digestive issues. I won’t go into all of the details but in college I was finally put on medication for acid reflux. Four years ago it got bad enough that I was referred to a gastroenterologist. I was put on more medication.

Over the years, dosages were increased and more medication was given. I would get some relief from one thing but it would always come with a new problem and the medications never seemed like a feasible long term solution.

In March, I began to have difficulty breathing. More tests were ordered, more doctors were seen and in November, the results came back. I had undergone a ph and manometry test that I told my husband was one of the worst experiences of my life (and that includes chemo). I can’t explain all of the science behind it but two big things stood out: one, my esophagus wasn’t working and two, a normal person’s score for this test would be 15. I scored 64. My acid reflux was off the charts.

The surgeon, who I have been told by several people is the best in the area, feels surgery is the best option for my situation. He will perform two operations, one to fix a hiatal hernia I have and one to insert a device that will hopefully stop the reflux.

Believe it or not, this was good news in my mind. I finally had proof that no, I wasn’t crazy for feeling so terrible AND I had a solution! So why am I feeling so discouraged at the moment? Insurance has yet to approve the surgery, and all the while I have been steadily feeling worse.

I am asking for prayer. God has been so incredibly faithful to me and I know He won’t stop now but I am tired and would so appreciate prayer support. Around Christmastime each year, my family has a tradition to rewatch the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This scene is one of my favorites and while I realize I am no Frodo, I can relate to his discouragement and be encouraged by Sam.

“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer."

― J.R.R. Tolkien

I am holding onto hope.

Updates and prayer requests:

  • I have had lots of appointments since my last post! Here’s a brief recap of the news: MRI in July: CAME BACK CLEAR!, One year radiation follow up: Healing nicely! Cardiologist: My heart is healthy and I don't need to see my cardiologist again for another year! Hematology: B12 and ferritin have caused problems, resulting in two more iron infusions over the summer. I am currently waiting to hear if I need more. Oncology: Things look good! I have an appointment in January and then my appointments get bumped out to every 6 months! Breast surgeon: A good report. I have an appointment in January and then we will go to a schedule of once a year visits!

  • I began working out and have made good progress in regaining strength and losing the weight I gained during treatment.

  • My eyes continue to have issues post chemo. Dry eye and blocked tear ducts. I have been wearing glasses almost exclusively for about a year now. I would love for this to get better and be able to wear my contacts again!

  • I have a new nephew! He is adorable and his big brother is smitten with him (as are we all).

  • I had my first chemo-free Thanksgiving in three years!

  • Pray for my symptoms from GERD. I won’t list them all here, but the big things right now- terrible vertigo, pain in my chest, nausea and insomnia.

  • Pray for a miracle. Either that I am healed or that insurance approves me for surgery ASAP.

  • Pray for grace to walk through this time.

  • Pray for my family.

  • If you have read any books this year, PLEASE join my Reading Challenge! I am doing a fun giveaway -- details can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

All my love,


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