Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two years. . .

October 15th, 2013. Exactly two years ago today, I started this blog. Two full years ago.
But this post isn't just about the blog. Two years ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
Well, okay, two years and two months. He was diagnosed in August of 2013. I was planning on doing a post on the exact date, but we were on vacation, so I thought I would combine the two posts together.
I look back, and so, so, much has changed.
My parents have changed.
My life has changed.
I  have changed.
But do you know what? I can look back and say that my dad being diagnosed with cancer was one of the best things that ever happened.
Okay, let me explain.
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was a shock to everyone. Sure, he hadn't been feeling great, but. . .cancer?
The official diagnosis took a few days to sink in, and then chaos erupted. Literally. No one in our little area of the world had even heard of my dad's cancer. The doctors couldn't figure out where the cancer had started, but it had already traveled to his lymph nodes. As far as we knew, it was a rare, aggressive cancer. And there were no treatments. Chemo didn't do a thing to his kind of cancer, so it wasn't even an option.
After studying the cancer for a few weeks, my parents found that there were 3 areas in the U.S that researched the kind of cancer my dad had. It was so rare they were still researching it, trying to find a treatment that worked.
One of the research centers was located in Seattle, WA at the University of Washington State. Technically, they never should have been able to go. But God provided in miraculous ways. My Grandma and Aunt from California offered to traveled out here and stay with us, and one of dad's friends from college offered to buy their plane tickets. A guy my dad works with had family in WA, and my parents were able to stay with them while he was having the doctors visits.
And so, less then two months after the official diagnosis, my parents were on there way to Seattle.
I can't describe the feelings that went through me as they left. Fear. Uncertainty. Confusion. But it didn't matter. As the oldest child with my parents being gone, I was the one my siblings looked to.
I steeled myself, blocking out all emotion and turned to the task that was ahead of me. I didn't let myself cry or tell anyone else how I was feeling. I was fine. I could handle it. I never showed any emotion. I did was was required of me, then found something else to do that would keep me busy and keep my mind off everything else. I told myself I could handle it. I would handle it.
But I couldn't.
I would have nightmares that my dad had died and I never had the chance to say good bye. I would wake up with tears streaming down my face.
And it was then, that God made himself real to me.
There came a time when He was the only one I could turn to. No one else understood what I was going through, no one else understood the pain and hurt I felt.
But He did. There came a time I couldn't hold on anymore. I let go, and He was there to catch me. I didn't have to act anymore. I didn't have to be strong because He was strong for me! I didn't have to do it in my own strength. I couldn't. But instead I could lean on Him, trusting Him to get me through the storm.
And do you know what?
He did. Just like He always does.
Cancer is one of the best things that ever happened because it brought me closer to Jesus.
But He didn't only carry me through it, He provided so many blessings along the way!
Through the trials of cancer, I discovered my love for writing.
I had never written before any of this happened. I read a lot, but other then what was required for school, I didn't write much at all. After dad was diagnosed with cancer, I needed something, anything to get my mind off reality if only for a few minutes. So I started writing. Just little stories at first, but then longer ones. I realized then that I LOVED writing. The rest is. . .history. ;)
Through this blog, I was able to meet some of the most amazing people. Seriously, looking back I can't imagine a time when I didn't know you guys! It has been so amazing to get to know some of you!
I have also had opportunities to get to know people I would never have met had it not been for the cancer. Also, the many days going back and forth between the hospital and our home when dad was having radiation showed me my love for all things medicine.  Lord willing within the next 1-2 years I will be able to enroll in a nursing program at our local community college.
Now fast-forward two years. Two years since the cancer diagnosis, Dad is closer to normal then he was before the cancer. And there has been no cancer activity in his body since the radiation treatments ended in January of 2014. We were able to take a family vacation this year, the first since the cancer diagnosis. I was able to meet two very dear friends and pen pals this summer and I have started my senior year of highschool. I'm still learning, still growing, but I'm different then I was two years ago. I have changed. It puts Job 23:10 in a whole new light. 'But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.'
I have learned that I can't shun cancer as an enemy, I can't embrace it as a friend, but I can accept it as something God has brought into my life for His perfect reason.
I'm not saying I have everything down. Trust me, I don't! There are still times I struggle to see exactly why God is doing what He's doing. But I have to remind myself that God sees the end of the road. He sees things I can't see. There are still times I doubt any good can come from what is going on, but then I have to remember that even in the midst of it, God is there. I'm just so thankful that He always welcomes us back with open arms!
The trials God brings into out life are for our good. Maybe we can't see it at the time. In fact, it is very hard to see it when everything that is happening . But later on, when we're able to step back and see how everything has changed, we can see God's hand through what has happened. And honestly, I can't wait to get to heaven and see how all the little pieces of our life fit into the big picture God has in mind. I mean, can y'all just imagine how exciting that will be?!
Am I saying it's easy? No!  Fully trusting God and surrendering to Him can be one of the hardest things you will ever do.
Just remember.
He has a reason.
He is faithful.
And He will bring you through it!
Two years, and yet so, so much has changed. But there is something that will never change. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good!

19 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Jesseca! Though I can't imagine one of my parents with cancer your words here have encouraged me! May the Lord bless you and keep you and your family!

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    1. I'm so thankful it was an encouragement to you, Lydia! That's definitely God working! :)
      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Thank you for this post, Jesseca. It's always a blessing and an encouragement to read posts that tell of God's amazing faithfulness even in trials.

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    1. You're welcome. ;) He is so, so faithful! I don't know how we would make it through life without Him!!

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  3. Wow! I often don't take the time to read all the blog posts I get alerted of by Google, but I'm so glad that I read this one! And I can understand. In my immediate family there have two cases of cancer-one, a fatal brain tumour, the other, a bone cancer that took a leg. I've seen adult and childhood cancer, seen natural and conventional treatments, seen life and death, and have wept and rejoiced. I agree-I don't like cancer, but because of it I have become a stronger person, one who can be sympathetic to those undergoing that trial, and just be able to share from the bottom of my heart that God does all things perfectly. Would I have chosen to have cancer kill and plunder my family? NO!!! I prayed against it many times. But would I go back to the time before? Would I change it? No. Sometimes I wish that I could, but then I remember that God used these things to mold my life.
    Unlike you, I don't like medicine! (Yeah, I feel like I'm going to pass out at the eye doctor and checkups a lot-embarrassingly, it is usually when they are telling me that I'm fine or explaining some very simple ailment) But I do understand loss, and my desire is to be a missionary and adoptive mom so that I can help children who have also faced loss.
    There have also been other cancer cases in my family. Right now my Papa (grandfather) is fighting cancer. He's had it for probably 12 or 13 years and has been fine, but the doctors are pressing for a treatment option to be chosen (besides his natural remedies). If you think of it, you could pray for him. But whatever happens, I know that my family is in God's hand (as is yours and everyone else!) and all will be as He planned.
    Thank you for this encouraging post. Sometimes it is great to talk to others who went through cancer with their families. I think that they need support just as much as the cancer victim.
    God bless you!
    Indi
    Jer. 29:11 (a great verse on God's care)

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    1. As usual, I couldn't keep it short!

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    2. Yes, you know what it is like. I have never had a family member die from cancer and I cannot even imagine it. You're family's testimony is so amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your story; it was an encouragement to me!

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  4. Wow. God is good. What more can I say? Especially since Indi Raine said it all! ;P Just kidding...
    Seriously though, thank you so much for this post. What a wonderful reminder that God is still at work in this world despite everything. We should never doubt that fact. He is, has been, and always will be, in control of our lives. We need to trust Him. He puts us through trials, even terrible trials like cancer in the family, so that we can grow close to Him. And if we let Him, we do grow closer.
    God bless you and your family Jesseca! :)

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    1. He is! It's amazing how all things really, truly do work together for our good! Literally everything!

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  5. Thank you soo much for doing this post, Jesseca. Your father and your family have walked through what our sister and our family have only just begun. You have encouraged me beyond what you can possibly imagine. You are an inspiration in so many areas, Jesseca- you share your struggles and fears, as well as your triumphs. Thank you so much for doing this post. I think we can all agree we are so happy to have you in our "blogging" lives! Thank you for being you, and for sharing what the Lord has taught you and is teaching you. <3

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    1. I'm so glad It was an encouragement to you! You have been such an encouragement to me over the year and half I've known you, Emily. Yeah. . I tend to have a hard time sharing my struggles with others, but without sharing them iIcan't share the blessings God has brought through it all.
      I'm so thankful you're in my blogging life as well! :D

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  6. Aww, this is so touching and an amazing story of how everything played out in your life! God is so good!!! You are such an encouragement all the time and I miss getting together! We should come visit again or you should visit us!

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    1. You're welcome, Rishona and I miss it to!! I want to see you again sooo bad!!

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  7. Fantastic post! Thanks for taking the time to share. I can't imagine the struggles you and your family went through, but I am so glad to hear how you and your family have made it through the trials with the help of the Almighty. We often wonder why God allows certain things to happen, bit later we realize how God uses those things to make us better :-) Again, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, that's so true! Everything we go through is a part of His plan for us! You're more then welcome and thanks for commenting! :)

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  8. Wow, what an awesome testimony. I think this post meant twice as much to me after meeting you and your family. :)
    My family and I have undergone some trials and difficulties (definitely tears) in the past year, but all that seems like nothing in light of this post and all it shows. :)
    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. :)
    Many blessings on your sweet family!

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    1. Aww, thank you, Faith! I'm so, so glad we were able to meet! Even the little things are for our good! :) And you're more then welcome!! :)

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  9. What a testimony and an encouragement! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I feel like we have "known" each other forever! I certainly am glad that you started a blog! God bless you all and know that you are still in my prayers!

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