Notes from the Porch: the day I learned I had cancer

May 7, 2013

{I originally wrote this post a week after I heard the diagnosis. I have updated and added in some things from my journal a couple of months later as the original post showed my utter shock and some important notes were left out! To read updates on the Cancer or any of my health issues you can follow the tag of "Notes from the Porch".}
This is truly a post that I never envisioned writing. I am sure that this is a post that no one envisions writing. There are still so many words that elude me (even a week later). It is a six-letter word that no one wants to ever hear. It is a six-letter word that takes your breath away and truly makes you feel like you have been run over by a thousand pound truck .

To explain a little more clearly my doctor here at Whitaker Wellness Institute asked me to see a dermatologist based on her concern with a mole. I whole-heartedly agreed as I had had concern about this spot myself. I had expressed my concern to numerous doctors and several specific doctors in the last couple of months but was always assured that it was nothing to worry about. To be frank within two seconds of seeing me the dermatologist here she told me that I had cancer. I was so shocked by her abruptness that I started crying. The doctor worked quickly and decided immediately that a shaved biopsy was the best direction to head. The doctor ended up doing more than a simple shaved biopsy due to her extreme concerns of what she was dealing with.{She later explained to me that she was convinced it was a serious case of melanoma and wanted to remove as much of it as possible as soon as possible.} It was incredibly shocking and overwhelming. I felt incredibly alone.

After the biopsy was complete and my biopsy report follow up appointment was scheduled I was sent home with some paperwork and directions. To be frank I was overwhelmed with the words this doctor was saying- as she tried to encourage me with all of the Stage IV melanoma patients that she sees. All I kept thinking (and that she finally voiced) was the fact that maybe this wasn't Lyme Disease at all but instead an aggressive form of Cancer. She tried to be optimistic but her eyes held a sentence of death that shook me to the core. 

All of the nurses were trying to be sympathetic but it was obvious that they, along with my doctor had a look of disbelief that this had gotten as far as it did. I was in shock that I had been seen at some of the best medical hospitals in the United States, had specifically asked about this, and was continuously told "not to worry about it". 

I stumbled out of the office to the waiting cab and in shock silently cried and shook all of the way back to the hotel. I couldn't believe that my dad had left just a few hours earlier and I was THOUSANDS of miles away from my family. I have never felt that alone in my life. I really didn't have any words except for "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...". I didn't want to talk to my family in the cab so I waited till I got back to the hotel to skype them.  (Since my dad was in the air at that moment - I was able to talk with my mom and sister). They were in shock. We were all just dumbfounded. I was truly still in shock as I was processing all of the information and the words that the doctor had thrown at me in the appointment.
I tried to process words to write in my journal but came up empty and all I ended up doing was crudely stitching out the word that was possibly threatening my life.
I also honestly felt at the end of my rope. As y'all know I have been bed-ridden and housebound now for months, and the thought of fighting this was completely over-whelming me. I kept saying to my mom that I was not sure if I had it in me to fight "another health issue". I just kept shaking and trying to smooth my skirt as I sat on the bed skyping with my mom. I felt so alone. 

But I wasn't.

In the midst of the horror the Lord's quiet peace and presence was truly there and permeated my little hotel room. The miracle in the midst of this is that despite feeling alone the Lord is always with us. Day by day He already knows what comes and what is going to take place. And in that we can rest.... no matter what comes. In those dark moments the Lord's presence was like a mom wrapping me in the biggest hug imaginable. 

The next days passed in a whirlwind with speaking to several doctors, my dermatologist oncologist sending out the biopsy for a third and fourth opinion, and having to go back to the doctor several times due to an infection at the biopsy site. Finally on Friday the doctor called and said that she couldn't believe it but it was not Stage IV Melanoma but a very unusual and extreme and aggressive form of basal cell carcinoma with melanoma. Since the biopsy had been more aggressive then just a typical shaved biopsy I am a canidate for MOHS surgery which I will have done (hopefully) next week to remove the rest of the cancer and to see if it has spread to any further areas. Originally this procedure was scheduled for today, but due to an infection from the biopsy site the doctor moved the surgery to the 14th.

I have no doubt and am extremely confident that this diagnosis is an answer to prayer from all of you that are praying. The dermatologist said several times that she was convinced it was a serious case of melanoma and I truly believe the Lord removed that. Honestly as I looked at the pictures of my area and compared them to the ones she showed me of a serious case of Melanoma there is not a doubt in anyone's mind that this is a miracle. 

A miracle.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and please do not stop.

This diagnosis has added another layer of knowledge at what is going on in my body and I am thankful that we have even more knowledge so that I can get better. Thank you for all of your prayers. While there is sadness at this diagnosis and also discouragement at an additional diagnosis, I have said before that my faith has not been shaken despite this time of severe testing. Here again, I pray, as I did before, that I can serve my precious Lord and Savior in this situation.

Yes, there are some additional fears about the future with my health and once again there is a WHOLE new vocabulary that I am having to learn and coming to know… one filled with health jargon that I have never wanted to know nothing about. There are tears. BUT there have also been extraordinary blessings amid the darkness.

As we move forward in the MOHS surgery and the afterwards I am struck by the fact that this is a clear reminder that God is at work everyday. I have been asked by a dear friend if I am discouraged that this seemed to be a "quick miracle answer" while other prayers- Lyme Disease has been such a long long battle. Honestly, sometimes yes. But truthfully, I can choose to question the fact that God is Sovereign or I can accept this and move on resting in that grace and knowledge for each day. 

I choose the later. God is Sovereign.

The picture below is from several days after first hearing the cancer word. In all of this I am learning anew the reality of Amy Carmichael's saying: "In acceptance lies peace". How true. How true. I call to the Lord and He faithfully answers... and in acceptance once again lies true peace.(Isaiah 26:3)
**thank you for understanding that there are additional items of information regarding this diagnosis, the large area that needs surgery, and other personal information items that I have chosen to keep private. This post is just meant to be a brief explanation- with lots of items left out.**


  1. Sending prayers your way! xo

  2. Praying for you pretty lady!!!

  3. How frightening! Prayers going up.

  4. I had basal cell carcinoma over ten years ago. Slow growing, and my dermatologist and surgeon both said, "If you're going to have cancer, that's the one to have." I'm sure you're in excellent hands. Hang in there, Baby!

  5. No words, just prayers and positive, healing energy coming your way. Be strong and have faith. One step at a time.


  6. I'll be praying for you!

  7. This is so scary. What a horrible thing to go through. Praying for you!

  8. Covering you in prayer, dear friend! You are such a fighter and have such an amazing testimony.

  9. Rebecca, I so wish I could be there with you to share your pain, cry together, and also rejoice that the Lord has great plans for both of us, plans that we cannot possibly understand or fathom. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

  10. Thank you so much for all of your sweet support and love!

  11. Oh Girl! I wish I could magically transport your family to you so they could hug away the fear!I'm praying for you!

  12. I'm so sorry to hear that, Rebecca. may God hold you in the palm of his hand during this hard time.


  13. oh my goodness. I am grateful that this was discovered and is being taken care of but my gosh, I sure wish the news was brought to you differently. When life gets abrupt it's hard to process and a matter like this is unbelievably hard to process. You've been on my mind this week, I'm so glad you are posting and keeping us abreast to your life. With genuine love and care, I wish you the best friend! ((hugs))

  14. That is so incredibly scary! I am praying for you!

  15. Wow. I'm so glad you can lean on God through all this. I'm praying for you and against the cancer. You do have the strength. I may not have known you long, but I know you well enough to know you can and will beat this. Thinking about you.

  16. I've just read this post and wanted to send hugs. I hope all is going well and that you make a full recovery. You sound like a very strong young lady and you should be so proud of yourself. Your strength will inspire so many.

    Hugs x

  17. So sorry to hear this, friend. You've been through so much. Praying for you.