a smile today

May 27, 2011

Good news for a change! Not that I didn’t have anything else to be thankful for, but my bone marrow came back negative for the “c-word”. Praise the Lord!
I am still recovering from the biopsy I had on Wednesday. The surgery went great. Didn’t remember a thing this time. However, it is slightly more painful than the bone marrow biopsy, but I’m hanging in. Thank you so much for the prayers. I won’t hear anything back from my lymph node biopsy until the end of next week.


  • Nothing in my bone marrow. whoo hoo!
  • Waiting for the results from my lymph node biopsy which we should find out by the end of next week

tues news

May 24, 2011

Well, I got some news today about the results of my PET scans. The good news is they didn’t find anything in my head. The not-so-good news is they did find some more masses in my spleen and liver in which the CT scans didn’t catch. I’m guessing that means I’m at a higher stage than we thought, or hoped. As far as treatment goes, the doctors had planned to treat my whole body anyway. They haven’t told me how yet because they need to know exactly what they are working with before they make any moves. But being realistic, I know that chemotherapy is probably in my near future.

As far as the bone marrow biopsy I had last Friday, I won’t hear anything back until this Thursday or Friday. As far as the actual procedure went, well, I’ll just state the obvious by saying it was definitely unpleasant. I thought being sore afterward for a couple of days was going to be the worst part, but in my case it was the disappointing sedation method they chose. Apparently, I was going to be sedated to the point in which I was conscious enough to follow commands but would not remember a thing when I woke up, or so I was told. Turns out, the dose wasn’t enough or my body didn’t take to it like it was supposed to because I was awake the whole time and felt the needle go into my bone. I was definitely awake enough to follow commands, but unfortunately the part where I didn’t remember the pain did not take effect. Not trying to be a drama queen, but that’s not cool. And it’s not real comforting to know that they are planning to use that same sedation med at my next biopsy…yeah, we’ll talk.

Tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn, I have to be at Vanderbilt for my incisional biopsy in which they will remove tissue from my neck. I’m not thrilled at the idea of someone cutting open my neck, but I am confident in my doctor, Dr. Mannion. Dr. Mannion is a really nice guy, and he seems like a great person. After my surgery, he is going on a mission trip to Kenya to help people with medical needs over there. I know God will be watching over Dr. Mannion and me during the procedure tomorrow.

Like I said before, I don’t really get nervous, until I am actually at the hospital so I am good-to-go at the moment. I’m just trying to be strong: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. With all of your support and constant prayers, it has been so easy to keep my head up, so thanks again. But I know that some days it is going to be difficult for me to stay positive about this situation. Through the love and encouragement of the people who care for me, I am continually reminded that God is present throughout this whole thing and that I have A LOT to be thankful for, starting with all of you.


  • PET scans reveal masses in my spleen and liver in addition to the ones in my chest and neck
  • We are still waiting on the results of the bone marrow biopsy in which we will know on Thursday or Friday of this week
  • Bright and early tomorrow, I will be at the hospital having my incisional biopsy to retrieve some of the tissue in my neck for testing to get a diagnosis
  • Any and all prayers are welcome and appreciated, but if you want specifics, pray that nothing is found in the bone marrow, for my procedure tomorrow morning, and for patience as we wait another week to find out the results of tomorrow’s biopsy
  • Thank you for taking the time to read this and your prayers.

hurry up and wait

May 18, 2011

Hurry up and wait. That seems to be the phrase my Mom is using a lot these days. We just got a call from Vanderbilt this morning. Apparently, the tissue from my core biopsy wasn’t sufficient to make any kind of diagnosis. So, as scheduled on Wednesday morning, I have to have another biopsy, except this time they have to cut out a piece of my gland in my neck for testing. Then we should hear something 5 to 7 days later.

I probably won’t be nervous about the surgery until I get there. That’s usually how it goes. Right now I’m just frustrated that I have to wait another two weeks uninformed and untreated. I just want to find out and get this over with, get back to Boone, finish school, and get married. Those are my plans. But I had different plans a few weeks ago, so I am constantly reminded that my plans aren’t always His. I’m okay with that though, because His word says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”-Romans 8:28 And not that He needed to, but He has proven this verse true so many times in my life already.

Receiving the news at first was heart wrenching, but I know this is just a season in my life. I know how extremely blessed I am to have the opportunity to even be able to get medical attention and have so many people praying and rooting for me to conquer this thing. Love you all.


  • The core biopsy from last week was inconclusive
  • I have another biopsy (an incisional biopsy) on Wednesday morning
  • We will have to wait 5-7 days after the biopsy for a diagnosis
  • My family and I will pray for patience as we continue to wait two more weeks in the dark about what exactly is going on
  • I still have PET scans this Friday, as well as a bone marrow biopsy in which I am not looking forward to, but I know I will be just fine

one step at a time

May 16, 2011

This morning I went to meet with a surgeon to schedule an appointment for an open biopsy next Wednesday in which they will cut out a whole lymph node from my neck to send off and run tests to make diagnosis. We are still waiting on results from the core biopsy that I had last Friday. If they have enough information from the tissue that was collected last Friday to make a diagnosis, then I will not have to have the open biopsy next week….which I would prefer.  There is a good chance I will have to have the open biopsy next week though, but I’m praying that I will not have to go through the surgery, though it is minor procedure.

Friday, I have PET scans and a bone marrow biopsy. I know I’m going to be fine through them, but I’m not looking forward to the pain following the bone marrow biopsy. I usually have a pretty good tolerance for pain, so I’m hoping it won’t be too bad. I’m just taking it one step at a time as I meet with doctors and go through different procedures during the week. My Protector brings me comfort and strength by surrounding me with the love and prayers of my friends and family.


  • I feel fine; I don’t feel sick at all
  • Still waiting on results from the biopsy last Friday to get a diagnosis
  • If the doctors can get a diagnosis from the current tissue sample, I won’t have to have an open biopsy surgery that is scheduled for next Wednesday
  • This Friday I have PET scans and a bone marrow biopsy
  • Covered in prayers over the states and the world! (Romania and New Zealand)

lump in the road

May 14, 2011

On May 4, 2011, I had no idea that going to the post office was going to change my life. The post office? Well, the post office is in the same building as the health clinic, in which I had no intentions of visiting, but when I saw a flyer for free flu shots at the clinic I figured “might as well stop by and get this swollen lymph node in my neck checked out real quick since exams are over and there probably isn’t a wait.” I didn’t have any other plans that day so I stopped in and told them my situation. My lymph node just above my right collar-bone had been swollen for about 6 months…and I know your thinking “Cheslie! Why didn’t you go sooner!” but I had gone in January and the doctor didn’t seem to be too concerned with the size of the gland and wrote it off as being inflamed due to skin allergies. And with my busy, carefree life and Elevation on my mind at all times, I didn’t really notice that much of a change in the size of my lump.

So I asked for a different doctor this time. I couldn’t have been blessed with a sweeter, more caring doctor to start on the mystery in my neck. Dr. McKay seemed very concerned with the swollen gland, so she ordered blood work and chest x-rays, and suggested a fine needle biopsy in the next couple of weeks. I went home a little worried, but my Elevation core team meeting that night took it off my mind. Plus, my next appointment wasn’t for another 2 weeks…

The next morning I woke up to my phone buzzing. Sleepily I answered and to my surprise I heard “Hi, this is Martha McKay from the ASU Health Clinic”. Half asleep I said ” Hi, Martha” and then I felt bad for not saying ‘Dr. McKay’. She told me she wanted to go over the results of my chest x-rays in person. The rule of thumb with doctors is no news is good news; in person is not good news. I knew what in person meant, so I called my mom and told her I had to go discuss the results in person, and I could tell she knew what that meant too.

As I walked to the clinic, I prayed all the way the way there. “Please don’t let it be the worst thing possible” which in my head was the c-word….if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will catch on soon. If it helps, it rhymes with ‘dancer’. I just don’t like using it, it’s such a negative word because when I hear it I don’t think what it scientifically means, but of all the terrible things that follow it.

Anyway, just like my gut feeling, she told me that I probably had lymphoma and that they found more swollen masses in my upper chest. I couldn’t help but break down. Receiving the news by myself, I immediately turned to Dr. McKay for comfort and asked if I could hug her, and she said of course. Embracing this sweet stranger, life didn’t feel real. This wasn’t happening to me. My life was perfect with Elevation and my summer was planned out to continue to help build the church. I was thinking ” I’ve already had my fair share of hardships, life just got good…do I really need this one now?”

I became completely transparent in front of Dr. Mckay who I had only known for one day. I had all these questions and thoughts going through my head and coming straight out my mouth. How am I going to tell my Mom? How am I going to tell my boyfriend? I’m supposed to go to the beach this weekend. Am I not going to be able to go anymore? I don’t have any money. I’m only twenty years old. (that one went through my head alot)

When I was able to breathe again I called my mom. She already knew what I was going to say. I didn’t tell her anything, I just said “they want me to get that needle biopsy sooner than in two weeks–as in tomorrow.” and she was like “ok.” Then I said “so…want to drive up here?” and she said “yep”. And that was all. She was at my apartment 7 hours later. It’s amazing how moms just know.

Later that day I met with another doctor, she told me the same thing about the lymphoma. I was a little more prepared this time with my roommate by my side and already having heard it once that day. The next day my mom went with me to get CT scans.

Then I went to the beach. While I enjoyed a long, refreshing beach trip in Hilton Head Island and became a fiance!!!!!, Super Mom did her thing and got me 3 appointments at Vanderbilt Hospital  for a biopsy, blood work, and meeting with an oncologist, so I would have the best treatment at the best hospital. Thus, I packed all my summer clothes and drove back to TN not having any idea of how long I would be staying.

The oncologist told me that he strongly believed I have lymphoma. Shocker! Now its a waiting game to find out what type and confirm the diagnosis. Monday morning I am meeting a surgeon, and Friday I have to get PET scans and a bone marrow biopsy.

Just so you know, my blogs won’t be this long every time. I just had to catch you up from the last 10 days. And in case you are wondering, I don’t feel sick at all. I feel just fine. I really appreciate your concern for me and all of your prayers. I will continue to trust and find my strength in the Lord through this time in my life. I may not be helping launch a church in Boone right now, but I know that God is still using me for His purpose.


In case you don’t have time or just plain don’t feel like reading the whole thing,  I’ll post the main points under my blogs.

  • I’ve had a swollen lymph node in my neck, just above my right collar bone for about 6 months
  • Chest x-rays revealed more swollen masses in my upper chest near my heart and lungs
  • Multiple doctors strongly suspect lymphoma, but it has not been confirmed yet
  • I am continuing to see doctors and undergo tests while waiting for results and a final diagnosis
  • I feel well, I am optimistic, and I know God’s will is still perfect no matter what I have to endure. I have been blessed with an amazing support system of my family and friends who are all praying for me
  • Oh yeah, and I just got engaged to my best friend and boyfriend of 4 years last week!