Thursday, January 14, 2010


The letter I posted last night was an email I typed and sent out 5 years and a day ago. Today marked the 5th anniversary of the day I completed my cancer treatment and rang the bell. What bell? As I mentioned in the email, there is a bell that hangs in the hallway of the radiation area and when a patient completes their therapy, they get to ring the bell. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Surrounded by family, new friends, old friends and my radiation team. I remember tears rolled down my face and feeling this sense of peace. I had no idea what to expect for the rest of my life, but knew the Lord had walked with me the entire time through my treatment and that he would continue to walk with me on the other side.

"The Ringing of the Bell" is a letter I have gone back and read numerous times. I have this image in my head of the Lord helping me type that email and understand that He had a message to share through it as well. Last May, some of my girlfriends were so sweet to help me celebrate this five-year milestone here in Houston. At the end of the weekend they presented me this letter in a beautiful frame. A sweet reminder that the Lord has a plan for my life and that He continues to use my battle with cancer for His glory.

And back in 2006, a sweet lady I met while I was in Kerrville even asked if she could publish this letter in a book she was writing. Her name is Debbie Williams and she is the founder and president of Hill Country Ministries. ( Debbie loves the Lord and is an incredible teacher of His word. She has written numerous bible studies and books and I was so honored to be apart of her book, "Pray With Purpose, Live With Passion". The subtitle of the book reads, "How Praising God A to Z Will Transform Your Life". My letter was included in the "W" chapter titled "Lord, You Are Wonderful". Tonight I will leave you with a excerpt from her book.

Hospital bed. Sterile sheets. Dimly lit hospital corridors. Loneliness. Heartache. Medicine. Chemotherapy. Hair falling out. Nausea. Pain. A doctor's solemn countenance speaking volumes before a single word declares the cancer has spread. IVs. Collapsed veins. Tears and more tears as loved ones search for comforting words.


"God, are you there?" "When will this end?" "I'm ready, God, for whatever Your will is. Take me. Leave me. I'm Yours."

The faint sound of a bell ringing. Hope at the end of the hall. Someone has finished her final treatment! In a world wracked with suffering and disappointment, how do we understand and pray to the Lord who is wonderful?

Consider the exceptional perspective revealed in the following letter, written by a young lady who battled cancer for eight months and whose testimony gives praise to our Lord.

(Insert my letter here from previous post, titled "The Ringing of the Bell")

Who would have thought that a young woman with cancer would one day be praising God for the wonderful day He gave her and thanking those who prayed for her?

The fact is, God is Wonderful. Although not all of us will be healed is this lifetime, all Christians will celebrate God's wonder and power when we are wholly healed and raised in His presence. In the meantime, God gives each of us the opportunity to know Him as a Wonderful God and to seek His wonder-working power, counsel, and presence in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing this letter in your book. And thank you, faithful friends, for celebrating life with me today.

And if you listen closely, you just might hear a little bell ringing tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"The Ringing of the Bell"

Dear Precious Ones,
Well....this is it. At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 14, 2005, I will complete my final radiation treatment. And at around 11:00 a.m. you may be lucky enough to hear the faint sound of a bell ringing. What exactly does that mean? At M.D. Anderson, all radiation patients have the honor of ringing this huge bell near the waiting room, signaling to all that you (the patient) have finished treatment. Yes, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. I am VERY excited! And at the moment I ring the bell, I also imagine that the angels in heaven will begin singing and God will part the clouds as rays of sunlight shine on my face. He will then look down on me and smile. We will finish the last day of this journey together.
If you can believe it, my time here in Houston began 8 months ago. On June 14th I began the first round of chemotherapy and on January 14th I will take my last round of radiation. And in between those two dates...a great miracle took place. Most of you already know, but on October 22, 2004 I was notified that I was cancer free. Knowing that, I still had to complete my final 2 rounds of chemo (out of 6) and then take 22 rounds of radiation therapy.
All of these dates and numbers may soon be forgotten, but the miracle of my healing is with me forever. It's funny that cancer, which at first we all think takes so much from our life, has actually added so much to mine. I have never felt as close to God, my family or my friends as I do now. That just shows how great and big the body of Christ is and how powerful a person's prayer can be. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you so much-- for each and every prayer. Your prayers gave my family and I such a peace, and helped us through the most challenging of days.
So maybe you are wondering what lies ahead....well, I wish I knew exactly. I think God likes to surprise us all. As of now, my plan is to return to my job with the H.E. Butt Foundation in Kerrville, Texas, coordinating the Free Camp Sponsorship Program. I will also begin hanging out with high school kids again as a Young Life volunteer and want to become a more active member at my church in San Antonio. I look foward to seeing my family and friends more frequently-- meaning there is always an open invitation for you to visit me in Kerrville!
And of course, I will remain a part-time Houston resident as I make several visits back here for check-ups. These first few months I will be here weekly, with my first "big visit" mid-March. They just can't get enough of me! You know, I really think they might miss me a little bit. And I too, will miss my friends here. It's hard to put into words, but this place will always be very special to me.
So as one journey ends, another begins. That's what the "ringing of the bell" means to me. Thank you for celebrating in this wonderful day. I couldn't have done it without you and our very faithful Father.
All My Love,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Five Years and Fabulous

Five Years and Fabulous!

Five great, yet challenging years of remission. It's been an adventure to say the least. Today was a great day and thank you for celebrating with me. Lord, thank you for loving me and walking with me through my 28 years of life. Especially the past five years. Thank you for surrounding me with wonderful, kind and caring people all along the way. Thank you for hearing all of our prayers and for entrusting me with one of your many miracles. Lord, if someone else is praying for their miracle tonight--- I want to echo that prayer.

With You, all things are possible. You are our Healer, Jehovah-Rapha. Tonight I continue to pray for peace and complete healing. I lift that prayer up tonight for many people who I deeply love and care for.

Lord, I trust you have a perfect plan for the next five years and many more. So thankful we're walking down this road hand in hand.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remission Eve

Today is Remission Eve.

What is Remission Eve you ask? Definition: the night before a cancer patient finds out his or her cancer is in remission. I cannot remember one little detail of this night 5 years ago. Here is my best guess of what the night might have looked like:

1) Possibly being force-fed by my parents. By month 5 of treatment, I do remember that everything I ate had a little metal taste. Sometimes it straight-up tasted like metal. Grilled cheese sandwiches and Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets kept me going those days. Amazingly enough, I can still eat both of these foods like a champ.
2) After "dinner" I might have made some phone calls or flipped through magazines. Maybe went and hung out with Tom, Clair and one of my parents in the den. By this time during treatment my hands were in such pain I really couldn't write very well anymore. Not much journaling or writing notes by month 5. If you received a note or email during this time, just know I really love and care about you. These small tasks were extremely difficult.
3) Time to flush my central line. This little port was where chemo entered my body and had to be flushed with a saline solution each and every night. Notice the white bandage in the photo covering my line. Central line consisted of 2 wires coming out of my body. So instead of using this time of the evening to brush my long, curly hair (not an issue anymore at this point!) I would put my wig back on her styrofoam mannequin head, take my medicine and do the line flushing thing and get ready for bed.
4) But no sleeping for me! LARGE doses of steroids will do that to you. I'm pretty sure I watched every episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Nick at Nite during these months. But early on when treatment started, my eye site worsened due to other drugs. All that to say, Will Smith's face was a bit blurry. Steroids wire you and I was wide awake most nights until about 4 or 5 in the morning when they would finally wear off a little bit. Only then did I doze off. Probably singing the Fresh Prince rap in my dreams.
5) Wake up early-- blessed by the gift of life and thankful to fight cancer another day.

The weeks leading up to "Remission Eve" were not easy ones. I was very weak at this point and had gone several weeks during the months of August and September not being able to take treatment. My body was just too weak to stand the chemotherapy drugs. So I waited and waited. Started my 4th round of chemo at the beginning of October 2004. It will be 5 years tomorrow that I sat in my oncologist's office and waited to hear what was next. More treatment? Body still weak and no more treatment for a while? I knew they wanted me to take 2 more rounds, but just didn't see how I was going to handle it all. Little did I know that October 22, 2004 would be the day I'd hear these beautiful words: "no signs of disease".

Tomorrow my lymphoma will have been in remission for five years. Where in the world did five years of my life go? I think back to that moment and never would have dreamed the journey would look the way it does today. I'm so glad the world is in God's hands and my tiny life is so valuable to Him.

Grateful for life and grateful for you. Sleep sweet tonight and let's celebrate God's miracle tomorrow!

Much love,
Rebecca...Child of God and Five Year Cancer Survivor

Photo Information: This photo was actually taken after my 6th round of chemotherapy and as I was in the middle of my month of radiation. I posted this photo to remind myself (and all reading this) of a peace and joy that only comes from the Lord. I know the world would say I've had some prettier moments, but to me-- this photo represents pure joy and beauty from the Lord. I promise the smile on my face in this picture is radiating from my heart. Your love and prayers kept me smiling. Bald never looked so beautiful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Look Full in His Wonderful Face
And the Things of Earth Will Grow Strangely Dim
In the Light of His Glory and Grace"

For the past month or so, I feel like this song has been the theme of my heart. To keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I don't know about you, but there are days I wish the things of the earth would just grow strangely, strangely dim. I love the image of looking at His face. Knowing Him. Loving Him. Trusting Him.

September was a very busy month for me. Between celebrating my 10 year high school reunion (where does the time go!) and making several trips to Abilene to visit family, I also started a new venture in my professional career. For the past 3 years, I have been employed by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A health nonprofit focused on raising money and awareness for blood cancers. Obviously, a cause near and dear to my heart, but one fueled with great emotion. This summer I felt certain the Lord was telling me my time with LLS was coming to an end. Or at least as a full-time employee. I always knew the day would come when I would know that it was time to focus my cancer efforts as a volunteer. With all my heart, I believe the Lord has walked with me down this road so that His glory would be known and so that others would know His love. It's not about me and neither was this job. So on September 4th, I completed my job at LLS- ready for the next adventure!

More about that new adventure in the days ahead. Please take a look at this website ( and tomorrow I will fill you in on the great blessing of my new job at the Yellowstone Academy-- a private, inner-city Christian school located in the Third Ward of Houston. God is good and He is faithful.

Until then, keep your eyes turned to Him-

Love you all,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Great News!

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers.  Yesterday we received the great news that my cancer remains in complete remission.  I am now on the "5-Year-Plan" and will only have appointments with my oncologist once a year.  Praise God!

I will post more details about the appointment when I get back to my own computer.  Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Five Year Check-Up


Today is Thursday, August 20, 2009.  At 10 a.m. I have an appointment scheduled with my oncologist at M.D. Anderson.  My parents and I will meet with Dr. Hagemeister to discuss the results of all the tests I went thru last week, to determine if my cancer is still in full remission.

Please pray that the Lord would calm my anxious heart and take all unhealthy thoughts away.  Pray for all the other patients and families walking through the doors of the clinic today.  I pray that my family and I will be a light in a place where some experience such darkness.  Please pray for my doctor and his team.  I am so grateful that for 5 years I have been under such great care.  And please pray for my parents as they drive back to Abilene this evening.  

Finally, please pray for a clear report.  If we receive this news, I will officially move to the category of only having one appointment per year with my oncologist.    

May you have a blessed day and I will post results just as soon as I can get to a computer.  God is good.