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.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Spirit vs. Soul

As I mentioned in my blog entry on Friday, I wanted to use this past weekend to gather my thoughts and remember the true reason why I felt lead to start sharing through a blog this summer. I have been caught up in my own emotions these past few weeks, focusing more on myself and less on the bigger plan I know the Lord has for my life. Worried more about today, on what people think, on the things of the world…

The Lord was so gracious to use a lesson in the Bible Study I am currently going through with my Small Group (“Daniel”: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy by Beth Moore) to help me discover that my tendency is to make decisions based on my emotions. I seem to ignore the fact that the calling of the Holy Spirit is much deeper and powerful than what I feel or sense in my emotions. And because a particular passage in Beth Moore’s study made such an impact on me this weekend, I would like to share it now. I give all credit to the Lord for leading Beth to share these words in her study and am thankful I meet with a group of girls each week that are helping me walk through these lessons each week.

“Daniel” by Beth Moore
Week Nine, Day Five

Every person born on planet Earth is comprised of spirit, soul, and body. The terms “spirit” and “soul” are often used interchangeably in Scripture, but when the Word of God distinguishes between the two immaterial parts of man, the soul can often be pictured as the seat of our emotions and personalities. The spirit, on the other hand, may be generalized as the part of us with the capacity to know God. First Corinthians 6:17 tells us, “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” In other words, when we accept Christ as Savior, His Spirit takes us residence in our spirits (see Romans 8:9).

In my own attempts to distinguish my desires from an authentic word from God, I find that what God reveals to me in my “spirit” is deeper than what I feel or sense in my emotions or, for the sake of distinguishing the difference, my “soul.” In other words, when I can put aside my feelings for a moment, what I still consistently sense as the leading of the Holy Spirit I assume to be a clearer word from God. Feelings come and go, but do I have a greater certainty at a deeper level that I have heard from God on a matter?

My answer in YES. I know with all my heart that I began this blog as a calling. A message I clearly heard from the Holy Spirit. Though I catch myself thinking about how I’ve already “messed it up”, I know the better explanation is that I’m human. I choose to believe God today and I want to be obedient. So instead of focusing on how I feel, I will follow the Lord’s calling and trust that He will give me the words to share. I have a journal full of words I’m excited to type and share—reflections of where I was five years ago this summer. The struggles I faced in the summer of 2004 look somewhat different than the struggles I’m facing in the summer of 2009. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the Lord’s faithfulness.

I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will fill you up and guide you today. I am thankful for my health and pray the Lord will use my life and story for His glory. I’m grateful that He continues to teach me valuable lessons that I can share with others. I trust the Lord will give me the confidence to pick up where I left off a few weeks ago and I’m thankful He’s the Author of my story.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Last Day of July


I'm not too sure I have any followers anymore, but I appreciate those of you who have given me a gentle nudge this past month to update my blog.  I guess I've struggled a bit personally this past month and have kept to my myself.

But tomorrow is a new day and a new month.  I want to pick back up where I left off and continue celebrating and reflecting on my incredible 5 year anniversary.  I have dedicated this weekend to gathering my thoughts and will begin sharing again tomorrow.

Until then, thank you for your encouragement and your prayers.  The journey continues and my hope remains in Jesus.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seasons Change & Happy Father's Day

Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support this past week.  It took me a few days to get the blog site out to everyone and then of course I've been extra busy at work.  All that to say, I hope to post on a more regular basis starting today and actually respond to your sweet emails and comments.

I promised to share some of my journal entries from my time in treatment, and this week five years ago I was very busy writing.  I will definitely go back and share previous entries, but today I want to share part of the one I wrote on Father's Day-- five years ago-- and also post the email I sent out the night I began treatment.  I will comment more later.  

Most of you are probably aware that today is Father's Day and the First Day of Summer.  My dad, Don Lawson or "Daddy Don", is a very special man.  He is a Godly man, patient, gentle and kind.  He's funny, wise and has always made Jason, Jake (my brothers) and I feel like being our Dad and my Mom's husband were the best "jobs" in the world. He's a caretaker and always has a smile on his face. He's a great friend to all and has never met a stranger.  One of the loves my Dad shared with my Mom, my brothers and I was his love for baseball.  In the Lawson household, Baseball Season was the fifth season.  I can think of many nights we were the last family leaving the little league ballpark, turning the lights out as we made our way to the car.  Our family has shared many a great memory at the ballpark.  Even my summer at M.D. Anderson, my Dad and I enjoyed the College World Series from our luxury box (a.k.a.: my really expensive M.D. Anderson room) and watched Cal State Fullerton take the title.  Yes, Baseball Season may very well be my favorite season and my Dad is my hero.  Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there and Happy Summer to all!

Journal Entry: June 20, 2004  Father's Day

"Good morning Jesus!  Today is going to be a great day.  I'm glad I woke up to the sounds of my Daddy's snoring.  It's comforting knowing he's here and that I'll be spending Father's Day with him.  The boys are going to call later today and tell Dad about building his new gates-- what a great gift idea!  Jason is being so great and I was sad to see him leave yesterday.  Jason, Dad and I watched Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation (a classic) and laughed a lot.  So as for the recap of yesterday:  Lord, you showered me with your love again.  Thank you.  My time here in the hospital has been wonderful.  That's almost weird to write, but I can't imagine being any where else right now receiving care.  I had a wonderful conversation with my RN, Hilda, last night about faith and the Lord, and how He is my healer.  We discussed prayer and how it's the only way.  She could tell that my visitors yesterday were special people and that I was a very loved person.  Indeed, I am.  Thank you Lord for my sweet, faithful friends and family."   

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Lift My Eyes Up

Here is the email I sent out the night I began treatment. When I read it now, I remember being so joyful and feeling such peace.  The joy of the Lord truly was my strength.  Praying that He's your joy and strength today as well.

Looking Back: June 14, 2004
"I Lift My Eyes Up" (Psalm 121)
I lift my eyes up
Up to the mountains,
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You,
Maker of Heaven,
Creator of the earth.
Oh, how I need you Lord,
You are my only hope
You're my only prayer.
So I will wait for You
To come and rescue me.
Come and give me life.
Hello Precious Ones!
I hope you each know just how much I love you.  So much.  I miss you and can hardly wait to see your pretty faces again.  But until then, I've got some work for you to do.  That's right-- we have a Lord that is listening to your prayers and I need you to keep lifting them up-- look to him.  I can't even describe the peace that I've felt from the moment of my diagnosis until now-- it really does pass all understanding.  It's so wonderful knowing I have a Lord who is in complete control and that he has a perfect plan for my life.  And he promises us all the same.  I pray you cling to this fact everyday.  Live it, believe it-- TRUST HIM.  I'll be honest and say that I probably haven't ever really wanted to completely trust Him with every part of my life, but I sure do now!  It's the greatest joy in my life.  And will be forever and ever.
As I sit and type this e-mail, I am waiting to see Dr. Hagemeister, the Lymphoma Specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  Wow.  Not a place I ever thought I'd be at 23 years old.  But the Lord has blessed me beyond all belief here with wonderful people around ever corner.  It's been test after test-- and as of this morning, I've even been given a new best friend.  My Catheter.  A small device that has been inserted in my left arm, which will be with me thru this entire process.  The chemo will enter my veins thru my little friend and will help me get better-- praise the Lord!  (I'm thinking he/she needs a "name", so let the voting begin!)  I'm sure you will all get to meet him/her.
Thank you for your love-- your support-- your encouragement-- your visits-- the flowers -- the cards-- and for all the lifted prayers.  Thank you most of all for the prayers.  I know the Lord has heard each one of them and He has carried me every step of the way.  And he will continue to carry me through this.  I am so blessed to have such a faithful group of girlfriends that I know will help me walk down this road-- every step of the way.  You are needed and loved. 
I will do my best to keep you updated during this process.  Please feel free to call or e-mail-- I love hearing your voices, even when I can't always call you back right away. And after today's appointment, I should have more answers to what the future looks like and you will know too.  Please pray for "good" test results and a doctor that makes wise decisions. 
I don't want to sign off, but hopefully they will call my name soon.  I love you and I keep each of you in my prayers too. 
Trusting and Resting in Him,
P.S.  I had to save the draft of this e-mail because the doctor called me back and now that I'm actually sending it at 10 p.m., everything has changed.  I am waiting to get into the hospital at MD Anderson right now and will begin chemo treatments tonight and tomorrow.  I will be in the hospital here all week and will be staying here for the next few months.  I promise you will get updates, because I will have new prayer requests and stories for you!  And if you are ever in Houston, you will have to visit me!  And one last thing, the person who finds me the best hat or scarf wins a prize-- and of course, we'll have to take a picture. :)  I love you so much!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Five Years Ago

Hello and welcome to my blog! It has not been my lifelong dream to write a blog, but I have done a great deal of reflecting these past few months and feel like this could be my best platform to share what I have been learning and what the Lord has placed on my heart.

Five years ago this very day, my veins and chemotherapy met for the very first time at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Just a few weeks before that on May 28, 2004, I found out that I had cancer at the age of 23. My actual diagnosis was revealed in the weeks thereafter; Stage 4 large B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Many of you reading this will remember that time vividly, and others of you may be saying, "wow, it's been five years." And still others of you may be hearing my story for the very first time. I often cannot remember what I was doing yesterday, but June 14, 2004 is forever etched in my mind and on my heart. For the past two weeks, I have debated what I would share on this blog and what I truly wanted to come from my time spent writing. I want to make this very clear: I have one purpose in sharing my thoughts and reflections and that is to make God's glory known and to share what He has done in and through my life and what He continues to do five years later.

I have been overwhelmed with emotion going back through my journal and reading the words I wrote five years ago. Though I wasn't the best at writing consistently, what I did write says so much about how the Lord was blessing and protecting me through the hardest of days. Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I am going to share some of my entries with you. Not because I'm such a great writer, but because it's so clear the Lord was using this time of suffering in my life for His greater good. One of the greatest lessons I'm continuously reminded of is that my time on earth is not about me. It's about what the Lord wants to do through me. And I can see how God has bigger plans for my life than I ever could imagine for myself.

Another reason I decided to make my words public is that I've seen a need for young people facing a cancer diagnosis to hear the story of someone else who has gone through something similar. I am now employed by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Houston, but also serve as a volunteer through our First Connection program. This program pairs up someone newly diagnosed with someone at least one year post-treatment with a similar profile. Through First Connection I have had numerous opportunities to speak to young people all over the country battling a blood cancer. Recently I spoke to a girl who just wanted to talk to someone who had actually lived after her diagnosis. The people she knew had all passed away. For her, I represented hope. Hope that better days were ahead. Hope that this was worth fighting through and hope that she would feel good again.

For those not facing a cancer diagnosis, I want this blog to give you hope too. Hope for this life and hope that you will find a greater purpose in whatever you are doing, wherever you are. The past five years have been filled with more blessings than I can count, but I also will be the first to admit that I have experienced some of my darkest days during this time. I have struggled physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and continue to struggle today. I have experienced some of the best moments of my life and I have made some of the greatest mistakes of my life. But I have hope for this life and that hope is in Jesus.

So with that, I'm going to leave you tonight. I have a lot to share in these next couple of weeks and hope to reconnect with many of you. My first post on this blog is a song I have fallen in love with called "Blessed". If you read the lyrics you will discover that the name of my blog is a line in this song. I do have hope today and I'm grateful for this opportunity to share that hope with you.

With love,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Am Blessed

Blessed by Rachael Lampa

I may never climb a mountain
So I can see the world from there
I may never ride the waves
And taste the salty ocean air
Or build a bridge
That will last a hundred years
But no matter where the road leads
One thing is always clear

I am blessed, I am blessed
From when I rise up in the morning
'Til I lay my head to rest
I feel You near me
You soothe me when I'm weary
Oh Lord for all the worst and all the best
I am blessed

All along the road less traveled
I have crawled and I have run
I have wondered through the wind and rain
Until I found the sun
The watching eyes ask me why
I walk this narrow way
I will gladly give the reason
For the hope I have today


You've given me joy
You've given me love
You give me strength
When I want to give up
You came from heaven
To rescue my soul
This is the reason I know, I know