*a special post from special guest Kim Couch*Ten. Ten Years. Ten years ago, I was finishing my first year of teaching, trying to figure out how to be a mom to my 18 month-old son, and building a new house with my husband. It was a time in my life when I was in a good place. It was also ten years ago that I found a lump in my breast. So, at that point when I felt everything was coming together--everything came to a halt. In June of 2007, at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The only previous experience I’d had with breast cancer was the loss of my high school friend’s mom due to the disease. So, that was it. The only person I’d known with cancer had lost her battle about ten years prior to my diagnosis. It was at that very moment when I felt like I had been given a death sentence
Little did I know, while I was trying to grasp my new reality, God had already lined up numerous people in my life who would have an impact on the journey my family was about to start. Our family friends had resources that led me to Cancer Treatment Centers of America with the most amazing doctors and medical team. Our pastor’s wife was a breast cancer survivor, so she was able to be an encouragement to me along the way. Once I got set up with my medical team and had a plan, I was ready to go into battle. I had decided that my attitude would be a major impact in my ability to beat this disease! So right then and there, I decided that I would be positive and try to show God’s light to those around me. I had a bilateral mastectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 rounds of radiation. I started in July 2007 and finished my treatments in April 2008.
One of the first things I remember asking my doctor was, “Does breast cancer mean I can’t have any more children?”
His response was, “Not now, but I’m not saying never.” As time passed, I would ask him the same question. Ultimately, the answer was the same.
There were many things on the journey that were hard, but looking back, the two hardest things for me were losing my hair and not knowing if I would ever have more children. As I progressed on my treatment plan, my hair began to grow back, but I was still left with the pain of not having more children. There were points during this journey when I would imagine having another baby; however, while I obviously wasn’t pregnant, several of my friends were preparing for babies in their lives. Although I was excited for them, it was truly a difficult time. Please understand, I was grateful for my family of three and wasn’t willing to jeopardize my health, but I was still mourning the plans I had for my family. My husband and I talked about and were open to the idea of adoption, but nothing seemed to work out for us. I learned our plans are not always God’s plans.
Finally, after about four years, my oncologist began to discuss the possibility of becoming pregnant. Whoa! When I was given that news, I panicked and questioned if it was something I really wanted. I felt like I had gone through the mourning process and had come to terms with my reality. After about a year of praying and processing the idea, I had a sense of peace about the situation. My husband and I decided we were ready to explore the idea. We agreed that if I didn’t get pregnant then it wasn’t meant to be, and we would not seek fertility options.
In September of 2012, our first month after making the decision to try, we became pregnant! A month later when we went in for our first ultrasound, the doctor said she saw something interesting. I immediately thought the worst and asked if something was wrong. She smiled and said, “Not necessarily. You’re having twins!”
I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to get pregnant, let alone getting pregnant in the first month of trying, and to top it off, pregnant with twins!!
On May 8, 2013 we welcomed Karlee Jo and Kynslee Jane to our family.
I’m a planner. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I’m so thankful God’s plan was bigger and better. I’m a stronger person because of my experience with cancer, and I’ve learned to trust God...even in the ugly, scary times. Although we may not see it at the time, God is always working things out for our best. It took longer than I wanted to see what God’s plan was, but the wait was so worth it. He turned my ugly and scary into something beautiful!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
A Little Thought from Heather:I met Karlee and Kynslee on the day of their birth, and I'll never forget their big brother trying to catch a glimpse of his brand new baby sisters as they were being rolled down the hallway. A brief stop to let him gaze upon the miracle of their lives and God's goodness beamed from the light of his little eyes.
Goodness. Goodness is what I think of when I think of this amazing family. So many times we see a diagnosis, but God sees a platform to display a mighty work of His hand-- a work that can only be accomplished by His supernatural intervention.
Kim's story gives hope to all. Believing for a healing? She did much more. She believed for a healing without resolving to a sacrifice. Did she desire to be healed from breast cancer? Absolutely. Did she forfeit her desire for more children? Not at all. She believed and held on, standing in faith for BOTH!
I believe Kim is an example to all of us for how to believe. Don't believe for sufficient, believe for abundance; believe for fulfillment; believe for icing-on-the-cake; and in Kim's case, believe for multiplication!
May you be blessed and encouraged today to continue standing confident in God's goodness in the plans He has for your life! ❤ Heather
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