Our lives changed drastically this past summer with Ryan’s diagnosis of testicular cancer, followed by surgery and chemo. Our lives would never return to life without cancer. Don’t misunderstand me; Ryan is doing fairly well these days. His last appointment was good, but not the “great” we were really hoping for. We were hoping to hear his doctor say that he was cancer-free, in remission, and the mass in his abdomen was gone. But she didn’t – because it isn’t gone. Yes, it’s reduced in size from 9 cm to 4 cm, but that’s still a mass and it’s still there. She is optimistic that the mass remaining is just dead cells and tissue remaining from the larger mass that once was there, but only close monitoring and follow-up appointments will confirm or deny that. In the meantime, she wants Ryan to live as if he’s cancer free. Return to work. Get involved with regular activities again. Think positively.

But the fact is, our family will never be cancer free. It’s entered our lives and will always be around in some way or another. Like this week, we’ve all been fighting coughs and colds and unfortunately Ryan has caught it too. He’s had a fever and bad cough on and off for the last 3 days. He’s currently at the ER. The fact is, his chemo treatment did a number on his lungs and he technically still has a 4 cm possibly cancerous mass in his belly. We have to be cautious.

One other thing that has changed is how sensitive I am to discussions surrounding cancer and how much I want to help those going through it. Being that gift-giving is my love language, I take this very seriously and want to find the “perfect” way to help. But it’s not always that simple.

A young woman in our close-knit community was diagnosed with leukemia this past week. She has a young family and supportive husband who I happened to grow up with and our families vacationed together when I was a kid (seriously, T., you want to know stories? I’ve got them!). But no two cancer journeys are the same so while I try to help and reach out, I feel as helpless as I’m sure others around us felt in the thick of Ryan’s treatment.

And for a boy in our church community who is facing Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. His mom and I have been communicating quite regularly via email. My heart absolutely broke the first time I heard the news of L.’s cancer and for his parents as they go through this.

I find myself praying like I’ve never prayed before. For comfort and strength to their families, for relief and not too many side effects, for these brutal treatments that they are undergoing to truly cure. So. many. prayers.

I find myself feeling quite helpless – but knowing that is the way it’s supposed to be. I can’t help them. From a practical perspective, yes, I am here to offer support, encouragement and maybe some knowledge about cancer treatment and side effects. But I can’t heal them. Only our Almighty Father has that capability.

So I will continue to pray. And if they need me for something else along the way, I’m here.

If you are looking of practical ways to help cancer patients, please consider blood donation, as well as stem cell donation. If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, you could help save a life with stem cell donation! For more information: click here

And please, join me in praying for them and other cancer patients.