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  • Jess Haag

Hope & Pray

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Sometimes it's really hard to do the above.  We try to understand everything, we try to take everything on ourselves because we think we can actually do something about everything--and it's just not the case.  I know in my heart there is absolutely nothing I can do about having cancer.  Nothing.  Yes, there are some things in my control--like eating healthy, organic, whole foods to keep my body as strong as possible to fight this thing.  I'm super pumped about our huge, organic garden--my hubby is amazing.  I use safe haircare products & skincare/makeup products--  and chemicals in the house?  Gone.  I work with a holistic nutritionist twice a month right now because I wanted to learn more about the body and the good, wholesome foods the good Lord provides for us.  I take sooooooo many herbal supplements & tinctures that if you ask my two besties they'll tell you how crazy & ironic it is because I have never been much of a "pill popper." never even crossed my mind to take ibuprofen for minor aches & pains.  Now?  I take like 30ish pills a day.  But....I believe in it.  I believe all of this is helping the fight.  I truly do.  So....I do it.  It's not always easy, but usually the things that are totally worth it rarely are.  Those are the things I can control.  What happens to me in the end....I cannot control.  So I try my darndest to not think about that which I cannot control and just keep rockin' this life out.  Because my gosh you guys, life is pretty amazing if you open yourself up to the possibility of it being amazing.  Did you realize a lot of that is in your control?  Pretty incredible when you actually think about it, right?

I bring up the healthy eating and chemical free lifestyle because they are things I truly do believe in.  I also truly believe in the power of prayer.  I have had a countless amount of people tell me they are praying for my family & I and I am so overwhelmed with gratitude & love.  Prayer makes a difference.  I know it...and I feel it.

I'm going to bring you, now, to the end of May.  It brought us on another adventure to Madison, to meet with a colorectal surgeon there.  We patiently waited to meet with the Dr., and it's always the same kind of feelings--- a little scared, thinking, "oh man, what if he comes back and tells us something completely different that we don't want to hear at all and what if it's not the plan we have in our minds right now."  There it was again--what if...what if...what if.  Again--out of our control completely.  So?  Just breathe.

The surgeon walked in, and what he said next was music to our ears, " Hi there.  I have orders to get that thing out of there."  Halle-frickin-lujah!  I cannot even TELL YOU how great it felt to hear those words.  You know what else was really cool about this guy?  How much he cared about keeping home life as normal as possible during and after surgery.  He knew we had 3 little ones and just reiterated how important it was going to be to have help when I got home.  It was really refreshing.  I mean, don't get me wrong, skill is like the #1 thing of importance to me.  Bedside manner is a bonus.  Needless to say, we loved this surgeon and I was happy to have a new team member to work with.  June 18th was the new surgery date for colon resection.

Two weeks after that, I had to go to Madison for appointments both Monday & Tuesday.  I must say, they were much more thorough for surgery prep.  I went there for a "I can't remember the exact name of it" procedure but it was kind of like a colonoscopy--this was to 'tattoo' what needed to be taken out in the colon.  Now that I mention that, I do remember the surgeon telling me that I would be getting a tattoo to mark the spot.  My response, " about hiding a tattoo."  And then your imagination takes off and you think, "Hmm...I wonder how talented this artist is...a pineapple perhaps?  Or maybe just "Hi" to give the surgeon a chuckle while he's performing surgery.  Ohhhhhh the things that go on in this head.

The next day's appointment consisted of another MRI--honing in on the pelvic area to really get a good look at that bad boy.  And after that appointment...the wait for June 18th was on.

It was quite nerve racking, waiting this long for the 'next step.'  My last chemo treatment was back on March 19th.  This brings us to just about 3 months of no treatment whatsoever.  Let me tell you--during those few months, every little tweak, twinge, pain, etc that I felt came with the thought, "Oh that the cancer?  Is it growing?  Is it spreading?  I haven't had treatment in so long what if it's just overtaking my body because we're just taking too long on next steps."  Be. Still.  Be Still.  Worrying does no one any good.  Worrying...can cause even more health issues.  So stop.  I just had to keep telling myself that over and over again when those thoughts crept into my head.

Finally, the day of surgery was upon us.  All of the arrangements were made for the kids--they were able to stay nearby Madison thanks to one of my bestie cousins who offered to come to state to help out & to my Godparents who let them crash at their house.

I was sitting there, patiently waiting for my turn to head in....and after a 3 hour delay (yep... hurry up, wait)..I was wheeled back to surgery.  I woke up in recovery, and all went well.  I was up in my hospital room a little after 8pm that Monday night.  They had me up and walking on my own at midnight.

I did everything I needed to do (performed all the 'functions' & everything) to bust out of there by Tuesday night already.  I guess that's pretty quick for this procedure but I really have no idea.  I was told on Wednesday that on paper I was good to go home already, but they weren't comfortable letting me out quite yet since it hadn't even been 2 full days since my surgery.  So....I stayed until Thursday.  I really couldn't complain one bit.  I had no was like a little retreat, a little getaway.  I read two books, watched some good movies, made friends with some of the nurses....  good times.  I had some fun visitors in my short stay there-- nice, little stay.  But I was certainly glad to leave on Thursday.

Before I was discharged on Thursday, the pharmacist came up to go over medications that they were sending home with me.  He went on to say, "Well, since you didn't need anything more than Tylenol & ibuprofen during your stay here, which is actually quite shocking to be honest, I'm not going to send you home with anything."  Okay, cool.  My surgeon came up a little while later to bid me farwell, "Well, my job is done here.  Everything seems to be going well, you're moving around well, you've done everything you needed to do already...which is surprising...  but you're good to go."  He also did tell my family, by the way, while they were waiting for me in recovery after surgery, that the tumor in the colon was way smaller than he expected.  I responded very well to chemo and he was certain I'd be back there some day for liver resection (hope & pray).  I can't get over those words.  Even as I type right now, my eyes swell up with tears because I just cannot get over those words.  I go back to the very beginning of this 4 oncologists telling me that surgery would not be an option because of how everything looked... and here I am.

Here I am--almost 2 weeks post-op and I feel amazing.  I feel so good that I can't believe I just had surgery.  I've needed ibuprofen twice since I've been home.  I'm moving non stop (kinda hard not to with 3 toddlers) and I was in church 6 days after surgery.

I can't help but think I've had this great of a response...this great of a recovery...because of not only my lifestyle changes, but because of prayer.  I am so confident prayer, positivity, & belief have everything to do with how I'm feeling.  I am so, SO thankful.  And I'm so thankful for all the amazing people we are blessed to have in our lives.

Thank you ALL.  Thank you for your love & support.  But I want to thank you, most of all, for your loving PRAYERS.  I am confident those prayers and our prayers are what give me & my family the most strength. I pray that you all have the fight & strength to face whatever you have going on in your life right now...I pray that you have the wisdom to know that you don't fight alone.  You're never alone.

Hope & Pray.

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