Makyah’s story was shared on Imafighter.org last December. She had been newly diagnosed with cancer and has been through ups and downs since then. She remained in treatment every 3 weeks over the past year and in October had an 11 hour major surgery to remove visable tumors from her abdominal cavity and several organs. She returned for chemo 3 weeks after surgery to learn that it would be her last treatment. After 13 months of fighting, Makyah is cancer-free! She shared her to testimony for the first time to a group of youth last week but has inspired so many during the trial!
After many miscarriages I was trying to process God’s role for me on this 3rd rock from the sun. Kids were my life! I was a teacher, a church volunteer, an aunt and a mom with empty arms. One particular Sunday service I went to the altar to pray. As I poured out my broken heart to my Savior I saw this scrawny baby boy being held mid air above my body. He looked so tiny. I was so confused. Thinking I was just so distraught over a recent miscarriage I continued praying, asking God to help me just Live! To attend the next church baby shower and not stay home and cry. To be happy for my sister and her many children. Again, this image kept popping up during my prayer. Finally, I was like “Ok, God. Is there some sick baby that needs help? I hear this whisper on my heart “Noah is yours. Call him Noah”.
I took that proclamation and held it in my heart, only sharing it with my hubby. Two months later, thinking I had the stomach flu (since doctors had assured us infertility was permanent), we were informed we were expecting! In awe, in shock, we took to our knees in gratitude. 8 weeks later, we learned there were twins! As I took to my knees again, thanking God for moving in impossible ways I just kept repeating “not one, but two!!!!” and again I felt this impressed on my heart “simply because I love you”. I truly felt God gave us two babies because He is just cool that way!
The twins were born severely premature. Noah came out first, looking EXACTLY like he did in the image I saw when I was praying. That day, we named him Noah. God had used Noah since then to reach out to others in such a unique way. The way God called Noah in Genesis, God has called my Noah to trust him and just Believe!
Kelly was born second. A princess. However, she was not alive. The nurses shielded around her and made a wall so I couldn’t see her lifeless body. I kept begging to see my princess. An older nurse, turned and looked at me, a tear sliding down her face. She moved inches to give me a view and mouthed “I’m sorry.”
Kelly was gone. Her body still. My heart sunk. On the happiest day of my life, I felt like someone had literally ripped my heart out of my chest. It hurt to breathe. I began saying “Please Jesus. Please help me.” Then after some time passed a small choking sputter. Then a sharp breathe. She was alive! It was literally like watching a resurrection. It was God ordained.
Kelly survived. She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a result of oxygen loss at birth. We were told she may never walk, talk, or know I am her momma. God said “that is NOT my plan.” Kelly is a freshman in college, pulling a 4.0. She sings for Jesus from her stylin’ zebra print wheelchair. She is the healthiest child we have (yea, God went on to give this infertile mom 5 kids!!!!). Kelly spends her days grateful for the wonderful life she has. She has overcame so many surgeries and thousands of hours of physical therapy.
She is a fighter. She is my hero!
Every day in elementary school I would be bullied.
I walk in and the first thing I hear is “she got eczema.” I would be turned against by friends I thought were my best friends.
I wrote this because now I am in middle school and I learned how to fight: I ignore everyone who wants to ruin my day.
That is all bullies want to do is attempt to ruin your day.
But I’m a Fighter because I fought my way through and now I can help others fight.
We are all on a journey. We can choose to allow that journey to draw us closer to our Lord or to tear us apart from Him. My journey at twelve years old made a sudden turn upwards with many twists and turns. I fell many times along the way bruising my knees and needed Christ to come lift me up. Always He has been there holding my hand.
My mother was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma when I was only twelve years old, and it reoccurred when I was fifteen years old. The doctors gave my Mom six months to live at that time. I was to loose the woman whose hugs and kisses could not be replaced by anyone else. No one could give advice like my mother. I no longer had bruised knees that needed care, but a fragile heart that needed her tender touch and wisdom. My favorite times were sitting over a hot cup of coffee talking with her about the lessons I was learning from Christ, or the struggles I was dealing with. Always a smile would be upon her face as she’d offer up advice.
Months passed into years, cancer never leaving our home for long. Then slowly… over time… the cancer began to make it’s marks upon her body. Scars began to appear as surgery after surgery was needed to remove the cancer that threatened to take her life. Year after year it etched a little deeper into her face, skin, and body. Her posture changed as she suffered through treatments. Losing hair was not foreign. She’d lost her hair numerous times over the years as she continued to fight for her life. What never changed was her bright eyes and smile upon her face.
She walked a long hard road and her faith in God remained fast. He was her rock and stronghold and she had tied her anchor fast to Him. Because of her faith, mine drew stronger. However, in 2012, she was in the worst state I had ever seen her in. She laid in bed almost continually. She grew sores all on her body that caused her constant pain; they even appeared on the soles of her feet making walking a challenge. She would hump over as she made her way slowly down our hallways. The pain shot through her body so deep her bones ached within her. Sometimes cancer treatments can cause effects worse than the cancer itself.
I cried out to God, my faith that had remained solid throughout the years began to waver. My mother held on tightly and fought hard. She wanted to live to see her children grow up. Her five children that she had loved, taught, and cared for were still too young and needed their mother. My youngest sister was only three years old when cancer first broke into our home. It had been ten years and the cancer still threatened to tear down that house. I felt the more she slipped away, the more my faith slipped away. I struggled, cried, and felt like I was losing the battle.
That’s when God came and whispered in my heart. Why was I fighting so hard to keep Mom here on this earth? I realized, my Mom had eyes that looked to her helper and Maker. She had eyes that saw the beyond. I however, had eyes that only saw this world. I wasn’t looking into the next.
I surrendered my Mother into the hands of the One who loved her much deeper than I ever could. I trusted Him that He knew best. He had given me my precious mother and He would take care of her. One month later we received the news that the cancer had disappeared. It was only six months relief, but I knew God was showing me He was the One in control, not cancer. God still hasn’t shown us the end of this journey, but no matter what I know He is good in all things.
I left last July to serve as a missionary for fifteen months in the Dominican Republic. A week after I left, I got the news that Mom was cancer free. Almost one year she has been cancer free!!! I rejoice for this relief. It’s been a rough road but not a day goes by that I don’t rejoice that my Mother is still alive on this earth. She has remained faithful, constantly working to serve others, even in the midst of the trials and pain. Praise for her Savior, is always on her lips. Even in my darkest moments, Mom was quick to worship God. I stood amazed at her steadiness as my own faith was wavering. She raised her hands and thanked God for another day of breath. She taught me each day is a gift that we’ve been given and that gift has a tremendous amount of responsibility.
Will we live this day to help others draw closer to God? Or will we use it selfishly? I pray that if ever I am called to walk as hard of a road as she has walked, I do it with as much grace as she has had. I eagerly look forward to the end of my fifteen months away, where I can once again be wrapped up in her embrace and feel her kisses upon my cheek. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy our Skype dates as I share with her all that God is teaching me and seeking her advice as trials come. She taught me to lean not upon her, but upon my Savior. However, she remains here to help guide me in that path:)
Life can be cruel… and confusing. We all need anchors to hold on to. My daughter, Katie-Lynn, found Jamie Grace and her music to be her anchor during a very difficult year of change and transition.
The story starts in the Fall of 2013 when her grandmother (my mum) died from the complications of Parkinson’s and Dementia after a 22 year battle with the disease that culminated with 5 years in a nursing home. Eleven weeks later (to the day) her grandfather (my dad) passed away from a heart attack. After 65 years of marriage it wasn’t just a physical heart attack, I believe it was also from a “broken heart”. Our family was numb. We expected mum to pass, but my dad was a complete surprise and we were talking to him the day he died. I couldn’t move, function, and had no energy as a dad to care for my grieving family since I was drowning in it myself.
Katie-Lynn has always been close to God. But this rocked her world. My dad especially was very close to her. He teased her, poked at her, and played with her… and she gave it right back. They we so much a like… loud voices, loud sneezes, full of mischief and spunk. They loved each other deeply. But when death strikes, often darkness also falls.
The last year of elementary school (Grade 8) was tough for Katie-Lynn. Grief, anxiety, poor self image and a huge sense of loss set in. Struggling with subjects she used to conquer. Friendships that were solid began to crumble. And parents that were trying to pick themselves up couldn’t pick her up and help her to process grief. Change of schools into high school and the cruelty that exists in new routines, new friends, new pecking orders. Consistency and continuity crumbled beneath her… hurt, damage, stress, loneliness began to rise.
She turned to self-injury to ease the emotional pain. She isolated herself in her bedroom or behind headphones. She began not eating and developed a distorted understanding of her self and body image. She reached out for God, but God was being silent. Abandoned by grandpa, ignored by dad, and finally not connecting with God her heavenly father she believed she had no family left. Hurt by friends and again abandoned. Depression, self-harm in the form of starvation and cutting led to a very dark place in her life. She began writing her story (as she perceived it) and others in similar thought patterns encouraged her to keep writing. This led to her making plans to end her life and writing several specific goodbye letters to family, friends, and teachers.
Thankfully, by then I had been making progress in healing emotional the scars of grief. And, I believe strongly that GOD led me to find those letters and intervene…
That was 15 weeks ago, but it feels like eternity.
My girl is a fighter! And Grace (Both Jamie and God’s) have played an important role in that. Katie-Lynn was hospitalized the day I found the letters. She received in patient treatment for teens regarding eating disorders, self harm, suicide, and given coping mechanisms for dealing with the negative thoughts, emotions, and actions.
One of her coping mechanisms was listening to Jamie Grace – Fighter. whenever she was down… hurting… or even in the car on the way to school. Among other things, that saved her life.
Katie-Lynn isn’t out of the woods yet. Our family secrets… depression, self-harm, loneliness, addiction have been exposed and the cycle is beginning to be broken. She became aware of my depression, her grandparents mental illness, and suddenly she wasn’t alone and others did know what she was going through and what she felt.
With adjustments at school, rebuilding of friendships, and a deeper dependence upon God… Katie-Lynn is healing. I see her smile, laugh, experience joy. She has rejoined and experiences family – at home, church, and school. No more self-harm. She communicates her anxiety and feelings as they turn dark and we can speak truth into those situations. She has good Christian counselors. She reads (and still writes but a different ending to her story and tells her peer editors the difference Grace makes).
My daughter is a fighter! Has been since the day she was born. And, she will always be my scrapper! (No matter what she faces…)
My beautiful momma was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in September. She spent her 64th birthday in the hospital. Nine weeks in a row of aggressive chemotherapy made it hard for her to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. My momma is a gracious hostess with the gift of hospitality and is known for having large family get togethers. She is a fabulous cook. I offered to host the holidays, but due to a depleted immune system, she was unable to leave her house. She insisted that just our immediate family still come over and she instructed my daddy on how to cook the meal. (He did a wonderful job) It has been a precious thing to watch him tend to her every need, as she has done for him for the past 47 years.
In December, after the nine weeks of chemo, she had major surgery that included a complete hysterectomy. We cried with joy when the doctor told us the original mass on her liver, that he intended to go in and remove, was diminished to sandlike granules. (All glory to God)
Thinking our fight was over, the doctor insisted on another nine weeks of chemo “just to be sure we get it all”. It took longer than nine weeks because her poor body was so depleted. Extensive boughts of nausea caused her to be dehydrated several times and her blood count was so low that she had to receive special shots and units of blood to boost her count, just so they could put more poison into her. (chemotherapy is such an oxymoron)
My momma has always been a very classy lady that cares about her appearance (hair and makeup always done) so when she didn’t feel like getting cleaned up or wearing her wig, we knew she REALLY felt bad. Through it all she kept her faith and stood firm on the promises in God’s word.
One of the oncology nurses said she was the most popular patients in the infusion room. Other patients would ask if she was there when they came in for their treatment. They knew they would be greeted with her beautiful smile and encouraging words. She shined the light of Jesus into the darkness of their battles and gave them hope.
These battles in life are not meant to be walked alone. We are eternally grateful to all of the love and support, prayers and meals that she received from church friends and family.
I praise God to be able to report that her latest scan shows that she is cancer free! 🙂 We know it will take time for her body to recover and replenish from all it has been through. My daddy said when he came home from work and she was in the kitchen cooking and whistling, he knew all was well. God is good.
My mother, Gladys, went into the loving arms of Jesus last September. She was born in 1920, the baby in a family of four children. Her childhood on the farm taught her a lot about hard work and serving others. She learned to prepare large quantities of food for the threshing crews who came to the farm each year. She learned compassion from watching her father provide food and a place to sleep in their barn when people would come through the countryside looking for food, work and shelter during the depression.
My mom married my dad, Lester, during the time of World War II. She raised four children on the farm I came to know as home my entire life. Each one of us gave my parents some sort of grief and/or heartache as we navigated our way through our teenage years as well as into our adult lives. As a mother of four children myself, I now am amazed as to how loyal, persevering and loving she and my dad were through all of it. She never cut off her love from me or built a wall preserving her own feelings as a way to protect herself from the hurt and sadness she no doubt experienced at times through my rebellious actions.
My mom was so many things, but mostly she was loyal. As this Mother’s Day is around the corner I am so grateful for the mother I had who taught me so much. In the tough times of my mothering days now I choose to honor her as I deal with what comes before me. The last few years of her life she persevered through pain from complications of kidney disease and osteoarthritis, but she kept fighting in order to be part of the lives of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Four years ago she sat at my daughter’s wedding, just taking it all in and saying how happy she was to be there as she knew it was her last wedding. This past summer she was able to attend my daughter’s (her youngest granddaughter) high school graduation and she was happy as well as surprised she was able to be a part of it.
She was loyal to the end and three months later, shortly after her 94th birthday, she died after a short hospital stay. I hope my life will exemplify hard work, serving, and compassion, but most importantly in my mind is loyalty, no matter what, to those who are so dear to me. She lived until age 94 and she was loyal to the end. I pray I can leave a legacy of loyalty as valuable as hers.
First i’d like to say that I am very grateful for the blessing that GOD has given me. Her name is Brittany and she is 8 years old. She came into my life when she was 3 years old and I have loved her like my own daughter ever since. She fought and beat Lymphoma by the age of 5 and then fought a type of leukemia less than a year later and has been in remission since October. She is definitely “the fighter that inspires me” and she is one of Jamie Grace’s biggest fans. We have listened to fighter so much I think I can sing it in my sleep – we call it our song. The first time I heard the line “she’s only 8 yrs old…. knows the names of every nurse she sees” I hit my knees and cried!
She has the biggest heart and kindest way about her – you would never know how sick she really is without asking because she’s always happy. She has had a heart transplant, lung transplant and a double kidney transplant. She just had surgery this week and was in ICU for 3 weeks. Chemo, among other things, has affected her mental development and she functions like a 3 yr old but through it all she has stayed strong and never lost faith in our Savior. She’s in church every chance she gets and when she is too sick to attend she holds church right there in her hospital room – everyone can hear her preach.
Just a couple years ago I was down and out myself and she looked at me and said “mommy, it’s all going to be alright. Because God’s got it all in His hands and He has a plan for you but for you to be a part of that plan you got to get back up and keep going and trust that He will fix it all.” At just 5 yrs old my baby girl had just spoken the wisest words that anyone could ever speak. And even now that bright young lady shows through from time to time.
Brittany lost her [biological] mom to the same fight she is fighting about 3 yrs ago and I have the privilege of being there for her as her mom until they can be reunited in heaven. I am so thankful for every second that GOD has given me with my little miracle. She is now a big sister to 2 little girls and a little boy and she has 2 big brothers and 2 big sisters as well and they all love and support her everyday. She inspires us all. Her oldest sister wants to be a nurse that helps kids like Brittany and her big brother wants to find a cure for cancer – she is their inspiration for those dreams.
As for me, my dream is to see her grow up happy and healthy and live out her own dreams. Because of my faithful little girl I know that it is possible because through HIM all things are possible. She helps me see that every day. Me and her daddy wouldn’t know what to do with out our ray of sunshine in our lives everyday.
I’m writing this post for someone who can’t but if she could… Well, she’d probably bang out a lot of nonsense since she just turned one year old.
On June 29th of 2014, we noticed our six week old daughter, and eighth blessing, had these pretty little brown birthmarks all over her body. Talking with a neighbor at the pool, we noticed one of the spots on her leg and we started trying to remember what they were called. When we got home that evening, I looked up the name out of curiosity.
Cafe au lait spots. Oh, and six or more is one of the indicators of a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis (NF). My heart sank. I knew she had several. But I wasn’t sure how many.
The next diaper change we counted. Seven. And one freckle in her groin. Another marker for NF.
Could it be that my eighth blessing had this disorder when no one else in our family had? More research proved she indeed could.
Two weeks later, her two month well check led us to further believe she could have NF with our pediatrician agreeing that her spots looked like NF spots.
Three weeks later our thoughts were confirmed. She did have NF but not only that, what we thought was a swollen lymph node was actually a plexiform neurofibroma. A benign type of tumor growing on the back of her neck.
She has had three MRIs in this first diagnosis year. She’ll have four MRIs by the time her diagnosis year is over. Four x-rays and one surgery. She is in a neck brace because her spine is bending abnormally. A condition called kyphosis.
But our beautiful Emmie. Well, she is our super hero and has been an inspiation to so many people. Certainly, she hates the radiology department at the hospital but she manages smiles, laughs, claps and kisses for her family. She loves to explore, stack and destroy her brothers block creations. Despite being in an absolutely restrictive brace, she doesn’t let it slow her down. She is learning how to walk and balance and is fiercely independent when it comes to eating food.
This is her fight and will be the rest of her life. But she is never alone and not without her super hero sidekicks.
What’s something you’ve faced in your life that taught you something you never thought it would? Make a video and hashtag #FighterFridays!