What Time Shall I Be Afraid?

I’ve been struggling to write my next post for the last two months. I have tried to write it several times, yet, the words never came. As I sit here, I am still not quite sure what I want to write or more of what I want to let you know. I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to share.

Since my last post, (which was awhile ago) so many things have happened. Rewind back to end of October and the beginning of November, I was feeling pretty good. Good days. Bad days. I was finally getting my new normal between health, school, work, and daily life. However, as I mentioned in the previous post, I had been having GI bleeding. This is pretty scary. It wasn’t constant but spread out every couple of weeks.

Fear. . . It is consuming. It is paralyzing. It destroys.

I was starting to be paralyzed by fear. It was all consuming and overwhelming me. Would I pass out? Would I be able to make it to my next doctor’s appointment? And then I read an article about fear and chronic illness. The gist of the article was about not letting fear consume your life with your illness. It will be there whenever you look back but you cannot live in fear of what may happen. I also was reminded that why should I fear? The Lord is with me always. He will never leave me and He has conquered all. I have no need to fear the future because I know that He will take care of me.

I decided that I needed to go ahead and “live” my life. If something was going to happen, it was going to happen. I could either enjoy what I was doing or sit at home waiting for something that may or may not happen. So… I went camping to GrandFather Mountain with my church group. I had had a bleed on the previous Thursday but not so serious that I couldn’t or shouldn’t go on the trip.  It was a great time. At least, it was Friday night. On Saturday morning, I new something was wrong. I started feeling feverish, yet freezing and I felt like I was on the verge of passing out. I began to have a pretty major GI bleed, but I was determined to enjoy the weekend. However, it finally got to the point that I had to go home. I am so thankful to my parents for coming to get me so that I could come home and make contact with my doctor.

I emailed the doctor late Saturday night and got a response Sunday. We decided not to go to the ER because when you have a case that is more complicated than just a normal GI bleed, it is very hard to explain all of the information to an ER doctor do he gets all of the pieces. My doctor pulled some strings and got me into a GI doctor on Tuesday. I was still bleeding which was scary in itself; however, I was not worried. We saw the doctor and decided that what was needed was yet another colonoscopy and upper endoscopy.

img_1950These procedures were done on Thursday! I am so thankful for some of the greatest doctors I could ask for. They make my situation a priority and are determined to figure out the best treatment for me. The procedures went well. These are a piece of cake now! However, we did find the source of the bleeding again. Next to the site of my surgery from last year, I now have new ulcers and polyps. This is a little worrisome because no one is quite sure why these are coming back.

I read somewhere that even though my illness is invisible it is never invisible to me.

Thankfully, the bleeding stopped and has only happened one more time since. Unfortunately, my symptoms from last year, before I met my doctors were returning. This has probably been one of the harder things the last two months. Why or when a flare up happens, no one really knows. The symptoms for the most part are invisible to the eye but affect every part of my life. Thankfully, I saw my regular doctor about three weeks later. By this time, I hadn’t seen him for almost two months which is a very long interval.

When my doctor and I talked, we realized that I was indeed having another flare. The last round of Chemo that I had had was back in June. This specific kind only lasts for six months and it had been just over seven. This would explain why all of my symptoms for the most part were coming back. We decided that in order for me not to get extremely bad I would need another dose of this specific chemo.

So, on December 19th, which was also my little brother’s 16th birthday, I had my fourth chemo treatment for the year. I am so grateful for the great doctors that fight for me to get the help I need. Everything hasn’t been smooth sailing over the last year, I have had many ups and downs, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade any of these sticky situations for anything.

I was reading Romans 5:1-11 last week. I am so thankful that I can rejoice in my suffering and rejoice in my Savior! He paid the ultimate price for me. I can certainly endure something that this life throws at me. Because ultimately, this trial will teach me more about Jesus. I pray that through this I will become more like Him.

I often hide my illness pretty well. Most people don’t even know that I am still sick. I put on a a good front and when my medicine is working, I mostly have good days. They aren’t perfect but they are better. And when you ask me how I am feeling, I probably will say either of these two things: “I’m Fine. . . or Today is a good day so far!” I try very hard to be optimistic. But honestly, the good days scare me more than the bad. I have learned to handle the bad days. But, the good days are mostly followed by a couple bad.

I read from an article on The Mighty with the phrase “Hard Thoughts are Held in Small Words.”

This is so very true and not just for me but for everyone going through a trial. Our minds are so very active and sometimes we don’t share as much as we probably should. So, next time someone tells you they’re fine, try to read between the lines and pray for them. They may not feel comfortable sharing what’s on their heart or they could be struggling with what to say. I would encourage you to pray. Don’t bombard them. Pray for them. Send them an encouraging verse. These things will be such an encouragement for someone going through a rough time. Because, honestly, you can’t fix the situation. Nothing you say will make it better. But your prayers and verses will mean more than you can ever know.

I have enjoyed the past couple of weeks. Christmas was wonderful. And now, it has snowed and I’m stuck inside doing puzzles, watching movies, and drinking hot cocoa!





5 thoughts on “What Time Shall I Be Afraid?

  1. Catherine Whitley says:

    Have wondered how you have been doing,as your parents have not been to our Hope Baptist Church in Haw River,N.C. for quite a while now to keep us updated on you. We have missed them,but so happy they were able to travel and enjoy family as I saw in pictures that they did! Please know you continue to be in our prayers and we know God has you in the palm of his hand,and he is Awesomely in control. Love you in Christ! You are loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sherry Stephens says:

    I have missed knowing how you have been doing for the past few months, but I do keep you in my prayers. I am encouraged by your faith and courage. I also have missed having your grandparents at Hope Baptist since the fall but have loved Jim’s pictures of their trip. Thank you for keeping us up to date. We all care and love you and your family.


  3. Lyla Thiemet says:

    Ashley, I am so sorry you are going through this. I know your blog will help many. The paragraph that you talked about Romans was especially touching. I experience a different type of suffering but Darlin’ your words helped me more than I can even begin to tell you. Blessings to you.
    Lyla Thiemet


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