cancer, Food, Healing, Health, PET Scans, Plant-based, Resolutions

Crossing the Finish Line

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

In 1999, shortly after I moved to the west coast, I signed up for a 10K run with my friend Deb.  Being an experienced runner she somehow managed to convince me that doing this together was going to be great fun.  I really liked saying I was a “runner” because I truly aspired to that California persona.  I was also excited about the prospect of sporting a t-shirt that showed people just how healthy and active I was.  The details on race day (or “run” day rather) are foggy, but I do remember three things:

1) I was not in good enough shape to be running 6.4 miles,

2) Toward the end, it got really really hard and I wanted to stop running so badly, and 3) My dear friend Deb would not stop running, and therefore wasn’t letting me stop either. 

As vivid as if it happened yesterday, I distinctly remember feeling like I was going to die, my legs felt like noodles, and I had fire in my lungs.  As I looked to my right, I saw Deb, next to me, matching my stride and realized that she had slowed to barely a jog, encouraging me,

“Come on Kay, You can do this. It’s not much further!” 

When we made it across the finish line, I was so relieved to stop running.  I was so tired that I wanted to collapse.  I was so proud of myself for not quitting and I was so thankful to have my friend, sweet Deb,  running at a snail’s pace next to me who kept cheering me on to the very end.  And 20 years later, my friend is still running races with me, encouraging me to finish strong.

Last Thursday when Brandon and I were waiting to see the doctor, I brought a book and was prepared for a long wait because the nurse said its was going to be a while. But just as swiftly as he entered the clinic room the very first day we met him, he abruptly opened the door just as I was about to dive into my reading.  But all I saw was an extended arm reach into the room, as he dropped the report into Brandon’s lap and announced,

“Okay, I’m done.”

He pretended to leave, but then smiled, opened the door, and matter-of-factly stated, “You’re cured!”

I came into this scan surprisingly calm, but this is not what we were expecting. I didn’t even have a chance to really register what he was saying.

I was in shock. 

As he sat down at the computer to show us some images, I wanted to keep my composure because he jumped right to the business of pulling up the pictures on the computer screen, but I wanted to savor what he said for just a moment.  Did he really just say I was cured?  My vision became a bit blurry, as tears started to well up in my eyes.  I looked at Brandon and saw that he was experiencing the muted elation as me. I touched his leg as if to say, “Wow, we finally did this.”

I have officially decided (if I haven’t declared this before) that I really don’t like scans.  The whole “scanxiety” thing for one wreaks havoc on your body when cortisol levels are high due to stress days and weeks before scan day.  Two years ago, I was on a machine that was different than the previous scan, the uptake (SUV) numbers went up slightly.  These are the numbers that measure how active the cancer cells are based on uptake of the radioactive glucose that is injected into the body… because cancer loves sugar and takes it up faster than healthy cells.  The report that gave explanation to these elevated numbers said it could be due to the variation in the machines.  This was very upsetting to me because a lot of decisions about what we do next is based on the results of these scans.  So every scan after that I have been diligent to request to be scanned on the “690 PET CT scanner”, to keep consistency and reduce the possibility of any more “variations” among the machines used.

This time, the SUV numbers were higher again on the report, something that I thought should be concerning, but in examining the images, everything overall was brighter.  Something was off with the contrast, so once again, those numbers were misleading.  The CT scan which is grayscale, was very interesting however, as it showed a lot of calcification in the tumor.

What causes calcification?

He said that inflammation causes calcification.  Hmmm… I thought inflammation was bad.  It seems like every other day that word is thrown around in discussions regarding anti-inflammatory diets, and people selling turmeric supplements. But apparently not all inflammation is bad.  Apparently, my immune system is finally “gettin’ busy” with that tumor, blocking the formation of new blood cells (anti-angiogenesis, for all you science lovers out there), and essentially turning it into a rock.  Cancer cells are cells that have lost the ability to self-destruct and grow out of control and that is no longer happening here my friends… not in this body!

Short on time, he congratulated me with a huge smile, told me to keep doing what I’m doing and gave me a hall pass to wait for a year before coming back to Stanford.  My other good news is that I have officially graduated off of PET scans and for that I am so very grateful. BUT, this doesn’t mean I get a ticket to go back to my old ways, nor do I want one.  My body feels amazing after treating it with love, care, and compassion and I am on a mission to inspire YOU to do the same. 

I posted this last week after my scan.  I know that in the midst of my battle, it encouraged me to know about the people who were fighting… and winning.  To all those who are in the middle of your journey right now, keep going… even at a snail’s pace… the finish line is just ahead!

To Deb, my faithful friend, who has been there with me through all my ups and downs, encouraged me to cross finish lines of all lengths, and has the gift of encouragement that is priceless. Thank you for being my wing “woman” over 20 years ago, celebrating my 30th birthday in Napa 17 years ago, bringing the spa to me during chemotherapy 2 years ago, and crossing this finish line today.  You are an angel.

To all my friends, family, and supporters, those who know me intimately, and those who have never met me.  I thank you, we have all crossed this finish line together.  You ALL made a difference with your thoughts, love, texts, cards, gifts, donations, Hope 4 Kay t-shirts you bought and faithfully wore, the green bracelets, and most importantly your prayers, each and every one of you are responsible for this victory. 

To Brandon, Kaitlyn, Trinity, and Addison… you ALL are my WHY and thank you for being the best family a girl could ever ask for.  Thank you for keeping it together over these past three years when I haven’t been “all there”, for enduring my increasingly serious nature and freak out moments, for keeping me laughing, and tolerating my green smoothies. I love you guys so much.

And to God, without whom, I just simply wouldn’t be here today… Thank you for faithfulness. You didn’t allow for to come out of the trial two years ago when I really wanted to be cancer free.  You had plans that I couldn’t see or understand.  You taught me how to dig deeper to exercise my grit, to love unconditionally when life got ugly, and to trust You fiercely Lord, thank you.  

The crazy thing is that this week when checking my calendar, I saw this…

As silly as this sounds, it felt odd to write this because I wrote it last week before my trip to California for my scan, before I knew the results. Doodling on my planner while I was doing something else, where in the world did I even get the thought to put pen to paper? hmmmm… interesting. I had totally forgotten about it until Monday when I opened up my calendar and … BAM! There is was. It gave me goosebumps to see it and I realized that it’s during moments like this that I feel God’s presence so acutely.

I give GOD all the glory and praise for His healing.

Onward and Upward my friends… we have crossed the finish… together.



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25 thoughts on “Crossing the Finish Line”

  1. Dearest Kay- what can I say other than I love you!! I love your wisdom, your grit, your humor, and most of all right now I love how you inspire me! God is good! And He was especially good when he made us friends all those years ago! ❤️😘❤️

  2. Dearest Kay,
    You are an inspiration!! What joy I felt as I read your post a few moments ago. You truly should write a book because it would give such hope to the many who are fighting the battle of cancer! It has been such a long since we have seen each other but I still feel close to you and your family because of Kathy and Cedric’s FB postings. We do give our Lord the praise for your healing and pray you have a long life enjoying life with your family ! 🙏🏻
    Love to you all,
    Betty Ogilvie ( Lori’s Mother)

  3. Oh, Kay! It was wonderful to learn the news! Praise the Lord! Your battle plan and all the prayers were the reasons for you remission. You have worked really hard to achieve it. Congratulations and may the rest of your life be free from illness. Have a happy life now. Please keep posting on your very inspirational achievements! Your family must also feel ecstatic. You have touched so many lives! I am crying as I write this because I have followed your emails, then your blog since you were diagnosed and now, you are cured! This is the best news I have received for a while. Just know that I’ll keep you in my prayers and in my mind now for the rest of my life. I close my remarks with best wishes and with fondness. You deserve the best of everything!

  4. I love love love this post, Kay, and love you for sharing every step of this journey with so much honesty and joy! Even when the going got tough, you kept on. You are a miracle, baby! There is so much lined up for you … I have chicken skin thinking about it. Congratulations! ❤️🙌👏👏👏

  5. Again my heart (and eyes) are full. Congratulations and thank you for faithfully sharing your journey and God’s goodness.
    Much love to you and your sweet family ❤️

  6. Kay, you truly are an inspiration! I shared your blog on my page. I hope that your strength and faith touch many other people the way that it has touched me! 🙏🏻❤️

  7. You do not know me and I have never commented on your blog before. I have however been following your journey and praying that you would be cured of this terrible disease. I am overjoyed to hear that the many prayers for you have been answered. I know you have inspired many with your resolve and dedication not only to your health but to your family and friends. You have given may people hope, the most precious gift one can give to any cancer patient and their family. Thank you for being amazing and my God continue to bless you.

    1. Mary, thank you so so much. I cannot tell you how priceless your comment is to me. I am inspired by people like you. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it fuels me and it is the reason why I keep blogging. ❤️ God is so good 😊

  8. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently Kay! It’s important for all of us to see how real God is in this world, knowing in all things he works for the good of those who love him, and that He has started a good thing in us and he will carry it to completion! God loves you so much and has a great plan for you!
    My father had a similar story of miraculous healing, it’s a long story, but it let all of us know that God is real and here with us at all times.

    1. John, thank you so much! How wonderful to reconnect with you. Yes, God is a miracle working God. I am so thankful to have this testimony to share with others. Thank you for your comment and I am so happy to your that your dad was healed as well! ☺️🙏

  9. So happy for you!! Praise God!!!!

    On Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 12:41 PM Kay’s Cancer Healing Journey wrote:

    > Kay’s Daily Inspiration posted: ” Lord my God, I called to you for help, > and you healed me. Psalm 30:2 In 1999, shortly after I moved to the west > coast, I signed up for a 10K run with my friend Deb. Being an experienced > runner she somehow managed to convince me that doing this toge” >

  10. We are shouting-dancing-rejoicing and praising our Heavenly Father with you, Kay, and ALL THE FAMILY!!!!
    When Dale called last week to tell us the news, we know we joined with thousands of others who have been with you as you fought this unbelievable battle.
    Thank you for your openness and sharing day by day.
    We stand with you rejoicing!!
    Thank you Lord!!
    We love you Kay!

  11. Kay, Your talent for inspiring others through your honest and insightful words is a gift to us all from God. I am inspired by your posts but this is by far the BEST!!! I see a future world where there is no cancer because people like you are brave enough to go through every challenge and come out the other side and help us understand your journey and what you learned. You are able to show that personal determination and active actions can make a difference in this otherwise devastating illness. If you can beat it so can others and to me that is what you are giving to the world. This was probably God’s plan but it took your passion to make the plan a reality! So grateful to have you as a friend. Cymry

    1. Cymry, your words are so encouraging to me and are the reason why I share the details of my journey. Thank you so much, I can’t tell you how much it means to know that my story could potentially help someone. I am honored to be your friend and grateful for the role you have played in Kaitlyn’s life!!! ❤️

  12. I have followed your blog and Caringbridge site for some time. My wife has double hit/double expressor lymphoma. She was at Mayo for four months in the summer of 2018 and they got her in remission. 15 months later, doctors think it’s brewing again. LDH spiked to 331 and WBC has been low for over a year.. Next check up is early January.

    My wife has always eaten clean, but you’ve inspired her to take it to the next level. As she says…healthy eating and prayer can’t hurt. Hoping for positive news next month. Good luck on your continued recovery.

    Thank you.

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