I Have Cancer. And God is Good.

I was in the shower a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a lump just above my left collarbone.  Being the trained medical professional that I am (ahem), I knew that it was a lymph node but thought that perhaps given a day or two it would resolve on it’s own.  Because our lymph nodes are part of the system that fights infection in our bodies, they can sometimes pop up for reasons that are somewhat difficult to explain and then just as quickly go away.

This one, however, seemed to be a bit stubborn.  I eventually showed it to my colleague Terri and when she decided that it had perhaps gotten bigger over a couple of days time, insisted that I go get it checked out.  You see, JD and I were scheduled to leave for our first real vacation without the girls at 6am on that Saturday morning and better to be safe than sorry.  We hoped that some antibiotics would clear everything up and eliminate any possibility that it would cause some sort of ruckus while we were in Seattle.

Last Thursday I saw my primary care provider.  He was young.  Like I’m pretty sure he’d only been practicing for a couple of weeks.  But he was very thorough and ordered a chest x-ray and put a prescription for Augmentin in at the pharmacy for me.

The next morning I got a call saying there was something on the chest x-ray that warranted further investigation.  Could I have a CT of the chest done the next Monday or Tuesday?

Uh.  No.  I’d be in Seattle on Monday or Tuesday sleeping late and eating good food with our friends Jim and Julie.

So they worked me in that day.  The CT showed a 44mm (a little under 2 inches) mass in the upper lobe of my right lung.  I don’t know when I’ve ever felt sorrier for anyone than I did for my practitioner as he broke the news to me.  I found myself comforting him.  He’s going to be great.  He was really compassionate and will have a long and wonderful career.

From then until now, things have been going at warp speed.  I went to pulmonology, then to ENT, then had a scope stuck up my nose, into my sinuses, and down to my vocal cords (all while being told not to move my head), then had a needle stuck into the node on my neck.

Three times.

Without any numbing medicine.

The tiny devil scope was worse.

Monday morning we received the news that I have adenocarcinoma of the lung.  It started in the right lung, spread to the lymph nodes in the middle part of my chest and then up to the node above my left clavicle which got me to the doctor in the first place.  That information in and of itself makes my cancer a stage 3B.  This means it is one hair’s breadth away from being the worst possible stage 4.  Final staging involves a PET scan on Friday along with an MRI of my brain which will hopefully tell us that I don’t have any distant metastasis.  We will get those results on Tuesday of next week.

Yesterday we spent over 4 hours with the hematologist/oncologist and the radiation oncologist who both outlined possible treatments available to me.  Basically, if it is stage 3B I will undergo a very aggressive combination of chemo and radiation for about  6-7 weeks.  They will use very toxic drugs and it will probably make me feel really bad for at least a few days after every treatment.  I will get radiation treatment every day for the entire 6-7 weeks.  I will then be given a rest and then if it appears to be working as documented by repeating the scans, I will take 3 more months of chemo.

If it is stage 4, they will be less aggressive with the chemo.  It becomes more of a question of quality of life at that point.

There are a few variables that could change this scenario.  Tomorrow I will be having a port placed in my chest through which they can draw blood and administer the chemotherapy without starting a new IV each time.  At the same time, I will have an open biopsy of the lymph node done which will be sent away for genetic testing.   There are a few new drugs that I may qualify for if my cancer has a certain gene mutation.  So the game plan could change.

Of course we are all reeling from this news.  It seems unimaginable that I, who has never smoked a cigarette in my life, has absolutely no other symptoms short of the enlarged lymph node, and has no other medical issues could get a diagnosis this grave.

And yet, here we are.

But guess who else is here?

God is here.  And He will sustain us through this trial.  From the first inkling we had that this was a bad situation, I have been overwhelmed by His presence.  Overwhelmed by the evidence I can already see that His hand is on us.  That He is not surprised by this and that He has been preparing us for this for some time.  Let me share a few of these things with you.

This is happening now and not a year ago.  So our girls have had time to make friends and become involved in sports and clubs and activities that they are very happy about.  The teachers have had time to get to know them and love them.  They will look after them and let us know if they see them struggling.  Can you imagine if this had happened when we first got here?

We have had time to expand our circle of friends.  The outpouring of love that we have gotten just in the very short time we’ve been dealing with this has been nothing short of overwhelming.  We know that we are surrounded by friends who will come to our aid at the first phone call.  I can’t tell you how comforting that is.  (Thank you to all of our out of town friends who have sent their love and offers of help as well.  You guys are amazing.)

My mom came up last Friday thinking that she was going to watch the girls while we were on vacation.  Slight change of plans!  She has had some health issues for the past year which have kept her from enjoying life very much and had her feeling pretty lousy a lot of the time.  Just about 6 weeks ago, after months of different tests being run, everything came together to give her a diagnosis, which led to a simple surgery which completely restored her health.  There is no way she could have done for us what she has been able to do if this had not happened.

JD’s job allows him to work from home.  That means that I won’t be here alone when our families can’t be here with us.  It means that he will be here when the girls come home from school and to get them off in the mornings.

Those are just a few of the ways I know God is here and God is good.

I also know that He has been preparing me for this fight.  I have been a believer all my life.  I can say, however, without a shadow of a doubt that my faith has never been more solidly grounded.  That I have never been more sure of who He is and who I am in Him.  He has been working on my heart in so many ways these past couple of years.

I do not believe God gave me cancer.  I don’t believe that it is punishment for anything I did or did not do.  I do not believe it is because of some sin my ancestors committed.

Here is what I do believe.  I believe that God is not surprised by this.   That he has a plan for me and my girls and my husband and my family.  That He has begun a good work in our lives and that He will see it through to completion.  That this is the path set before us and that our job is to walk that path with our faith intact and strong.

Frankly, I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of the final answer on the staging of my cancer.  I’m afraid of the treatments.  I’m afraid of leaving my family.  I’m afraid of losing my hair.  I’m afraid of many things.

But what I am most afraid of is that my faith will fail.  That bitterness and anger will rule my heart.

So when you pray, please pray for that.  That at the end of this journey, whether we are celebrating my healing, or my family and friends are celebrating my life, that the one thing above all else that is said of this time is that my faith held.  That when the rubber hit the road I did not falter, but walked firmly in the grip of my Savior.  And that this time was used to draw people to the Lord.

All will be well.  In my heart, amongst all the sadness and the fear and the early mornings when JD and I hold each other and cry, I know that all will be well.

God is good.

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47 Responses to I Have Cancer. And God is Good.

  1. Candy says:

    My dear sweet Sara, you remain the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. I am always a better person in your presence. Your faith has taught me so much. So my promise to you is that I will continue to pray for you in ways you wouldn’t imagine. God is good and will be with you through this and to the other side – wherever that may be. He’s not done w/ you, my friend. And your story isn’t over. He wants to use you through this journey. And i’d be proud to be with you. I love you.

  2. Charlotte says:

    Sara, praying for you and thinking of all of you. I’m currently reading Beth Moore’s Get Out of That Pit, in thanks to you. He will hold on to you and He will care for you!

  3. Dave says:

    As Brennan Manning would say, God loves you “furiously”. You know our prayers for all that you have asked are there. We plan to give your mom a break soon. More later.

  4. Kathy says:

    Oh Sara, we love you so. We’ve loved you since Jim brought you home to meet us, but never more than now. You are all in our prayers, day and night. And I hope soon in our arms, too.

  5. Holly Layer says:

    What is it about times that like that make you realize how silly it is to not tell people how you really feel about them? We haven’t known each other long, and we certainly aren’t “buddies,” but I want you to know that from the time we met at house church when you brought PW’s cinnamon rolls, I fell in love with you! We are different in so many ways and stages in life, but I’ve felt a closeness to you in our similarities. The kind of closeness that if we were neighbors, we’d get together more often and bake. Or have coffee when you’re available. You are a woman with a fierce devotion to God and family and friends, and I want more of that. You are, and will continue to be, an inspiration to me. You, like never before, are in my prayers.

  6. Sarah Weller says:


    You courage and strength seeps from my computer screen as you pour out emotions on your cancer diagnosis. While I wouldn’t say this to many people who are going through what you are, you are a lucky lady! Your girls, your husband, your family, your friends, your faith…not many people have what you’ve got. All the tools for the biggest fight of your life!

    Wishing you all the best and keeping you in our thoughts! Looking forward to hearing more of your good fortune!


  7. Cindy says:


    God is very good and you are amazing! You and your family will be in our daily thoughts and prayers. I love you!


  8. Michelle says:

    I only know you through Dave, your father-in-law, I work with him @Meals on Wheels. My husband and I have you in our prayers. I have asked others that are close to me and are prayer warriors to please hold you and your family in prayer, there is strength and power there. I do believe that God has his hand on your life and has a great plan for you. Read his word each day and never let him out of your sight. God bless you, Michelle

  9. megan says:

    sara –

    i’m selfishly sad but really appreciate you and your thoughts. thank you for sharing your story – and for demonstrating God’s grace & mercy in your life! you have been a gift to me, and especially to my mom. our prayers are with you…you are doing well, good & faithful servant!


  10. Paula says:

    You are truly amazing…I want to be just like you when I grow up! You know that I will be praying for you and your family. Honestly, I can’t stop thinking about you :) Lots of hugs.

  11. Reba says:

    Your strength is amazing. I know if anyone can beat this it will be you. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best.

  12. Connie Green says:


    I don’t know why, but I am so amazed at the person you have become!
    You know everyone has a life story, but very few have your resourses. First and foremost your walk with God, your love of people and their love in return, your honesty and your wit. I love who you are and who you have become. I feel certain, if anyone can remain faithful during this trial, you can with God’s grace. Again we love you and pray for your deepest wishes that you continue to be strong in the Lord. I already know the answer.

  13. Jeff Cartwrigh says:

    You are an inspiration. Thank you for reminding me about what matters. Thank you for reminding me that I’m never alone, no matter how tough things get. Thank you for reminding me what an amazing God we serve. And thank you for a witness that knocks my socks off. Sharon and I and our whole church and network are praying for you, specifically, as you asked, that no matter what, you’re faith in Jesus will sustain you, strengthen you and ultimately heal you. We love you!

  14. sue, the other mom says:

    All I can say right now is, that you are an amazing young lady and you will give that nasty thing called cancer a real kick in the BUTT. I love you and your mom so much, give her a hug for me….

  15. Bubba says:

    Sara, I give thanks and praise to the LORD GOD for His hand is upon You and He has granted you Faith to walk through this valley with Him. I praise GOD that the scriptures state that “when we walk THROUGH the valley” that He is with us. Not when we stay in the valley. May no root of anger of bitterness enter your heart in the name of JESUS. May He continually grant You strength and joy to shake your fist if needed and then quickly smile as you tuck yourself under the Shelter of His wing. I am so thankful that the Lord put you and your husband in Paula and George’s life. You have been a wonderful part of her faith growing in our awesome Lord JESUS! May You feel the LORD’s face radiating with JOY because of YOU, your love for Him, your family and your friends! Praying for you. In His Love, Bubba

  16. bill wolfe says:

    Jane, we are praying for you and i will put you on the prayer list at lee station baptist where i am the pastor. God is so good and we know he is the great physcian. God is our refuge and we must turn to him at all times good or bad lean on him. if i can help in anyway please let me know.

    in christ love
    bro. bill

  17. Jeff & Geraldine Boston says:

    Jane, Just wanted to let you & your family know we are praying for you all. We attend Ewtonville Baptist Church & think the world of your parents. Jean is a very strong lady, & the Apple does not fall far from the tree. Thanks for sharing, & being a light to us. May God bless you & we pray also that you feel the mighty presence of GOD all around you, at all times. Just know that you are in the palm of his hand, he is holding you.

    ~Jeff & Geraldine~

  18. eula burdge says:

    This is Gina’s mom in Kentucky… I know a God who never fails, infact it is not in his nature, he cannot fail…I have seen him do some impossible things for Gina, amazed us sometimes, I have a feeling he will do amazing things in your life, that seemed impossible..

  19. Yvette Kilgore says:

    Jane, my dearest friend. I got a call from Cindy this morning as i was just working away to get done early so that i could get to the local library book sale. I do love to read. She informed me about the blog and that you had cancer in your lung and lymph node. I immediately started tearing up and my stomach got to churning. I called Cat and told her to call me ASAP and I explained why on her voicemail. She texted me back and stated that she knew and that she had read your blog this morning. Jane, with your faith in God i feel that you will breeze right through all of this and defeat this terrible terrible disease called “Cancer” After reading your blog, I know in my heart that you have the strongest faith in God and such a positive attitude that only good things will come out of this….I hope that if and when i do face challenges in my life, that i can have the faith as you have stated above. I know without a doubt that my faith will grow after reading what you wrote. I love you so much and will continue to pray for you, JD and the kids. Yvette Kilgore 10/7/10

  20. Mary Benze says:

    Sara, I don’t believe we’ve ever met, but I have met Jim. My sister Dolores lives next door to Kathy and Dave in Webster. I was touched by your story and your faith. Like Dolores, I had breast cancer 10 years ago and was one of the lucky ones, but I understand some of what you are going through. Thank God you are a woman of faith. I and my bible study will be praying for you, the girls, Jim, and Kathy and Dave as you walk this path together.

    God Bless, Mary

  21. Kelly Willingham says:

    Every morning at 6:30, as I drive to work, I will lift you up to the God who created you, and ask Him to strengthen you, heal you , and wrap you up in His love. Love to you, my friend.

    “The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you.” Deuteronomy 31:8


    Tracy will send you his own message from my facebook wall.

  22. Dolores Kellett says:

    Dear Jim & Sara,

    I was so saddened to hear your news from Kathy yesterday. You are blessed to have so many friends praying for you. I know your faith will see you all through this ordeal and God is with you always, as you well know. There is always hope.

    Prayers and blessings,


  23. Pam Kiper says:

    Sounds like you are here…
    Ps. 46:1-3 (The Message)
    God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him.
    We stand fearless (well, not quite) at the cliff-edge of doom,
    courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
    before the rush and roar of oceans,
    the tremors that shift mountains.

    Continuing to pray and take you and your family before the throne.

  24. Kristie Rush says:

    Sara -

    We don’t know each other…a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing. But when I read your blog, it was as if I was writing it. I am only 5 months ahead of you in learning what it’s like to be a cancer patient who trusts that her God is good, He is sufficient, He is powerful and mighty to save, He is present.

    Father, your daughter Sara is at a place where she never dreamed she’d be, a place that she doesn’t want to be, a place that is surrounded by the temptation to fear and worry. I pray that You open her eyes even more to the truth that “those who are with her are greater than those who are against her.” I pray that she senses Your powerful presence. I ask that You minister to her inmost needs and hold her tenderly as she weeps before Your Throne. I pray that You release Your Holy Spirit and do a healing work inside her body. She is Your child. You love her with a lavish, radical, nothing-will-stop-You kind of way. May she take her fears and trade them in for Your truths. And may she rest in Your mighty and powerful arms this night and sleep deeply. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  25. Charlotte says:

    Still thinking of you and praying for you. As you see from here and from FB…neither of us are alone in doing that. = )

    Love you Sara!

  26. George says:


    We are all pulling for you and your family! Rest assured that the prayers are flowing out of the Hampton household as well as from all of our family and friends. If you guys ever need anything, please do not hesitate to ask us. Stay strong and keep the faith!

    Lots of love,

  27. Debbie McCrory says:

    Dear Sara,
    Thank you for sharing your faith through this trial. I believe that God will use this to reach many people to bring them to salvation or a deeper faith in His abiding love. Could I have your permission to share this with my friends and relatives, Bible study group and also to post the link to it on my facebook profile. There are so many people who I love who are lost and need your inspiring faith. Tim and I are praying fervently for you and your family. Your faith will not be shaken — God will be faithful to hold you close to Him.
    Love and blessings from your sister in Christ,

  28. Tammy Cole says:


    Wow! You are truly an inspiration to me! I am so sorry for all you are enduring at this time. I think you are totally right…God has a plan to make this into something BEAUTIFUL!!! He already has…you are inspiring so many to be faithful and strong! If there is a right way “to do” cancer (or just this life)…Sara Jane, you are doing it right! You are showing us all how to to be grateful for all He does even in the worst of times. We serve an amazing God! As I am learning in a Bible study right now…God can do more than all we ask, in fact, He can do more than we can even IMAGINE (Ephesians 3:20)! He is able! I know your faith will remain because you have an awesome trust in God and what He can do. Your foundation is solid! Thank you for sharing your feelings and you faith. I will be praying for you and your precious family.

    Love, Tammy

  29. Debra Merrill says:

    God has already equipped you to live your days fiercely, Sara! I thank Him in advance for the mighty works He is doing in you! Remember Jim teaching us our little speck of a place in the eternal time line of God’s history? I pray that you continue to maintain your awe at His love and keep your eyes and heart on the eternal perspective. We will meet again on the other side! God bless you all from Dean and me.

  30. Deborah says:

    Dear Sara,

    We have never met. I have just recently met your mother-in-law where I also volunteer at Webster Comfort Care in Rochester, Ny. After reading your blog today, I have had you on my mind all day.

    First and formost~~~~~Praise Jesus~~~~!!!!!!!

    God’s presence in your life is so amazing!!! His goodness & mercy are flooding in and through you.

    I’m sorry~~~~I don’t have any other words to say right now to you (I am a bit overwhelmed ) except to say that you WILL be in my prayers along with your beautiful family and I will be reading your updates.

    In His Care (as you are)


  31. Brenda Layne says:

    Jane, i just read your post, and i was overwelmed at your strength and Faith, i will be praying for you and i will have our church praying for you, and just remember He gives us new Grace each and everyday for what we are going through.Just keep holding to the promise that God is always with us, and will never leave us. God Bless and Keep you

  32. Linda says:

    Dearest Sara,
    A mutual friend forwarded your blog to me. As I read, many tears rolled down my face because I am humbled by your strength and faith. Please know that you are an inspiration to many and have touched my life (a total stranger) in a very positive way. I wish I knew you personally, it would be an honor, you are a very special lady. I will pray for you daily – for you, your health and your family. Don’t worry, it’s obvious that your faith will never fail you; God’s grace lives within you and will prevail. The Lord is your Protector.
    Peace and Blessings,

  33. Lynzie says:


    I used to teach Elena riding lessons when you all lived here in Virginia and my mom shared your blog with me. Your words are absolutely inspiring and I am now a better person having read them. My prayers are with you and your family and I admire your strength and wisdom. If nothing else you have taught everyone who has read this what faith really is and what it means to live out God’s will. God bless you and your family through sickness and in health (which I will pray for everyday).

    All my love,
    Lynzie Munsell

  34. Chrissi says:

    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
    Hi Sara. I have not been on in quite awhile, as I no longer have my cushy desk job. : ) I FINALLY graduated and am the blessed teacher of 13 special needs children, grades 5-8.
    Mike sent me a message asking that I get on and read what’s happening with you, so I can pray and ask others to do the same. I will be honored to pray for you and your beautiful family. I am positive that my many prayer warrior friends and family will feel the same way.
    Please fear no more about losing your faith. You plant the seeds of faith and a life lived for Jesus on a daily basis; that cannot happen if your faith is not deeply ingrained (adj. FIRMLY fixed) in who you are and what you do. Yes, some days are going to be more difficult than others, but your faith is in your heart and in your spirit to stay; of this I have no fear. : )
    Psalm 139 is one of my faves. It is an awesome reminder that however I feel and wherever I am, my God is with me. Read it over and over and tuck it into your heart, dear sister.
    With love and prayers, Chrissi (Huff) Colquitt

  35. David says:

    I don’t know you, but am blessed by your words – or, by God’s words through you. I’m pretty sure there’s more about God that we don’t know (or mistakenly think we know) than we do. But I have experienced and am repeatedly amazed at the very real and tangible power of His love, as clearly shown in you.

    Thank you for being a witness to God’s beauty and grace; your life and words are creating a wake much broader than you can imagine.

    My prayer is that the Lord will fill you with the awareness of your belovedness, and ever deeper faith to live fully in His presence all of your many days.

  36. BETSY ESLEY says:


  37. Ray and Mary Fontaine says:

    Sara, Since we first were asked to pray for you and knew of your situation you have been in our prayers and thoughts. You are on the prayer kist at our church here in Pikerville also. We pray for your strength and God’s many blessings. Love In Christ,

    Ray and Mary

  38. melissa richardson says:

    Sara, I haven’t heard from you in a year. Craig was saying the other day that he hoped we got a Christmas card from you this year. Imagine my surprise when I turned the picture over and read the news about the lung cancer. I immediately got on the computer and started trying to find you. I am so sorry!!! After reading about the diagnosis and what you have been through, I can tell you have grown stronger in your faith instead of letting this horrible thing make you bitter or angry. I Hope you and your family have a Great Christmas. I will definately pray for you and your family. Let’s keep in touch.

  39. Imee says:

    Sara Jane,
    I’m sending you all the love and prayers…
    You are strong and it shows.
    Love to all of you.

  40. Debbie Jones says:

    Hi Sara! I love your posting, you inspire me and I know that your faith will not fail you. The reason I know this is because of what the Lord told me when I was concerned about that. He said, I will be with you so that in My strength you can make the right choice. And the choice is always to trust Him. One of the verses we taught the children to sing in CBS is “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 37 I believe.
    Please tell your family hello for me and give Katie a hug! She is so grown up as is Baby Elena!

    Love you and praying for you!

  41. Marilyn Bemis says:

    We met in the doctor’s office and you were so kind and understanding to me and my husband. You also had a beautiful scarf around your neck and had trouble with it staying there and we all laughed about it. I said to just take it off and you said no I’m going to win this battle. With the Lord you can win any battle. We are praying for you and family daily. The Lord is our shepard and thats all we will ever need.

    Love and praying for you

  42. Brenda Hannah says:

    What a blessing it is to see your strong testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ! I pray that you will always keep your eyes on Him…He is the GREAT PHYSICIAN and we have no greater friend in the good times and the bad. I will be praying that God will daily give you the grace and strength you need for fighting your battle!

    God bless, Brenda

  43. Denise Rhyan says:

    Dear Sara,

    I hope you are doing great. God is Good. Yesterday, I spoke to our realtor Ann Barker, she told me about your cancer and website. I know God sent me to her and I also found that I know your Mom Jean, I worked with her at Marion County Health Dept. Many years ago. I am so sorry that you have been through so much. Ann tells me that your cancer is in remission now, Praise God.
    I also have breast cancer, stage IV, Triple Negative, Her2, that has metasized to my right lung. I have been on chemo for nine and a half months. My doctor tells me there is no cure and it is inoperable . I am on a clinical trail, the tumors have shrunk quite a bit and the chemo is working, but so hard on me. I am getting possible Metmab, Taxol, Advastin . I would like your help, I need more information, would you please share with me are you on a maintaince drug or do you have to continue chemo.? Please, if you have info. that may help me feel free to email me. May God continue to do a mighty work in you, and use your beautiful writing skills to reach out to others.

  44. Patti says:

    Sara – My dear sister-in-law-Beth sent this to me as we have recently learned of my stage-4 lung cancer diagnosis all within the past 3 weeks time. What started out as a simple “head-rush” headache and short term memory loss has turned our world upside down. It is blinding and overwhelming to say the least. I am sure you have felt similar feelings….but as we start this journey it is so encouraging to hear amazing people as yourself and your unshakeable faith…God is truly Good! I shall pray for you and your family – if you still have time and energy as you can I would like to chat with you once in a while – you are truly an inspiration to the many lives you touch. I thank you for sharing your stories…Patti

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