Epilepsy, M.S. and Cancer! Oh my!

I know that many, many people felt as if 2016 was a doozy! And we’d have to say we agree!

You’d hardly believe it but in the course of three months time, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy (you can read about that here), my sister, Kristin, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and my mom, Cindy, with Breast Cancer.

Can you imagine that?

This past summer my sister began experiencing vision difficulties; in particular she was having double vision. This symptom alone was puzzling (and annoying) and so she worked with her primary care doctor and eye doctor to determine a cause but they weren’t successful. Over time her vision problems improved but didn’t entirely resolve.

In early December Kristin mentioned to me, while visiting one day for lunch, that she was experiencing some numbness on one side of her body. She dismissed it as an injury or pinched nerve; but commented later that she could even feel it up her neck and into her head. We decided that didn’t sound as innocent as a pinched nerve.

A few days later, after her symptoms did not resolve, Kristin called her doctor and shared her symptoms; her doctor’s response, “Go directly to the ER.” So Kristin cancelled the hair appointment she was running late for and went straight to the emergency room where she met her husband, Brian. The rest of us prayed and tried our hardest not to text her too often and worry too much. While at the emergency room Kristin shared her symptoms with the doctors, who ordered a MRI of her brain. The neurologist on call that night (coincidentally the same neurologist I see) told her that the symptoms she is experiencing as well as the results of her MRI indicate that she has Multiple Sclerosis. Since that day Kristin has had several visits with her neurologist, further testing and imaging, and a confirmed diagnosis of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Kristin has a great attitude about her diagnosis and continues to be upbeat. She is doing what she can to educate herself about the disease so that she can take care of herself in the best way possible. Of course a diagnosis of MS is frightening and worrisome, but Kristin has a great outlook. She also has a great support in her loving husband, Brian, who is taking care of her and living up to the his recent vows of commitment “in sickness and in health”.

Not long ago, her neurologist commented, “Wow! You guys are like the calmest couple ever! It makes meeting with you really easy.” Kristin attributes this to living life in such a way that you don’t give way to fear, instead trusting God, who has cared for us so well and will continue to do so. She also finds peace in believing that life on Earth is not everything, instead understanding that God has so much more in store for us.

Kristin is forming a team to walk in Bellingham on April 8th for the MS Walk. If you’d like to join her team and walk that day, she’d love it. Check out her MS team page here. 

My mom, Cindy, and my sister, Kristin, on Kristin’s wedding day this past September

Shockingly the same day in December that my sister was diagnosed, my mom, Cindy, was informed that the results from a routine mammogram were not favorable and the doctors suspected that she had breast cancer. Further testing confirmed this suspicion.

What a week!

My mom spent much of December determining, with her doctors, what course of treatment would be the most effective in battling her cancer. One day in early December while we were all attempting to wrap our heads around these two new diagnosis, but before we really knew what it might mean for my sister or my mom, she said to me, “Can you imagine how panicked and fearful we might be if we did not have the beliefs that we do, if we did not have our hope in Jesus?” And that was just it, even though we’ve had times of sorrow and times of fear (or in my case mini tempertantrums because I can’t drive) we’ve all had a sense of peace about each of these health issues; Epilepsy, MS and Cancer.

After some testing, it was determined that my mom’s cancer was found early, giving her a good prognosis. My sweet mom has now undergone two surgeries; both lumpectomies. She is currently recovering from her most recent surgery and awaiting lab results that will determine the course of treatment as she moves forward; most likely 5-day-a-week radiation for a yet-undetermined number of weeks.

We know that a diagnosis such as cancer is scary and of course it is natural to feel anxiety or fear about the uncertainty it can bring, but my mom is doing her best to keep her eye on her recovery to wellness, trusting that God will walk with her each step of the way. We are so thankful that she has a loving, dedicated husband, my dad, who has been along side her each step of the way. And of course, my mom is doing just what all moms do, not worrying about herself as much as she is concerned about all of her children and grandchildren’s well-being. We love her so much.

I am doing very well, as far as my epilepsy is concerned and otherwise. My anticonvulsant medication is doing it’s job and I have been both seizure free and side-effect free for many months now. I am becoming increasingly excited to have the freedom to drive again, now only a little less than a month away.

It was a big year for us, filled with a lot of stress; both good and bad; much of which continues right into 2017. But we are looking ahead and praying for health and well being as we move forward. Of course we never know what we will face in life and so we must remember where our hope is found and treasure each day that we have together.

Thanks for following along.

Note: This post was shared with the permission of both my mom, Cindy, and my sister, Kristin. 


4 thoughts on “Epilepsy, M.S. and Cancer! Oh my!

  1. kate kiceina

    Wow! What a journey you and your family have been on. You are all so strong and surrounded by love from family and friends! Peace and blessings.


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