It's cancer…

I’m writing this based on Dan’s suggestion. I’ve never read a blog or written one, so it’s probably not going to be that interesting, but here goes. Last week I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Needless to say it has turned our lives upside down. At 33, that’s not what I expected to hear. Yeah, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at 40, but that was her. I always thought that if I was going to have to deal with something like cancer I would be older than 33 (not that 40 is old, just thought I would be older than that).

The news came to us on Friday, June 18, 2010. That Sunday was Father’s Day and our entire family was planning on coming over for lunch. They all wanted to cancel, but I told them I was going to ignore the elephant in the room and keep our plans. Thankfully, they all kept their word and didn’t bring up the subject. The entire weekend was filled with me pretending I was ok, followed by me breaking down big time and having to cry on Dan.

Tuesday was the first meeting with doctors (surgeon, I should say). Dan and my sister went with me to the meeting. That was probably the worst day. There was no more pretending this wasn’t real. The white board was full of terms, drawings and ideas of what we were going to be going thru. Hearing the surgeon talk about all the different scenarios was a real kick to the stomach. That was me and my life that was being discussed and planned. None of these plans fit what I wanted. Being told that this would be about a 12 month process, we would not be able to have children (or even try), I may have to have radiation and/or chemo, losing one of my breasts or both, losing all my hair, stopping my body from producing estrogen and progesterone and on and on… I felt like I wasn’t even going to be a girl anymore. Dan seemed to think that the meeting was positive, but he always sees the good in things.

Wednesday morning was terrible. Again, I had to get up and face more people. The girls I work with know what I’m dealing with and could tell I didn’t want to talk and they respected my silence. My doctor’s office called to let me know there was an available appointment at one of the plastic surgeons that I had requested to meet with. Dan and I were able to make the appointment and I was really glad that we did. After talking with the plastic surgeon and seeing other reconstructive surgeries that he had done, I felt SO much better at that moment. That day things got a little better. I even went out to dinner with my closest girlfriends. Thank God for laughter and close friends.

Thursday was the day for my CT scan and bone scan. It felt like I was reliving the week before when I was waiting on the biopsy results. From the Tuesday meeting, one of the numbers that was given from the biopsy indicated that the cancer could have spread elsewhere in my body. As if things weren’t bad enough, they could have gotten worse. We had no idea what to expect with the scans, but I was really thinking that I would walk in, have an x-ray type deal then leave. That was definitely not the case. The scans didn’t take long, but the process of getting ready for them did. I had to drink a tall glass of yuck (and before it warmed up and got yuckier) and wait an hour for the CT scan. They also did an IV at that time to have the dye for the bone scan injected. The dye was going to need to be in my body for at least 2 hours before they could start the bone scan. That injection was really cold and made me shiver for about 15-20 minutes. Both scans are done on a bed that moves you to the machine. I had to just close my eyes and pray until they were over. I’m really claustrophobic and these machines were not my idea of fun. Thankfully both were over rather quickly. The results from these showed there was no other cancer in my body. Big praise to God for those being good!

The week ended on a better note since both scans had come back with good reports. Sunday we told our community group (Sunday School Class) what was going on. We asked them to be praying for us thru this. They surrounded us right then and prayed over us. I’m extremely thankful for our community and feel like they are such a blessing in our lives. I know that they will pray for us and walk with us thru this.
So, that’s where we are right now. We are still waiting for the gene test results (to see if I have the breast cancer gene) and still have a couple of other plastic surgeons to meet with. I feel like the decision of who does the plastic surgery is one of the most important decisions that we have to make. At the end of the day, what they do will be with me for the rest of my life. Not to sound vain, but I am 33… I want to be able to wear tank tops or sundresses or a bathing suit and not feel like I can’t because my chest is messed up. I want Dan to find me attractive physically. I want to feel as normal as possible.

I know this is just the beginning and I’ve got a long way to go. I’m really praying that whatever comes, my life will glorify God. I want my attitude and my heart to be changed to positive and not be negative about what I’m dealing with. I am thankful that Dan is by my side. My family and my friends are also a real comfort to me. I’ll be real and let you know that I have been Debbie Downer for most of this week. I’ve not seen the positive of this yet. I’ve been crying and feeling sorry for myself. I’m dreading the day of my surgery (whenever that is). I’m an emotional wreck. I don’t want to go thru this. I don’t want to have a mastectomy or a double mastectomy. I don’t want to lose my hair. I don’t want to feel like I’m not being a wife to Dan because I’m sick. I don’t want to do this, but I don’t have a choice.

— Holly Thompson


  1. Holly,
    I went to high school with you and Dan. I am praying for you and Dan for God to give you comfort. He will not put more on you than what you can handle. I’m sure you are a very strong willed woman. My cousin got breast cancer at 33 also. She made it through and is 42 with no relapses. God watched over her and I know he will watch over you. Just lean on him and like you said, you will glorify Him. You will have a great testimony out of this. Please allow people to love on you and be there every step of the way.

    Praying for you,
    Debbie Whitehead (Walker)

  2. Holly,
    You are very much in my prayers. Please know that you are beautiful inside and out and cancer will not change that. Cry when you need to cry and laugh when you need to laugh, but most importantly, cling to God through it all. We love you guys!

  3. Holly –
    We haven’t met but Dan and I are friends. We mostly converse via the interwebs but through his pictures, our discussions and the most recent Nepal/China adventure, I feel like I know you.

    First of all, when I was growing up my mother used to say, “when God closes a door, He always opens a window.” There is so much truth in that statement. HE has a plan for you and loves you dearly.

    We’re fortunate to live in a day and age where breast cancer can be beaten. I have an aunt that went through this not too long ago. She kept a blog which you can read here –
    Also, should you wish to speak with someone who has been through this, I can arrange for you to meet with her. She’s a strong woman, just like you. Keeping a journal of your thoughts is a good thing and I’m glad Dan encouraged you to do it. I hope you’ll take advantage of this and be raw if you need to be.

    We’ll keep you both in our prayers. -RS

  4. Hi Holly, you may not know of me, either. I know Dan via the internet because we both applied for that silly Australia Caretaker position. He had been so helpful to me when I had difficulties with my video and another time when I needed help shrinking a photo.

    My heart sank when I just read the news. Although he has not said these words to me, I can feel the love Dan has for you just by the way he is on FB and the photos he posts. Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but I know that no matter what the outcome of your surgeries, Dans heart will never change where you’re concerned.

    I wish you all the luck in the world, Holly. I’ll be thinking about you and Dan and always looking for news from him about what’s going on.

  5. Holly – I hate to hear that u are going thru this. In school, u were always so sweet and always wearing a smile. Cancer really stinks and it can happen to any of us, I wish it didn’t but it sounds like u have a wonderful life and support system and love the Lord. Just remember those things when it gets u down and know the Lord will lead u. U will be in my daily prayers. Hang in there sweetie and I hope it goes by fast. God Bless u and Dan :)
    Sincerely – Leah

  6. Holly and Dan,

    My heart is aching for you both right now. It is so easy for me to sit here and give you “advice”. But here is one thing I have come to learn: God does not give us more than He knows we can handle. You both are strong and will be able to overcome this. Please know that I am keeping you both (as well as your families) in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Holly,

    You do not know me nor I you. I know your Sister Lora. But YOU DO know MY GOD! You are going to be HEALED of this disease. Your husband loves YOU no matter what. You WILL make it through this. SPEAK it into existence! “I WILL SURVIVE!” Sounds corny, I know, But God honors Faith. Always remember that the middle letter of faith is “I”. My prayers are with you.

    Romans 8:31

  8. Holly, this is amazing. I’m so proud of you. These are all wonderful comments. God WILL see you through and we’ll walk this road together. Keeping this blog and letting us share with you will not only be of help to you but also to others which is one of the reasons we go through things like this in the first place. I love you!

  9. I am so very sorry to hear this, I will keep you and your husband in my prayers. I know this must be extremely hard on your entire family.

  10. I have know several women with breast cancer. All have survived and come out of it well. It takes a positive mental attitude, good doctors you listen to and trust, and a good group of supportive friends and family. Sounds like you are getting or have all those things in place. You will do well.

  11. Love to you both.

  12. Holly & Dan:

    My heart stopped when I read Saul’s retweet of Dan. I clicked the link hoping that it was a link to someone else’s blog, but as the page began loading, my heart broke-not for you and the ultimate outcome but for the pain that this news brings to you. 

    We have spent the last year getting to know intimately cancer.  My dad has fought liver cancer through surgeries and treatment. I learned something in the process that didn’t compute in my analytical mind: God does heal. I prayed for the doctors to be prepared, I prayed that my dad’s mind be transformed, and I prayed for the family. Despite the initial defeat that my dad felt, when he was given only months to live, he boldly and proudly proclaimed that God had healed him. When he went to have a difficult meeting with his doctor, he requested one more biopsy. The doctor agreed, and within two weeks he was told that his liver was cancer free. This news after hearing and seeing that his liver was “eaten up” with tumors is miraculous. 

    Emotionally, this is exhausting. Physically, it can be unbearable. I pray that God comfort you and that you may be healed. You are in my prayers. 

  13. Holly,

    Talked to Dan this afternoon. So sorry to hear about this. We are praying for you and have first-hand knowledge of breast cancer.

    Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

    You can and will beat this…this is just the hand you’ve been given and it’s all about how you deal with it. I have no doubt that you and Dan will be stronger for this when you’ve beaten it.

  14. Holly and Dan,
    Heartsick for you both. Praying that He will be glorified through your life. May you feel the arms of Jesus encircle you and His words comfort you through your journey.
    Keeping you in my heart,

  15. Holly,

    I met you many years ago when Bryan Irwin was my youth pastor….we took a trip to Tennessee and I remember meeting you thru your sister Lora….I just want to let you know that I am praying for you and your family as you go thru this…What you have written is such an awesome testimony to what you are going thru and how we as Christians are just real people and have to go thru all the emotions just like everyone else but know that God is in control even when we don’t like it or don’t understand it…I hope that you will continue to keep us updated as you go thru this and specifically how we can pray for you…I will pass this on to my small group and know they will also be praying for you…thanks so much for sharing

  16. Holly-
    I am so very sorry. I don’t know you and I only know Dan via Twitter, but my eyes filled up with tears as I read this. I pray for you and Dan. Like another commenter said, God honors Faith!


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