Stronger with Suffering…

For the last year, since my birthday and diagnosis, I have been drinking coffee almost daily out of this coffee mug- 20170717_072639a gift from a precious friend who ‘knew’ I would need to remember these words on that day as I was diagnosed.

At that time I didn’t know what was ahead of me, what it would be like.  I could only imagine the worst would be thrown at me…that’s what they said.  They said the meds would be the hardest ones they could throw at me.    But I knew I would stay strong and fight to the bitter end.  I had a peace I couldn’t explain.

As I am on the other side of things, almost complete with treatment (only a few more months of infusions), time to reflect arises.  And just in perfect timing as one of our amazing Pastors did a 2 week sermon on suffering.  And I will tell you I was very excited when he announced his 2 week session as I knew it would teach me how God got me through this last year.

Romans 5 tells us that through faith, we have Peace with God.  He also tells us to rejoice in our suffering.  That God brought this to us to give us Perseverance, Character, and ending in Hope in what’s to come.

What!?? Rejoice in our suffering?  That just sounds cruel, right?  I mean, what can we possibly rejoice in?   Well…

We all have that scar.  Cat scratch, dog bite, accident, surgery scar that we can physically see that the saying goes ‘It shows character’ or ‘will give you character’.  I personally have a cat scratch on my cheek.  Well, while that is visible from the outside, from the inside things such as deaths, broken hearts, diagnoses that create suffering will give us character in the end.

Does God want us to suffer?  Maybe?  He let his son suffer…
Remember this slogan (easier to remember if you hear it verbalized with emphasis) HIS Death, HIS Blood, HIS Tears
Our Sins, Our Pain, Our Fears
(Slogan thanks to Adam Guice).
He suffered and Persevered for us.  And it showed Character and definitely gave us Hope for the future!


James 1 says that our Trials and the Testing of our Faith helps develop our perseverance and must finish its work to make us mature and completed, not lacking anything.  Another confirmation that Trials and Sufferings are not a punishment, but a part of life we must walk through, they help complete our ‘being’.

Truthfully, I always knew I was a faithful person, but with few opportunities to test me, I never knew how much peace someone could experience by Gods hand…

Where am I?

I completed Radiation approximately 1 month ago.  5 days per week for 30 visits Mon-Fri.   On my last day, the nurse went through what I should expect to do to treat my burnt skin, how I could combat my fatigue and reassured me that it would go away with time.  I looked at her and said ‘What fatigue?  I have none’  as she looked oddly back at me as if I was crazy.  Ha.
Ringing the bell that day was so relieving.  I was so happy to be done with that daily treatment.  My skin needed a break and was tender at this point.  And the daily grind of showing up mid-day was messing up my day plans…lol.

At this point I’m officially on my way to or am actually in menopause with daily hot flashes and joint pains.  That won’t change.  I just have to learn how to manage.

Another interesting tidbit I have learned that I am a genetic carrier of the PALB2 Gene which actually has a risk factor for Breast, Pancreatic, and potentially Ovarian Cancers.  While I won’t live my life in fear, I will likely have my ovaries removed so that I do not have to continue the most painful hormone suppressant injections monthly for the next 15 years.  All the while it will decrease my chance of ovarian cancer.

Athletically I’m about to officially start training for my next half marathon in Gulfport, Miss in the next month.  I’ve been strength training and slowly working on short distance speed all summer!

I’m also looking for opportunities to start fundraising for breast cancer patients locally, so if you see something, you’ll know why!  Or if you know of a local group that helps Breast cancer patients…
Or someone willing to hold an event in support of this idea…




  1. Beautifully written, Crystal. You are a hope and inspiration to all who read your blog. Take a look at, they help local women with breast and gynecological cancers. I look forward to seeing the amazing works you’ll do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love you cuz! You are so right about perseverance and suffering! GOD gives this to test us and He knows exactly who will succeed through! I,agree with you 1000% ! Keep going love, you are a living testament! So proud of you! I’m following you all the time!
    Love Paula


    • Crystal, What a good post. Well spoken. You have gone thru this whole thing with such grace. I do believe that God gives us things to help us grow and to show us and others watching us how strong we are. I think of the young people that have watched you go thru this challenge. They have learned from you how you can approach life. Not wonder why me Lord but ok I can do this with your help Lord. Love you friend. I am so glad you are feeling strong.

      Liked by 1 person

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