Kelsie's story: the first 30 days of my cancer diagnosis
Updated: Jan 22, 2019
Kelsie Barnhart, 27 years old, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer only days before Christmas. In this blog, she candidly shares the first 30 days of her cancer diagnosis with incredible wisdom, strength and resilience beyond her years.
The first 30 days of Kelsie's cancer diagnosis
"I can count on one hand the number of times I felt like I was dreaming even when I was awake:
The time I found out Santa Claus wasn’t real.
The first time a boy I liked held my hand.
The time I quit a job and walked out in front of the whole office.
The time I got into the middle of a dance circle of over a hundred people.
And, the time a doctor told me I had cancer."
On 18 December 2018, just over a month ago, Kelsie was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer - affecting 80% of women with breast cancers.
One second I was wrapping Christmas presents and the next I was telling my boss I would be gone for at least six weeks. One second I was planning my first trip overseas and the next I was begging doctors to still let me go. One second I was dreaming about a wedding someday and the next I was wondering if any man would want to be with me post-surgery.
"I sat in a sparsely decorated room with my parents, my nurse, and my doctor as they stared at me. I just kept repeating, “This doesn’t seem like my life.” That was not the last time I uttered those words in the days that followed.
These first 30 days have been some of the most surprising. Yes, I am 27 and I have breast cancer - that is a surprise. But I have also been surprised at how clearly I have seen the Lord working through this situation for my good and His glory."
In the past 30 days (and some change), I have discovered a new understanding of how loved I am, a creative interest in video creation, and an all-around appreciation for the mundane.
"When I have felt like cancer was going to take everything good in my life, I have been showered with gifts, notes of encouragement, and quality time with friends.
When I become overwhelmed with the prospect of missing work to go to appointments, I funnel energy into reading about video apps and going on adventures with friends to gather footage. When fear of future complications and recurrence arises, I decide to enjoy the exact moment I am in - whether that is doing the dishes, watching the snow fall, or brushing my teeth. It is not avoidance so much as it is appreciation for what is, not what might be.
If you are reading this, you either have cancer or probably have some area of your life that is not ideal compared to what you hoped for or imagined. And yet, as a singer I admire says:
How blessed we are to be in this moment that we’re in. In all eternity right now has never been. With every breath we enter into a holy mystery. And maybe in this moment now is all we’ll ever need.
In this moment there are cancer cells dividing. But this moment also has peace. I am not my creator and it is not up to me to fix this situation. I just get to keep living in this broken body for as many days as I am given. And I personally want those days to be spent in awe of the creation around me, the beautiful souls around me, and the sweetness of knowing it will all be okay one day."
Kelsie & Mel X