May 21, 2017: Faith in God’s Timing

Today’s message at church was on strength and faith in God’s timing when you’re going through the tough stuff in life. It reminded me so much of a conversation I had with God. I had just been told I had cancer. I remember sitting across from the breast surgeon. I listened intently for the fastest way to get away from cancer. Oh, how I hated that word. Cancer was a curse and I didn’t want it, yet here it was. 


I walked away convinced a horrific surgery would take it all away and that would be the end of it. No chemo. No radiation. No years and years of medication. Not for me! I remember praying for the cancer to be gone. No chemo. No radiation. No long term medication. God said to trust Him. 


The CT came back, pathology came back, and genetic testing came back. Everything went back on the table. A port was inserted days after surgery and chemo followed shortly there after. I was NOT happy! This was NOT what I signed up for at all. I even remember telling God something along these lines. He said, “I’m here for you. Trust me.” I did. 


In retrospect, I’ve wondered why. Why didn’t I argue with God? That’s who I was when my dad had cancer. In today’s service, the preacher was talking about a conversation between two men. One man had cancer. The other man stated something along the lines of fearing he wouldn’t have the grace to deal with cancer like the man with cancer had. And the one with cancer said something like, “Of course not, you don’t have cancer.” When we are walking with God, He grants us the strength and grace we need when we need it. I also found He granted me patience when I gave up control and allowed Him to do things His way instead of my way. It wasn’t always pretty and it was far from easy, but I look at the growth that came from it. 


In a few days, I will have tumor markers done, blood drawn, a CT scan, and several doctors’ appointments to ensure I haven’t had a reaccurance. The results to these tests often come 7-10 days after the tests are done. The waiting can be exhausting. But regardless off the results, I know I’ll have the strength needed because when I am weak He is strong. 

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May 6, 2017: Hey, Cancer

Hey, Cancer. It’s been a few months since I had much to say to you or even about you. Lately though, you’ve been on my mind. That’s the crazy thing about you people who’ve never had you probably don’t really understand. To be honest, I don’t understand it much either. I had hoped once you were dead and gone, I’d forget about you. Unfortunately, you’re a really hard thing to forget. Every 3 months, there’s blood drawn and office visits. And now another CAT scan. Each visit, prick, loud noise, or X-ray brings a major increase in my anxiety. And guess what, Cancer? I blame you! I started making plans for my future, so don’t even consider messing them up. I’m beginning to go at least a week without someone calling asking for money I don’t have. No one looks at me anymore with that pitiful look people give other people they think are dying. I haven’t missed you at all. You know that, right? You’re not my friend nor are you welcome back, so just stay away! Yet, whenever I drop a few months, a bruise shows up I can’t remember how it got there, when my chest hurts or the back of my shoulder makes me want to saw off my entire arm, or when my breaths are labored for any reason whatsoever – I fear your back to torment me. And then, then, I remember, that I’m not in control. But you aren’t either. And life is just too short to worry about your next move or even if you’ll ever move back in again anyway. So adios, Cancer. You aren’t welcome here! Out of sight, out of mind, and out of body! 

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April 6, 2017: I Am Complete

About a year ago, I underwent my last cancer surgery. I had felt as though I was a small sliver of the person I once was. But what is life like now? 


  • I no longer exist. I live life to the fullest!
  • I can rise before the sun and stay up until midnight and still function the next day. 
  • I’m not sickly. 
  • I sleep most nights. 
  • I roll with the waves of life a lot better now. 
  • The sun can turn my skin red in less than 30 minutes with or without sunscreen. 
  • I take a hormone blocker every day. Chemo in a pill. 
  • I’m still in remission. 
  • I live between a 2-4 pain rating every day. I’ve adjusted. I’ve learned to cope. Some days I’m numb to it all. Other days, it takes every ounce of determination I have to get out of bed. It’s my new “normal”. 
  • I have hair long enough to put in a ponytail. This is a good, good thing especially during this icky hair stage. 
  • The scars and unnaturalness no longer freaks me out or takes me by surprise. To be honest, two tattoos changed my self conscious. 
  • My memory is returning thanks to brain games and a daily structure to reconnect all the wires inside my brain. 
  • I’ve started to slowly, let me stress slowly, lose some of the weight I packed on while on chemo. 
  •  Nothing warms my heart more than hearing from other women about how Courage to Conquer Cancer’s Recovery Tee helped them through their journey against breast cancer. These words alone help me see why I went through what I did.
  • I’m not perfect. I never was. I never will be. But “…we also find glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance:perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4). I could have quit. I could have taken an easier way out. Instead, I’ve praised God through the months and years of storms and in return He’s shown me beauty in the ashes of a life not destroyed but restored! He asked me to have faith. He asked of nothing more from me. My journey has been a miraculous trek from believing I was in control to having a desire to be a faithful servant. 
  • I am complete. 

God had a plan. It saved my life in every sense of the word!

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March 3, 2017: A Letter to Myself

While at Casting for Recovery, we are all encouraged to write a letter to ourselves. We were told we would receive them sometime within the year. Today, I received mine. It was weird to stare at an envelope with my own handwriting on it and wonder. To be talking to my mom when I opened it made it a little more special because she could tell I was perplexed. I think we both laughed. It was great to be reminded during this time of year when my job is one deadline after another to slow down and enjoy the small,  yet precious, moments of every day. If there is one huge thing I learned from cancer, it was to stop and enjoy the small stuff because it really is the big stuff.

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February 25, 2017: The Warriors Never Stop Fighting

A warrior is a firerce fighter. I’m thankful for the many warriors that help fight breast cancer. Millions of people have joined this battle. Not just women or those closely touched by the disease but people from all walks of life out to make a difference. Fighting cancer isn’t easy. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual toll is unbelievable. It takes many to help one cancer patient survive. So this is my thank you to all the warriors that help support those fighting the war against cancer. It’s a battle best fought surrounded by an army!



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February 9, 2017: More Days

The hustle, the bustle

The constant demands of life

Keep our minds spinning 

We never seem to slow down

We struggle to sleep

Find it hard to get up

Sluggish and confused

Weak, tears and blah

Then there’s that 

What is that?

Maybe it’s nothing

Too busy to notice

Too busy to care

But Something’s not right

What is that?

Could that be why?

Worry too much

So call a doctor to see

Wait, Wait, Wait

Test, Test, Test

Wait, Wait, Wait

And then there’s the news


Now what?

Talking, options, decisions

Surgery, Surgery, Chemo

Chemo, Surgery, Surgery

Surgery, Surgery, Surgery

And then it ends

But it doesn’t

Bills, Bills, Bills

Pain, Pain, Pain


No More Cancer!

More days to love

More days to care

More days to be

Not so busy

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January 13-15, 2017: An Amazing Gift

My husband, Jonathan, tells me Thursday night we are having dinner with his boss on Friday. The thing that bugged me about this was the time. I had to be back home from work and ready by 4:30. It’s hard enough for me to get home by five on a normal day but add the end of the 6 weeks to the equation and let’s just say I was stressed. 


On Friday afternoon, nothing seemed to go as planned for me. Everything took twice as long and three times as frustrating than I planned for or seemed normal. Chemo brain at its finest! I rushed around to leave school and get home in enough time to get ready for this dinner by 4:30. Anxiety and stress just don’t mix well with a bad day. Meltdown in the making began to pour out of my pot. Jonathan says my jeans and shirt are just fine. It’s not a fancy dinner after all and we can leave 20 minutes later. Whoa! What?!?! Not normal. Red flag. 


On the way to so called dinner at a place I could never get the name of but was new and supposedly awesome but needed no GPS to get there (hmmmm), we have to stop at Academy to get a Cowboys flag for Jon’s boss’ car! Nope! Not buying it! Jonathan parks the car and I announce I’m staying in the car because it’s cold and rainy outside. No one needsme to go in and buy a flag. Jon tries first and then the kids guilt me into getting out of the car. Not happily by the way either! I’m ranting about it not being fair that I have to go inside in the cold as my family smiles and falls behind me letting me go first. 


I walk into the store to a crowd of people clapping. Ummm . . . Awakward! Thinking I must have been the five hundredth customer to walk in the door or something silly like that, I bow and try to make my way around the group of people standing in front of all the Cowboys gear in search of that car flag, so we can go eat. 


This man stops me and asks if I’m “Kandi Stewart” – okay, so I’m a lot freaked out at this point. I remember looking back at Jonathan to come and save me from the crazy Academy worker who knows my name, but he just smiles with his eyes dancing as if it’s Christmas morning. The man from Academy (his name is Matt by the way) asks me if I’d like 4 tickets and a parking pass to the Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday. I’m pretty sure I said yes before he finished talking but I was blown away excited!!! I hugged that strange man and cried right there in front of everyone. And if that wasn’t enough, Academy threw in a $200 gift card we were able to spend on the spot on Dallas Cowboys gear. Unbelievable! 


The crazy part of this story follows shortly after receiving the tickets. Apparently someone in leadership at Academy saw my story on NBC5 that had aired in November after I was chosen as one of the five Star Survivors in an essay contest put on by Komen, Ford and the Cowboys. This person from Houston wanted to gift my family and me this amazing experience. I’m still in shock!


We didn’t go to dinner with Jon’s boss either in case you were wondering. That was just part of the setup. I guess the Academy person contacted NBC5 who contacted my school district who put the reporter in touch with my principal who then allowed the reporter to get in touch with my husband. Jon called the person in Houston who then put him in touch with Matt at Academy Grapevine. My kids and husband knew the day before and kept it all a secret. They pulled off an amazing surprise!


The game was nearly everything one could wish for out of a competition. The only drawback was the Cowboys didn’t finish the fight. I left thankful for the experience. It will be something I’m forever grateful for and will remember always. Yet, I was crushed in their defeat! I wanted them to win so badly in the same season I did. It seemed perfect, yet it didn’t go down that way. In reflection, I realize their season was a lot like my 2015-16 school year. I was sure I had finished my fight only to find out I had more surgeries and difficulties to go through. Other cancer patients are just like me and Cowboys players are at that same point. A choice has to be made and I know they will choose to FIGHT! It’s all they know. I challenge every reader to do the same. No matter what challenges you are facing – FINISH THIS FIGHT!

Academy Sports and Outdoors thank you again for helping us make more memories with our kids. 

Video of my surprise and the Nov. newscast

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