That year I was still alive…

A little over a year ago, my youngest #crapbag broke my toe..  A month later I not only still had the original fracture, but it was now considered shattered.  What was I to do?  I have 3 kids, staying off your foot is almost impossible.  Plus, I was 2,000 miles from home and had to drive from Seattle to Chicago.  It was my driving foot.  Healing seemed like it would take forever.  To this day, I still have pain, numbness, and nerve damage.  The darn thing is never going to be the same.  Poor piggy.

Steve didn’t care at all that I was in pain. Cats…

Not my first medical emergency though, and I’m sure not my last.  It was 6 years ago today that the doctor told me over the phone he thought I had #leukemia.  Less than 24 hours later they were drilling holes in the back of my hip, taking some bone marrow to confirm the suspected diagnosis.

The news hasn’t ended there.

Numbers are down, numbers are up.

Irons too low.

and again


You’re #cancerfree.

Then 2 months later… you’re not #cancerfree. Pfft.

A now your liver is dying.

Hubby drank the green stuff with me. What a guy.

And my BFF was very supportive

GI tract is in conflict.


Drug failed.
Another drug failed.
Your brother is not a match.
Numbers are up, Numbers are down.
Do you I need a transplant?

Then when my shattered toe happened, we knew it would take its toll on my leukemia as well.  The medicine I needed to help repair my toe was going to have an affect on my leukemia meds.  More specifically, it’ll lower its effectiveness.

And it did. bummer.

Faith and I waiting for the news

I ended up having a pretty big ‘blip’ in my numbers a few months after the shattering.  For having a slow moving cancer, it was a big jump for that short amount of time.  The doctor was concerned.  We had been in the process of starting some more life altering location plans (eh, hem, moving again) when we got this news and it had us worried.  What was the next year going to look like? Transplant?  More med changes? Drug trial? So many unknowns.  We prayed and talked it all over as a family and decided to hunker down and just breathe a while as we waited to see what the year ahead brought us.

In the midst of the family talks, my oldest son said off hand “I want to move, but I also want to accomplish all the things we set out to accomplish here too.”

Ugh. 9 year olds.  What do they know, right?

But he was right.  When we moved back to Chicago from Seattle, it was because there was a plan.  There were goals set.  There were things we wanted to plant, and things we wanted God to water, and we just weren’t being darn patient enough.. pfffft.  We had been feeling the “Am I being effective” pinch.  Obedience is super hard when your actions don’t have visible outcomes.  It can get you down and make you feel like you’re not worth what God says you’re worth.

I had been trudging through some pretty deep valleys during this time.  It was humbling and took a huge toll on my perspective.  I stopped writing.  I wasn’t very social.   I wasn’t enjoying the books I was reading.  The kids got on nerves I didn’t know I had.  And then here’s my 9 year old, laying it out there, showing me up. What a #crapbag

I’m not a ‘runner’.  I’ve never been afraid of a challenge.  But I wanted to run from our problems here.  I wanted a do-over.  I wanted to ignore the reality of the plan God had for me. Big dummy, Kathryn.

So I finally put some shoes on that shattered toe of mine, and got to work.

You see, before our past year happened, we thought things were gonna go sideways.  Things were going to happen that were going to change the direction of our lives, and the dynamic of our family.  #Cancer was gonna take the front seat again…

And maybe it might have but for that little 9 year old (albeit 99 year old in spirit).

Because, God chose me. Us. My family.  At least for right now, until he wills our time to be up, my life and my family’s lives are being lived out there on display.  We look different. We live different.  We act different.  He’s using us.  He has gracefully taken this messed up, broken, haphazard, measly, mushed up, dirty, rotten, bunch of weirdos we like to call #TeamDuffy, and He’s made a place for us in the never-ending breadth of his love.  What good is it all, if we aren’t sharing the good news of God’s love for us, yes US, with the world?!

And what that little 9 year old said to me that day was life changing.  God used that moment to teach me the hugest lesson.  A lesson that has carried me through this whole year.  A message that has rekindled a fire in what was a broken down piece of remnant.

God has a plan.  For me.  For you. For us.

Are we living lives that reflect that?  Are we waking up, jumping out of bed shouting,

“Use me Lord!”

No matter what it was.  Whatever plan he was gonna have for me this past year, I had to suck it up and willfully nod “Bring it“.  It wasn’t always fun.  I’ve been humbled in ways that brought me close to the edge of giving up. Over and over.  Uncharacteristically, I’ve questioned much, and God has heard many “Are you sure’s?” come out of my mouth.

Every time I say to one of my kids “Don’t talk back”, it’s like a little stab in the gut. Ugh! I know I know, practice what I preach!

We’ve changed rules, we’ve taught new things, we’ve made new friends, we changed churches.

We’ve rekindled old friendships.



We walked away from toxic ones, trying to better reflect Jesus living in our lives.  More Jesus, less yuck.

The kids started a Christian school, we got them into AWANA. We kept being honest with them.  We spent more time in prayer. We spent more time together as a family.


We stepped out of the boat.  With 2 feet. Again.  Why?  Because our obedience is how we can show God how much we love him. (John 14:15, John 14:21, 2 John 1:6, and about a dozen more..)

Make disciples. Love as God first loved. Forgive. Worship.

Every sister I’ve hugged, every cashier I forced to make eye contact with me, every customer service rep I acknowledged, every verse I memorized, every child correction I gave, every new relationship I let in, every old friendship I poured in to, every morning I woke up early.  All things that needed to happen this year.  Because He found worth in it.

But I had to say yes.

Are we saying yes?  Repeatedly?  Do we have the faith and boldness of those first disciples, navigating their way through the makings of this world?

Are we there?  In the places we need be, in the timings that He ordained, with the Spirit of fire burning for his will?

I hadn’t been there.  A little funk and I had lost some of my spunk…..  But that little voice.  That little 9 year olds voice. I heard it.  It reminded me that I was worth it.  I had to keep going. At any cost.

I’m still alive.  More than ever.  My numbers are good.  My foot is healing.  My love is growing.  My obedience is blessed. I still have cancer.

6 years… And this was the





Please like & share:

Leave a Reply