Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Cancer Word

Cancer… Unfortunately, this word has ambushed the Vogel home in the last week.
For those of you that don’t know, I have been struggling some with my health for the past several months. There were quite a few strange symptoms that couldn’t be explained. I went to the doctor in early February and a chest x-ray showed that my heart was enlarged. After a visit to the cardiologist and much testing, it was determined that I had some fluid around my heart that was most likely the result of a virus and would go away.
This was not the case. At a follow-up appointment two weeks ago,  I was told I was on the upswing and would be getting better soon. On my way out the door, I pointed out a lump that had developed on my neck. I was told it was probably a swollen lymph node, nothing really to worry about, but we would get a sonogram to be sure.
A sonogram led to a CT scan where many other lymph node tumors were found and I was given the preliminary diagnosis of lymphoma….cancer…
Many tears and a needle biopsy later, and I had a firm diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Cancer…wow. I never in a million years would have guessed that at 27 years old, I would be facing cancer.
Meanwhile, David’s Grandfather went to the doctor for a stomach ache and found out he had stage IV stomach cancer and was in the hospital for 3 weeks. We had the blessing of traveling to Pittsburgh to spend time with him. He has now been moved to a Palliative Care facility… Cancer
I can’t begin to express to you all of the emotions that I have felt in the last week and a half. Needless to say, this word is a game changer.
With this word comes many emotions.
I wish I could say that I have gracefully handled both of these diagnoses, but I haven’t. There have been tough days and there are many more to come I’m sure.
However, I choose to trade in the words above for both David’s Papa and myself. Right now I am choosing to reject the cancer word. I choose to reject everything that comes along with it and hold onto the truth.
This is what I know:
1.     God is good and he is still on the throne. He is still worthy to be praised.
2.     God is faithful and will ALWAYS keep his promises.
3.     God loves me and cares about my dreams and my desire to beat this thing and be a mother someday.
4.     This cancer word is not a punishment. I did not do anything to deserve this or cause this.
5.     God can take anything and use it for good.
6.     My God is bigger than science and doctors and has authority over all things.

I have become completely aware of the fact that my life is an instrument of God. I surrendered myself to him a long time ago. My body, my life, my plans, my dreams have all been laid before his throne. If cancer is the song I have to play in order to advance the kingdom, then so be it. If I can touch one life, draw one person closer to the Lord, cause any good in my family or friend’s lives then it is all worth it in the end.
Am I scared? Yes
Am I disappointed? Yes
Am I mad? Yes
Am I mad at God? No. Honestly No. Who am I to question the works of His hands?
Am I going to beat this? Yes
Lord willing, I will fight until this cancer word leaves my life. I will fight for my life and I will win.  I am stepping out on faith that God will heal me, and he never disappoints. He has authority over all things and I want nothing more than for Him to receive glory though my fight.
The cancer word will not defeat me. It will not define me. I am a child of God and my faith is in the Lord.

This blog will now document my journey and I will update as much as I can. I pray that God's Glory will be evident though my story.


  1. Oh my gosh! I do not have words to describe how much my heart hurts for you. I can't believe this happened to you and so young. I will pray for you and I will continue to read about how you are doing. You are a fighter and you WILL beat this. I hope you know that we are thinking of you in Georgia and wishing you all the best. You are most definitely in my prayers until I know that you are cured. Much love.

  2. Praying, praying, praying for you Leslie! Keep your tremendous faith. Even in the short time I have known you, I have NO DOUBTS that God will use you in a mighty way. We will be here with you in any and every way we know how. Much love, the Nolands

  3. Wow, Leslie what a beautiful post! God is going to bless you so much for being so trusting and faithful! We are praying for you up here in PA, believing that God is going to heal you and give you all your heart desires. You are going to have such an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness.
    Kara Kelley

  4. Leslie you are so beautiful and a daughter of the King! He is already at work! Thank you for sharing the start of this journey and for your transparency!! The Bardwell clan loves you and is praying for you sweet one!

  5. Leslie, your blog brought tears to my eyes and your words brought comfort to myself and my
    husband Richard's heart. Richard was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma cancer on febraury 20'
    2012. Less than two short months, one aggressive treatment, and a multitude of prayers later, he
    is on hospice care. We don't know how much time we have left but are treasuring everyday we
    do have together and know that good will come from this and God will be honored. Through this
    journey, Richard has rededicated his life, we have renewed or wedding vows, and family relationships have been strengthened. No, this has not been easy and everyday, tears are shed and I beg God for a little more time but I know without a shadow of a doubt that whatever
    happens, He will give us strength, comfort, and a peace that passes no understanding and I
    know He will give this to you and your family as well. If I can help you in any way, please do not
    hesitate to call upon me. We are also members of Northstar. My number is 865-202-3106 or e-mail me at My heart goes out to you and I will be praying for you daily.
    Peace and love be with you -Cindy Williams

  6. Wow. You may not remember me, but you worked with my girls for VBS things and Wednesday night programs at your church. I go to a different church, but my parents (The Sassers) go to yours and so my girls and I come some times. I am so saddened and inspired by this post. You are the same age as I am and this hits home very hard. I will be following the blog and praying for you. I am so sorry this has happened, but you are so right.... God is in control, and He can use this for His glory, and You can beat it because His word says that You can do ANYTHING through Christ who gives you strength. And in Him, death has lost it's sting... He is the controller of those things. Stay strong!

  7. Hey dont know me, but I grew up knowing Laura & Brian through church youth group (and actually just saw Laura the other husband was coaching the upward soccer team her team was playing against)& saw this link on her FB page. Cancer is a well familiar path as I lost my wonderful father in law almost two years ago now & both my husband and my grandfathers are losing their battles against it as well.
    Anyway, I wanted to write to tell you I will fully stand in agreement with you that our God is not bound by statistics and probablities. The power of His outstretched hand is limitless in mercy gifts of life poured out for those willing to RISK the dangerous hope of believing He is able!! I say this not just to (hopefully) encourage your heart to have another person standing with you in belief...but because I have seen this glory with my own eyes.
    My angel girl is living proof. The unexplainable miracle story of a faithful God whose mercies cannot be measured. My littlest love, Ansley Kate, was born with a rare brain disorder and (LO-ONG story short) after many a MRI, CT & etc...the deficits of her brain were far too significant for her to live any trace of "normal" or typical life. We had to prepare for never hearing a word, seeing those feet run around a playground or have much noticeable functioning.
    Leaving out (literally) hundreds upon hundreds of mind blowing miraculous and beautifully diving interventions...the LORD has spoken LIFE out of what was dead in her sweet little brain. No dr can explain, every specialist is stunned...she has shattered every possible expectation over her life and I believe her story has just begun.
    I know how it feels for people to look at you like youre crazy, but you are being "fools for Christs sake" (1 Cor 4:10) and the many that will tell you to prepare for the worst and to be realistic...but the very foundation of our faith in Christ is built upon the belief of something COMPLETELY unrealistic and impossible (the cross & resurrection) & if we believe that Jesus IS the same yesterday, today & forever (hebrews 13:8) then as children of the Almighty King THIS the is Living Hope of our inheritance!!!!
    It is not is belief. Believe me, I understand. The surrender of your own heart and desires is a brutal laying down, but only then can the HOPE of His power be poured through and the strength to fully BELIEVE in that power to be poured out!!
    Sorry this is getting long :) Anyway, my pleas will be with you.

  8. Sorry, just re-read husband's grandfather and my grandfather are battling...not my husband and my grandfathers

  9. Sweet Leslie!!! My heart is overwhelmed reading this post! Thank you for sharing this so we can all be lifting you up to the Father. Please let us know how we can minister to you in any way...anything at all. I am so sorry but echo your words of truth...God is in control and He can only give us good gifts! Somehow this He will use for Your good. And His grace is sufficient in ALL things for us. Love you so much and will be praying for God to fill you with grace, peace and hope. Hold fast to Him!

  10. Hi Leslie, I hope you remember me from Milligan and Cobb County. I just read your blog and was shocked to say the least. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. It really goes to show that nothing is promised to us. I will certainly keep you in my thoughts an prayers. Your faith and trust in GOD are contagious. Please keep a positive attitude and keep your head up. My mother fought breast cancer three years ago and has been cancer free since she went through her chemo at that time. She kept a positive attitude and trusted in the LORD. She kept her faith and pulled through. She is a real inspiration to me and now you are too. Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do for you, even if it's just to lend an ear to listen. I'm on your Facebook page. Keep your head up and fight!

  11. Leslie, thank you for writing this blog and your story. You are in my thoughts and prayers. My father battled hodgkins lymphoma for two years (2001 - 2003). Today he is 75 years old and doing well. Your blog just reminds me of how much faith he had when he was diagnosed. Our Lord and savior hears your prayers and feels your heart and He will guide you through every step. I wish you the best and thank you for sharing your story.