Tag Archives: cancer can be beaten

10 Hour Op Later ( #71) & I Am In Awe That The “Tiniest” Biggest Hero In My Life I Get To Call My Sister, Debs.

Today yet again she proved her bravery, Faith in God & strength beyond what I can imagine – by going through her 71st major op which took a long 10 hours.

It was reconstructive & the surgeon said it went so well.

When we got to see her finally, she looked healthy & happy & was smiling – my sister, my legend.

Yet again she was held Faithfully by our Father above, who we know held her in his palm, throughout.

No doubt He has big plans for this testimony.

I also stand humbled that I have the strongest family.

Especially a mom Dee Bayvel & dad Paul Bayvel – at 69 & 70 – who have helplessly watched their child go through so much for 31 years & stand strong in Faith & Love for us all.

Against All Odds – my sister has done it again.
Debs, I adore you.

Tomorrow Debs Bayvel (My Sis) Continues Her Journey With A Major Op: “AGAINST ALL ODDS” Last Chapter…. After 32 yrs of Being A Fighter & Survivor!

Tomorrow Debs journey continues.

Our Legend. Hero. 7 time terminal Cancer Beater. Survivor. Faith Driven, God Loving, Angel on Earth.

Against all Odds we pray this is the last chapter as she has 3 rather huge reconstructive operations coming up.
Major op number 71ish tomorrow.
+- 6 hours of surgery.

We know that she will be surrounded by Angels, yet we are all a little nervous – except Debs.

This is a great op for her as she will finally be able to have bone covering a massive area of her brain. No more prosthesis!!

As a family we will be quiet, but please keep Debs in your prayers & thoughts; not just for this operation but that the skin graft takes & another miracle occurs in this angels life.

This is the final chapter & I cannot wait to write her book.

The ying to my yang, my twin, my heart I love you sis. 

Raw, Real & OH So Inspirational ‘A Note from Maya: Life, death & the dentist’ by Maya Amoils – Aren’t I Lucky Enough To Call Maya My Cousin & BFF. My Cancer Fighting Bumble Bee

To preface this piece written by my cousin is near impossible. But, here goes.

Maya in her typical ‘pose’

What I can say is this. I have always been so incredibly proud of you my ‘little cousin’ Maya. To find out at 28, you would be; and are fighting against the dreaded ‘C’ was|is devastating. I am amazed at how inspirational your post is, how much courage and strength you possess and how absolutely beautiful you remain.

Maya & Mishie | Maya & Honey

Sharing these words is a privilege. For those going through any battle – let it light and guide your way, and I hope you look forward to your next visit to the Dentist!

You may be thinking wow, your sister, aunt and now cousin? No it’s not genetic; it’s a ‘bad luck’ of the draw & it sucks. You should know we actually have pretty damn awesome genes thanks to dip (carol ann), dorry (dee) & ducky (sands) I mean HELLO, our amazing Nana survived for a couple of years in complete heart failure and with a triple G cup which by 84 meant her b**bs reached her knees, which could kill anyone! We are all fighters !

Me, the three sisters, momma and aunties & My

My, My My, just don’t you ever forget we ARE in your corner, we have done it with debs, aunty dip and we will do it with you!

Here are a few tidbits about our My My you may not know.

When younger we were all enthralled by our littlest cousins antics – her bronx accent? Whilst born and raised in Cincinnati? Giving herself timeouts (yip herself), her refusal to wear socks if they weren’t inside out, her not so soft renditions of all the songs from the Lion King, her mushroom hairstyle and refusal to change it, her dress sense *cringe* and then her ability to melt anyone’s heart with a little smile and those dimples.

Mishie & Ultra Cool My My

At that tender age her stubbornness and tenacity shone through (even getting my tough rugga bugga dad dressed up as a ‘pretty ‘pretty princess’).

My My, Dad & Mishie

Who knew that so many years later these traits would become crucial in her world and to her existence.

As Maya grew up and the age gap between us shrank figuratively ,us girls Mishie her sister (another beauty and rocket scientist I adore) become far closer than cousins. We truly are the best of friends and heart sisters. Soulmates who share the same stars in the night sky – even living 10 000 miles apart.

Soul Sisters | Cousins | BFFS

In fact Maya and I are incredibly similar…. in personality, humour and perhaps a few (or more *big eyes* quirks here and there oh and our stubbornness.

Cousins?

That’s where it ends, unfortunately for me 🙂 She is the beauty, brains and ….. b**bs.

I stand in awe of a cousin who grew up to be absolutely magnificent, incredibly capable, successful beyond.

Someone who literally walked and worked with the ‘stars’ whilst to me, outshining them in every way.

My My thinking of you today and always my mind drifts back to memories of you belting out and of course making us all sing “Hakuna Matata” – “Means No Worries For The Rest Of Your Life” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” – my cousin let it be so, and not just tonight but every night until I see you later this year, I hope you feel the HUGE amount of love I have in my heart for you.

Now for that post | note | most inspirational entry

A Note from Maya: Life, death & the dentist

Journal entry by Team Maya — May 22, 2019A few days after I got my diagnosis in November, I went to the dentist. A few days following that news meant that the world was raw and triggering. Every minute felt terrifying. So when my hygienist asked, “Have you had any recent changes to your health?” the poor woman really had no idea what she was unleashing.

I spent the hour fighting through tears and silence and awkwardness. When I checked out, the receptionist asked if I would like to schedule my next appointment, six months from now. I froze. I didn’t know much about my diagnosis,  but I knew enough from the glimpses of terror in my mom’s voice to know that things did not look good. That there might not be a six months from now.

Today, I got a reminder that my dentist appointment is on 05/28, six days from now. 05/28 also happens to be the birthday of one of my very best childhood friends who passed away in a tragic hiking accident. I made 05/28 the password on my phone as a daily reminder to myself to live my days as fully as she did. I couldn’t help but marvel at that coincidence and reflect on how much has permanently changed. So much can happen in an instant, yet the world keeps turning and everything’s the same. It still rains on days you want it to be sunny and is sunny on days you want it to rain. There is still life, death, taxes, and the dentist.

I haven’t written much about this whole experience, but lately I started to write a letter to myself, to the Maya who stood in line at reception wondering if she should make her next appointment, from the Maya now.

In it, I talk a lot about odds. The odds of getting into Stanford. The odds of getting a job at Google. The odds of getting stage 4 ovarian cancer as a perfectly healthy 28-year-old. With 0/20,000 cancer genes. With parents, an uncle, and a sister, as doctors.  

What I conclude from these head-scratching odds is this: life is going to be short for everyone, no matter how long it is. And while we walk the planet, the only thing any of us has is our ability to extract meaning from experience.

What I have taken away from this experience is:

1. That life is a sport, best played as a team. And my team fucking rules. My parents are the most phenomenal souls I know. My sister is my hero. My friends and family are who you want by your side in a boxing match, in an ER, or in bed on a lazy Friday after chemo. Soulmates come in all shapes and forms if we let them. They can even come as dogs.

2. That you should write down 3 things you are grateful for each day. Especially on the days you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for. The last entry I wrote in the gratitude journal that sits by my desk reads, “getting to start chemo tomorrow.” Tonight, I will write “getting to finish chemo tomorrow.”

3. That you should be kind to strangers and generous to the world. You can learn a lot from your neighbors. Even if they are 82, they can become your friends.  

4. That in the face of the unknown, the only way through is one breath and one day at a time. One song at a time can work, too (thank you Rachel Platten, thank you Lupe, thank you GRiZ.)

5. That with all my unexplainable odds, I am no more, or less, special than anyone else.

Throughout this journey, I have held mantras sacred. My dad shared one a while ago that I use often — relax, trust, go downstream. He also taught me a very important one, “I am not attached to the outcome. No matter what happens, I will handle it.

I do not know the outcome of tomorrow. Or the next six months. I pray it is the end of treatment for me. But it may not be. What I do know is that I will go to the dentist next week. And I have never been more excited for a dentist appointment. That horribly mundane, dreaded experience has now become a chance to celebrate that I’m here and a chance to remember everyone I love.  

I end my letter to Maya-At-The Dentist saying this:

Your experience has been an extraordinary one. Let it undo you. Let it break you and make you whole again. Walk away from it bigger, brighter and filled with what you need to live like your soul is on fire.   

That is how you live a vibrant life in the face of death, darling. You stare it down and blind it with compassion and laughter and love and human connection. You defeat it with the conviction to make it better.

I would not be here, able to have any conviction, without you — my team in the arena, on the bench, and in the stands far away. For the unwavering messages of love and support, for “being there” in every sense of the term — thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I cannot say it enough.

I hope someday I can find a way to repay the amount of generosity I’ve received back into the world but, in the meantime, I hope you can find a way to look forward to your next trip to the dentist.

With love and appreciation, 
Maya

Follow Maya’s journey here

Starting Again Another Year Clear Debbie Bayvel, My Legend Sis (Well 30 Years Later Really As A Hero); As Tough As It Has Been, God Is Good My Little One…

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Photo Credit – Jules Morgan Photography 

As you approach your 39th birthday my darling Debs, I would never have thought that writing this a year later we would all STILL be struggling a little with one of over 100 battles you my darling angel sis, has endured over the past 30 years in your journey of victory over the dreaded ‘C’. BUT my little one you are ALIVE and can you believe you weren’t  meant to live beyond 11! God kept His promise.

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Debs I share your story again on my blog as I have yet to write your book,  my anxiety is little bit of bad (I am under construction) and the book is a long work in progress (why you had do have so many operations and so much treatement I don’t know :p ) but whilst we wait on that, let’s hope these snippets will inspire other family members of and individuals who, are fighting any disease. AGAIN CANCER CAN BE BEATEN… no terminal prognosis is a death sentence with Hope, Faith & loads of Love.

PS my sis…

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How wonderful my little one that everyday is a new, exciting and beautiful opportunity to heal and bask in the victory and a subtle peace that only our Heavenly Father can provide.

You beat the disease after a torturous 11/12 year battle and you were clear for eighteen years and after a little ‘mishap’ last year, now again we start the journey and you are a year in remission again… that was the last chapter of your book and now you live your life so that I can write a most poignant, deserved and beautiful epilogue to your book “Against All Odds.”

BTW … being the one chosen to do so is so humbling.

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For Debs Full LONG and BEAUTIFUL Story please see my OLD blog post here ….  https://jojobayvel.com/2015/09/02/17-years-cancer-free-this-year-an-update-on-debbie-bayvel-is-a-legend-against-all-odds-my-sisters-story-of-a-24-year-battle-against-cancer-beaten-with-faith-2/

For last years story I have done a copy and paste below…

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This blog entry has been one I have been meaning to write for a little while now. It is an update on our Debs and is but an nth of her lifes’ tale.

I guess it has taken this long as the pain, heart ache and trauma have yet to wear off, and even though we have another happy ending… it’s still something our family; and especially my darling, beautiful sister Debs, never thought we would have to endure again. This was by far the worst experience we have had in your journey, even though you were ‘supposed’ to die at 11 and are now 38.

My heart aches and tears flow freely as these words are typed. But I will write it my angel, for those fighting the battle against Cancer who need to know what the power of Faith in our Heavenly Daddy and strength of mind against any dire and terminal medical diagnosis can achieve. Again and again as you have proved for 28 years, CANCER can be BEATEN.

Be Still

Most of all my angel sister I write this for you and for God…For another miracle He performed  for your life saved again for having our daughter and sister still with us…

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My sister, my legend, my muse, my hero, my stability and the ying to my yang, my better half. I honestly thought that the book I was to write about your amazing, miracle filled life story “Against All Odds”, had its final chapter completed 17 years ago even though you have had many major and minor complications which followed your 11 year battle. What we didn’t know and perhaps even why, was that God had another plan and I was not meant to finish this book until the epilogue was finally ready to be written and  my love, knowing how much He adores you and just how much you deserve, it is going to be a more beautiful ending then what any of us can anticipate. What we do know is that the final chapter has been penned in His book if Life.

My little one, here we go again another story from the life of a girl who amazes me each and every single day.

What an exciting start to our 2016, which quickly turned into something out of a Stephen King novel ( big eyes and a shake of the head with a grin). Sitting chatting in our favourite place with our Momsy and Pops – Madikwe, surrounded by the tranquil and magnificent African bushveld in an oasis our Dad has so graciously blessed us with being able to go to – being the closest of close families we are, we decided on a wim that we would all move to Cape Town. We wanted to be closer to our other part and older sis Bronni, brother-in-law Bruce, our adorable nephew Cole and soon to be but now 4 month old other little poppet of a nephew Cade. Dad had just retired, we work for ourselves and Johannesburg was no longer safe, we wanted out of the concrete jungle. We booked our flights, rented our house, sent our furniture and cars and on April the 1st we would be living our new lives in the beautiful Mother City.

Ha! April Fools it was. But sadly the joke never ended that day…

What started off with Debs feeling ill and having what we all thought was a bleeding ulcer turned into a tumultuous two month nightmare. If I get dates wrong, it is because the days seemed to all blend into one another during this time… but I will try.

Due to go in for a Gastroscope on Friday the 26th of Feb, we decided that instead of waiting we would rush our little Debs, who was pale and incredibly weak to Sunnighill Hospital on the Wednesday evening. I don’t think that anyone will understand how I can say this when Debs has been through what we will believe is ENOUGH, but God was opening a door that night to ensure that this precious girl would be kept safe and left in the best surgeons hands. Mom, dad and I waited in casualty, whilst the man and surgeon, who would become the one we knew we could trust with Debs’ life and a source of side splitting laughter on the darkest of days, examined our angel. Dr Leslie Fingleson –  head of trauma at Sunninghill and a BRILLIANT surgeon –  or ‘Uncle Les’ as he quickly became known due to each of us calling him some absurd version of his surname far too many times ( I even had to google his ‘real’ name now), booked Debs in and decided to do a Gastroscope the following day. Her hemoglobin levels were low and something was not right.

We call it a miracle and are again amazed at how our God works, as when Uncle Les did the scope, both ends, he discovered no source for the bleed. He did however find a hernia and decided that where Debs had had her hemi-pelvictomy ( one of the many body parts Debs has had removed), he would operate and remove the hernia and place pigs skin as a graft, around the area where Debs bowels were not covered by bone and caused her discomfort. Ahh Uncle Les .. Orthodox and using pigs skin, we even had a giggle at that

Still in hospital, brightening up the days of everyone around her, smiling, laughing, praying and being her incredible brave self, Debs went in for her 59th major operation.Two hours later Les came to find my Mom, Dad, Aunty Carol and myself in the canteen. First Debs our shining star had made it through the operation but had had a bad reaction to the anesthetic and her systolic blood pressure level had nearly dropped to the point of having to be put on a respirator. And then with just a few words uttered; words we thought we would never hear again… our worlds were about to be shaken up and our hearts broken again… tumour, strange looking cells, thickened colon…Cancer. 17 years free of that dreaded noose, and it was back strung tighter then ever.

Never one to not give us a sign that he loves Debs so very much and that his eye is always on this tiny sparrow, we did have a miracle during this operation. Les was going to in from the front to perform the procedure and at the last minute flipped Debs onto her back and went in through an old scar… if he hadn’t have done this, the tumour would have not have been found until it was perhaps to late.

But again the journey we have all endured, most especially Debs, had started again and the road ahead was filled with more bumps, cures and potholes than we could have thought possible.

Bronni our precious older sis and the one that makes up the third part of our whole, who was very pregnant, Bruce our incredibly caring and kind brother-in-law and Cole our nephew, flew straight to Johannesburg. One thing I can say is that as a family, we are not perfect and we fight and argue as any other family does, however our lives experiences have brought us so close together and it is something to be cherished and something so beautiful, that we can pull together and love each other so very much in times of tragedy and triumph. Misfortunes so often bring hidden blessings, that we just need to open our eyes and hearts, to find.

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Tests were done on the area Uncle Les had removed and it was determined that it was an Adenocarcinoma – a malignant tumour formed from glandular structures in epithelial tissue. another grotesque invasion of Debs tiny body. This time totally unrelated to ‘Her’ Cancer which was Ewings Sarcoma, it is thought that this Adenocarcinoma may have been caused by all the radiation on Debs pelvis, treatment that kills a disease and does not stop working in your body for up to twenty years, which means it can eventually cause the same disease it sets out to destroy. The irony is not lost on any of us and  let it be known it is not lost on the Doctors either.

It was  then decided that after undergoing  further tests to ensure this malignancy had not spread, Uncle Les would need to do another operation to remove my angel sisters right colon, her appendix and the pigs skin. Despite other surgeons insisting my folks and Debs go see an oncologist for a second opinion and perhaps chemotherapy and radiation, Debs’ wanted her days of thunderstorms over, as one cancer cell left in a body can travel as fast as lightening and strike wherever it pleases. So we prepared for another major operation. At this time my poor older sis, Bronni had to fly back to Cape Town due to the stage in her pregnancy and my heart aches for her as I cant even understand how much she struggled being apart from us during this time. She is a loving nurturer by nature and even took on the role as my second mom growing up when my amazing momma would sleep on a chair for weeks on end next to Debs hospital bed.13255964_10157020591265201_6519616408726709034_n.jpg

Mom, dad, myself and Aunty Carol – moms older sister, and the ying to her yang who was never apart from us – became our Debs face to face support system, well us, and the one we cannot possibly compete with, our Daddy up above. And of course support came in with face time calls everyday from our Bronni and nephew and moms third part and other sis Sandi and our Uncle Steve Amoils ( both Doctors in America ). So many other amazing people visited I cannot even name them all … clients of mine, Aunty Dee, our dearly departed Fergie. Whatspp chat groups and prayer chains were started and updated daily  and even when we didn’t respond to people, as you just sometimes cannot do when your mind is in that state of chaos, the love and prayers kept on coming…. Our Debs is well and truly adored and living with her I know why.

And so before this next surgery, to make sure that this dreaded disease had not crept in to her lymph nodes and liver we first had to go for CT scans and before this they have to inject a fluid to make the ‘resolution higher’ in simple terms . My beautiful Debs has very few surface veins left after having so much chemotherapy in her lifetime, and this day remains so poignantly etched in my mind, as I yet again watched nurses and doctors prod my sisters tiny body in search of a simple vein to inject fluid. I glanced down at my hands wishing I could give her just one of mine.. and yet she remained brave and strong and kind to these people. My Debs you astound me. As she was wheeled into that room and placed under a cold, metal machine  which would tell the tale of her fate, my mom said to me and my aunt ” They will Look and they will not See”.. not from her mouth but a quiet whisper in her soul from God. Yet again we had peace that belies all earthly understanding and they did look and did not see anything! We were going ahead with the operation and nothing more had to be removed.

With one car left in Johannesburg, no Winter clothing (I think we now have shares in the Pink n Pay clothing department) and living 45 minutes from the hospital in no traffic, dad and I began what would eventually make up approximately 160 trips to the hospital as there was not one moment of the day we did not want to be there during visiting hours and when we left all we wanted to do was go home and not see anyone, even if we had to drive into the garage, reverse and leave again. My beautiful selfless mom slept on a chair next to her child’s’ bed as often as she could when Debs was not in ICU.

On the 9th of March, a very scared and incredibly emotionally and physically exhausted family sat in a hospital room with a girl going in for her 60th major operation after she nearly didn’t make it through the previous one.Our daughter, sister, friend and angel on this earth was smiling but also a little nervous. Would this be the last time we saw her? Would this be a final goodbye to my best friend in the world? I don’t even know how to put into words how we all felt and I simply cannot even fathom how Debs felt… tears stream again and these memories return…

And yet God placed His hand on all of us again, we were all somehow distracted, Debs was rushed into theater and Uncle Les, who by now had become emotionally attached to this little fighter, came to find us again in the canteen, before she was even in recovery – we love this man – and told us she was FINE! The operation was successful and the Cancer was gone. Tears of relief flowed especially from my fathers eyes… I will not forget that sight. Again this man who has protected us and saved us girls from everything even our own mistakes, had felt so helpless in not having anything within his reach to help his baby girl , his daughter and she was okay…. well for three days anyway.

Off the topic a little but importantly and a little reason I am updating people, is that even with modern technology and cellphones and social media updates we still have broken telephone syndrome and many people think Debs still has Cancer, she doesn’t, YET AGAIN SHE BEAT IT… Debs you legend!  And Father God thank you for saving my sister again.

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We took our Debs home on that Friday and on Saturday, her and I spent a lovely day together, with our precious pooches , watching our favourite TV shows, with her lugging around a vacuum pump to close the wound on her tummy –  another long scar, an open wound, a small infection; in this heroes life these are the tiny things, the things that in our lives would be major. But by Sunday morning our frail and beautiful Debs was in agony. Debs has the highest pain threshold of anyone I know, she has had bone removed without anesthetic and on this day she was  screaming and shouting in agony. I cannot imagine the pain she was in, as a sore throat for me is enough to keep me in bed for a week. We prayed, we gave Debs painkillers, we tried to get her to sleep, but by that evening she was still in sheer agony and near collapsing and we again rushed her to Sunninghill Clinic. The next five weeks would be the worst of our lives.

Debs was booked in and my mom again stayed with her, dad and I drove home both silently lost in despair.By that Wednesday after three days of pure agony with no respite or sleep, our little treasure was booked into ICU. Debs is more OCD then any of us with cleanliness, and we can all be pretty bad, and that morning when dad and I arrived she did not even want to brush her teeth. My heart broke, as this to me who knows my sister so well, was a sign that she had had enough and that the end was near. Debs is my life, my heart and losing her would be like losing half of my physical body and my soulmate.We were all shattered and at to this day I do not know how Debs had made it through those last four days in so much pain – you will understand her sheer determination and strength a little further on, when we discovered what was wrong.

The reason for being taken into ICU was to have her fed TPN through a central line, be looked after 24 hours a day and be given morphine to take away the pain. Uncle Les also thought Debs may have had a blockage – this would be where the colon was joined back to the small intestine and would mean no food or water could pass through and is pretty common with bowel operations. Nothing common for our Debs though. X-Rays showed no blockage and so we had to wait five weeks for the inflammation in the bowels to ‘go down’ to make sure this operation had worked. I think at this stage Uncle Les was flummoxed as he could not even give us a reason as to why Debs was in pain, or if she would be okay and quite honestly what the problem was.

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Three times a day we would visit my sister, awake and conscious surrounded by people in coma’s and terrible states. Three people passed away whilst Debs was there and watching their family’s grieve or seeing people after accidents, paralyzed and broken; how grateful we were that Debs was alive and if a few pieces less… still wholly with us.

And yet, its okay to also say I cannot understand how desperate and sad Debs felt, this fighter, this angel, lying in a bed in agony surrounded by death and disease and not knowing if she was going to make it…. I don’t think we will ever understand what she felt.

For those five weeks, there were many nights and often times during the day, when we were not with her, when we thought we would get a call from ICU… telling us that Debs was gone and in Heaven. Yet, she survived five weeks of pure pain, sheer gut wrenching pain and we know that she did this with her fighting heart and strong mind. But more than that she did this with the comfort and strength of Jesus. I do not judge people on race or religion and believe one must just be happy in their own walk. I  will not however ever deny my Faith and neither will my family because of the miracles we have seen in our sister and daughters life, and not only that… the peace and comfort you get from having someone to lean on, an ever omni-present Father who gives you peace when you are terrified and hope when you are hopeless. This love and peace and Faith got us all, especially Debs, though this time. So before we go onto op number 61…..

I remember praying that night until the  morning and opening my Bible on Psalm 91 and amazing and unbelievable as this sounds, my Debs opened her Bible on that scripture to …. these things make me gaze upwards and smile. As imperfect a person as I am my Redeemer still gives me Hope and Love and Peace.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

After these five weeks, Uncle Les eventually said that after Debs had had no bowel movement he had to ‘go in’ and investigate. This was on a Tuesday –  again a shattered and broken family sat in a hospital canteen not knowing if we would see our angel again and yet again Uncle Les came to find us… and with teary eyes himself he said ” someone is looking after that child”, Debs small intestines were stuck to the pigs skin ( I may not have the full medical jargon correct here) however the agony that she was in, we all now realised was beyond what the Doctors or anyone can comprehend. Les bypassed this area and rejoined the small intestine to the bowel.

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On that Wednesday whilst Debs and I were praying in ICU, we said with our God we were going to get her out of ICU by the Friday and home by the Sunday. This was a crazy dream as bowel ops take up to a year to heal! Guess what though… on Friday Debs was in a ward and after our girls night sleepover on Saturday, where I slept on a chair next to her bed and as this clumsy little sister would do, took her bed off of its brakes by mistake and in my non princess-like way I sleep, kicked the bed  and nearly sent Debs out the window off the 3rd floor of the hospital and straight back into ICU! Uncle Les walked in on Sunday morning and said ” Would you like to go home Debs?”. It might have been seeing me their and worrying that I would send more patients to his trauma unit, but a bigger part of me knows it was again an answered prayer and a miracle.

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Just a week later Debs was up and walking and eating basically what she wanted and we made our move, 7 dogs and all, to Cape Town reunited with our other sis, Bruce, little Cole and my adorable new nephew and Godson Cade, who just had to come into this world a little early to make us all smile and me a little broody…

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No it has not been plain sailing. Debs wounds are still not fully healed and her lymph is not draining in her leg. Countless visits to amazing nurses in Cape Town have happened and our family is struggling a little with this trauma.

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I look at my amazing folks and cannot understand what they have felt like dealing with a ‘sick’ child for most of 28 years. It must be so hard and heart breaking and at times they must just feel so helpless … they are beautiful and handsome and so very special but I can see how this has aged and affected their souls and hearts. They have given us the most amazing lives in-spite of the fact that I am sure it has not always been easy for them to do. They love us equally and they devote their lives to us. They are role models as husband and wife and as mother and father…. giving their all and taking so little back in return. Thank you Bronni for giving them such precious and adorable grand-kids who they adore and who adore them back. It is a gift you have managed to give back to them for all they have done for us.I hope to one day pay them back in some way too.

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I have grown up and changed a lot – my anxiety and panic attacks are at an all time high and I spend many nights awake and in tears and days where I freeze I terror at the thought of doing simple things or that something will happen to one of the people I love.  I know I  still make mistakes and will never be perfect but my heart is back to the place where God wants it, in a place where I yearn to help those in need. I am back to the person I was as a young girl, filled with love and a gentleness of nature which is a gift I was born with to give back to others. Where I want to fall in love and give all of me and my heart to my own family – preferably whilst my pops can still walk me down the aisle.

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And our Debs even as you battle with physical attributes that you think no one could ever love you with – YOU ARE AMAZING AND WORTHY OF MORE LOVE THAN ANYONE. My beautiful, yet again you  have shown yourself to be a hero, a legend, a Warrior Princess; Beautiful beyond words on the inside and the outside. You are the epitome of what each and every person should aspire to be.Fearless and Brave – Loving and Sensitive.

As we collect your medical records now from 28 years , from hospitals all over this country and even America. I am excited to write this book, a story of hope, courage, Faith, bravery and my sis I am so proud that the person, the muse for this book is my very own sister and best friend. “Against All Odds” my darling sister, you have done it again and through this you have again proved  that your past, your upbringing, what happened before and the pain endured does not need to determine your future or leave you an old and bitter person. You have shown that you become what you want to become and that you can be a better person not because of, but in-spite what you have been through. Your story has meant we have a family so close and loving that we are never alone. It has meant that we are all blessed with a Faith in God and the gift of eternal life, as we have seen miracles in your life which cannot be explained through rational thought, science or just plain mind power.

And to our Heavenly Daddy, you said “Be Still and Know” and as I end this entry, as tears pour down my cheeks I know that I can still smile and be bubbly and courageous tomorrow and always, as you have shown us that you are more than a conqueror. You are our everything and we adore you.  Thank you for letting us keep our Heavenly angel on earth so we can share her story and your glory ….

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Happy Birthday Our Beautiful Debs – My Sister, My Hero, My Best Friend, My Heart

 

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My birthday wishes for our Debs, my thankfulness to our Heavenly Father and my absolute love for my incredible family.

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Tears do to stream down my cheeks as I write this, my other sis Bronni – We have been blessed with an incredible part of us, our middle sister Debs. Today they are tears of both joy and sorrow.

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My precious one, my twin, my love, my life… How do I even put into words how grateful I am to know you and have you with me always, both physically, emotionally and spiritually, the better part of me, my hero and my confidant. I am going to try and express this in what a few words can hardly do justice to…

The 10th March 2016 and a happy 38th birthday my angel sister.

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You are both woman and yet an innocent child, you are a living legend, not supposed to live past 12 years age of age and yet here we are 26 years later celebrating you and your life.

Little did we know my Debs, that what started off a week ago as a routine reconstructive procedure of your colon – to make you more beautiful physically, than you already are ,yes my sis you are insanely gorgeous, after all you look like our gorgeous momma – became a battle again, against a dreadful disease you suffered through and beat 18 years ago. The amazing thing is that, yet again what could have taken your life, was found by ‘mistake’ and in a stage so early it could be removed. Again and again God has proved he has His hand on your little body and he ain’t giving up on you EVER. 26 years ago you decided you were going to fight this battle with Him and He is with you now and always.

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After hearing this news, you still remain so strong and steadfast in your Faith. My Debs, after 62 operations and having so many parts of your tiny body removed I cannot believe you are not bitter or angry that you have to go through more. Not many people would have survived the first three years of your life, I know I wouldn’t have.

When you said on Sunday night “Mommy, imagine the pain Jesus went through on that cross to save us and give us salvation”, my heart ached and yet it gave me joy. My sis, that is why you have always and will continue to touch every persons life with whom you come into contact. It is your innocence, selflessness, joy and soul which people see shining through. Every surgeon and nurse in that hospital has fallen in love with you after just one week. Because, you epitomize love at first sight my angel.

Today as I saw you lying in that hospital you are in pain, yet beautiful and strong. I know that I know, and it is with an incredible Heavenly peace, that you are going to be okay. This story, your life, your testimony is going to touch more and more lives in the future. You are going to show the world how strong you are and how amazing and faithful our Jesus is. That Cancer can be beaten again and again and again. We have already seen two miracles – you had a clear cat-scan and you survived a surgery where some doubted you would. Wow, what a thing to add to your book which I promise will begin to write now, my love.This will be the last chapter and we will follow up with an epilogue soon, describing what will become a perfect, beautiful and most fulfilling life.

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My wish and prayer for you on this day, Debs, is that you continue to be the exact person you are. You are perfect and just plain amazing. A hero, a muse, a legend, a soulmate a confidante and a person who lights up the darkest places. You are one of a kind and I cannot wait to see you live a life you deserve. I am excited.

As Bronni says, lucky is the man who will have you as a wife – although I will be sad to give you away smile emoticon . You are going to walk down that aisle, with our amazing daddy. You are going to use every amazing talent you have, from singing to helping animals and other people battling this horrid disease. You are going to have a long life and its is going to be a beautiful life, one that is remembered and spoken about for eternity.

Debs, remember this always – the night can only last for so long, continue to lift up your eyes and sing and remember that the sun is rising on a new dawn and chapter of your life, that there is a promise from the One. So always hold on you ARE going to make it.

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I can only add that we are so blessed to have the family we do. We share a closeness that we do not take for granted. We have the most amazing, supportive, intelligent, provider our Dad, the most beautiful, soft-hearted yet incredibly strong mom,the most intelligent,creative, caring, beautiful, kindest older sister who would give up anything for us, a nephew who is so loving and entertaining and another on the way, and a brother in law who provides us with strength,loyalty, laughter stability and a shoulder to cry on. You my darling sis though, are the best of all of us! You pull us together and shake us up and make us realise exactly what we have.

My little legend I love you forever and a day, infinity times infinity, more than the fish in the sea and the stars in the Heavens.

Get better and come home now my angel , I miss you and I need you, so we can start to live that beautiful life together, I will be by your side every step of the way. I will love and cherish you and help you share your testimony.

YOU MY SIS ARE MY SUNSHINE….

Love Becky

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