The Desires of my Heart

When I was diagnosed with stage IV anal cancer at the tender age of 47, approaching 9 years ago now, my children were 17, 19 and 20. My boys were a freshman and junior in college and my daughter in her junior year of high school. Along with that diagnosis of “advanced poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma” came a very poor prognosis. They figured I could survive 3 years if I took the treatment and they were considering the treatment “comfort care” to alleviate pain and slow the advancement which was sure to come. I went through a dark period, albeit brief, of grief. Lamenting over all the life I was going to miss out on. These were the desires of my heart. Graduations, weddings, birthdays, anniversary milestones and particularly painful was the thought that I would never know my grandchildren and they would never know me. Let’s face it, I was just getting to what I considered at the time the “good stuff” that comes from having raised a gaggle of kids in a happy marriage in the Midwest. Unfair! I have posted in the past about my release of the anger I had at the world and my acceptance of my “expiration date”. 

I have great faith in God and was able to release every ounce of bitterness and pain over my anticipated losses when I recognized that I needed to live in the moment, not in the future that would most likely never be. Three years passed by in a blink and although I was facing recurrence I remained in the moments of my life that were directly in front of me. In those three years I had seen birthdays, graduations, my 25th wedding anniversary and as I stayed in the moment the bitterness of all that was “not to be mine” faded and disappeared. No longer a list of unattainable pleasures of life but something that was simply just none of my business. 

And time has continued to march on and I have marked 30 years of marriage since and attended my eldest son’s graduation with his doctorate degree in music. I have watched my middle son attain his dream of working as an editor for a large publication and sat teary eyed at my daughter’s wedding last year. I have watched all three find love and happiness. And just 3 months ago I was there as my daughter brought new life into her family. I heard the cry of my first grandchild child, a girl, Willa Magnolia, on a warm June morning. As I sat in the little room next to the birthing suite where you can hear, but not see what is happening and my granddaughter’s cries filled the room, I dropped my head to my knees in a prayer of thanksgiving for her safe delivery. Holding her later that morning was a joy I cannot describe!

When I was informing our pastor of the baby’s safe arrival he asked me “How does it feel Grandma?” I answer him “Surreal and amazing!” I then recalled with him how 8 years ago I thought this moment was not for me. I told him how relieved I was that I had released all the desires of my heart to God after my diagnosis. If I had hung on to them they would surely have weighed me down and made me bitter. I would have missed out on all the joyful moments I had been given if I considered myself simply “lucky to be here”. I truly realize my potential future joys were not my concern and really they never were my concern. I released all the desires of my heart into God’s hands. I trusted Him fully with them and he gave me back what He knew I needed! 

Meet Willa Magnolia:


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Michele likes this comment
What a beautiful granddaughter. I'm so pleased that you have this joy in your life. Seeing one's children become a parent is very special (and often challenging).
Michele likes this comment
Beautiful baby and beautiful post, once again! You are an insprirarion, Michele -thank you!
Michele likes this comment
Michele likes this comment
Once again, I’m teary eyed reading your words. I’m so happy to see your beautiful granddaughter. Many blessings 💕
Michele likes this comment
Truly a beautiful post. Sending you much love and continued happiness! Your granddaughter is beautiful!
Michele likes this comment
Willa is absolutely precious! Thank you for sharing more of your journey, it fills my heart and brings a new perspective that I very much needed.
Michele likes this comment
She’s beautiful, and so are you!!!
Michele likes this comment
She is beautiful and you are so lucky in many ways. You have a wonderful family, heartwarming events that we all look forward to are happening for you. I guess god wasn't done with you. Keep on your positive track.
Michele, Marcia like this comment
Such a blessing 💕
Michele likes this comment
Such eyes to see you with, Grandma! Stay strong for she will have the joy of remembering her Gran. HUGS to you!
Michele likes this comment
Hello there, Willa Magnolia! She is precious! She will bring so much happiness into your life and I am thrilled for you!
Michele, Marcia like this comment
So glad you got to experience all those milestones, and wishing you many, many more! You have a beautiful grandbaby.
Michele likes this comment
Love reading your posts. This post made my heart happy. Your granddaughter is beautiful.
Michele likes this comment
Thank you!
Thank you Michele again for sharing this with us. Your Granddaughter is absolutely adorable, those big brown eyes would melt your heart every time you look at her!
That you have met all those milestones that you so hoped for is a testament to your faith and resilience. It really is uplifting to read this, thank you!
Michele likes this comment
what a joy
Michele likes this comment
I can't believe how quickly Willa became perky and got the inquisitive look! She's such a pretty girl. And you, 'Chelle, exactly why one should never give up hope. Determination is such a huge part of recovery. I'm happy for you and your family.
Michele likes this comment
What a beautiful and positive post. Congratulations on your continued lengthy and fulfilling life!
Michele likes this comment
How wonderful! My wife missed by one week the birth of our last grandchild. But we had four others that are the apple of my eye. So I’m glad you got to have this experience. It’s Gods way of saying our lives will go on. Congratulations. I will be greedy for you and hope you manage to see some more!
Michele likes this comment
Thank you so much for your kind words. Life does go on. As my oldest one reminded me once, “100 years from now almost everyone alive right now, including those born this very day, will have passed on. Let’s not worry about then, let’s stay in the here and now!”
I remember thinking the same thing. I WANT TO MEET MY GRANDCHILDREN AND WATCH THEM GROW UP.
I am so happy for you. She is adorable.
Michele likes this comment
She is beautiful. Congratulations, Grandma! Loved your post.
Michele likes this comment
Beautiful, Michelle. Both what you wrote and Willa Magnolia. Beautiful.
Michele likes this comment
Love your post so inspiring! I am five years out. I have been able to travel to places I never would have dreamed. I have twin 7 year old granddaughters that I've been able to enjoy immensely. Your writing was very uplifting. Thank you for posting.
Michele likes this comment
U are such an inspiration to me as I am undergoing treatment. It keeps me going!
Michele likes this comment
Beautiful, the writing and Willa💜💜💜
Michele likes this comment
She is so beautiful. So good to hear from you & to know that all is well. Hugs Annabelle
Michele likes this comment
Beautiful words beautiful grandchild!!!!!!
Michele likes this comment
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Vital Info


October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3


As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.


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