People ask me all the time: "how are you doing Katie?" and I usually give my standard answer: "I'm hanging in there." What do you say when you feel like you are fighting for your life? How do you convey, while you pass a friend in the hallways at work, all the complex emotions that you are feeling. How do you burden others with your own pain and fears? One day at work, when I was feeling tired and run-down, a friend asked me how I was doing and I told her: "I'm here." She looked at me and said "keep on swimming - keep on swimming." Many of you will know the reference - Dora, in "Finding Nemo" says it when she is feeling lost and doesn't know what to do; she says to herself over and over again "keep on swimming - keep on swimming." That's how I feel on most days. That's why I still insist on going to work on days I don't feel well - it isn't because I am so strong - no - I just need to keep on swimming. I need to go about my everyday life like it is every day. It is so easy to let cancer consume your life - your every thought. But you can't. You have to keep going. Keep living even on the roughest days.
Today I had an experience unlike any other I have ever had. The ladies at my church asked me if they could have a Healing Service for me. I felt honored but I had no idea how it would impact me. As I sat, with a circle of family and friends surrounding me, while they all shared a common prayer - for God to physically heal me - I felt overwhelmed. I felt their hands on me and felt their love. I heard their prayers and I felt their hope. For a minute I felt like I didn't have to keep on swimming. I felt like I could sit there and cry and acknowledge how scary and uncertain my life is. In that moment I silently begged God to save me but I also asked him to give me strength to keep going - to keep fighting. It was an amazing service and something that I will never forget.
As I sit here and type this I feel tired from the hectic activities of the weekend. I'm tired, but ready to take my kids to my parents' house tomorrow and have another great day. I don't know if the Healing Service will heal me - I have a strong faith but I don't know what God's plan is for me. What I do know is that no matter what, God continues to answer my prayers. He continues to give me strength to keep going and living each day to the fullest. So the next time you see me and I look like I'm having a rough day - please don't worry - just give me a smile and say: "keep on swimming."