Cancer is over. I think.

Recently, I was contacted by one of my facebook followers who is facing Osteosarcoma, the same kind of cancer I “beat.” (Not like we get a choice in getting healthier.) She’s writing a book, and asked me to write a poem about finishing treatment. After a year of chemo and then 15 more years, I find that the emotions are still the same as the day I stepped foot out of the hospital from treatment one last time. The cancer is gone, but so are the options if it were ever to come back. So there’s a lot to feel, and learn, and not a lot of conclusions to make. But I learned, and continue to learn, from what cancer taught me about me. Enjoy!

It has been a year.Chemo
Or maybe a hundred.
I look down at my fingers.
How I made it is a wonder.

I can still taste the poison.
That orange death that saved my life.
What does food taste like?
Can I now sleep through the night?

The day I heard “cancer.”
I never thought I’d live.
Some days I felt dead.
Gave more than I could give.

It hurt.
The prodding; poking.
It ached.
Mom and dad’s eyes only looking.

It took my leg.
HallwayIt taught me to love.
A battle finally done.

I walked into these doors,
so many times.
Now I walk out,
to meet what I left behind.

The cancer is gone.
I’m 8. Maybe 9.
The days were like nights.
The memories just mine.

So what do I do?
No one knows.
No one knows.
The sting; hm, slowly it goes.

I’m not a little girl.Kid in bed
But I’m not grown up.
I’m something new.
I just don’t know what.

Eyes opened to the future.
But living in the day.
It’s the last day of chemo.
“Hello life,” is to say.

My leg is now plastic.
My veins getting strong.
My sister, she smiles.hand holding
But will it stay gone?

Society doesn’t get me,
this little girl who survived.
But I think I know me.
Because I actually didn’t die.

There is a lot to learn.
And I know today I’m free.
For beating the cancer,
taught me to be me.

…because love wins.


This is what depression feels like.

Wake up.
Crap. I hate this. I don’t even want to get up. 
Lay there. Try to sleep again.
Can’t sleep. This sucks. Why even get up? I hate everything anyway. 
Alarm goes off again.

Deep breath.
Well, I have to. People expect it. But *sigh* nothing is good. 

The feeling sinks more in as the tired wears off and the reality that there is no energy to come shows up again. Another day, after another night where you thought you’d go to bed and wake up okay. Another morning where you cannot understand why you can’t get it together.

I don’t want to brush my teeth. 
Sit on couch. Stare out window. No thoughts.
I can’t brush my teeth.
Lays back down.
Please, don’t let anyone come and talk to me.

Mom shows up. “Time to get up!”
She makes me so mad, but okay.

I can’t do this. 

The fog grows darker and darker as you realize that you haven’t the strength to even get dressed, let alone try to put on a disposition that you care about something in the world. The fog that takes away what you do enjoy, and leaves you begging to just enjoy something again.

Get dressed from the unorganized clothes.
I’ll get to those tomorrow. 

Come on brain, concentrate. Please, just concentrate. 

Rubs eyes.
Can’t concentrate. WHY CAN’T I THINK!? 
What’s even the point? 

Phone call to mom.
I can’t do this. 

“You can do this.”

I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. 

The walls start to crash in. You feel like an idiot because nothing is wrong, but everything feels dead, teary-eyed, and purposeless. You want someone to call and check on you but you couldn’t speak with them even if they did. You’re just…exhausted.

You make it through another day, somehow.

Go home. Empty house. Feels like your heart.

Who cares about TV? Why are there always so many dishes? I hope no one calls. I have to try to get this house in order. 

Sit on couch. Exhaustion piles on thick. Tired eyes, no reason to stand up, achy body, and every negative thought ever.

You won’t be able to do this. All of your friends are going to leave. Your family won’t want to be around you. You can’t be real with these people or else you’ll just sit here like this really alone. You’re a mess; get it together. 

No dishes, no cleaning, just begging for bedtime. But knowing 7pm will always be too early. Lay there awake and in aching misery for a while more. Cry, if you’re not too tired to.

Please, God, let it be better tomorrow. 


I find that a lot of people have no idea what depression feels like. Oftentimes, it’s a joke. “Why don’t they just get over it?” “Why don’t you just be thankful for some things?” “Clean your room; open some blinds!” “Just call a friend.”

But I just couldn’t. No one with serious depression can. In all honesty, to have depression and not kill yourself sometime during the day is a huge feat. And it’s not pretend. It’s devastatingly real. So real that I would rather go through every day of chemotherapy and amputation instead.

People who stay alive in this aren’t a mess – they’re stronger than you’ll ever know.

So here’s to hope. If you don’t understand depression, please do. Know if your friends and family are depressed. If they’re not calling you back, it might because they need you to go to their house and help them. Clean their house until they can do it again on their own. Never tell them they’re a mess – they’ve already got all the problems evident enough.

If you do understand depression, and you’ve been there, you’re not alone. You are never, ever alone. I know how you feel, and I now, for the first time in my entire life, am not fighting the negative screaming in my head. I’m alive, and you will be too.

Just comment here if you need help. I can help you know what to do.

Don’t give up. You are not ever alone.

…because love wins.


Dreams do come true.

ImageShe steps out into the light. The backstage had been a flurry of hundreds of people milling around. 

“Decker, check. Check. Check.” 

In 2 hours, thousands of people will enter this auditorium. They’ll come from all around the country. They’ll be in the middle of a fight with their wife. They’ll wish their children could do better in school. They’ll have an autistic sister. They’ll be sad. They’ll be hopeless. They’ll be happy. They’ll understand life, or they won’t. 

She stops out there. Says a prayer.

“Abba, it’s not me. It’s You. You have them. You be with them. You dream loud, speak loud, do what you do. I’m just so human.” 

She looks down at her leg. Who would have thought that this piece of molded plastic would lead to a headset, singing on stage, jumping up and down, crying in front of people? Well, surely not she. She was just this little girl with doggies on her footy pajamas sitting on the porch talking to her Father. 

And a tear falls. One tear, as she looks down at her mom, dad, and sister. Front row, always catching a tear, a hug, a smile, a reminder of who she is. 

Who is she that she could speak through an amputation and chemo drip? 

She’s just a human. Who has lost much. And who has everything, because of Jesus. 

She’s a girl who watches His dreams for her come true every day. 

…because love wins.

In the Hall of Fame.

ImageOften in life, as a leader of many who is also a young adult, I’ve had a lot of lash back. Not that people didn’t like what I was doing, or didn’t want to walk alongside me, but that people often times didn’t (and don’t) believe what I am saying or that why I am acting is genuine.

But the reality is, even in this broken world, some people are still honest. And some people really do still care about you. And they don’t do things half way. They are loyal. They will come in the middle of the night – probably with your favorite tray of cookies.

And they aren’t here to push you under or away.

In the midst of bombings in Boston and explosions in Texas and entire countries unaware of the outside world because of tyrants, be a sparkle. Be a light. Don’t let people who aren’t genuine make you think that you can’t be either.

It’s that kind of thing that gets you in the hall of fame.

…because love wins.

I have depression.

I have depression.
But I am not depression. 

I am not a foggy thought.
I am not a worried eye.
I am not an aimless tear.
I am not a useless try.
I am not my frustration.
I am not just lazy.
I am not really mean.
I am not crazy.
I am simply me.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

I overcome each day.
Just to get out of bed.
I wake up and say,
“I’m going to try again.”
I withhold how I feel.
And sort my self from my thoughts.
I try to be who I am.
And even if you don’t understand,
I’ll never see you for what you’re not.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

I am open, honest, helped.
I am well.
I am stable.
I am understanding.
I am able.
I am strong.
I’ve sought light.
I’ve come to see,
That life doesn’t have to be a fight.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

I write these things to you,
and you may know what it feels,
or you could turn and walk away.
But there is one thing to know –
whether you have depression or you don’t,
the world around you has depression,
so tell them right now that they’re not alone.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

A little known fact about me is that my family is riddled with depression. I myself manage it, understand it, and am treated for it each day. I’m writing this honest post to share with those who have depression that you are not alone – there is hope, there is life, there is sanity beyond the fight.

I am well. I have been taken care of. This society that we live in seems to think that those with depression are muted by their medications or should be left alone to cry. But I want to silence that today, because you’ve seen me, and I’m alive.

Who I am is not pretend. I’m just finally me. So do not leave those with mental illness alone. Rather, take a moment, and help them believe.

Most importantly – I am not my depression. I am not hiding, running, fearing. I am free. If you have depression, you don’t have to live this way. Reach out just a little even if you don’t feel you have the strength. Someone will help you until you can walk again.

If you are afraid of depression, ask me about it. Seek to understand. You can no more hide than a penny in a water glass. Be kind – for you yourself may face this one day.

And if you’re taking care of your depression – I am so proud of you. And I’m not the only one.

I’m going to leave you with a video of a little girl with cancer and rotationplasty who I have been blessed to mentor. She is brilliant, and though this dance exemplifies overcoming a physical disability, it  speaks to our mental lives as well.

Back on the stage!

Share this with your friends and family and share your success stories below. And, keep smiling – on and on.

Oh, and, just don’t ever. give. up. One more breath at a time.

…because love wins.


New ThingsSometimes it seems like everything hard is happening all at the same time. Do you get that? Do you know what that feels like? When you lose someone?

When you lose yourself?

This has been one of those years. Not just a day, or a week. It’s been a brutal year. Loss of people, loss of places, loss of security, loss of knowing. I’ve been way way way down. I’ve cried more than I’ve ever cried. And I’ve learned again the beauty of coming up. I’ve laughed more than I’ve ever laughed.

I feel alive. More than ever.

Last night a friend of mine called me after having a hard week himself. He doesn’t really know it, but his own bright spirit in the midst of a breaking down is enough to remind me that I have climbed up the hill. That I have more muscle, and that while I’m not to the top of the mountain yet, that this climb is beautiful.

Heartache is a mountain.

And your heart is a muscle. I say that a lot, after hearing it performed live in a song with a friend who has also been through great loss, and I learned that it’s true.

Heartbreak isn’t real. Our hearts our muscles, growing stronger as we climb. They don’t ever just…break.

Today marks 15 years since the day I was told I had stage 4 bone cancer. I remember the day like it was this morning. My heart races when I think of it, and I remember how afraid I was. I thought my heart couldn’t possibly beat again.

But here I am, 15 years later, even after a rough year, standing, looking up at the mountain, and smiling as I take one more step.

Just let the light come in. I promise you deeply, friend…this is not the end.

…because love wins.

We need each other.

Santcus Real and myself in 2009!

There is a song that I really love by one of my favorite bands, Sanctus Real. It’s called We Need Each Other. Here, have a listen:

The premise is basically that we all need to love each other. Never have I felt such truth than when I moved to a new city, with new people, and three children whom I knew well passed away right away. I miss them. I miss college. I miss my best friends.

But here, Jesus has provided. And He always will. And those people are always going to be important. And so will the new ones.

Here are the blogs of two best friends of mine. One old, one, new. Beautiful women.

I love you, friends. And we all need each other. Be vulnerable and let yourself love. Let it be real.

…because love wins.

You are a beautiful thing.

This is one of my favorite songs, forever, and for always. You are a beautiful thing. Because God made you that way. Accept it, and let it be beautiful.

…because love wins.