“There’s always hope. I know my time is limited but the utter joy I have in each day is wrapped in the future. I didn’t expect to be here three years later. I mean, who survives 50 tumors in your liver?”
Cancer has ravaged Erin Sipe of Hickory, North Carolina. On the day before Thanksgiving in 2010, she learned she had breast cancer and the mom of two daughters, Kara and Anna, ages 9 and 6 at the time, faced rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy. She powered through that with the support of her daughters and husband, Kevin, and was declared “free and clear.” She enjoyed several years of good health, running triathlons, raising her family, and actively teaching in her church.
But, cancer returned in 2017. With a vengeance. With no symptoms other than an occasional catch in her side, Erin was stunned to learn she had 50 tumors in her liver. More treatment ensued. Recently, she learned she has 28 tumors in her brain. She began a clinical trial in Baltimore, MD early this year, but COVID-19 slammed the door on that. Erin returned to North Carolina, where she remains in treatment there.
Despite those challenges, Erin remains strong. “Don’t waste time living in fear. Live life,” she says. “I live every day with trust and thankfulness.”
Erin writes about her cancer journey in a blog (ErinWSipe.com) and often shares stories and hope with friends, family, and other cancer patients. “You are not alone. You are not isolated, even in a pandemic. I have an army of amazing friends and survivors,” she says, adding, “The emotional toll is difficult in this pandemic. But, you can’t put cancer on ‘pause,’ you must keep hope alive.”
She keeps a whiteboard titled “Hope Chart” at home, filled with hopes and milestones for her family. Birthdays. Holidays. Graduations. Life. “I love checking those off and adding more wishes. I’m hopeful for so many more memories to be made.”
Her faith in God is strong and prayer sustains her. “Hope is everywhere, you just have to look,” says Erin. Hope helps us heal. I live and trust and am thankful. Always.”
“Life is a season,” she adds quietly. “I remain hopeful, whatever season I am in.”
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