How Do I Find Hope in the Midst of Pain?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3: 5-6

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - Picture for Allyson

Faith

I have had that bible verse on my desk since my breast cancer diagnosis. When I get down I look up and let God direct my paths. It isn’t always easy, but through my faith it has gotten me through some tough times.

Journaling

This is another way for me to express my feelings, whether happy or sad thoughts, cancer or triumphs, I am able to go to my quiet place and take notes. I find that sometimes after I express them through writing that is where they stay.

Exercise

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - Exercise

This used to be very hard for me to stay consistent with my whole life, but every cancer book you read they say it is one of the most important things that can keep cancer away. I also find it a stress reliever!
Did I just say stress reliever??? Stress can be a cancer in itself, my family and friends have trained me to start saying the “no” word. I cannot help everyone or with every function, now I just choose the ones that are most important to me.

Friends

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - Friends and SurvivorsYou truly find out who your true friends are when you go through something like I have. Some just can’t handle it so they shy away (they still care) and you have to figure out who those people are and accept it. Then there are others that you thought would be there no matter what, but they are selfish and they don’t have time for cancer struggles, cut them out of your life when you have figured out who they are, they can be a cancer themselves!

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - Best FriendThen you have new friends, I have met so many wonderful people through my cancer journeys and they will be lifelong friends. Last, but definitely not least, lean on those around you that have always been true friends, they know when I need space, they know when I need a hug, and they know when they can tell me when to put my big girl pants on!

Family

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - Raylene and JaysonWow, where do I even begin? I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who has been by my side through all our trials, infertility, cancer, and just marriage in general. He is amazing, he looks at me all the time and says, “The only thing I see missing is cancer.”

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - ChildrenMy children, they are mature beyond their years because of my cancer journey, wait, our cancer journey. They amaze me every day and they remind me why I get up and fight for my life every day. My parents have been wonderful, my mother is a rock for me and I don’t know how I could have made it this far without her, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s almost 7 years ago, he is not the same person he used to be, but he gave me strong and faithful roots that help me get through every day.

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah - Raylene and momThere are family members that have not been the most supportive, I know who they are and I tread carefully, some are just scared and others I have no idea, but I cannot focus on that, I have to focus on finding hope in the midst of pain.