Believe in Miracles

by Nicole Body

Believe in Miracles
Hi! My name is Nicole Body. But that’s just a name. Who I really am is first, a follower of Jesus since 2011 and second, a wife to an incredible husband, Wes, as of June 2014. They carry me through this life with love, grace, and joy. The way I would describe my life would be vivacious {lively and animated}. I have always been on the go, am incredibly passionate about writing and speaking, love planning and hosting events, enjoy spending time with people, meeting new people and hearing their stories. You could say the percentage of the extrovert in me is around 300%. With a gigantic love for golden retrievers, Disney, unicorns, traveling, and everything that glitters, you may call me a 5-year old in the body of a 29-year old. But I can’t complain because life is something I love and enjoy!

Living in Colorado has been such a treat for years with beautiful mountains, gorgeous weather, and both my parents and in-laws living within 15 minutes of us. In May of 2017,
my dad took a position within his company that relocated them to Magnolia, Texas. I was sad but thankful that my brother and sister-in-law would be close by. {There is a purpose for me sharing this detail}.

2 weeks later, we had a BBQ with my in-laws. When everyone left and we got ready for bed, I couldn’t lie down without getting sick. Honestly, I thought I just ate too much barbeque but after a couple days of no sleeping or eating, I knew something was wrong. I called to make an appointment with my doctor, but only his practicing partner was available. I would have seen anyone. I needed to get this figured out. They tried diagnosing me with GERD but found that when he pushed on the area where my gallbladder was located, we may need further testing to see if my gallbladder was failing. 

So, I had an ultrasound taken. The doctor called back saying they found nothing wrong with my gallbladder but a lesion was seen between my gallbladder, pancreas, and small intestine. He thought it was likely nothing but wanted to move forward with testing with the small chance that it could be. After a CT scan, the doctor called me to share the heart-breaking news that the lesion was likely to be cancer and I would need surgery to remove it. What a blessing that the provider, who wasn’t even my primary doctor, truly cared about helping me or else we would have never found this. Blessings from the Lord show up everywhere. 

Upon meeting with my surgeon, he shared that I needed even further testing and we found that my gallbladder was, in fact, the reason I was having symptoms. With these results, my surgeon thought there was a good chance that this lesion wasn’t anything to be concerned about since it was the gallbladder causing symptoms. He did share that he would remove both just in case though.

After surgery on July 6, 2017, to remove the lesion and gallbladder, I was informed that not all of the lesion was able to be removed due to its location as it rested on my pancreas. The part of the tumor that was removed though was at pathology to determine if it was cancer or not.

I was officially diagnosed with stage 3 sarcoma cancer on July 18, 2017. The procedure that needed to be performed to remove this aggressive and rare disease was highly specialized and needed to be done by the experts. My surgeon set up treatment for me down at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas where I would need months to recover from it. And as God would beautifully write this story, my parents had just moved 45 minutes away from the center just a short month ago. {and this is why I shared that – more incredibly blessings from the Lord}. We had a place to stay. Treatment and survival would really be possible. I knew I could trust God with this as he demonstrated his presence in so many ways leading up to this point. So we were off. Packed up our lives and made the temporary move down to Texas with faith, a full tank of gas, and anything we could fit in our vehicle.

We were surprised to learn that I needed chemotherapy and radiation before surgery. So it would now be a 9-month adventure down in Texas. Chemo was difficult. I experienced many ups and downs through it, but always, I felt God’s nearness and love, which kept

me going. Well, I wasn’t able to tolerate chemo after 4 cycles as my liver levels couldn’t handle it so I had to stop 2/3 of the way through treatment. And then we found out that radiation would not be safe with the location of the tumor. So we moved on to surgery 3 months earlier than planned.

On December 13, 2017, I went in to receive a major surgery called the Whipple Procedure. My surgeon, who performs 80-90 of these per year, made the 9-inch incision down my abdomen to begin and, for the first time in his career, could not find any cancer even though it had shown up on my last scan. It was truly a miracle that I stand humbled and in awe before God today. I am grateful to be writing to everyone as a cancer-free woman.

I’m eternally grateful to be cancer free, but this is the question I face each day:
Why do I get to be cancer free while so many others still battle this disease?

I can’t answer that question, but what I can answer is “What am I going to do about it?” That is where this blog comes in. I want to love, encourage, and support each person I can. I hope to share experiences of what I went through and how I got through it {you will hear a lot about my faith}, what post-cancer life looks like, awareness of all cancers, and words of encouragement and inspiration to bring joy {and, of course, that includes lots of sparkle}! I hope you’ll join me on this journey and find hope, laughter, peace, joy, and lots of love!

I’m so glad you’ve dropped by to hear the story God has been writing in my life. I would love more than anything to hear your story and walk with you through your journey as well. I’m still the same extraverted girl as before, just on a new mission, with a new community, and new passions. I can’t wait to chat with you! Thank you for bringing sparkle into my life!

Love always,

Nicole Body

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Nicole Body and I am @SparklySurvivor. I just turned 29 and live in Parker, Colorado with the LOVE OF MY LIFE, Wes Body. I love Jesus, Disney, traveling, puppies, and pretty much everything that glitters! If you look up the word “extrovert” in the Dictionary, you may find my name. I was diagnosed with stage 3 sarcoma cancer in the summer of 2017 and by a miracle, became cancer free on December 13, 2017. Each day, I strive to live my life to with abounding faith, unconditional love, and lots of sparkle!

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
This is a tough one because I am an open book! But I would have to say that I love to dance. Anytime my husband and I have a chance, we sign up to learn ballroom dancing. And I’m usually dancing in public, while I cook, or in the car.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“All behavior makes sense in context.” It’s easy to get angry, frustrated, or hurt quickly when people say, do, or the lack thereof both of those things. When we seek to understand rather than be understood, we save ourselves a lot of heartbreak. (Please note, I am not in any way trying to justify the actions of others, but understanding them, helps us to have compassion, empathy, and possibly a logical conversation.)

What would you say to 16-year-old you?
Oh, my sweet Nicole, getting flustered about which 12 songs you’re going to put on a CD to best reflect how you feel about the boy you like is not worth being upset about. Look at the world around you and find ways to bring the love in those songs to others.

What is your greatest fear?
To not become the person I am called to be.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Oh absolutely. Goodness, haven’t we all? It hurts, it’s hard, and sometimes, it’s justified. I hope that we can take constructive criticism from others with open hearts and brush off the negative things that are intended to hurt us. Work towards becoming the person you were called to be, encourage others to do the same, but also, never forget to love one another right where each one of us is at.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are not alone. In your triumph, in your struggle, in your pain, in your anger, in your joy, even in your loneliness. You are loved, you are understood, and God is always, always by your side.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
On a large scale, I am forever grateful for the men and women who fight each day for the freedoms we have in the United States. Colorado, oh my, I love Colorado. Watching the sunset over the mountain range, snowy peaks, and bundling up next to a fire is hard to beat. Parker is a cute, charming town and it is super close to surrounding cities. And I love living in my home because my husband is there to make it special and filled with love each day!

What do you love most about yourself?
My scars. Weird, right? I have a 9-inch incision through my abdomen and a CVC scar where chemo was administered (plus various others on my body). I have learned to love my scars as they tell parts of my story, my journey, and miracles that occurred.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I was told I couldn’t do it. That I couldn’t lose weight. I knew, especially after having had cancer, that I wanted to start taking care of my body more. As of today, I am down 87 pounds and finally back in a healthy weight range for my height. It was meal by meal, choice by choice, and although it was tough, it has been worth every minute.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
Life is short, God is good. We are not promised a single day more than the one we are given, so I try to live my life to the fullest each day (and some days, that includes resting)! God is faithful and has walked every up and down of this life with me. He is the Giver of my joy, excitement, peace, and love in my life.

Why do you love to travel?
I love traveling with my husband and creating new memories in new places. It’s so fun to be able to act like a kid again (why we often travel to Disney) and to see other parts of the world. I love to travel for business, fun, and to volunteer.

What motivates you most?
My faith. Everything that I have learned in Scripture shows the beauty of what God has done for us and I want to reflect that light and love to the world in all that I do!

How do you manage your work-life balance?
I love my job and life outside of work. My husband and I schedule regular date nights and I also physically put times on the calendar to write, read, and see friends. I treat each thing like an “appointment” and will not cancel unless there is an emergency. If I don’t write it down, it is usually forgotten.

What is your favorite meal?
I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day! I love a good breakfast omelet!

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Pray, read, and write. I always tell my husband I love him and kiss him every day!

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
One of my bucket list items was to learn how to play the drums. So, I am currently learning how to do that! I love Christian rock music and it’s fun to learn something that I have always wanted to do.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
100% an author and motivational speaker. It is a dream that I am working towards!

What is something on your bucket list?
Publish the book I just wrote sharing my cancer journey. It is a true story of miracles, love, and overcoming obstacles. And I want to share it with anyone who needs a story of hope through hard times.

Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
When my surgeons went in to remove the cancer resting on my pancreas, they made a 9-inch incision in my abdomen. When they got to where the cancer should have been via my scan, it was completely gone. There was nothing to remove. So, they stitched and glued me back together, and I have been cancer free for almost 11 months! Glory to God!

Where do you find inspiration?
Scripture, my husband, and my mentor, Libby, inspire me every single day. I am so grateful and feel very blessed by them.

What are your biggest passions?
I am so passionate about my faith, my husband, my family and friends, writing, and speaking. Oh, and let’s not forget, Disney! Lol I am probably a 5-year-old girl stuck inside of a 29-year-old’s body!

More About Nicole

Nicole Body is a stage 3 sarcoma cancer survivor. She is the creator and author of her website and blog www.SparklySurvivor.com where she shares experiences during treatment and post-treatment while sharing words of encouragement on how to live life joyfully at the crossroads of faith and cancer. She is a writer for the I Had Cancer blog and her cancer story has appeared in Cancerwise, the MD Anderson Cancer Center blog. She hopes to publish the book she just finished writing about her journey soon and strives daily to bring encouragement to others who have battled cancer.

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