Monday, May 16, 2011

A lot of thoughts are going through my head, I hope I can make them make sense. A friend of mine with AML, Tanner, passed away this weekend. He was only 19, so not far from my age. He was unable to serve a mission because of his disease, but I know he is up there serving right now. My heart goes out to his friends and family. I can't imagine what they are going through.

Read Tanner's story at

Over the past week I have really been trying hard to focus on my blessings, rather than complaining about what I don't have. I may not be able to play volleyball just yet, but I have to legs to walk, and for that I am grateful. I did not have to have any operations that changed me physically, so I am still able to pursue playing. I am alive and well, and loving the little things of life. I am loving that it is becoming summer, as you know I spent last summer cooped up in a hospital room. I love the thought of being able to go back to school, and have a teacher who can lecture and give lessons rather than just doing worksheets. Last night I was able to take my first shower in a year, it is little things like these that make me feel closer to normality.

There are some days that I am very scared. Scared of relapse, scared of dying, scared of having my life ripped out from under me again. These things are always in the back of my mind. I realize that sometimes it is harder to heal emotionally than it is physically. But I know that we cannot live in fear, because that is no life at all. Little by little, I'm getting better. I am making progress. Sometimes I forget about cancer just for a little bit, and I can only look forward to more of these times.

I have had a great support system through out all of my illness. I honestly could not have made it through without my family, and without my dear friends. Thank you for helping me stay Steele Strong. It is so true that God does not put you through challenges on your own, you all have truly helped bear my burden. Thank you for the prayers, and thank you for everything.



  1. Rachel, that was all so beautifully put. You are right that it is often harder to heal emotionally than physically. I did have to cheer when you said you were finally able to take a shower. It is that small simple blessings that make us able to bear these burdens. We love you and we think you are a wonderful example to us.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Rachel. You are one of my heroes!

  3. One day when I was struggling with a lot of the same thoughts and feelings, someone who had already had cancer told me. "Someday, when you wake up, the first thing you think about won't be cancer and when you go to bed, it won't be the last thing on your mind." I still wait for that day, but I know it is just around the corner for both of us!
    Stay Strong!
    Christa Johnson

  4. You are an inspiration to me girl. I know I don't tell you that when I see you, but when ever you are in a room, you bring a little ray of sunshine with you. Thank you for reminding me to count my blessings and know that you and your family are some of my sweet blessings! Love you girl:)

  5. hooray for taking a shower!! i can only imagine how awful it has been not to take a good, hot shower. sometimes "just getting clean" doesn't cut it. :)

    i enjoyed your thoughts. you are right that it really isn't as simple as "i'm done with treatments". cancer is a complex thing.

  6. Thank you for continuing to tell us your story. Your frankness and honesty are refreshing. I'm glad you see past the rain.

  7. So sorry to hear about Tanner, Rachel. I hope his family is comforted during this hard time. It makes us all the more grateful for the milestones you are reaching (yay shower!) and the chance that you've been given to overcome this beast called AML. Love you, girl.

  8. Rachel I am so sorry about your friend.
    I know it must be very overwhelming to have that happen. I love that through that you can keep your thoughts toward all of us who love you and all the positive things you are enjoying and looking forward to.
    You remind me to slow down and appreciate that it becoming summer and enjoy a hot shower!
    Thanks for always lifting each of us!
    I love you Rachel and am so proud of you!

  9. Proud of you, Rachel. You are a great example of strength.