This months inspiring woman is Christie Perkins!
She was nominated by Nicole Sanders. She sent me a beautiful email that I would like to share...
"There is a woman I would like to bring to your attention. Her name is Christie Perkins and she is absolutely incredible. She has 4 little boys ranging in ages 14 to 4 or 5. She has been through breast cancer and was in remission but just recently found out that it has return and has spread. She now has stage 4. She has a blog where she shares her thoughts How Perky Works. I'm not a great writer and I'm definitely not doing her justice, but she has positively affected my life and the lives of the young women she serves in our ward (including my daughters). She has an infectious laugh, a beautiful smile and a positive attitude that never stops. She has used her experiences to inspire others and has chosen to make the best out of each day. We recently had a ward fast for her and the spirit in the room when she bore her testimony of how everything would be okay was palpable. Her and her husband were the ones giving comfort to us instead of the other way around. They have said anything that helps you understand the atonement and brings you and your family closer to Christ is good. I would love to see her recognized for the good she has done for so many."
This was my first time meeting Christie and I could immediately tell that all the things Nicole said about her were true. She is so positive and has such an uplifting spirit.
Here is her story...
I had my whole life planned out. I was going to wear crinkle top polyester pants and have 88 blazing candles on my last birthday cake. It’s all I ever wanted to be when I grew up- an old woman.
For some reason, it’s always been my magical age: 88.
It’s not so much about what I would be but who I would be. All of life’s lessons would be wrapped up in a neat, wrinkled, little old lady package. I wanted that. I wanted to be a lady beaming with wisdom, insight, and experience. I wanted to grow up to be my very best self.
And I knew age would give me that, even if it came with memory lapses and dentures.
I told my Heavenly Father my life plan. I wanted to write books, give sermons, and change the world. I wanted to be there to pick my kids up when the world scrapes their knees. I wanted to see my children cross personal oceans and discover promised lands. I wanted to help my husband grow lilac bushes that mimic decade distant floral perfume (because I won’t let him plant granny bushes while I’m still in my youth).
But for years I felt there was a trial coming. I’ve known it for most of my marriage. But a little whispering told me that regardless of my plan, He had a plan for me. Maybe there was something more for me. More, not less. God was kind and prepared me and my family for this trial.
Out of the blue, my kids started praying that we would know what to do when times were hard. They prayed for this every day for about a year.
I wondered what they meant by that.
Then in May of 2013 my life took a turn. I was diagnosed with invasive ductile carcinoma with lobular features. In a nutshell, I had two types of breast cancer. I was 34 years old. Though I believe I had the best possible doctors, my mastectomy revealed a remaining cancer finger and a report that cancer had spread to my lymph nodes: which means it could have travelled anywhere else in my body.
So the doctors were very aggressive with my chemo and radiation and felt that they got it all. They did all that they could over that year. I lost all of my hair, taste buds, and energy but I was on the road to better days. Or so we thought.
After treatments my focus on life was more driven. My hair grew back in (even though it reflected a hyper poodle) and I was enjoying cheesecake again. I started a blog about the goodness of life and highlighted parts of my cancer journey. I spoke at several group gatherings. I watched my boys learn important life skills, and I even I visited hospitals and kissed more abrasions than I ever had with my kids. Life was good.
But about 18 months after my last treatment, a constant and gradual decline in energy and a lump in my neck and on the back of my head revealed that cancer had returned. In February 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. My cancer was traveling with an illegal passport. You see, I was on a drug that was supposed to stop the cancer from growing at all. The doctor was in disbelief.
Meanwhile, my cancer was living the dream, vacationing to various parts of my body: the center of my chest, my lymph nodes, a ribcage, a vertebrae, my right arm, and my right hip. But, all of the spots were small. So that was very good news. We could get a grip on this.
Though this news was tough, I had a logical explanation for all of this: God has a plan for me. And because my plan isn’t His plan doesn’t mean I don’t feel His love. Not a chance. I am blessed with a strength beyond my own. I know this because just before I was diagnosed again my 5 year old started praying for strength.
And I feel it daily.
He is near. His angels cushion my pain. And at diagnosis I felt an overwhelming peace that no matter what happens it will all be okay. I trust in His plan for me.
In just 5 short months after my second diagnosis, my cancer blew up. I now had cancer on every vertebrae and several more lesions in my premium cancer locations. But a miracle occurred. By the next PET scan it showed that my lesions in my spine were healing and the lymph nodes were mostly resolved.
God does have a plan. And I walk everyday with full trust in that plan, whatever it is. My gift is today and I am fully aware of that. He is loving and kind and he never leaves us without heavenly help.
Cancer is shaping me exactly into who I wanted to be. I’m gaining compassion, patience, and appreciation for bad days because I know it amps up the good days. I get my granny naps in and I enjoy other people’s lilac bushes.
Cancer gave me so much more than what I lost. What a gem. It gave me perspective, more valuable time with my family, and a messy house. It helped me see and love the value of today. Today is my gift. I stand in awe with every sunset the beauties of the day, the tough ones and the good ones.
I may never get my crinkle top pants. Who knows? I might. But, just because life doesn’t go the way you planned doesn’t mean that it won’t all work out. Cancer has given me oodles of gifts and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The things I have learned about myself and especially my Heavenly Father are things that are far more valuable than a comfortable, perfect, life. And somehow in all of this I believe he is making me into the best person I can be.
His plan is perfect. I understand that my own life plan lacks the perspective my Heavenly Father has for me. I fully trust in him.
Because, you know what, I have full confidence that His plan is better. And I’m not going to battle with that.