What a Difference a Year Makes!

How a Kiss of Hope Helped Me Get Through Gut-Wrenching Circumstances

You’ve probably heard the saying, “What a difference a day makes!” People say that when their not-so-great circumstances one day have dissipated by the very next day. The storm clouds are gone and rainbows are now on their horizon. I wish that would have been the case for me and Steven last year during this time.

But it wasn’t. 2016 will go down in the record books as the most difficult year of mine and Steven’s married life. I wouldn’t wish the dark circumstances we were going through on anyone. Just reflecting on it almost turns my stomach. But God…God was faithful in everything.

In fact, I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror one morning putting on my makeup when I heard the Lord say, “There’s gonna be brighter days, Kim.” I immediately agreed with Him and said it out loud with passion: “There’s gonna be brighter days!” I think AIR1, the radio station I was listening to, must have also been tuned into the same frequency that God and I were on that morning during that sacred moment. Immediately after I echoed the words of my Father, MercyMe’s song, Move, started playing with the lyrics,

I’m not about to give up
Because I heard you say
There’s gonna be brighter days
There’s gonna be brighter days
I wont stop, I’ll keep my head up
No, I’m not here to stay
There’s gonna be brighter days
There’s gonna be brighter days

I call times like this kisses from the King. And did I ever need a kiss from Him on that gloomy March morning in 2016!

These gut-wrenching circumstances started in December 2015. Violent episodes of high morning blood pressure began to wake me up, with accompanying dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and a high heart rate. By the end of January, 2016, I had undergone several medical tests including an echocardiogram, a kidney sonogram, a transesophageal echocardiography, a heart cath, and a kidney MRI.

Through the testing, I learned that I had a PFO – a hole in the septal wall between the left and right upper chambers of my heart and a tiny right kidney that the heart doc assumed I was born with. Though small, my kidney was still functioning and the answer to the PFO was an aspirin a day for stroke prevention. Both of those issues seemed to be an easy fix.

My heart doctor suspected that the secondary hypertension I was experiencing was hormone related, so he referred me to an endocrinologist. After running several tests, my endocrinologist diagnosed me with Primary Aldosteronism, a condition where the adrenal glands secrete too much aldosterone. I didn’t realize the adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys (I must have been daydreaming when that was covered in Biology class).

So my endocrinologist referred me to a kidney doc. (I’m not sure why the song I learned as a child, the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone…is going through my head right now. Weird.) After looking over my records, my kidney doc recommended I have a nuclear test in order to rule out any small tumors in my adrenal glands that could be contributing to the overproduction of aldosterone.

And that’s where I was one year ago at the time of this writing (March 23)–at BSA Hospital in Amarillo undergoing the first day of a very expensive, two-day test called an Octreotide Scan. Steven and I had prayed about whether or not to even have the test done. We finally surmised that you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind. And peace of mind was something I was in great need of.

My lack of peace wasn’t just due to the medical issues I was experiencing. There was a situation going on in my personal life that had been off-kilter for way too long. It also needed to undergo an extensive test. And it did–in the midst of all the medical testing I was going through.

To be honest, the personal situation felt far worse than any of the medical issues I was experiencing. Looking back, I realize that it contributed to some of the medical issues. Don’t believe anyone who tells you emotional issues cannot contribute to physical issues. Because they can and they do. They did with me.

Eight days had passed and I still hadn’t heard back from my kidney doc on the scan results. So I just thought, “No news is good news.” Until I got the phone call on Friday, April 1. I had just gotten comfortable with a bag of Sea Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips, a Diet Ginger Ale, and another episode of one of my favorite Netflix series, The Flash. (I love superhero shows.) It was my kidney doc with some surprising, unsettling news. And it was no April Fools’ joke, either.

All I was expecting was a courtesy call letting me know that my nuclear test results came back clear. Instead I heard, “I’ve been consulting with other doctors on your results. It could be a false-positive. So I’m going to refer you back to Dr. _____ for more testing.” When I asked him where the spots were, he told me they appeared to be on my right adrenal gland and a couple in my liver. The doctors were suspecting that these spots were neuroendocrine tumors (the kind of cancer that Steve Jobs had, also known as carcinoid cancer).

In my follow-up with my endocrinologist, he told me that there wasn’t anything he could do if the cancer had already spread to my liver. He also wanted to do more blood and urine tests and wait three months to repeat the Octreotide Scan. Wait three months? After getting a possible metastatic cancer diagnosis? By that time, Steven and I were in disbelief and started researching other options. We wanted answers now, not three months from now.

The wonderful news is that by June 25th, Steven and I were driving home from Colorado, rejoicing at the diagnosis of one of the top docs at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Denver: No tumors! Steven and I both believe that God did a miraculous healing in my body during that time. We also believe that the faithful prayers of church family, other family members, and friends contributed to my healing.

There is much more to this story concerning my physical health and the extremely difficult situation going on in my personal life last year at this time. I intend to share more kisses of hope from my King during that time in future posts as God leads.

Now, as you may well imagine, every time I hear that MercyMe song, I can’t help but dance and shout, “Thank You, Lord, for much brighter days!” If you would like to dance and shout right now to this fantastic song, please join me:

In closing, I realize that many of you have gone and are still going through much more difficult circumstances than Steven and I were at this time last year. I also realize that many of your stories haven’t had happy earthly endings. Please know my heart breaks for you. But…if you are a believer in Christ, there will be no end to the brightness you will experience with Him in Heaven. I pray you are comforted by these words:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23).

Dear reader, if today’s post resonated with you, I would love to interact with you by asking you some questions:

  1. Could you describe your current circumstances as gut-wrenching and seemingly never-ending?
  2. Has the King of your heart “kissed” you in the midst of these painful circumstances? If so, how has He kissed you? If not, ask Him to give you a kiss of hope for brighter days. This is a prayer request He loves to answer yes to!

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

Until next time,

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.


Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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2 thoughts on “What a Difference a Year Makes!

  1. What an amazing story! I know how tough the waiting can be when it comes to medical issues. Thank you for sharing!

    • You’re welcome, Carolyn. I’m still in awe over everything God did during that time. I’m so glad He moved me to journal the details. It’s amazing how quickly we can forget His wonderful kisses.