Well, a lot has changed since I last wrote. I’ve been in the hospital the better part of a month. I am so groggy on pain meds that I can’t type all the details, but the gist, the bitter pill I’m trying to swallow, is that I’m dying imminently. Doctors tell me I have weeks, maybe a few months, left to live. A surgery temporarily saved my life but now we’re out of options. I’m being kept alive by IV nutrition and sips of liquids. I’ve only seen Eleanor a handful of days. I will soon start home hospice care.

There is always hope. I get excited when I think about heaven. Although, I don’t know how to picture it I know that it is better than anything we can imagine–and I can imagine some pretty great things. It will be wonderful to see loved ones who have already gone before and be continually present in the Light, where there is no pain or fear. I almost feel guilty the way one does when packing for a trip that others aren’t going on.

I will try to write as often as I can going forward, but staying awake, let alone typing, is a challenge.

One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

26 thoughts on “Prognosis

    1. Dear Amanda, Angela and I are touched and send our love. A bitter bill indeed and yet the bell of hope ringing in your words. Your gaze is on our beautiful maker and your security in that is clear. I have always deeply respected and honored the spirit you carry. Your dignity, restraint, and wit are a gift. I feel pulled in 5 directions and dimensions when I read your words, thinking of creative writing poetry so long ago, of this present darkness, of your young child and husband, of our collective future hope, and the times we as a community will enjoy together when we all stand on the other side.

      Share your heart if and when you can. You are loved and supported by many no matter.

      Love, Culley and Angela


  1. Dear, Beautiful Amanda,
    THANK YOU for allowing our invisible God…to be visible on you! He is mighty and I see His grace flowing through you. His strength REALLY IS resting on your weakness!! Thank you for sharing your journey. I am holding you, and your loved ones in my prayers before Him.


  2. Amanda, sweet, beautiful girl from my childhood: You are brave, you are incredible, you are precious. Tonight I lift up a prayer for unspeakable comfort, hope, and peace for you and for your family. May God hold you gently in the palm of his hand until you are face-to-face in eternal glory. Godspeed and love. -Sarah Jo Willey (and family)


  3. Brave Amanda–your battle is almost over and those who went before are waiting to bring you into God’s light. Be at peace dear one . Your suffering, your strength will be remembered by those who love you, all those whose lives you’ve touched. I pray you will rest easy as your life’s journey on this earth ceases and your eternal life with no pain, no sadness only joy and peace begins. Let your dearest ones know you’ll always be near just as our loving God has been with you all this while. Merry Christmas Amanda. Be not afraid for he goes before us always.


  4. Amanda I am very sorry for your news. As I read this it makes me realize what a beautiful person you are. I pray that the time you have with your family is filled with love laughs and smiles that will be fond memories for that beautiful little girl of yours. If there is anything I could do for you please let me know. God bless you and yours!


  5. Amanda,
    Life has indeed handed you a bitter pill, but you are handling it with grace that comes from the Holy Spirit.

    I hope that Charles knows that he can ask Nick and me for anything. I’ll do laundry, scrub floors, get groceries…Just let us know!

    And as for beautiful little Eleanor, through your writing and your pictures, you’ve left her a treasure trove of memories with you. Your writing, in particular, will help her when she’s older to understand on a deeper level who you are and all the ways you’ve sewn your best traits and values into the fabric of her character.

    And while it is utterly unfair and tragic that you didn’t get more time with her, these first few years are so critical in development, and you’ve taught her to nurture a sense of wonder, add sparks of playfulness, and ask good questions. Most importantly, you’ve taught her that she is worthy of unconditional love. What an amazing gift.

    Nick and I will be praying for you and yours in the months to come, and please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    All our love,
    Amy, Nick, Ellie, and Reese Donlan


  6. I hate this prognosis, but I love your attitude about it. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. The strength of your faith, especially now, is wonderful. God will be lucky to have you in heaven with him. *sob* You’re an inspiration to us all!
    Love you girl,



    Psalms 91:14 ” Because she loves me” , says the Lord ; “I will rescue her; I will protect her ,for she acknowledges My name.

    Keeping you in my prayers every day. I know words can take the pain away, but we are here (from sunny/windy Cape Town)
    for you , and we love you. Keep inspiring, you are so strong!!

    Love Karin


  8. Miracles happen in so many ways, maybe God needs You in heaven!!! We are praying for you and family as you continue on this journey.Amanda, you truly are an inspiration to all who have come to know you through your Mom n Dad in law. They are wonderful people, hopefully God has’nt thrown their mold away!!! May your remaining days be filled with those who love you and those who will miss you!!! Memories are wonderful!! Hugs


  9. Amanda, this is from your old journalism and religion professor. It is an odd combination but you will remember that you were in my Covering Religion class in 2005 and we took an extraordinary journey together to Israel. The reason I teach the class is to help young journalists write about the most mystical of things. I can confidently say that you’ve learned the lessons brilliantly. Even now you write with passion and spirit and beauty. Your friends hear you and so do the heavens. I am forever touched by your words.


  10. Dearest Amanda:

    There always was something special about you and now that is even more evident.

    You are a brave and wise woman and I love you very much.
    Professor Padwe


  11. I do not know you, but I am blessed with this message because of a mutual friend. Thank you for your reminder of what faith in our Lord’s plan can give us! You sound like a beautiful person who most certainly has a wonderful relationship with Jesus! One day you will no longer know ANY pain ever again. Take good care and blessings to you and your family.


  12. Thank you for your honest words here. I love you so much! Knowing you are looking forward to heaven is such a comfort — listening to the words of “Away in a Manger” last night and the part that says, “and fit us for heaven to live with thee there” made me immediately think of you. Praying, praying


  13. Amanda – I’m not sure if you remember me (Sonja Opstrup Berrios); I babysat you and your brother when you were young, but you were probably 4 or 5 years old when I left for college. I attended Cambridge United Church and was in the youth group when it first started up. Your dad was very inspirational to me, and your mom is also a wonderful and warm person.

    I’ve now been living in LA for nearly 30 years (!), but my husband and sons and I come back to Vermont every summer. My mom and dad (Shirley and Peter Opstrup) are here in LA visiting for Christmas and New Year, and they told me about your heartbreaking situation. Coincidentally I also got a friend request from Cara Allen St. Cyr, which led me to this beautiful blog of yours.

    I cannot express how sorry I am for you and your family. The world will be losing an amazing person, but I can tell that you have already contributed so much. I have been reading your reflections and am so moved by them. I find myself laughing and also brought to tears by your experiences and thoughts. What you have written will surely educate, encourage, comfort and inspire others. Thank you for sharing as you have. I hope the writing also brings comfort to you and your loved ones.

    I will be thinking of you and your extended family during this holiday season and sending you lots of prayers. God bless all of you.


  14. I know we have never met, but I wanted to tell you how much I admire your courage in writing this update.

    I have now had the privilege of being with three loved ones in their last weeks/days of life. I was also there the moment they passed through the veil. My maternal grandmother would often talk about things she could see. Lots of people…not necessarily anyone she could recognize at the time, but many people…infants, children and adult. They started at a distance and would come closer as she approached her death. She would tell us who was in the house with us and once she even spoke of her infant child (who died shortly after birth) sitting on the bed with her. She would also speak of the bright, beautiful colors…like rainbows. Waterfalls, flowers and amazing greenery.

    When my grandfather passed, he literally had a tear fall from his eye and I know it was from the things he could now see.

    Be encouraged…for the things that await you gave my loved ones such peace. For those left behind, God will watch over them and care for them as he did you. Many blessings and peace be to you and your family.


  15. We’ll join you in God’s unkowable time. Soak in the richness of this life, dear one, knowing it pales to what lies ahead. Our prayers and love are offered every moment to undergird you in your journey.


  16. Hi Amanda, I’m just hearing of your cancer and I can’t believe it. My heart breaks for you and your family. I am hoping it can still turn around. May peace be with you and your family and you have strength to enjoy Christmas.


  17. Amanda,

    The word that comes to mind when I think of you is radiance.

    You and Charles are two of the first people Tony & I met when we came to All Saints. I’ll never forget running into the two of you with sweet tiny baby Eleanor in your arms on K Street, just coming from a six week check up, I believe. We laughed we we realized that we were all part of the same parish and that I wasn’t some random stranger admiring your gorgeous new baby. You were radiantly happy and I just couldn’t tell Tony glowingly enough how much I was blessed by our chance encounter – the way that Charles looked at you and the way you both looked at the baby.

    When we all met at church to pray for you and Charles after the diagnosis, I’ll always remember that you were still radiant. Obviously shaken, both of you, but still radiantly in love and quietly trusting Jesus to guide you through whatever would come.

    Now, you radiate the Hope of Glory. Thank you for allowing that radiance to spill out on those around you, including me.


    Melissa Ortiz
    John 10:10


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