Meet author Kristina Smith – Widowed at age 25

March 16, 2019 | Danielle | Cancer, Testimony | 0

I met Kristina a few years ago at a meeting for people 7 Billion Ones featured, she quickly told me she was widowed at age 25 after her husband’s stage 4 colorectal cancer diagnosis. Our paths soon wove together as she became a Fight CRC advocate. She recently released a book that gives an honest…

Read More

Common questions answered – a colon cancer blog

March 1, 2019 | Danielle | Cancer | 0

When I started blogging, I named my blog “Semicolon Stories” because it was a colon cancer blog. All of my posts involved surviving stage 3 colon cancer. Several years later, I started this blog to talk about a variety of topics in addition to colon cancer. My blogs are a good picture of the evolution…

Read More

Taking surgery advice (and embracing the bowel diary)

February 16, 2019 | Danielle | Sickness | 2

It’s been a few months since I wrote a health update. Partly because I launched Unexpected: 25 advent devotionals and fully embraced it. (Which, if you supported this project, thank you! It sold over 800 books and is helping fund my friend Doc’s missionary travels!) A few other reasons I’ve not written an update include…

Read More

Colonoscopy Prep Night (and trying something new)

December 17, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Sickness | 2

This is a sponsored post. Salix Pharmaceuticals compensated me for this post. All opinions are my own. Certain product information has been included to meet regulations. This fall, I had my 13th colonoscopy. This is more than most people receive in a lifetime, but as a colorectal cancer survivor, and because I have Lynch syndrome,…

Read More

This is 35

December 14, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Faith | 0

“How does it feel to turn 35 years old!?” friends asked me across a conference room table earlier this week. They’re new friends, people I’ve met over the past year through work. People who’ve not lived the past 18 years by my side as I’ve survived colon cancer (although people who would have undoubtedly rushed…

Read More

Second opinions

December 6, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Sickness | 11

I don’t want to write this post. Not because I don’t like talking to you, or because I don’t want you to read my blog, but because I feel silly. Here’s why: I got a second opinion from a colorectal surgeon. And not only did the doctor’s second opinion make me stop and think twice…

Read More

J Pouch vs Ileostomy (Big Surgery Decisions)

November 16, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Sickness | 10

Don’t you love how medical news and decisions tend to linger? It’s like cutting onions or boiling eggs. Well, sort of, it’s way less scrumptious at the end. Meeting with a colorectal surgeon I met with a new surgeon this week at KU Cancer Center and discussed my latest colonoscopy. I liked him a lot.…

Read More

Not the News I Wanted

November 3, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Sickness | 9

I had dreams of posting a blog about my colonoscopy earlier this week and sharing that I was polyp-free and the coast was clear in my colon. Although I didn’t leave the clinic like I have in previous years, worried and concerned cancer was growing in my body, I didn’t leave like I’d hoped. During…

Read More

Why Survivor Stories Matter

October 2, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Communications | 0

I am one of the one million colon cancer survivors in the U.S. and an advocate for survivor stories. But I’ve not always worn this badge so openly or proudly. I think a lot of survivors, of any trauma, can relate. Although surviving cancer is typically viewed as heroic in our culture now, this wasn’t…

Read More

Dealing with negative body image issues

September 18, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

In 6th grade, my body image was so poor, there was a short stint of time where I’d order a salad for lunch, take a few bites of iceberg lettuce and then dump the remainder of the bowl – yellow-shredded cheese, plump-red tomatoes, crusty croutons, crisp-green lettuce and diced ham – into the trash can.…

Read More

August 2018 Health Update

August 29, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer | 0

Sometimes I step back and realize it’s a miracle I only post personal health updates a few times each year, if that. I don’t take this lightly. Seventeen years ago, after my colon cancer diagnosis, my parents were frequently emailing a list of friends and family with the latest surgery updates, chemotherapy stories and reports from…

Read More

How I started to look beyond the pain of infertility

April 25, 2018 | Danielle | Faith, Health | 1

I deeply struggled to accept the pain of infertility – zero chance of becoming pregnant – after my hysterectomy. Not quite 30 years old, I’d elected to go under the knife. Two cases of colorectal cancer were enough, and I didn’t want a third. Although I hadn’t received the “official” diagnosis yet, doctors suspected I had…

Read More

What Happened One Week After the Sugar Fast

April 6, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Guys – I feel like I should tell you something. On Monday, I chose to go back on the sugar fast. Yes, you read that right. I opted-in to depriving myself of sugar outside of the 45-day challenge, beyond the bounds of Lent. I had an amazing Easter weekend and it was full of the…

Read More

Yogurtini – Day 45

March 30, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Yogurtini. That’s how we broke our 45 day sugar fast tonight. Just walking the floor and staring at the delicious flavors of cold, frozen yogurt made my mouth water. I filled my cup with half cookies and cream and half coffee. And then came the toppings – oh good heavens the toppings. In the midst…

Read More

One More Day – Day 44

March 29, 2018 | Danielle | Faith, Health | 0

Well friends – time flies when you’re flying around the country and not eating sugar. I am excited tomorrow is the last day of my sugar fast! I plan to eat m&ms first (of course). I’ll probably drink a Jack & Coke during the day. I’ve strangely missed pop a lot. Ice cream will definitely…

Read More

A Monumental Week – Day 36

March 21, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 4

When I decided to blog throughout my sugar fast, I had two guesses about how this would go. One has come true, and the other has not. I first guessed keeping up with daily blogs would be a challenge throughout March. Three different big events in three different cities (like the PGA tournament in Arizona,…

Read More

City of Stars – Day 25

March 10, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

I’ve been in Los Angeles this week – the city of angels to some, the city of dreams and stars to others. No matter how you view Los Angeles, there’s a few things everyone can seem to agree upon: The palm trees are beautiful. The traffic is horrible. It’s a city full of dreamers. I…

Read More

Back to Biscuit Baking – Day 20

March 5, 2018 | Danielle | B's Kitchen, Health | 0

Yesterday, I baked again. It felt glorious. No, I didn’t break my sugar fast (although the banana coconut cream pie at the birthday party last night almost did me in). But yesterday morning, I broke out the sterling silver measuring cups. I got down the powdery white flour. I cut in some cold butter. I…

Read More

Cheers – Day 18

March 3, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Cheers that we made it through the first week of March! Cheers for friendship and the weather warming up. Cheers for performances, plays and finding your passion when you’re young. Cheers for God’s glorious creation that takes your breath away. Cheers to good hair days. Cheers to paying respects and being open to new beginnings.…

Read More

Crash – Day 16

March 1, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Most parents are all too familiar with the phenomenon called the “sugar crash.” You give the kids a ton of sugar, they go crazy running circles around you, and then soon – they’re completely out. They go from high to low in a very short amount of time. That’s probably a good way to describe…

Read More

Tour of Champions – Day 15

February 28, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 1

Up until today I’d never walked on a golf course (which is funny since today set quite a high bar for any future times I will walk on the green)! I’ve been in Tucson the past two days with Fight Colorectal Cancer to help launch us into March – which is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.…

Read More

Perfectly Imperfect – Day 13

February 26, 2018 | Danielle | Faith, Health | 0

For all of the type As out there – I am sorry. I skipped a day. There was no Day 12 post yesterday. I was too tired to write last night. A fun, but full, weekend had me under the covers before 10 p.m. and my eyelids were so heavy, I could hardly make it…

Read More

Cold Turkey – Day 11

February 25, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Today I sat in an ice cream shop without any ice cream in my hands. When all I wanted was to grab a scone from the coffee shop to help me wake up this morning, I held back. There’s candy in my freezer tempting me each time I open it. I can’t hardly walk into…

Read More

Who Are the Joneses Anyway? – Day 10

February 23, 2018 | Danielle | Faith, Health | 0

Have I mentioned I’m in the throes of writing a memoir? (I know – there’s a lot happening in my world right now.) As I write and reflect on the stories of my life, there’s a constant theme I keep running into:  comparison. I’ve taken big humbling gulps as I’ve uncovered the massive amount of…

Read More

Getting Fruity – Day 9

February 22, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Today the sugar cravings really hit. Maybe it’s because it’s Thursday and the kiddo hasn’t been in school all week. Or because we’re one week away from Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Or because gosh dang it I love, love, love sugar. I don’t know why today was so hard. But man it was. Thankfully you…

Read More

Day 8 – Day 8

February 21, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Well it’s after 10 p.m. and I am just now sitting down to blog about how the 45 day sugar fast is going. Throughout the day I’ve wondered what to share. And… well. It’s day 8. I did have chai tea today and afterwards I wondered if I’d accidentally drank sugar. I didn’t intentionally cheat…

Read More

Blogability – Day 7

February 20, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

I realized something as I sat on the rowing machine yesterday talking to my friend Kaitlyn about these daily blogs: You all are helping keep me accountable. Yes, it’s true. We may not even know one another personally, but just imagining your eyes hitting these posts is enough to keep me in the “no-sugar” lane.…

Read More

The Chocolate Box – Day 6

February 19, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Yesterday was hard, and for no particular reason. But out of all 5 days of eating no sugar (and of course after I called the sugar fast “fun”), I really, really wanted to cheat. There’s a small square box of chocolates sitting on our kitchen counter. I bought it before the sugar fast began, and…

Read More

Celebrate Good Times – Day 5

February 18, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Today’s update – so far so good. I’m holding strong and sticking to my sugar fast. I’ve been surprised with myself because not only have I skipped over all candy, chocolate and cakes but I’ve not had any honey or pure maple syrup either – things I consider natural sweeteners. I am eating a lot…

Read More

Together – Day 4

February 17, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

I received two texts yesterday from two different friends wanting to join me in the sugar fast. If you too are eliminating sugar from your diets for the next month – let me know! And welcome! I didn’t just love hearing from friends, but I loved how one of them put it, “I know I’ll…

Read More

Thoughts and Prayers – Day 3

February 16, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 0

Without thinking, I almost ate some Frosted Mini Wheats yesterday afternoon. I was hungry and I hadn’t had much to eat. A creature of habit, I opened the cabinet and had my outstretched arm nearly gripping the orange box when it registered – there’s sugar on them. I put the box down. This happened again…

Read More

Sunshine over Sugar – Day 2

February 15, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 1

In full disclosure I should tell you I’m not feeling on top of the world, so most foods – including sugar-filled deliciousness – didn’t look appetizing yesterday. But nonetheless, a full day without sugar during my 45 day sugar fast is a win. The fact it was Valentine’s Day and no pink candy hearts, iced…

Read More

45 Days of No Sugar – Day 1

February 14, 2018 | Danielle | Health | 2

Yesterday I took a bite of a chocolate-iced long john donut for the last time for the next 45 days. I dove into the box of Little Debbies my husband left for me and Mae, and I ate both of the snack cakes inside of the package without any hesitation. Yesterday was my last day…

Read More

17 Reasons God Meant Colon Cancer for My Good

January 23, 2018 | Danielle | Cancer, Sickness | 7

17 is a number that has followed me around for a long time, and today, I’m going to give you 17 reasons I can see how God used colon cancer for my good. For the past 17 years, I’ve been telling the story of being diagnosed with stage III colon cancer just a few weeks…

Read More

4 ways I found workout motivation

December 27, 2017 | Danielle | Health | 2

It’s hard to even make you think I’m a good exerciser who can write about workout motivation. Because I’m not. I start and stop a lot; especially over the past year or two. But I’m trying… again. I’ve found motivation for fitness. Here’s 4 reasons why:

Read More

To Life! – A Tribute to Dr. Tom

November 15, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer | 5

Scroll down past the big trees – he told us on his personal blog – and there you’ll find me. In a picture from one of his hiking trips, surrounded by beautiful tall trunks of some of the world’s tallest trees, there Tom Marsilje didn’t only find himself but introduced himself. Humble. Happy. Hopeful he…

Read More

Colonoscopy #12

November 5, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer | 0

I’m happy to report I successfully made it through another colonoscopy. I’m pretty sure this was my 12th colonoscopy over the past 16 years. Prep The doc recommended I return to using one of my preferred preps from the past:  Miralax and Gatorade. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, but it’s much better than the…

Read More

5 tips for talking to kids about cancer

August 18, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer | 1

Talking to kids about cancer isn’t easy, but if a close friend or relative has been diagnosed, I guarantee it’s on their minds. One summer, my daughter made a cute craft box at camp designed to keep her prayer requests. As I ooo’ed and awe’ed over her decorating, it took my breath away when she…

Read More

Long Overdue Health Update

July 11, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer | 0

Sometimes I sit so comfortably in cancer survivorship that I forget to write health updates. I think that’s normal. Oftentimes when we’re sick, we’re diligent to update friends and family when we’re in the thick of treatment and surgery. People are praying. Cooks are cooking. Friends are offering to do everything from errands to laundry…

Read More

I Survived Colon Cancer… And Camping

June 25, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer, Relationships & Coping | 0

Know what might be more polarizing than politics? Camping. You all are funny – I posted on my Facebook page and asked for tips as I headed toward the wild wild woods this weekend and got a variety of responses. All made me laugh out loud. They also showed me the mixed feelings people have…

Read More

Getting Angry at God

June 9, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer, Faith | 6

Today I’ve been “cancer free” for 8 years… again. On June 9, 2009 my second occurrence was found, breaking my 8-year “no evidence of disease” streak. Part of me wanted to sit in a puddle of worry today – what if the streak breaks again? Another part of me, a much smaller part, wanted to…

Read More

The Vote Mattered

May 5, 2017 | Danielle | Health | 1

There is justifiably two sides to every story, position and opinion. That’s hard to admit sometimes. But it’s the truth. Especially in politics. I try to maintain a balanced opinion when it comes to issues, and see both perspectives. But I find myself struggling deeply this week after the House’s healthcare vote. I am focusing…

Read More

16 Candles

January 23, 2017 | Danielle | Cancer | 2

If I could travel back in time and tell the 17-year-old standing in the back of the library one thing, the one who was just told she had colon cancer, it would be this: Look up. Breathe. Exhale. Seek. Repeat. If I could give her one heads up, I’d tell her to expect life to…

Read More

Because She Was Rose

December 18, 2016 | Danielle | Cancer | 21

I stood off to the side, a common place for me, and watched her arms raise and hips gently sway. The sparkles on her low-cut, v-neck, blue sequence dress flashed in the lights. Her tall silver heels and spiky hair, not to mention her signature blue eye shadow, led me to believe she felt good.…

Read More

Remembering My Why in Denver

November 6, 2016 | Danielle | Cancer, Communications | 0

I tried really hard but between the intriguing conversation with my Ethiopian taxi cab driver and the bumps from Denver’s road construction, I couldn’t seem to snap a great picture of the mountains. Not everyone’s amazing at iPhone photography. Case in point: Contrary to what the pictures may seem, the Colorado Rockies were beautiful. I…

Read More

From Scanxiety to Hopeful | A Devotional

October 26, 2016 | Danielle | Cancer, Devotionals | 2

The words were about to roll off the keyboard like drizzling butter over freshly popped popcorn when I stopped myself. No – the days of basking in scanxiety were over. Instead of writing about the trauma and pain of cancer, or the nervousness about my upcoming scans, I felt an invisible nudge to focus on…

Read More

Opening up about cancer again

September 4, 2016 | Danielle | Cancer | 11

I tried to stop writing about colon cancer a little while ago. Well, sort of. I moved away from writing on my Semicolon Stories blog – a site I began after my second diagnosis. Its musings and content mostly focused on “life after colorectal cancer.” I took an active step away from blogging about my…

Read More

The Red Shorts

June 30, 2016 | Danielle | Health | 3

In reality it was only a few seconds. But it felt like several minutes, if not hours. I stood there helpless in an outlet store staring at a selection of red summer shorts. Usually a “summer sale” would have helped me feel better about making a purchase. No luck this time. “Just pick up two…

Read More

15 Years Later – God is my Healer

January 23, 2016 | Danielle | Cancer | 3

On this day 15 years ago my life changed forever. I went to school in the morning. I attended a large high school with over 300 other students in my class. It was big enough that I didn’t know everyone at the school, yet somehow small enough that by mid-semester I knew, or at least…

Read More

This is the post for Belle.

January 8, 2016 | Danielle | Cancer, Faith | 4

This is the post for Belle. The one she asked me to write — more than once. The one she said people needed. The one she said people were asking about. The one she said would help. The one she said she couldn’t do, but the one she knew I could. I like to think…

Read More