Medjugorje and Split

I have recently received more great news.  Both my brain MRI and body scan were clear.  I will now have the brain MRI conducted every six months because it has been over three years without any recurrence of cancer.  My body scans will continue to be done every three months and I will remain on the same chemotherapy regimen.  The clean brain scan was another awesome milestone for me.  Soon after my brain surgery, I recall a doctor telling me that the longest she saw someone in my situation go without a recurrence of a brain tumor was three years.  I feel uncomfortable writing that sentence because my first thought is I’m jinxing myself.  But I realize God’s plans don’t take jinxes into account and I feel blessed to be here in my condition.

These scan results capped-off a wonderful trip with my family and parents to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.  Last summer we discussed and planned this trip with my parents.  I thought it would be a special opportunity to share the graces of Medjugorje and beauty of Split with my children and parents.  Medjugorje and Croatia have always been special to me and Janie and I can’t believe it was our third trip out there.  We are so blessed and thankful.  

Each of the trips over there have been different for me.  My first trip to Medjugorje was a spiritual battle.  Prior to the trip, I had tried three different chemotherapy combinations and was on the fourth.  I was told I would never be cancer-free.  I had lost my dream of normalcy and of beating this disease.  I needed spiritual healing, strength, and hope.  The second trip to Medjugorje came after my first clear scan.  It was a joyous trip of thanksgiving for my health and good fortunes.  Lastly, the most recent trip was to experience Medjugorie with my family.  This last trip was tough physically because of the side-effects of chemo.  I had my IV chemotherapy the day prior to leaving which went okay, but the side effects from my daily chemotherapy pills began to hurt my feet immediately and I struggled with walking.  I used Anabel’s stroller as a walker to help alleviate the pain in my feet and even when Anabel wasn’t in the stroller, I relied on it for support.  Many of Mejugorje’s religious sites are on rocky terrain and I knew it would be difficult to go to the sites with the pain in my feet.  As a result, I decided to stop taking my chemo pills during the trip.  This kept the pain from getting worse, but the pain didn’t completely subside.  Usually stopping chemo would cause me to worry about my cancer coming back, but I was comfortable with the decision.  

Medjugorje is special to me because it’s a place of hope and inspiration.  I love the diversity of the pilgrims that go to Medjugorje.  I find it beautiful when people come from all over the world to share faith.  Medjugorje is comforting in that it’s easier for me to live my faith there because everyone you see whether in a church, restaurant, grocery store, etc., is there for the same reason.  Witnessing others’ strong faith inspires my own faith.  I love having places like Medjugorje where I can feel closer to God.  I love going to mass daily and having opportunities to put God first in my life.  I love having saints watching over me and rooting for me in life.  All of this makes it easier for me to do what I believe is the most important thing in life- To love God and to love everybody.

 We went to Medjugorje because Mary has been appearing in the town of Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 36 years.  She appeared to 6 children in 1981 and continues to appear to some of them even though they’re older and some have moved away from Medjugorje.  Our most recent trip coincided with one of the visionaries receiving a message from Mary.  This was my first time being there for an actual apparition (as they call it).  Mary appears to one visionary on the 2nd of every month on a hill outside of town.  The people from the town and visitors from around the world go to the hill to pray and listen to the message.  This was Mary’s message to the visionary on that day.  We were so blessed to be there with so many others during the apparition.


“Dear children,

Thank you for continuing to respond to my invitations and for gathering here around me, your heavenly mother. I know that you are thinking of me with love and hope. I, too, feel love for all of you, just as my most beloved Son also feels it: He who, through his merciful love, is always sending me to you anew; He who was man; He who was and is God – one and true; He who suffered in body and soul for your sake; He who made Himself bread to feed your souls and thus to save them. My children, I am teaching you how to be worthy of His love, to direct your thoughts to Him, to live my Son. Apostles of my love, I am covering you with my mantle, because as a mother I desire to protect you. I am imploring you to pray for the whole world. My heart is suffering. Sins are multiplying, they are too numerous. But with the help of those of you who are humble, modest, filled with love, hidden and holy, my heart will triumph. Love my Son above all and the whole world through Him. Never forget that each of your brothers, within himself, carries something precious – the soul. Therefore, my children, love all those who do not know my Son, so that through prayer and the love which comes through prayer, they may become better; that the goodness in them could win; that souls could be saved and have eternal life. My apostles, my children, my Son told you to love one another. May this be inscribed in your hearts and with prayer, try to live that love. Thank you.”



Visiting Medjugorje was the main purpose of the trip, but we have also fallen in love with Croatia and spent a lot of time exploring the city of Split and surrounding islands.  The kids had many highlights (i.e. the plane ride and watching movies, eating ice cream- twice daily!?!, pizza, street performers on the promenade, boat rides and some church hymns).  But their favorite thing about the trip were the stray dogs in Medjugorje.

Thank you Zonk and Nan.  We couldn’t have done this trip without you.  We love you.  Thanks to all of you who read this blog and keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.  Words will never be able to express my appreciation.

Also, please pray for Janie’s cousin John Arguello-Dyck and his family and friends.  He recently passed away from cancer.  He was a talented writer and ran a sports-writing blog about the Chicago Cubs    



Risen Christ statue in Medjugorje

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Hiking up Cross Mountain

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Top of Cross Mountain


Kravica waterfalls in Bosnia Herzegovinia


Me and Janie in front of one of the falls


Laundry line towel races provided much entertainment


Anabel and her pizza


View of Split’s promenade from the water


My parents and the girls on the promenade


View from the castle on Hvar island


The girls hanging out.  Anabel trying to keep up with big sister


Anabel enjoying a frozen treat


Enjoying a swim in the beautiful Adriatic.


Blue Cave


The bell tower of Diocletian’s Palace in Split


The girls playing with “Jasper” and “Chilly”

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