Kim Eling was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2014, after she felt a small lump in her breast. She was only 26 years old at the time.
“It was a shock, she was so young, she was 26 years old,” her sister, Krissy de Waard, told Fox 17. “I just remember that sinking feeling after finding out, you’re just in disbelief that someone that young can get cancer. It puts a lot of your hopes and dreams on halt.”
Eling underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and beat the cancer back.
In early 2019, she and her husband, Mike, welcomed twin boys, Garrett and Willem. Five years after her first diagnosis and nine months after her twins were born, Eling began working out.
One day during a workout, her hip popped.
She went in to get an MRI and found out that not only was her leg injured, but tumors were everywhere. Her breast cancer had returned — and this time, it had metastasized to her vertebrae, rib, hip, leg, pelvis, armpit, and lung.
It was a dumbfounding, terrifying diagnosis.
But the Elings relied on their faith and their family, and leapt into action immediately, researching all of their options before quickly reaching a decision to go abroad for treatment.
Kim and her husband decided to travel from their home in Jenison, Michigan, to Tijuana, Mexico — a journey of almost 2,000 miles. Eling began treatment at Hope 4 Cancer, a center that treats all stages and types of cancer using alternative, holistic, and aggressive methods. They claim to offer “more therapies under one roof than any other clinic in the world.” Dr. Antonio Jimenez is the founder of the center.
Eling is in a wheelchair and has to be careful moving around, as her femur and hip bones are very fragile. Her bones are so frail that she was almost denied therapy when she got to Tijuana; the staff at Hope 4 Cancer initially wanted her to turn right back around to get surgery on her hip first. Thankfully, she was able to begin treatment anyway, and her doctors’ fears were assuaged. Eling is one of the youngest people at the facility.
On her Caring Bridge journal, Eling wrote, “As I write this update, I am doing doing four therapies at once and man does it feel good to know that as I sit here, I’m flushing toxins and killing cancer cells!”
Her twin boys were in the care of relatives at first. Then, partway through treatment, Eling’s husband flew back home to be with them and her mom flew to Tijuana to be with her for the rest of her treatment.
The Elings are very strong in their faith, and are hopeful and optimistic about what lies ahead.
After a few weeks of treatment, Eling is flying back home continue her care in the U.S. She will return to Tijuana every three months after that to continue treatment.
“After my first diagnosis I had a really hard time learning how to dream about the future again,” she wrote on Caring Bridge. “This was good because it grounded me. It kept me in the present. It made me thankful for the here and now.
“But it was also debilitating initially, because for a couple of years I was afraid to move. I was cemented in fear. I had made it through a terrible diagnosis and months of difficult treatment but then I didn’t know what to do. It was my first time facing real hardship in my life. Up until March 31, 2014, I had felt like I was pretty immune to hard circumstances. And so began my lessons on learning to find peace within difficulties.
“Now, looking back, I can see how much my faith grew during that season and how much God used it to prepare me for the season I am now in.”
On her Caring Bridge page, Eling often asks for specific prayers, and cites Bible verses that offer her some peace and hope. She has been so grateful for the support she’s received from the people in her life so far.
“We truly cannot believe how we have been so wrapped in support and love,” Eling wrote. “It is so evident that people are in this with us for the long haul (and a long haul it will likely be) and to know that we are not alone in this season blesses us beyond words.”
We wish the very best for Eling. Our thoughts and prayers are with her.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.