Know. Believe. Trust. Receive.
In January of 2015, at 41 years of age, I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc ovarian cancer. Needless to say, my family of five has been completely changed by this journey.
I was feeling some pain in my side and I had developed some severe bloating, so I went to the doctor and she decided to check my gallbladder. My gallbladder was fine so she ordered more tests. I called the doctor’s office a few days later and the nurse said I’d have to come in for the results. That’s when I knew something was wrong.
The day after I was diagnosed, I saw a surgeon who admitted me to the hospital and prepared me for surgery for the following day. The surgery was close to five hours and he was able to remove all the cancer. I was out of ICU in hours and out of the hospital in six days. I walked a mile on day 10 with a catheter still attached. My recovery occurred quicker than the doctor expected.
“I have a wig I wear sometimes, and some nice scarves, but I am not going to be sad about it this time. I’ve decided to change my perspective. I can be upset about losing my hair, or I can understand that I had to lose it to be here on this earth with those I love.”
Three weeks after surgery, I was scheduled for dose-dense chemotherapy. I would go every week for 18 weeks, have two drugs on week one, and one drug on weeks two and three. I lost all of my hair, and while I initially thought this would not bother me, I ended up crying almost every day over this loss.
The chemo made me a little tired, and I didn’t feel great a couple days after the infusion. Nevertheless, my husband and I kept exercising. Movement made both of us feel better. All was well for a little over a year. During the summer of 2016, I started having some tingling in my nose and one of the fingers on my right hand. I went to the doctor and learned I had a lesion in my head. They did not biopsy it, so I’ve always refused to believe it was cancer. Still, as it was causing issues, I had to have it taken care of, so I had what is called cyberknife radiation. This is a treatment that targets only the spot that needs to be removed. It worked!
I had a scan simultaneously with the cyberknife radiation, two spots were found in my abdomen. It was time for chemo again, only this time I made the difficult decision to have only one drug even though the doctors wanted me to have two. At first, I was concerned it was my ego keeping me from agreeing to the two drugs. I did not want to lose my hair again. Every time I thought about having both medications, I felt ill. But I wanted to live, so I prayed to God and I asked Him to help guide my decision. Boy, did He.
Seeking encouragement months before, I contacted a 20-year ovarian cancer survivor on the internet. On the day I prayed to God asking for guidance, I received an email from the survivor. She told me she was given carboplatin only, that the doctor did not want her to use taxol unless necessary.
God answered my prayer. I told the doctors I would use carboplatin only. I wanted to minimize the chemicals going in my body and keep it as healthy as possible while getting rid of the spots they’d found (still have trouble using the word cancer). Two treatments in, a scan was done and the spots were gone. I didn’t need the second drug. The oncologist said I’d made the right decision.
“This journey has been terribly difficult. I am human—fear, worry and doubt plague me at times. I remind myself that worry is a lack of trust in God. I work to know, believe, and trust that God has cured me. It is a constant effort.”
I was back on track for another year before I had to have cyberknife again in January and April of 2018. Then in July of 2018, more lesions appeared. I was to receive ten whole brain radiation treatments. But after the first treatment, my brain swelled, there were complications, and I wasn’t expected to make it. I was admitted to the hospital and radiation was suspended. I was to be made comfortable. Our pastor came to pray; my children and my husband prayed with him. Lots of other people who’d heard were praying as well. A few hours after my pastor left, I recovered. I sat up and said I had to use the bathroom then proceeded to get up out of the bed.
Monday morning, when the doctor made his rounds, he was astonished. I was sitting up in bed, my speech had recovered, and I was able to take short walks in the corridor. He had no explanation. I said to my doctor, “My God is big.”
The doctor put me back on the radiation cycle. I had ten total. Every time I’ve had radiation, it has worked. While it causes fatigue, I am still able to take walks and lift weights. Each time my husband and I hike, I have more and more energy.
As a result of the radiation, I still experience tingling sensations and I have lost all of my hair. This time the hair loss was less upsetting. My youngest and I shaved it all off, and I’ve been going around a lot of the time bald. I have a wig I wear sometimes, and some nice scarves, but I am not going to be sad about it this time. I’ve decided to change my perspective. I can be upset about losing my hair, or I can understand that I had to lose it to be here on this earth with those I love.
God has a plan for my life or I wouldn’t be here. He wants me to live and share all the wonderful miracles He’s performed throughout this difficult situation. I do not believe for a second He caused the illness, but I do believe He’s used it to shine out in my life. I still refuse to believe the lesions in my brain were cancer. Remember, as you think in your heart so are you (Proverbs 23:7).
Whole brain radiation is not something that can be done over and over. I am glad radiation works for me, and I am believing and trusting that now that my whole brain has been treated, I will remain healthy and without any further issues. Here’s one of the ways God reminded me I can trust that I am cured:
After I finished radiation, I was watching the 700 Club and there was a prayer for someone with Stage III cancer who experienced it coming back in other places. The man praying said the cancer is gone and the cells quit replicating. I knew that prayer was meant for me. In times of doubt and wondering if the brain lesions were cancer, I remember that either way, I am okay. The Sunday I returned to church, my pastor said he believes it is the sincere prayers of my children that saved me. The fact that my children believed when they prayed means so much to this mom who promised her kids she’d prove there’s a God.
This journey has been terribly difficult. I am human—fear, worry and doubt plague me at times. I remind myself that worry is a lack of trust in God. I work to know, believe, and trust that God has cured me. It is a constant effort.
What is most difficult is that I am not the only one who has to navigate this journey. My family is just as much affected. Nevertheless, my plan is to keep living, to keep spreading God’s word as He wants me to because He wants me to live a long, healthy life as His servant in this world. He wants my family to have me around, so I have to do my part. I suppose it’s always about more than yourself at the end of the day. I have to get the word down in my spirit and keep it there. I have to share my testimony, and, I must always know, belief, trust, and receive the absolute good the Lord intends for myself and those I love and cherish.