10 Year Cancer Survivor!     

     In Dec 2003 I had chest pain. Tests showed nothing.

 In February of 2004, my 17 year old daughter, Vicki, wanted to get an apartment and be on her own. She was a graduating senior, mature, and the Lord had already provided an answer. Our house is a duplex, so she could   rent our apartment. The large room had been our schoolroom,  but her sister’s  desk was not necessary as she had already graduated. Vicki and I decided to bring it down the stairs, her at the top and me on the bottom. About half way down her grip slipped and I took the full impact of the heavy desk on my chest.

A few days later I was still hurting quite a bit so I decided to check out the damages. Whoa! On my chest wall was an egg sticking out as plain as day. How had I missed that? At that moment I knew it was cancer. This was not just a fear, but knowledge and a God-given peace.

I made a doctor appointment right away. The doctor said I could not get into the only breast surgeon I knew of for 3-4 months at best. I ought to look for another doctor. I called anyway. There was a cancellation in 5 days. Thank the Lord! A mammogram showed a lump that she was sure was a “cyst”. The aspiration of it did not go well.  “Just to play it safe” she sent it to the lab. Six days late I got a call saying she wanted me in her office the NEXT morning. The knowledge of my heart had been confirmed. The only surprise was that it was a rare form, as well as the most aggressive.

Vicki says that dropping the desk on me was the best things she ever did for me. LOL

By April 25th, I had had surgery,  a port put in, and the three types of chemo established.  In only 8 weeks I  made it through what should have been a very long process and was already starting chemo. Praise the Lord for His perfect timing!

eye liner hair   Two weeks later my hair bailed out and the season of looking like I had a bowling ball for a head began.  I knew that was coming, but I tried to keep a sense of humor. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

 The wig was torture on an already hurting head. So began the era of my “maid’s cap” or a ski hat.  Looked great for church!


My blood cell counts dropped, the white count to 0.00. Isolation protocol.  I managed to talk my oncologist into allowing me to go to church as long as I stayed in a separate room and listened to the service away from people. Thank God for an understanding doctor.                 

Then time came for the last chemo. Doc told me the human body was naturally allergic to it, so they would pump in Benedryl. That would work for the majority, but reactions could not be predicted. A reaction, if it happened, would kill me in 3 minutes. By the time they would know that I was reacting it would be too late. After prayer I decided to continue.

During that time our church had evangelistic meeting which I missed. There was also a guest singer from another church.  I had been taking tapes of the meetings to chemo. When it was just about time for this chemo, I was scared - not scared of death and Heaven (I had accepted Christ about 40 years before), but what it would be like to die.  I put on the tape to help distract my mind and heart.  Just as they were putting in the chemo, the guest singer started singing these words:

       Day by day, and with each passing moment,
      Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
      Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
      I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
      He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
      Gives unto each day what He deems best—
      Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, 
      Mingling toil with peace and rest.

      Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
      With a special mercy for each hour;
      All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
      He Whose Name is Counselor and Pow’r.
     The protection of His child and treasure
     Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
     “As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
     This the pledge to me He made.

     Help me then in every tribulation
     So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
     That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
     Offered me within Thy holy Word.
     Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
     E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
     One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
     Till I reach the promised land.

Precious words! Such peace flooded my soul. No worry. No fear. By the time the man was done singing, the three minutes were passed.  I was out of immediate danger.  What a sensitive God to meet my every need

Then  came the very necessary Benedryl  problem. I reacted to it in 10 minutes exactly.  Dramatically. 3-7 seizures every treatment, every week  for 13 weeks.

  June 30th, 2004 was our 25th anniversary. We had planned to renew our vows and have a formal reception – not like the sandwich and cake reception in our home. I would get a really elegant dress too, not like the plain one I actually got married in. I had planned for that dress for a year. My dreams were crushed.

  As it turned out, my parents and older brother came. Mom made a nice dinner and I made some simple cardboard decorations. We had a picnic too before everyone left. I was so grateful to God for Mom and Dad who were always there and understood.   


Mom had been coming to help care for me, but in July she developed some back pain and had to return home for tests and surgery.  I talked my oncologist into allowing me to be with her for her surgery and a few days afterward, but I could only miss one treatment. With absolutely no immune system remaining  I sat in ICU with her until a few minutes before she went into a coma. On August 17 my precious mother went home to be with the Lord – pancreatic cancer. She never had any idea. Despite all the exposure to illness, I never got sick. My God is still the Great Physician!

Mom’s death created another problem more than just grief. With Vicki and Joe both working, I had no one to care for me. The last chemo, while it had not killed me, created horrendous pain and migraines. The pain meds dropped my BP so low I could not lift my head from the pillow at times.  Solution: For two months

 I lay on a foam mattress on the floor next to the fireplace (so I could not fall) while they were gone. I had a Porta-Potty next to me,  meds, food, and water on the hearth next to  me for 6-8 hours/day. Those were the most awful and dark days of pain and grief.  The Lord in his mercy provided me furry comforting help – my Border Collie, Mocha. She had not been trained, but she just  knew what I needed, never leaving my side unless  it was to take or get something for me. She became my hands and feet. She was the reminder that God  would never leave me helpless.

October began with radiation – the max dose. Not much to say other than I was so glad to get rid of that nasty “sunburn” and blisters from the7th week. Since I had no one to drive me, a van service was granted. God provided again.

The long 9 months of my life were finally completed. All looked well…weeeell, except for my still bald head. My hair came back in fine, curly, fuzzy, and in three colors. I felt like a calico cat!

Almost exactly a year later another lump showed. The radiologist jumped the gun and told me it was malignant again. He was one of the docs who had miscalled the “cyst” the previous year. However this time it actually was a benign cyst. The cancer I had previously had the ability to camouflage itself to look like other structures. Thank God for good pathology labs.

Now today, Feb 28, 2014, I am a 10 year cancer survivor!  My hair is back,  although mostly white.  I can testify that God was good in 2004 - through the surgery, chemo, radiation, my mom’s death, the pain and loneness,  a second misdiagnosis, and the residual health problems from treatment. He is still good today.  Praise His matchless name!


What Cancer Cannot Do

     Cancer is so limited,
          (Yet In All These Things)

     It cannot cripple love,
  (We Are More Than Conquerors Through)

     It cannot shatter hope,
          (Him Who Loves Us)

     It cannot eat away faith,
         (For I Am Persuaded That Neither Death Nor Life,)

     It cannot destroy peace,
         (Nor Principalities Nor Powers,)

     It cannot kill friendship,
         (Nor Things Present Nor Things To Come,)

     It cannot suppress memories,
         (Nor Height Depth, Nor Any Created Things.

     It cannot silence courage.
         (Shall Be Able To Separate Us)

     It cannot invade the soul.
         (From The Love Of God,)

     It cannot steal eternal life.
         (Which Is In)

     It Cannot conquer the Spirit.
          (Christ Jesus Our Lord) Romans 8:37-39

               Author unknown 


Diagnosis: Cancer (related story)


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