I am celebrating a very special anniversary today. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and the doctors were not very optimistic in their prognosis. Yet ten wonderful years later here I am! Healthy! Cancer free! Praise God for His awesome healing power in my life.
Ten years ago my dear husband and I were rejoicing over the birth of our third child, our son Daniel who was only ten weeks old. We had two other beautiful daughters, ages six and four. I didn't feel well after Daniel's birth and was struggling with regaining my figure but thought that perhaps it took longer because I was a little older. I had actually ended up in the ER a couple times due to extreme abdominal pain but even with an abdominal ultrasound the doctors could not pinpoint the problem.
I was home alone when I began experiencing another round of pain that led me to the ER room yet again (drove myself there, very unwise!) My sweet mom came over to watch the children. I remember nursing Daniel before I left so that she would not have a hungry baby on her hands. Little did I know that that would be the last time I ever nursed my baby.
At the ER they asked me if I wanted any meds for the pain and I stoically told them no, I was nursing a baby and didn't want anything to interfere with that. Shortly after I said that I was wracked with such severe pain I was begging for relief! I told them to give me anything to stop the pain, my baby would have to drink from a bottle that night.
Earlier I had told my mother not to bother my dear husband who was working on our cabin two and a half hours away and I had changed my mind about that as well. We did not have a telephone up there so she located Mike's uncle who lived in the area and he drove out to our cabin to tell him he needed to come home immediately. Mike and the other carpenter who'd been helping him raced home. I guess they didn't say a word the entire trip. (Yet another example of the difference between men and women. Can you even imagine two women in a car for two and a half hours in silence? Me neither!)
By the time he got to the hospital I had already had an ultrasound which had revealed a large mass on my ovary and a CT scan had been arranged. Everything took longer because it was a Saturday evening but eventually the tech showed up and I was scanned. It was determined that I would have surgery the next morning because it was so late and that they would remove the ovary with the mass. The doctor wanted another doctor to assist her with the surgery because of the size and complexity of my case. We were warned that things looked suspicious and if cancer was found I would have to have a complete hysterectomy. I remember feeling as if I were in a bad dream when she told us that but in my heart I didn't believe it could be true. I was only 34 years old!
Sunday morning it was announced at our church and many people joined my family in praying for me. We were told that if all went according to plan it would be a relatively short surgery, only 45 to 60 minutes long. Unfortunately, however, the doctors found a cancerous mass on my ovary. Just like in a bad TV movie they called my husband and mother into a small room where the surgeon told them I had cancer, it looked quite advanced and they wanted permission to continue with a radical hysterectomy. It was a devastating moment.
When I came to after the surgery they were wheeling me back into my hospital room and my two pastors and Mike were praying over me. I asked Mike what time it was and based on his answer I knew I had cancer. My response was to say, "I have cancer, don't I?" When he told me, "Yes." I simply said, "I didn't want that." and I turned my head to look out the window.
I spent a week recovering from the hysterectomy in the hospital where I received wonderful care. The nurses were so loving and attentive to me. I'm sure they were touched because they had just cared for me and Daniel after his birth only a few weeks earlier. I received so many flowers and plants that I gave them to the nurses and doctors and other patients because I didn't have space for them in my hospital room.
We were surrounded by a wonderful church family that sprang into action almost immediately. They covered us in prayer, cooked delicious meals, cared for the children and volunteered in countless ways to help us as I recovered from the hysterectomy and endured the rigors of chemotherapy. It was a long, difficult summer but God was faithful through it all.
I prayed for a miraculous healing and God granted me my heart's desire. I could write so much more about how He worked in my life during this time but I don't want to write the world's longest blog post and I'm sure you don't want to read it, either! How thankful I am for these extra years. I am in good health now with minimal lingering effects. I try to celebrate every single day I've been given. Even on days when I am frustrated or facing challenges, I remind myself, this is what I prayed for - extra time on this earth and all the challenges it brings.
Strangely enough, I do not worry much about my health since my initial diagnosis. I had no idea what a blessing this was until my oncologist asked me if I was anxious about visiting her during one of my appointments. I told her no, that I fully expected to get a good report every single time that I saw her. She was shocked! She told me that I was probably her only patient who felt that way. It was only then that I realized that God had not only blessed me by healing my body but also in removing my fear and anxiety as well. I feel as though God gave me an incredible gift and that to worry and fret about the future would be like saying, "Here, take your gift back, I don't want it."
Through it all to God be the praise and the glory. He redeemed my life and gave me a second chance. May I use it to expand His kingdom. Thank you, Lord, I am forever grateful to be celebrating this special anniversary!