Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One Survivor's Story

I received this email eight days ago.  I have never met this woman, but after reading her story, I immediately felt as though we had been friends for years. Cancer can do that, you know. It can bring people together who would have never connected otherwise, spawning unique and personal bonds that can last a lifetime.  God's perfect timing and desire for us to grow in relationship with Him -  as well as with others - are truly indescribable.  The sender's name is Karen, and she allowed me to reprint excerpts of her letter to share.  Please read on:

"When my oldest daughter told me about your book, the title sounded really familiar.  Did I hear this on Midday Connection on WCRH?  She said maybe I could take it with me to Myrtle Beach.  So with 2 days left until our departure, I stopped at Borders and bought it.  I was excited about reading it so I opened it that same evening and couldn't put it down.  So many memories and feelings came flooding back to me ...

"I only read it on the beach, at times tears ran down my face - under my sunglasses, tears I hid from my husband.

"In February of 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer - and it was bad.  At least it seemed bad to me.  It could have been a lot worse.  Mine was stage 1, grade 3, triple negative breast cancer.  I was devastated.  I dreaded telling my children (all grown) and grandchildren.  I dreaded telling my aging mother.  

"Like you, I was low risk.  I had no family history, I breast fed all my children and  I was physically active ( I attend Body and Soul Aerobics).  I had mammograms for the last 13 years and they were all negative.  I could have very well skipped this one -- thinking this one would be negative, too.  But God spoke -- and kept speaking until I made the appointment.  Although I felt a little "jiggle" each time I walked down the hospital steps where I work, I ignored it.

"I worked full time through my treatments.  I had 6 treatments of Cytoxan and Taxotere every three weeks.  Patients normally have 4 [treatments] but since I was triple negative (not having receptors for estrogen or progesterone) I needed 6.  I can not take any oral treatments because of the triple negative status.  I had an 80% survival rate, the extra 2 treatments gave me another 2%, totalling 82%.  The treatments were cumulative and hit me hard after the 6th one. Then I developed a huge DVT [blood clot] and was hospitalized for 6 days for heparin and to get the clot dissolved.  I have just in the last 3 months started to feel like myself again.

"Working daily with that darned wig ... I couldn't wait to get home and take it off.  I felt like taking it off in the car, but was sure I'd be stared at.  Even though it looked very natural and like my  own hair, I was glad to say goodbye to it on Christmas Day.  

"Anyway, I read your book on vacation.  I finished it on the last day that we were there; it was excellent.  It made me realize that I'm not walking as close to God as I should  be.  I have drifted away, but I'm changing that.  I blamed Him at times for what I was going through.  But I realize that I have touched others, helped others who were diagnosed after I was.  With so many women working at the hospital, it seems like every time I turn around, someone has had or is being diagnosed with breast cancer.  So many people were praying for me; I was on lots of prayer lists.

"I plan to save your book and give it to a friend or acquaintance when the time comes -- for encouragement and spiritual guidance.  Thank you for writing this book."

Psalm 51:10

I immediately looked up the Bible verse she selected and wanted to share it with others:
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

Although I don't know this woman, there is  one thing I do know for sure: God loves her, and He will never leave her side.  That is His promise to all of us!


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