I have decided to blog about my personal experience with cancer. Since it is the one thing that has turned my life upside down. Five years ago I was touched by cancer and it rocked my world. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The drs. didn’t give me a good prognosis and told me it would be a miracle if I survived. My immediate response was, “You don’t know my Jesus and I don’t have an expiration date stamped on the bottom of my foot.” And so I chose to believe I would survive. I did and I am here to spread hope to all other people who endure cancer and other life challenges.
I am an artist and a visual person. Pictures make a story more real. I am sharing the following pictures not for you sympathy but so you can see how real cancer is and how far I have come becasue of my faith in God. These pictures are my during and after cancer pictures.
I would like to share about a particular story that was a serious turning point in my battle with cancer. I had chemo and a fifteen hour surgery to remove three fourths of my tongue and a muscle graft from my leg to my throat. (Then, radiation and more chemo to follow up the chemo and surgery.) I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t speak. Cancer is a lonely disease anyway but my inability to speak made me feel lost inside myself. My ex-husband (husband at the time) lacked compassion for me when I needed it most. So as he was impatient with my lack of speech I felt scared and began to wonder if I would ever speak again. I had a two hour trip to Nashville for a follow up after my surgery. I spent that two hour trip in tears and praying for God to give me a special message. I wanted him to answer me thorough a Dr or a person and tell me everything would be okay. I wanted to know I would speak again. The drs. told me that was a possibility, that I wouldn’t speak again. This was heavy on my heart. And so I asked God for a special message or for him to speak to me in a way I knew it was from him.
I made it to Vanderbilt in Nashville. The two hour trip felt like twelve. I cried and prayed the whole two hours there. After finding the ortolaryngology clinic I sat in the waiting room and prayed and cried some more. A woman across the room kept staring at me. I was used to this at this point. People stare when they see a cancer patient. Maybe the lack of hair, the scarf over my head or the NG tube hanging out my nose (used to feed me after my surgery.) I didn’t mind it at this point. She got up and slowly walked across the room to me. I had a notebook and pen in my lap. She asked to see it and began to write. This was unusual because most people just spoke to me but she wrote in my notebook. She said she was one of my Dr’s first patients and she told me I would be okay. She told me she felt compelled by God to tell me I would speak again one day. She was one of Dr. Burkeys first patients fifteen years ago. She reassured me of everything I asked God to reveal to me on the way there. She also confirmed she felt God tell her to get up, walk across the room, and deliver this message to me. God is great all the time. He revealed things like this to me throughout my illness. I will share more of these things in ‘Me and my journey.’
No matter how strong you are there are times in your life when you wont be strong enough to carry yourself through that moment. In those moments I leaned on God and found I made it. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Trust Him and lean into Him when you feel helpless. He will endure for you.