I want to talk about how God delivered me from death. Lots of sickness has occurred in my family, whether it be mental illness, drug addiction, cancer, or diabetes. However, I dealt with stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer.
It came out of nowhere. I have always tried to take care of myself, and at the time, I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I thought I had peripheral edema because that was the doctor’s first diagnosis. But months later, I found out I was walking around with cancer the entire time. I received the new update, and the doctors told me I had three to five months to live. Can you even imagine?
The news that changed my life
I was with my mom when I was first diagnosed with cancer. I picked my parents up from their vacation, and they immediately told me, “You have to go back to the hospital. You look worse than you did before we left.” It was a very scary day for me. I signed to release my medical forms from one hospital and checked myself into one of Chicago’s top hospitals.
When the biopsy came back that I had stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer, the doctors told me they were surprised I had been able to go about daily life for so long. They said, “We need to admit you right away; you’re really sick.”
They didn’t expect me to live more than three to five months. Even with the diagnosis, I didn’t think it was cancer right away. I thought, “Oh, I must have something similar to cancer.” I was in complete denial. I couldn’t imagine how this could happen to me. I have always been obedient, respectful, and kind. I kept thinking “No, not me, this can’t be.”
My treatments were very difficult, and it felt as though each moment was a lifetime. I received two of the most aggressive chemo drugs, 11 blood transfusions, 13 weeks of pelvis radiation, and three weeks of brain radiation. Yes. Look at God. All at one time, I was on up to 12 medications and blood thinners. On top of the cancer, I was also battling colitis, which is a form of Crohn’s disease. The drugs had me so delirious and were very hard on my body. This went on for over a year.
I remember crying and asking God, “Why me?” To say I felt hopeless is an understatement. I was so lost, hurt, and afraid, and felt like God didn’t love me. I knew that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, in my head, but I lost sight of it. Yet, through it all, He was faithful; He was so incredible. I was blessed with great doctors and a loving family, who covered me with lots of prayer. It is the only thing that got me through. To this day, I am thankful to Jesus and to all those who were praying for me when I wasn’t able to do so. It brings me to tears just thinking about how good the Lord is to me.
For a time in that season, I remember yelling and even screaming at God. I didn’t understand why this happened to me. The Bible talks about punishment for disobedience, but I was never that way. I felt like I had done all these good things, yet I was the one who got cancer. It is still hard to wrap my mind around it. Yes, I had some deep issues with God. All this anger kept me from being able to pray for a while. But then Pastor Harvey Richardson told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “You have to start praying for yourself.” This was an important moment for me because I needed God to know that I cared about my own life.
I still pray these same prayers today. When I finally opened myself back up to the Lord, I found peace. When I decided to fight instead of feeling sorry for myself, I was able to rest. The moment I began to talk to my Heavenly Father, I was able to make peace with the process. Once I did all of that, I felt my body healing.
One day when I was in the hospital, I remember a beautiful encounter with God. This particular morning, I was staying in this really big, corner hospital room. Suddenly, it felt as if God was right in the room with me. So brightly and clearly, I remember Him telling me, “Hold On, It’s Going To Be Okay.” It was as if I was feeling His smile. A big, huge smile that was so real. I remember feeling a love so deep and so real, it is hard to describe.
I finally felt hope. I would remind myself, “Girl, you come from a line of overcomers and fighters.” Cancer did not define me, and I was crazy to think that I couldn’t get through it. Cancer is just a thing, and I am more than this thing. While there were times my faith decreased, I know for certain that through this experience my faith was increased.
I used to believe that bad things wouldn’t happen to good people, and I now understand how wrong that was. God allows His people to go through hard times in order to prepare us for the work He has called us to do. I know that God allowed me to go through this for a purpose. God is so amazing. I know this journey wasn’t just for me because we don’t live only for ourselves.
I just celebrated my 10-year remission anniversary. I still struggle to find peace as this still feels almost like a dream, but I know God is always walking with me. Trouble does not always last. God can bring great things from the worst circumstances, even when we can’t see it. I pray that every hurt heart would trust God’s promises. “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” I would encourage anyone walking through hard times to talk to God. Pray to Him like He is your friend because He is. Trust in the Lord and walk with Him. God did an amazing work in my life, and I am healed. If He can do it for me, He can do it for you.
Lastly, remember these words from Proverbs …
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV