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Faith's Firm Foundation: My Cancer Testimony

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Cancer Testimony

To those of you who came to this blog in order to read my cancer testimony in a previous post, I apologize, because that was just a snippet of the whole testimony of what God did in our lives! I really want you to know all that God did for us at that time, because He deserves so much praise and glory and I never want to forget what He's done for me!! So bear with me as I post the complete testimony that we shared with friends and family via our Christmas Letter in 2002 (it is long, for which I apologize):
Dear Friends and Family.
"O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining;
it is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining til He appeared
and the world felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the lonely world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices; O night divine,
o night when Christ was born.
O night, o night, o night divine."Praise the Lord, praise the Lord with me!
 Praise Him all ye creatures.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Merry Christmas!
Though this is a group letter, we write it to each one of you personally, and we thank the Lord for each one of you this Christmas, and pray for you as we send our greetings.  We thoroughly enjoy getting your letters, cards, and pictures, as well.  Thank you to all who have sent them.
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
Psalm 68:19-20

We want to give testimony of the Lord’s goodness in our lives this past year. It was a year like no other before. There are a few of you who don’t know what the Lord has done for us, and those of you who do, we want you to praise the Lord with us once more as we reflect on His goodness.

On May 21, 2002, I (Wendy) went in to the doctor for relatively minor symptoms and by the end of the day was facing the diagnosis that I had two tumors, one very large, one smaller, appearing to be cancerous, yes, and appearing to have spread, and by those factors, appearing to have not been caught early, but to have progressed to some degree.

Within three days, I was operated on and there now was only one tumor, it had not spread, and it was able to be completely removed. Further, when the tests came back, I was told that indeed the cancer, which was ovarian, had been caught early, a very rare event for ovarian cancer, and I was informed that I had a 90% chance of cancer not recurring.

I believe with all my heart that God gave me cancer, and I praise Him for it, which may sound strange. But I am so thankful.

Here are four reasons why I am grateful God gave me cancer: 1) We saw God’s hand on our lives in a powerful way causing us to trust Him more; 2) We experienced the love of friends and family through tangible and sacrificial acts of service causing us to love God more; 3) We experienced the power of prayer causing our faith to grow; and, 4) We saw the intervention of the Lord on our behalf in numerous ways causing us to thank Him.
We would like to share eight of these interventions that occurred in just a few days.
God’s Intervention #1
God brought me into the doctor by giving me one simple symptom that caused the nurse-line nurse to say “get in there today and if you can’t see your own doctor, go to the emergency room”. I would not have gone otherwise.
God’s Intervention #2
As I sat speaking to my doctor, I had a written, detailed summary of my symptoms over the past week, which I read to him (I never do that) and as he was diagnosing me with (possibly) something completely different than what I actually had, an urgency came over me to pray, “God, don’t let him let me leave today without knowing what is wrong with me.” Since I had not the slightest fear of anything seriously wrong with me, I believe this was the Holy Spirit’s prompting. God answered that prayer as my Christian doctor paused and said, “I think I’d like you to have a CT scan, just to make sure there isn’t anything else going on, since there‘s really nothing over there on the left side except your ovary…” That decision saved my life, I believe. 75% of ovarian cancer is not caught early, and 75-80% of those patients die.
God’s Intervention #3
Though my doctor advised me to try to get in for the CT scan within 2-3 days at least, God arranged for us to get in that very day, and for Jerry (my husband) to go with me.
God’s Intervention #4
We had to wait for a while following the scan, and thought they must have forgotten us, not suspecting anything at all, and were about to leave the hospital, but just as we were leaving, God intervened and sent someone to ask us to stay and wait for our doctor’s phone call. (Ok, that 20-minute wait for the phone call was anything but pleasant, but praise God for His peace in time of panic.)
God’s Intervention #5
The next day, only day 2, we were able to meet with our doctor again, see the CT scan ourselves, which already showed only one tumor to our untrained eyes, and more importantly, we were able to schedule a consultation with the surgeon! God was moving things along quickly.
God’s Intervention #6
“Would you like to have surgery in two days if we can fit you in?” our surgeon asked. Yes! Praise God, yes!
God’s Intervention #7
Aside from the first night, prior to the beginning of prayer for us by hundreds of people through the activation of two prayer chains, (when I didn’t sleep letting my mind go off planning for things that would never occur, and experiencing emotions I didn’t need to)...aside from that first night, I experienced a calm and peace that was out of this world, literally. Through God’s gift of cancer, I experienced God’s presence in a way like never before. We experienced the love of God through sisters and brothers in Christ praying for us and seeing answers to those prayers and being able to share those answers with our doctors and nurses who have been amazed. We experienced the joy of all the giving of dozens of people who cared for us through meals, cards, rides, and many other sacrificial acts of love. (Thank you!) We experienced trusting God in a new way, going deeper in our relationship with Him, finding out a little more realistically what it means that He is in control. Praise God that we know that He is not only sovereign, but that He can be trusted because He is all-wise and loves us perfectly and completely.
God’s Intervention #8
What happened to that other tumor that the radiologist saw? Was he mistaken? He would not have conveyed to a patient that she had cancer and it had spread without certainty of what he saw! But within 3 days, maybe sooner, there was no second tumor to be found, no other cancer to be found, though they searched diligently. I believe God intervened. Thank you, God. This might be a good time to testify that God is good, but He would’ve still been good if I had suffered painfully and died. Before we knew the prognosis, I wasn’t looking forward to the painful part, but God gave me peace about the dying part, and I felt a thrill at the possibility of being in heaven with Jesus, perhaps soon. (Any fear I have experienced has centered on leaving my children behind before I felt my “work” was through.)

Speaking of our children, they are doing great. Life goes on, amazingly, and they are still involved in piano exams, schoolwork and art lessons. Dane just finished his first two PSEO classes,  (Remember, this was written in December, 2002) independent study via internet, and enjoyed the challenge. He did well. He also obtained his driver’s permit prior to his 17th birthday. He is our resident computer expert, is working on starting up a used-book-selling business, loves to read, and loves to play hockey on our lake with his friends. Kelsey, now 13, enjoys baking, knitting, stamping cards, anything connected with animals, (she’s trying to train our dog Mocha), giving gifts, doing things for others and especially reading. One or both of them accompanied me to chemo weekly for the last six months.

We agreed to be part of a test group who would be given additional weekly chemo treatments for six months--lower doses of only one drug, with minimal side effects. The purpose is to see if these additional chemo treatments reduce the recurrence of cancer in patients whose ovarian cancer is caught early. I will be done Jan. 13, and then be followed up every 3 months for 2 years, and then every 6 months for 3 additional years.

Everything's The Same...
Everything Is Different
Everything else is pretty much the same--but everything is different. Isn’t that just the way it was 2000 years ago, when Jesus was born. Everyone went about their same lives, but everything was different, forever.

Praise God for His plan to save us from our sins, and His willingness to send His Son, Jesus, into this world to die a painful death on a cross in punishment for our sins.  Praise Jesus for being willing to come and for living a sinless life and for being obedient to the Father in every detail,

even unto death.

That takes on new meaning this year. Praise God for accepting that payment for our sins, past, present and future and by bringing Jesus back to life.
We serve a risen Savior.
Is He not worth all our love, all our honor, all our praise and adoration and all our lives in service to Him?
Have a blessed Christmas holiday
and a wonderful New Year.

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