My dear sister in Christ. I posted a testimony earlier this evening, Then read yours and know that I have been through nothing compared to what you have.I was always a believer (truly not really even a doubt), but my walk with the Lord wained at times. I had several tragedies in my young life, schizophrenic mother, drug addicted father, getting shipped off to grandparents that coped with the aid of alcohol. But, I determined to do better for myself and managed to do ok in school while working 30hours a week to keep food on the table. I played sports and started college on a small volleyball scholarship. I got a decent job and worked my way up. Bought a house at 23, married at 27. I had a health issue that required the removal of my adrenal glands that took years to diagnose, so no children in my future. I went to church, I saw God move in my life and always knew He was there guiding my life. Years later, after finding out my ex was cheating, the divorce, finding out about all of his financial shenanigans he had been pulling...it absolutely crushed me. My hair started falling out in chunks. I was in horrible shape physically, mentally, spiritually. When I finally snapped, I started living for me and am still ashamed of how I behaved. Then I got sick, lost my great, well paying job because of it, and health insurance. Lost 3 in a row all at the 3 week mark, that crushed me even more as I had never been fired or even disciplined at work in my life. I put my house on the market, sold it 80k under list days before foreclosure, and what equity I had left I bought an older motorhome as family wasn't an option, they mostly disappeared. . I finally crawled into an er and was admitted.Thats when I found out what all the other doctors kept dismissing as a sinus infection was actually cancer, and it was stage 4A, almost B and had grown into my skull base. The pain was enough to make me call out for death. So, I have no insurance and very little savings. I applied for Medicaid, food stamps, everything I could and received nothing. I wasnt a drug addict, pregnant, or have kids. So, someone that does everything right, goes to college, gets a good job, doesn't get pregnant with a bunch of different guys, doesn't use drugs, and I get nothing. I was extremely bitter about that. No cancer groups helped as my cancer wasnt a well known one like breast cancer or lung cancer. No doctor or hospital would see me without money. I was turned down for a trial at MD Anderson as I was too late stage and had no adrenal glands. My chances of survival were so low they didn't want to skew the results. Yeah. Disability benefits took 6 months. By the time it kicked in, I was 50 pounds less, frail, and absolutely miserable. My oncologist asked why it took so long to get to treatment and I just unloaded on her about everything. She cried with me. She said due to my younger age than most who had this she was going to "throw the big guns at me." She warned me I was going to hate life for the next year as the treatment was the most brutal of all cancers, but it can go into remission (30% chance for someone with adrenal glands.). Mike turned down work contracts as it would require traveling overseas so he could stay with me. Mike was in the picture before I lost my job. He helped me tremendously, took me to every appointment, learned all he could, sat next to me during my 9 hour chemos and was the 1st face I saw after rads while still bolted to the table. He never let me down and never let me whine for too long. His sense of humor kept me going as well....and the nurses just loved him. He defended me from careless doctors and was pivotal to my recovery.
After my first chemo, I slept for 11 days straight. I ate oatmeal as my only meal if I could keep it down. My second chemo, the nuelasta on body injector (cost $9000!) didn't work. So over a couple of days, my blood count crashed and I was severely nuetropenic. My organs went in to shock, I had diarrhea and vomiting in my sleep as I couldn't stay awake/conscious. Mike kept fighting me to go to the er, but I refused, not because I didn't think I needed to go, but because the thought of moving was more dreadful than the thought of death. That's how weak I was. He picked me up and somehow got me in the car. I passed out and don't remember much but little pieces. My BP was 30/20, my heartrate I think was in the 20s. Doctors rushed in and worked on me for some time until I was stable and the next day admitted me to ICU. I was there about 10 days. That was the 1st trip of what would be many admissions to ICU. When my oncologist came to see me and told me I was minutes away from death, it was a shock. I had several talks with the chaplains while there.
When I got back home, I started reading my bible again. I was angry at God and I wanted answers! I flipped to Roman's and the verse 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.'" It hit me like a ton of bricks! My life leading up to all this was full of sin! I cried, I mourned, I pleaded for forgiveness, I gave praise for opening my eyes to it, poured my heart out, and cried and read some more. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Corinthians 7:10 KJV
8 months later, on June 30th, after 9 chemo's, 35 high dose radiation treatments that cooked my mouth and burned my skin from the shoulders up, 50+days in hospital, chemo induced meningitis, 6 surgeries, 200+ prescription bottles, and a feeding tube, ruined kidneys, and horrible nuerapathy in hands and feet....against all the odds, I was done with treatment! All the nurses and some doctors came and cheered for me as I rang the bell. It wasnt until November that I found I was in remission as you keep cooking for some time. I was actually stunned.
Now I had recovery and painful physical therapy ahead of me. My goal was to be able to eat normally and not baby formula through a painful tube in my gut by the holidays. Most that went through what I did never do eat again. I loved to cook and I was a foodie, so that was not an option for me! And I detested that tube! My saliva glands and taste buds didn't work at first for many months. Let me tell you, I never realized how much we take those for granted! I would have panic attacks if I didn't have a bottle of water in my hands and mourned not being able to eat fruit or vegetables. I started with broth, which without tasting salt was just nasty chicken water. Then milk, and without the ability to taste sweet was just rotten tasting. Fruit burned the raw skin of my mouth as did veggies. Gradually, some baby food I could handle. 4 1/2 months later, the day before Thanksgiving, I had that tube removed! I filled up on stuffing, plain sweet potato and green bean casserole. Turkey and rolls were out of the question still, but I had met my goal!
Then, it was time to recover physically. I started with 5 pound weights and worked on my radiation shredded neck and shoulder muscles. Then I tried walking with mike around the motorhome home. I could barely do one lap. 6 weeks later I was up to 2.5 miles in 35 minutes.
The rads fried my lymph nodes so they swell and I have to use a compression machine for 45 minutes every day for the rest of my life, otherwise my jaw looks like it belongs on a 500 pound person.
My second Pet scan showed an area of hyper metabolic activity in my uterus. A biopsy showed cancer. It was very early and luckily a small spot so I had a complete hysterectomy. I wondered why the chemo didn't get it as it's the same given for both cancers.
Enough about all that. I have my setbacks, my pity parties, but I don't ask why me because I already know. That hysterectomy really threw a wrench in my recovery. I'm having issues lately with painful neck and back spasms and my health lately hasn't been good with frequent infections. I'm looking for ways to serve God, but my stamina is about 5 minutes. I'm not sure what purpose He has for this broken down body, but whatever it is I'm happy for it.
My dear sister in Christ. I posted a testimony earlier this evening, Then read yours and know that I have been through nothing compared to what you have.
I love to pray for people so you are now on my list for full recovery and healing. If you're wondering how you can serve, I have to tell you that you already have with your story and testimony. Not many have your determination and drive. What an incredible lady you are.