Weird (Miracle) Cancer Story

When you have chronic illness, it’s easy to feel alone in the world because you tend to be more isolated than most people. I hope that this blog series has helped you to see yourself as a unique child of God with your own unique story.

Now that you know how truly weird I am, I have one last little bombshell to drop on you. It’s actually a miracle or series of miracles, but if you think about it miracles tend to be WEIRD, don’t they?

I didn’t even have cancer like a normal person…and I’m very grateful to God that I didn’t!

I Was a Cancer Survivor Before We Knew I Might Have Cancer:
Most people either feel sick or feel a lump and go to the doctor after which they are referred to an Oncologist who does some tests and probably performs surgery. Most or at least many, have to go through chemo and/or radiation.

Not me! Cuz I’m weird! I was a cancer survivor before even my doctors suspected I could have cancer! My diagnosis came as a result of several miracles. My doctor decided to go looking for a fibroid tumor that she knew probably wasn’t there and found a cyst on my ovary instead. During the surgery, the surgeon called an audible and decided to remove my entire fallopian tube on a whim. She said later that she just felt like she should do it because, “cancer likes to hide.”

Here’s the link to My Miracle Story with all of the odd details of how I survived a rare and aggressive cancer that, most often, takes the life of the woman.

I hope and pray that by now you’ve been able to see your weirdness less as something that isolates you and more as something that makes you, you…makes you unique. Don’t forget that miracles do happen and they are usually pretty weird! Wouldn’t you agree?

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My Thanksgiving Story

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I saw this video on Facebook one day and it brought to me feelings of thankfulness in a way I had not yet expressed here on the Life Beyond Surviving blog, but there have been several miraculous things that have happened to each of my immediate family members that have made me thankful for my life, their lives, and many other seemingly ordinary things. First, here’s the video:

I began thanking God for every day things after He has spared me from cancer several years ago, but my family’s miracles began long before that.

About twenty years ago, my daughter was a very active figure skater competing in USFSA. One day she complained that it hurt when she breathed. We initially thought it was just very cold in the rink, but took her in to see a heart specialist who did some tests. My heart sank when he, personally, called me in the middle of the day to ask where she was. He told me to call the school and have them keep her off the playground and away from any physical activity because her ventricle was enlarged and any activity could result in a fatal heart attack.

We immediately began praying. I called everyone I knew and posted on social media for prayers for her. We were told that it was possible that she was born that way and would always have this issue or that it could have been the result of a virus from a cold she had two weeks prior. Even if it were the latter, it would be several months before she could skate or do any physical activity. A month later, she was miraculously healed!

In between my daughter’s and son’s birth, I had several miscarriages. One was very difficult due to the circumstances that I won’t share here. However, about 9 years after my daughter’s birth, I found myself pregnant with my son. In the first trimester, I began having the same issues as I did when I lost that previous child. I was terrified and on bedrest. One day I was looking in the mirror at my face which had two “birthmarks” (brown spots from when I was pregnant before that were supposed to disappear after pregnancy.) One was on the right side of my face from when my daughter was born and one on the left side from the last pregnancy. I noticed that the birthmark on the right side was getting bigger. I felt God assuring me that this was the right side. That this child would be ok because it was on the right side instead of the wrong side.

My son’s birth was a series of miracles, any of which, could have ended in his death or a life of being sickly. I won’t go into all the details as it’s a long story, but suffice it to say that God saved my second child too!

Many years later, my husband was promoted and required to move across the country to Indiana. My daughter was away at college, but my husband, son, and I all went to Indiana to find a home. On the way back to the airport, we had my husband’s uncle pick us up and take us to his house to visit before heading back home to prepare for the move. It was snowing and not too far from his house. The car slid a long way, became airborne over a tree that had fallen, and eventually flipped over leaving all four of us hanging upside down from our seatbelts.

My uncle-in-law had a cut on his face/head. I broke my hand in three places, and my husband broke his back. All four of us walked out of that car much to the amazement of the bystanders and the ambulance and police who were called. The doctor told my husband that if the break had been a hair off, either way, he would have been paralyzed. God saved my husband that day!

About three years ago, my doctor insisted that I undergo a procedure to determine if a large fibroid tumor was still there even though I was near enough to menopause that it was all but certainly gone. I would never have agreed to do it but since the insurance covered it, I said yes. They didn’t find the fibroid tumor, but they did find a solid cyst on my ovary. Since they can become cancerous, the surgeon said it and my ovary had to be removed.

While she was in there, she felt it prudent to remove my fallopian tube as well because “cancer likes to hide.” I received a call about my biopsy from the surgeon herself saying that they found precancerous cells in my fallopian tube. This rare and quite aggressive cancer is normally not discovered until it’s much too late for the woman to be cured. They scheduled a radical hysterectomy to make sure there was no more cancer hiding in there, but I was cancer-free before anyone ever even thought I might have cancer.

I’m thankful that God orchestrated things in such a way that all four of us are still here and walking around. I’m thankful for waking up. I’m thankful each of my family members wake up each day and for so much more!

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? Any miracles of your own to report?

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When I’m down, I look up to my Creator

About a month ago, my husband was working a ten-day streak at a temp job 82 miles from home. Our son was visiting and it was Sunday morning. We only have one key for the car I drive and though my husband left the car for us, he forgot to leave the key so, we weren’t able to go to church or to the store to buy groceries.  It was my last day with our son before he had to go back to college and I was in more pain and fatigue than usual due to a Fibro flare.

Sitting at my computer working for my clients’ social media accounts, I “penned” the following because it suddenly occurred to me that the things I was praying ABOUT were the very things I was praying FOR not too long before.  It received so many responses from people who said they needed to hear it that I decided to share it here so folks could always find it if they needed it.

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When I am worried about my husband having to drive 82 miles one way to work, working ten days straight, leaving at 5:30 am and not getting home til 9 pm, I am reminded of when I prayed to the Lord because he was out of work for months.

When I am sad that my son is leaving again to go back to college, I remember how I prayed that God would keep him safe in utero and how the Lord performed several miracles during his birth.

When I’m lonely because my daughter lives in another state, I think back on the time when the Lord healed her completely after a virus had caused an enlarged heart valve.

When I’m frustrated with how tired I am and the pain I feel, I’m reminded that my God had given my surgeon the idea to take out my fallopian tube during a routine surgery for a simple cyst and found cancer in its infancy that is almost always found too late.

When I’m down, I look up to my Creator and marvel at His blessings for me.

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My Miracle Story

ribbon-1101997_1280I tell this story because it is the most bizarre tale of God’s divine grace!  It is with enormous thankfulness that I share how I became a cancer survivor before even my doctors knew I even HAD cancer!

So a few years ago, I was told that I had a HUGE fibroid tumor that took up my entire uterus.  My doctor said it wasn’t anything to be concerned about because they are never cancerous and would go away as soon as my hormone levels dropped enough to put me close to full menopause.  I was so close to menopause and I didn’t have any issues with it so I went along my merry way.

When I moved down to the Indy area, I got new doctors and my OBGYN insisted I go in for an ultrasound to confirm that the fibroid was no longer there.  We were all fairly certain it was gone or very nearly so I was a bit unclear why she wanted to search for it with all the modern technology at her disposal, but as luck would have it, the procedure was covered at my age so I went in and let them have a look around at my interior.  They seemed to be focusing in on my left side for an inordinate amount of time, but I just thought they were admiring my vintage upholstery.

The doctor called me in to go over my results. I was fully expecting her to say that it was gone and we could then move on to finding solutions to my several chronic issues where fatigue and pain had become a full-time job.  However, what she said was that the results revealed a rather sizable solid cyst on my left ovary.   She said it was the kind of cyst that could become cancerous so it needed to be removed as soon as possible.  Since I was 53 years young, I was no longer really using my ovaries so she said it was easier to remove the entire ovary and that she might want to take the Fallopian Tube as well just in case because “cancer likes to hide.”

Turns out she called an audible during the surgery and did remove the tube and sent everything to biopsy.  The surgery was much easier than I thought it would be and I was in very little pain that it didn’t necessitate ANY pain pills including Tylenol or Ibuprofen.  I was ecstatic thinking it was over and I got away just about scott free.

The doctor herself called me with the biopsy results.  That’s never a good sign. It’s usually some nurse or office gal who tells you everything is normal.  So when she used the word cancer, my brain kind of went tilt.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around that.  After all, there was no reason to believe I had cancer.  My blood work indicated levels of cancer antibodies below the limit indicating cancer was present.  Nothing they saw indicated any signs of a tumor or cyst or lump or anything they felt was something to worry about.  But the fact remained that I did have cancer cells in my tube and, since this type of cancer is aggressive, I was referred to a Gynecological Oncologist.

After the initial shock wore off (about two hours), I wasn’t really concerned.  I was told that he would probably want to remove my other ovary, tube, and lymph nodes just to make sure there was no more cancer in my reproductive system which was now laying dormant having retired some time ago.  I went into the appointment feeling pretty confident and actually kind of looking forward to having an end to my 17+ years of Peri!

When he first walked into the room, he asked me why I thought I was there.  He wanted to know just how much I understood.  I told him it really was a miracle.  They went in looking for a huge fibroid tumor that wasn’t there, found a solid ovarian cyst, and only found the microscopic cancer cells in my Fallopian Tube under the microscope after the biopsy.  My OBGYN said that it saved my life and he agreed with her.  They both said that the cancer would never have been found that early.  This type of cancer has no symptoms until it is too late and, since it’s an aggressive cancer, doctors wouldn’t have known it was there until it was too late and I would most likely have died.  So I’m a cancer survivor and I was a cancer survivor long before anyone (including the doctors) knew I even had cancer!

So what’s next?  Well, the Gynecological Oncologist has me scheduled for a total hysterectomy in October.  He wants to remove EVERYTHING reproductive, not just my other ovary and tube and lymph nodes…because they already found cancer and “cancer likes to hide.”  This is a much more involved surgery requiring a 2-3 day hospital stay.  If the biopsy finds no further cancer cells, I’m done!  Both with peri and with cancer.  If they do find more cancer, they’ll probably want to do chemotherapy. But he doesn’t think there is any reason to believe that they will find more cancer. So I’m hanging my hat on that for now.

UPDATE: Got my biopsy back and there is NO MORE CANCER or any other abnormalities anywhere.  I’m CANCER FREE!  

 

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