“You mean the hair falling out kind of chemo?” I edged the seat across from the oncologist as my husband, Sam, gripped my hand in the chair next to me.
Eighteen years ago this month we sat in Dr. A’s office and heard the words of my greatest fear. “We think you have cancer.”
At the time I was a 40 year-old mother of three beautiful girls ages 14, 10 and almost 2.
Four months prior to this appointment we had learned I was pregnant with our fourth child. Though unexpected we grew to anticipate the newest member of our family with great joy.
After experiencing migraines and unusual symptoms during this pregnancy my ob/gyn took more blood tests and ascertained a problem. He was concerned enough to send us to Dr. A.
“Less than 1% of the population are diagnosed with choriocarcinoma. A cancer of the lining in your uterus.” When Dr. A left the room, Sam and I held each other and cried.
How was this possible? I was young, healthy and busy wife, mom and sometimes counselor.
The series of tests that followed were intense and painful.
My arms were bruised from needles and a pic line that had been inserted for the chemotherapy. The pic is a wire that they run from an opening in your arm to get the medicine in without damaging the veins from constant probing. As painful as the physical injustices on my body, there was no comparison to the raw emotions of loss. Grief hit me like a tsunami. Loss of my dreams for another child, my health, and our newest little blessing. It seemed an impossible situation to endure.
Things became graver still when an MRI revealed that the systemic disease had traveled from my uterus to my liver. Three spots specified tumors had started growing.
In spite of the danger to my life I could not shake the doubt that our baby may be alive. If that was true, could we try and save her by holding off on the necessary chemotherapy that would save me but, most assuredly harm a fetus?
Time flew by as Dr. A’s office scheduled me for a D&E. The same procedure used for abortions. We were told that the condition in my uterus had so softened the lining it could be dangerous for me to wait.
A dilation and extraction was not an option for me.
As a Crisis Pregnancy Counselor I knew unborn babies were often referred to as “tissue.” Now, we were told, this baby was a lump of tissue?
A registered letter arrived at our door threatening me with the possibility of death if I failed to follow the perinatal doctor’s orders. Finally, he agreed to give me an ultrasound so I could see there was no living child.
The ultrasound picture delivered the final blow instead of the typical outline of a baby mine showed a fuzzy mass.
That night I dreamt of a baby’s coffin and the reality of what we were dealing with sank in. In 16 weeks we’d gone from the joy of expecting a child to a scary cancerous situation
About eight weeks into the stringent rounds of medicine, my hair began to fall out. We struggled with the knowledge that we were dealing with a deadly disease and there was no guarantee I’d make it.
My husband coped by researching the disease and I spent as much time as I could with our sweet girls.
In need of hope I traveled to a nearby city to attend a conference where prophetic prayer was available.
I remember laying on the chairs nauseous and weak as I waited for the team to pray for me. I was the last person in the room when it was my turn.
Without explaining my situation, the first woman stood in front of me and said my full name. Then she said, “The Lord says, ‘I know your name.’” I won’t ever forget those precious saints who told me the cancer would be gone in three months.
Encouraged, I played the taped prayer at home for my husband. We stood on that word. And, three months to the day of my diagnosis, I was declared cancer free.
What a miracle! After my first test results came back we were told instead of an expected 10% drop of the cancer marker there was an incredible 98% drop! We often share our story to those who are going through difficult times.
As wonderful as the miracle of the healing had been a greater change had occurred in me. I would not ask to go through cancer. However, I no longer judge those who have faced a similar situation.
It’s not for me to judge whether a woman makes a choice to have an abortion. And, though I am thankful that I didn’t have to choose between my life and my own child’s, I have compassion for those who do.