The Cancer Story – Part III

With the type of cancer confirmed – granulosa cell carcinoma – I began regular consultations with the gynecological oncologist, a fine doctor who is a believer.  Since his mother died of breast cancer, he is even more passionate about his work with gynecological cancers.  Because the granulosa cell is fairly slow growing, it was almost a year before any significant growth or change in the tumors was detected.  The doctor was now recommending chemotherapy.

A couple of years before the cancer was found in my lungs, I had learned about some powerful glyconutritional supplements that started me on a journey of learning about the importance of nutrition in maintaining good health.  I began taking those supplements and recommending them to others. I had always told myself that if ever I had cancer, I would NOT take chemo.  It was an agonizing decision as I prayed and sought counsel on both sides of the question.  Do I continue with the nutritional approach or do I start chemo?  I was consulting with a medical doctor who had left conventional practice because of her belief that if you feed the body properly, the body can heal itself.  She had much first-hand proof that this was true, and her following was growing.  After exchanging several emails on the decision facing me, this courageous doctor finally said, “Geneva, if it were me, I would do both.  I would take the chemo and stay with the nutritional supplements.”  I was comfortable with that approach, and my family concurred.  We began talking with the oncologist about a date for the first treatment.

While trying to make the best decision about my health care, we were also in the throes of planning my only daughter’s wedding scheduled for the end of July 2006.  I was so excited!  After three trips down the aisle as mother of the groom, I was finally going to be mother of the bride.  I had even taken on the task of making the bridesmaids gowns.  The pattern and fabric were chosen, and I finally managed to cut out three simple dresses when God stepped in with a different agenda and I came down with another severe upper respiratory incident.  Knowing how these things go, I realized I would never finish those dresses in time for the wedding, so I called friends whose daughter was a professional seamstress and invited them to lunch after church on Sunday. Although I was getting worse and breathing was difficult, I managed to serve a meal and hand off the dress project before being instructed by the doctor to get to the emergency room that afternoon.

The ER doctors decided I had blood clots in my lungs, so I was admitted to the hospital on July 2, 2006.  After nine days in the hospital that included a wrong diagnosis and medications that caused my lungs to hemorrhage, it was decided that I would have my first chemo treatment before leaving the hospital.

I was so naive about this chemo thing and a little arrogant as well.  Somehow I had the idea that one or two treatments is all it would take to eradicate this cancer; and despite what the doctor said, I was just sure I would not lose my hair.  God knows me so well, but in his loving and gentle way, he shepherded me through the tears when my hair started first to thin, then to come out in clumps as I showered.  I was so weak from the chemo that my son had to accompany me for the final wedding shopping to push the wheeelchair.  We also shopped for a wig.  It was one week before my daughter’s wedding and all of my hair was gone.  I learned something about my own vanity through this experience and even more about the kindness and mercy of my God as the wedding neared.

At this juncture I am not sure how many more “Parts” it is going to take to finsh the story.  In truth, the story will not be finished until God writes the final chapter, but the goal is to bring you down the early roads I traveled so that you can appreciate the magnitude of God’s working in all of this.  I hope you see God in these details.  He is working all things for his glory and my good.  His strength is being made perfect in my weakness, and he is molding me for the future.  See you next week.

The Lord be praised!