The Cancer Story – Part I

In the fall of 1993, I started with symptoms not uncommon for a 47-year-old female.  Thankfully I had kept up the annual internal exam so that when changes began manifesting themselves, the doctor noticed right away.  At first he thought it might be fibroid tumors; but as the symptoms continued, he recommended an ultrasound that revealed a mass on my right ovary.  I was referred to a gynecologist who conducted further tests. As I sat in his office in January, 1994, the diagnosis of ovarian cancer was pronounced and surgery was recommended.

As I tried to take in the information, I noted that the doctor was visibly moved.  I also remember intense peace flooding my being at that moment, so I reassured the doctor that everything was going to be okay.  I sensed the presence of the Lord there in the doctor’s office.  However, there was still something unreal about this whole experience.  Was it really possible that such an enemy as cancer could live in my body?  Nevertheless, the peace of God continued to reign in my heart.

Surgery was performed on February 3, 1994. The doctors were meticulous as they worked to remove the cancer, then carefully explored the abdominal cavity to be sure there was no sign of cancer anywhere else.  Before I ever left the operating room, the excised mass was tested.  I had Stage 1A granulosa cell carcinoma.  If you have cancer, this is the stage where you hope it is caught.  From that standpoint, I felt blessed.  My records were further reviewed by the tumor board.  It was then I heard those reassuring words, “We got it all!”

There was more good news….well, sort of.  The granulosa cell is a rare form of ovarian cancer.  The doctor pointed out that this cancer cell is very slow growing and rarely metastasizes, so his prognosis was very good that truly they had removed all of the cancer.

My recovery from surgery would be classed as routine; and after the perfunctory six weeks of recovery, I was released to return to work and to resume my normal activities.  I was feeling so good that I stripped and refinished the metal cabinets in my kitchen.

Many people encouraged me during this time.  A few days before surgery a sweet friend stopped by with a new pair of pajamas.  Another friend gifted me with a robe.  A nurse friend stayed a night while I was in the hospital.  There were so many expressions of love and care that I could not possibly name them all, but each reminded me of God’s love and care most of all.

The ensuing months were not all smooth sailing as the doctors worked to get my hormones leveled out, but life continued.  While my four children were still living at home, they were self sufficient and proved to be very helpful and loving.  My husband was constant in his love and support in every way.  God had been merciful and my heart was full of praise.

The years passed.  I kept having this recurring thought:  What if the cancer came back?  But the doctor said they had gotten it all.

The Lord be praised!