The Cancer Story – Part IV

When we left off last time, we were preparing for my daughter’s wedding.  I had a second chemo treatment before the wedding and was experiencing weakness and lack of stamina.  With all of the last-minute details to be taken care of, the greatest in my mind was how to get the rented flowers and plants from the nursery to the church and back.  God sent a man in our church who borrowed a covered van from his company and took care of this for us.  I have thanked him more than once for coming to our aid.  Friday night of the rehearsal, God had more helpers to do the physical work of attractively arranging the foliage.  How blessed to have people with talent and a servant’s heart to assist.  I was instructed to just sit on a front pew and give directions.

Wedding days are long days, and there was some concern as to how I would hold up.  But, the Lord be praised, I was there for the pictures beforehand and the reception afterwards.  As my son escorted me down the aisle to my seat, I saw tears of rejoicing in the eyes of people who knew of my struggle.  I drew great strength from those demonstrations of love and care.  It was interesting as many came through the receiving line and commented, “It’s so nice that you did not lose your hair!”  I guess the wig looked truly natural.  Others were curious enough to ask, “Geneva, is that your hair?”  I replied, “Of course it’s my hair!  I have the receipt to prove it!”

With a beautiful wedding behind us and the happy couple off to start their lives together, life continued in a routine of work and chemo treatments.  We finally settled on a schedule whereby I would have a treatment on Thursday afternoon, go to work on Friday pumped up by steroids given to counter nausea, have an okay day on Saturday, end up on the couch Sunday too sick to attend church, get up on Monday morning, vomit, and go on to work! What a life!

As I stated earlier, I was so naive about how long I would need the chemo treatments.  As the weeks stretched into months and then into years, I was growing more uneasy about how long I might have to keep this up.  Regular CT scans showed that while the tumors were not growing, neither were they shrinking.  My treatments were handled at an ambulatory infusion center.  After several months of chemo, my veins began to collapse, so an access port was surgically implanted.  For some reason, my port was difficult for the nurses to access.  It was a very painful process as they pressed a curved needle into the narrow access point.  One nurse tried three times and finally admitted, “I have no idea what I am doing.”  After that, I insisted that the access be done only by a nurse who was familiar with my port. Because it was so painful, the goal was to get the needle in on the first try.  One sweet nurse confessed that she prayed before sticking me.  God was still sending his angels to minister to me.  How gracious was my God.

In July 2010, after four years of chemo and no real evidence that the tumors were being impacted, I told the oncologist that I wanted to stop.  I had sensed the Lord dealing with me for a number of months, so I finally summoned the courage to tell the doctor I’d had enough.  He was willing for me to take a break for four months and then do a CT scan in October to assess the situation.  Over the years I had continued to educate myself on the power of nutrition to heal, and one friend kept me flooded with good information.   Thus, concurrently with suspending treatment I began changing to a vegetarian diet and added juicing to my lifestyle.  Within three weeks after stopping treatment and changing my diet, I felt like a new person.  October came when the doctor wanted to do the CT scan.  Please remember that during all these years of chemo, I had absolutely zero insurance; but between the goodness of God and generosity of the Greenville Hospital System, the medical costs had been covered.  Since I would qualify for Medicare in January 2011, I asked the doctor if we could hold off until then to do the next CT scan.  He was agreeable.

What unfolds next is a testament to the power and grace of God.  Looks like we are headed to Part V only because I want these posts to not take too much of your time to read.  Also, there are some details that should not be skipped because they show the working of God in my life.  With more to come, may the Lord be praised!

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