My Back Story
"You are special young lady. You need to lose 200 pounds. The cancer is gone, but
should it recur, you will have to have surgery again--no doubt. But I am more
concerned about you surviving the surgery than I am the cancer."
That's what my oncologist said in my post-operative visit as he explained to me that I had this extremely rare ovarian cancer which caused me to have a partial hysterectomy on September 21, 2011. A week before my visit with the oncologist, I had what I thought was my final post-op visit with my gynecologist until she called me to say she wanted me to see an oncologist. Thank God my friend Darlene was with me because I would not have been able to get my head around all of that. I mean, I got the losing weight part, doctors had been telling me that for years, but the fact that I had cancer, and didn't know it was a bit much. That fact was exacerbated because it was ovarian cancer that usually when it's diagnosed, it's too late!
I was terrified. I thought the doctor was nuts! I did not believe that I could lose 200 damn pounds! I just thought,
"Hell, I'm gonna die, I can't do that." I knew I could lose about 25 or 30 because I had done that before, but 200---umm, no! But praise be to God, Darlene was there. She put her hand on my mine and simply said, "I will help you," and that is exactly what she has done.
The friendship that we have developed over this time is one of God's most precious gifts to me, and I thank Him for her! Immediately, she began to map out how we were going to do this thing, and she never let me say no, or "I can't." We started out walking (even in the rain and cold), then we joined the gym. Darlene bought equipment for us to use--she committed herself to me being successful, so I had no choice but to participate. She was not going to sit by and let me die, not even when I wanted to--that is a friend. That is God!
When I found out I would have to see an oncologist, Darlene was the first, and only person I told until after the appointment. I was so scared, I don't think I could have gotten it out more than once. When I told her, she said, "I'll go with you." It was exactly a week between the time of my post-op visit and the appointment with the oncologist. I went into complete seclusion. I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't go anywhere. I didn't answer the phone. I didn't answer the door. I didn't do anything. I just laid in bed and cried and prayed and cried and prayed. I knew how Job felt at the height of his trials, and yes, I was mad at God, and I told him so. I couldn't believe that after all I'd been through in my life, that now, on top of taking away my one life-long dream of having a child, He was also going to take me out with cancer--really??
But just like Job, God helped me understand that He was the one who'd brought me through all the rough times in my life. God and I went at it. He opened my eyes to the fact that He made me, that He loved me, and that if He didn't, I wouldn't be here to complain. He'd brought me through the surgery, and I was able to keep one ovary. So, although slim and not through conventional ways, I might still be able to have child one day.
God reminded me of the family and friends he placed in my life who cared for me as I recovered. I never had to lift a finger for anything because my parents, and some really incredible people surrounded me in love and took care of my every need. God spoke to me and helped me see that even in the midst of this, He was right there loving and protecting me, and that if I just trusted Him, I would be fine. Even if it was time for me to die, I would be just fine because I would be with Him.
That week, I thought so much about life, and my life, and all the time I'd wasted, all the things I said I was going to do and hadn't; all the mistakes I made that I couldn't change. For the first time in my life, I really looked at my life and what it had been, and what it had not been, and was mortified at the possibility that it could be ending
with cancer, it was my fault, and I wouldn’t have time to fix it. I hadn't taken care of my body . I ate all kinds of food with reckless disregard. I didn't exercise. I didn't do anything that my doctors and nutritionist offered and suggested to keep my body healthy.
Several years earlier I was diagnosed with "poly cystic ovarian syndrome," and knew that cancer, diabetes, heart disease were possible outcomes. They told me the risks could be reduced if I lost weight, and kept check on my hormone levels. I did for a minute, but then went back to old habits of not eating right and exercising, just ignoring what my body needed. Now it was finally rebelling against me in the worst way, and it was too
By the time the appointment with the oncologist rolled around, I was walking completely on my faith in God. He was all I had. I believed in my entire being that whatever the oncologist told me that everything would be alright. If he said I had cancer and 2 days to live, it was alright. That time I spent with God, just me and Him, changed my entire perspective on life, living and my relationship with God. When the oncologist told me that I had survived this very rare cancer my soul rejoiced. When he told me I had to lose 200 pounds, yeah, at first I thought, "I can't do this," but I remembered that God was with me, and that I absolutely could. When Darlene said she would help me, I knew that I would. And so, we began this journey, and praise be to God for being there every step of the way!
In the following days, I remember so vividly saying to myself that I was not going to waste time, not another minute because I didn't know how many minutes I had left. Since God had given me another chance to get it right, and placed this incredible self-sacrificing person in my life to help me, I was not going to waste it and toss that gift back in God's face. I was going to do that, and all of my life experiences with God made me know that I
Each day would be a whole new journey, and I look forward to it!
This was taken at our church retreat in July 2011 before I knew I would have to have surgery. I felt just the way I look.