Cancer

My Cancer Story, Part 5: Healing! :)

(( Before you get started… please take a moment to start at My Cancer Story, Part 1: Hope … quite a road through Hope and Hell took place before reaching the end… I think you’ll find it’s worth knowing the beginning ))

The word faith sounds lofty, and beautiful.  Unfortunately, it’s used so much in cliché’s that we can easily forget what it really looks like to live in it.  It is beautiful, truly believing in what you cannot see opens up doors of blessings and miracles we’d otherwise miss out on.  But there are costs.  Your plans & desires have to be traded for something better and your patience can be stretched in the waiting.  Your comfort zone is blasted to pieces, making way for wide open spaces of challenges and experiences you’ve never encountered before.  It grows you from the inside out, and your heart and mind go through the fire, being molded, refined and altogether transformed.  And people won’t understand, they don’t get it, and that can sometimes leave you standing alone.  But in faith you stand.  Even when they laugh in your face.  Which is exactly what my doctor did.

“The purpose in our meeting today is to discuss your next surgery and look at what our options are so we can make a plan of treatment to move forward with after the surgery…”

Psssshhhh!!!! She MUST be crazy!!!

I didn’t say that, but I sure thought it.  No way in hell was I ever doing treatment again.  This was THE END of that road for me.

With much respect, I kindly told Dr. Walker that while I understood and appreciated her perspective as a physician and a surgeon, I felt differently.  I explained to her that I had been looking forward to this surgery for some time and that I had total faith that God had already healed me.  For me, this surgery was simply about confirming to everyone else that the cancer was gone.  I had no doubt that this was the case and I looked forward to that reality coming to pass.  I added however, that “IF I am wrong, if you do find cancer still in this body, I’ll just go home and be with my family.  I will never take chemotherapy again.  But I don’t think that’ll be the case.”

She didn’t chuckle.  She didn’t snicker.  This woman had the audacity to all out, full belly laugh in my face.  It was a hearty laugh, the kind that throws your head back.  She thought I was joking.  And the joke was apparently the funniest thing she’d heard all day.  But I wasn’t laughing.

“We have to be realistic…”  she said.

Silence came over me and I had a lump in my throat that didn’t allow me to speak.  My dad doesn’t get lumps in his throat, so he had no problem responding.  He gets red and a little shaky when you upset him to that point … like a bomb getting ready to blow up.  But I was so proud of him.  While he was visibly upset, He stood up with his tall demanding presence and simply said, “Thank you for your time.”  He proceeded to open the door for  us, motioned for me to get up, and we left.

My other cancer doctor totally understood our frustration and knew how I felt, but she wasn’t pleased with us walking out.  “That was one of only two doctors in the city that can even perform this surgery!”  I responded, “Yeah, it’s probably best if I don’t meet him before the surgery then, because anybody that is going to stand in hard opposition to the faith that is my very healing, is not putting his hands inside my body.”

The next doctor and I didn’t have a pre-surgery meeting.  Instead we met in the doorway of the surgery room as I was being rolled in.

This was what they called a “second look” surgery.  Blood tests can only give you an indication of what’s going on in your body.  At some point, in order to actually see for sure whether or not cancer tumors are left, you have to go back in.  Just like the first time, this was also supposed to be outpatient – I should have been going home the same day.  And just like the first time, I again found myself still laying in the hospital bed days later.

The doctor hadn’t come by.  The nurses weren’t telling me anything.  My stay was dragging on and on without any word.  While I was frustrated with the extended stay, and with the lack of forthcoming information about the surgery results, I was at peace.  I was tired, worn out, anxious, but at peace.

Finally, the doctor came in.  His face didn’t let on to anything as he approached my bedside.  He asked how I was doing, if I was feeling okay and entered into some small talk.  I wanted to scream – “Just tell me already!”  And after what seemed like an eternity, he finally said simply that everything “looked good”.  The tests didn’t show anything and they didn’t really understand it but everything was clear and I was free to go home.

“Everything looked good?”  uhhhhhhh…THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY!!!!!!!

He could downplay it all he wanted, I remembered vividly the pictures of tumors smothering my insides until they stacked on top of each other.  I recalled the diagnosis of the worst possible stage and being given 2 years to live – at most.  I felt every emotion, every tinge of every drop of chemical injected into my body, lived every long day of the past several months on this rollercoaster of hope and hell, and I had mustered up everything I had left in every crevice of my being to refuse the statistics and live weakly, but in faith.  His casual words meant something far beyond the realms of looking “good” for me.  It meant I was cancer-FREE!!!!!! The hell was over and I could LIVE AGAIN!  Oh how I wanted to jump off of that bed and yell and run and dance and fly!!  Being strapped to the IVs and still weak and in pain from the surgery, all I could do was smile, as wide as my mouth could stretch and assure that doctor that God had done it.  He healed me.

While the doctor was tripping over his words and clearly doing his best to be professional in all his complete confusion by the results, I wasn’t confused at all.  I knew full well why he couldn’t explain it, because it was a miracle.

A nurse came in moments later, smiling and happy that the doctor had finally come to give me the report and release me.  She apologized over and over that my release had been delayed these days and asked me if the doctor had explained to me why they’d kept me.  He had not.

She went on to tell me that over 50 biopsies had been tested and every one of them had come back clear!  Because they couldn’t believe that was possible, all of the biopsies were sent off to be tested again with the same result, and yet again, and still not a trace of cancer was found.  NOT A TRACE!

Can you say HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.  ~Hebrews 11:1

Is any among you sick?  … and the prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.  And if you have committed sins, you will be forgiven.  ~ James 5:15

Healing AND forgiveness?  Isn’t it just like God to be a multi-tasking Master, being about a million things at once – each thing being enough in and of itself…

I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  As my mom put it in a prayer, “If you had made your healing known to us the first time we prayed for it, how else would we know you like we do, how else would we know we need you like we do…”

I could list a million things and write pages upon pages of the knowledge I gained, the beauty of each lesson learned through the journey, and the countless blessings that I would have never seen had I never had cancer.  If it had not been for that season of cancer, I would have never moved to Oklahoma City, become involved in so many beautiful opportunities of ministry, or met and fell into deep life long relationships with all of the amazing friends I have come to know and share life with.  If it had not been for having cancer, I wouldn’t understand so acutely the depth of struggle and suffering of others in sickness, and life would be a lame excuse for existence because I wouldn’t know the precious value of it that I now understand on a daily basis.

And if it had not been for cancer, there would be no Jacey.

And above all things, that is something I just cannot comprehend or imagine.

Isn’t it also just like God to turn our greatest sorrows into our greatest joys, take our worst struggles and tragedies and trade them for blessings beyond the best of our wildest dreams, and in His divine goodness turn our mourning into dancing!

Almost three years after I left that last hospital room, I found myself in another, standing bedside of the most selfless woman I’ve ever known, and seeing before my very own eyes an even greater miracle than God healing me of cancer… the birth of my daughter.

God. Is. Good.  All the time.

And all the time, God is so very very very very good.

And I don’t deserve it.  There is nothing special about me.  I have failed him and walked outside of faith and it pains me to say honestly that in my humanity at times even forgotten that goodness and gone my own way.  But in His grace, He is still good.  He never lets go.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, how I’ve proved Him over and over…

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, O for grace to trust Him more.

Thank you, for journeying with me through this process.  It has refreshed my grateful heart and meant so much to me to document, to put a stamp on that which changed my life and remains a part of me forever.  I am forever grateful to the many people that stood by my side both close to me and from far away, offering powerful prayers, in faith.  It has taken me through tears and laughter, joy and pain to trek back through these memories, but my prayer is that it will encourage hope to the suffering, and someday it will bear proof to my sweet Jacey of God and how real He truly is – that she will know how precious she is, how much God loves her, and what all He brought about in order to bring us together.

But please know that I write it to share God’s story, not mine.  He gave me life, and does daily, the least I can do is testify to His power at work.  I know that many stories do not turn out as mine did.  I’ve cried with those who have lost a loved one to cancer or other illnesses and I wouldn’t dare say that I understand God’s plan or will for each of us.  The bible says His thoughts are not our thoughts, his ways are not our ways.  What I do know is that we do not understand healing in the way He does and we cannot comprehend with our human mind the beauty in true, perfect healing from this world that takes us home to be with Him in  heaven, a place beyond this world of struggle, where…

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…  ~Revelation 21:4

While I overflow with gratitude for the healing God did in me… I know too that I got the short end of the stick, for it is far better to be with Him.

But until that time comes, I will settle for walking through this life with Him in faith, pursuing a more intimate relationship with him day by day, knowing that as I remember what He has done for me I can press on, being sensitive to His presence and His miracles that continue to take place all around me.  For now, until He calls me home, that is enough.  How could I ask for more?  He is more than enough.

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20 thoughts on “My Cancer Story, Part 5: Healing! :)

  1. I found your blog through the tag surfing thing. All I can say is WOW!!! GOD is truly AMAZING! Your testimony is absolutely compelling! I am an operating room nurse. I always tell my patients to hang onto Jesus because only God knows the plan for our lives. We are just people. I don’t care what any doctor says, only God knows! I’m so glad I found your blog! God bless you and your precious Jacey! May His face shine upon you all of your lives!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!! You must be a doctor or nurse? What a blessing it is to connect with you – I appreciate your taking the time to read and for your encouraging words! God bless!!

  2. Okay, so I’m just gonna quote you back to you … my favorite thoughts, if you will:

    “Your plans & desires have to be traded for something better and your patience can be stretched in the waiting. Your comfort zone is blasted to pieces, making way for wide open spaces of challenges and experiences you’ve never encountered before. It grows you from the inside out, and your heart and mind go through the fire, being molded, refined and altogether transformed.” Ouch. Yet bring it.

    “Healing AND forgiveness? Isn’t it just like God to be a multi-tasking Master, being about a million things at once – each thing being enough in and of itself…”
    Ridiculously true. I think I might have to address my next prayer to the “Multi-tasking Master.” 🙂

    “I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. As my mom put it in a prayer, “If you had made your healing known to us the first time we prayed for it, how else would we know you like we do, how else would we know we need you like we do…””
    My favorite of your words. I seem to remember a similar sentiment being shared with me as I bawled my eyes out on your front porch one particular evening …

    “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, how I’ve proved Him over and over…

    Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, O for grace to trust Him more.”
    O, for grace to trust Him more. I know they’re not your words, but … Amen.

    Stacey, this blog wholeheartedly points to the Source of your healing. It is most certainly not about you, but about the grace and forgiveness and miraculous HEALING He alone provides. I am so humbled to call you friend but infinitely more so to call Him Lord.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank YOU for sharing. Sarah, I am indebted to you for your goodness and faithfulness to me. God has taught me so much through your wisdom and continues to do so. I am blessed and honored to be counted as your friend and glean from God’s work in your life. You bless me Sarah. You bless my heart and have stood by me, battled in prayer for me, and loved me as unconditionally as any human can. Thank you, all that I am thanks you for all that you are. ❤

  3. Ummmmmmmm AMAZING!!!!!!!
    Sister, I love you like the flowers love sun and fish need water!

    Okay where to start, I remember the call….. Dad said ” your sister is very ill and you need to come to Tulsa” I was like dude your killing my high. I asked him “whats going on” and he said “she has cancer and they have given her a short time to live”. When I got to the hospital I was standing in the hall and mom was telling me all of it and I realized how serious it was. I stood there barely listening to her just in a daze and a nurse stepped out of your room and I saw you, laying in your bed and I turned around and lost it, I just wanted to run away and never stop as if I ran far enough it would just go away and mom said “don’t let her see you cry, she won’t be able to take it if your crying Stephanie”. So I dried my tears and went in to see you and as soon as you saw me you broke down… Do you remember what you told me? You said ” I don’t know if I am more upset that I am dying or that I can’t have my own children”. I remember thinking for crying out loud your dying who cares about the children, you won’t get the chance to have them. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to have that right taken away from me, but I think you hoped you would get better and it made you sad that it would not be an option for you. I am sorry that was taken away from you. Jacey is so amazing! Wow, thanks for my daughter’s best friend! The world would be a sad place without her shinning face!

    I prepared myself for your death and my loss. I just completley shut down and blocked it all out like it wasn’t happening. I avoided it like the plague. Do you remember that? Maybe nobody noticed how I dealt with it but It was the only way for me to keep myself from just totally crumbling to pieces.

    I remember how sick you were, running from one sink to another, cause they would fill up with throw up and you would have to run to another. You looked like a walking corpse. I hated how upset you were about your hair falling out. I remember thinking would she just shave it off already and stop hanging on to it like her life depends on it. But it was easy for me to think that,I wasn’t the one loosing my hair, I didn’t understand. I can’t even imagine the pain you were in.

    Woman… you are a fighter, you always have been!

    Have I ever told you that I think you got cancer to save me from the depths of hell? Your faith changed my life, saved my marriage and saved my soul.
    I love you Stac!
    It’s just YOU and ME, SIS!!!!!!!

    1. Oh Stephie. 😦
      Momma was right… I can’t stand to see you cry, when I see you hurting it just kills me…
      Man, it’s awesome and awful to hear you recall the things you remember.
      And yes I remember… of course I noticed how you went through it, I always notice my Stephie. You know that. You know how I treasure you, how I have always loved you with a tremendous depth and always wanted the best for you, to keep you safe, to hold you close all my life long. You are a beautiful gift to me from God and I just cherish you more than words can express. I am so proud of you, you made all the strong choices to make a better life for yourself, you husband, and your sweet babies that I love as if they were my own. I’m just blessed to be with you and see all that my little sister has become, which is beautiful in every way. I just love you so much. Even more than you think you know.
      Yes, you and me sister, you and me forever and ever and ever. ❤

  4. Wow…I saw Steph’s comment on facebook and clicked over to read your blog. Little did I know that I was going to be crying for the next hour. I remember hearing about all of this when it happened, but to hear you write about it in your own words is truly amazing. I haven’t stopped crying for the past hour. My calendar is soaking wet! It was truly a blessing to read this. Our GOD IS GOOD! The victory of this story makes me smile. Stacy, I can’t even imagine the number of people you have touched by your story. May God continue to bless you, Stacy…and others by your smile! Love ya…

    “We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but we know who brings tomorrow!”

    1. Aw sweet Jamie–Thank you so much for sharing this – you have blessed my heart INCREDIBLY. I am so grateful you took the time to read, and my hope is exactly what you expressed – for anyone who reads to see the VICTORY of GOD’S GOODNESS. God bless you friend, you are such a light! Love you my sister in the Lord!

  5. I have had the opportunity to hear your cancer story on several occasions… while it was extremely touching to me then as a teenager, it feel that it is even more so as an adult and mother. You make me smile.. you are wonderful! Praise be to GOD for healing you! I heart you!

    1. So true – yes you have probably heard it about a dozen times, lol 🙂 I can imagine it would mean something different now as you have experienced so much life and now the sweet journey of motherhood. Your inspiring life is a blessing and a testimony and I love you girl! YES, Praise be to God!

  6. Stace,

    WOW!! What more is there to say..? I read the first 4 parts and waited for the 5th. Your well thought out words truly inspire me!!!

    I was just a young teen about the time that you were experiencing this treacherous journey, your mother was a house-mom, but not mine. I heard “through the grapevine,” if you will, that her daughter was fighting cancer, but I didn’t know you at that time and really had no idea what that meant, at least not in the detailed way that you have shared here. I only knew that she was hurting even though she was/is such a STRONG lady. (She has inspired me through your story as well, telling you to pray for others in your darkest hour, WHAT A THOUGHT!, only a woman of her measure and faith in our Lord would be that sort of inspiration.) Then later on, I heard about little miss Jacey and what a miracle she was/is. I had never, until reading this blog, put together why it was that she was adopted, why it was that she was SUCH a miracle. When I began to go to Brookwood and I got to see you more regularly I began to understand what a sweet spirit you have, but until finding you on FB, I had NO IDEA what an amazingly beautiful soul you are. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me and the rest of the world. GOD knew exactly what it was that he was doing, as He always does, by keeping you here to be a testimony of his love and grace and what faith in Him can truly accomplish. Thank you. xxxxo

    1. mmmmmm, beautiful Symphony – thank you for sharing your heart! You were and are a blessing to me and our family, all these years! I’m so glad God put you in our path, or us in yours, either way- I adore you girl… thanks so much for reading and for sharing your heartfelt and encouraging thoughts! It means so much friend! XOXOXO

  7. One word that fits you, this story and most importantly our God……….AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing!!!! You have no idea how much this has touched my heart and challenged my desire to be more faithful and trusting of a God who truly died for our sins…and our sickness!! Thank you, Stacey!!!

    1. wow – isn’t that amazing – died for our sicknesses too!! It still blows me away girl!! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for seeing the trust factor so clearly, it’s God’s story and you definitely heard with your heart friend, that’s all my prayer has been. I’m so grateful for your words of encouragement and for your inspiration Amanda!

  8. Stacey-

    I honestly had NO idea that you had been through all of this!! NO IDEA!! If Randal hadn’t of posted part 5 of your story, I would still not have known. I thank God for your Papa and also that you chose life…even though you did have to go through hell and back! Our God is ABSOLUTLY AWESOME!!!! I praise GOD for your healing, for your life and the sweet, sweet spirit He has given you!! The work that He did in you is such an incredible story!! Like Jamie, I too, cried tears of sadness and then tears of joy while reading your story!! Thank you SO much for writing about that season in your life. May God continue to bless you!! I love you, sister!

  9. Ok, Stacey…I really have no words to describe how truly amazing your testimony is. As I try to write through my tears I just keep thinking to myself that what I am going through doesn’t even compare to what this warrior has been through. And what sticks out in my mind through these blog posts is what your momma said to you in, what seemed to be, your darkest hour…”get on your knees and pray for others.” WOW!!! This story is exactly what I needed to wake up and stop “feeling sorry for myself.” A simple thank you doesn’t even seem appropriate for what you and your testimony have done for me. You’re are always in my heart, sweet sister in Christ!!

    “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With LONG LIFE will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” ~Psalm 91:15

    I love you, Stacey!! ❤

    Thank you, again!!

    1. Cara! Awwww – thank you for finding your way here and taking the time to read! You are always a blessing friend, what a beautiful verse… I’m putting that one in my heart forever. Thank you Cara – love you!!!

  10. I decided to read this blog for Britani’s report. I heard your journey told first hand by you. But to read it…… was amazing. I found myself dying to read the next Part and the next and the next.

    It’s funny how God brings you to certain things even if the actual content doesn’t apply to you in the moment….. it just very well may apply in other ways.

    I thank you for journaling such private moments, and allowing Brit to use your story….. and for; just maybe helping me out without even knowing it!

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