May 18, 2010

Meet my Friend Rachel, A Cancer Survivor!!

I'd like to introduce you to my friend Rachel.  We've known each other for 14 years, and have been raising our families together.  She has four children.  Her husband Mark is a pastor, and he performed our wedding ceremony, so we've had lots of experiences together.  One experience that was hard for all of us was when Rachel was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2005.  It came as a big shock, as she was only 37 years old at the time. Everything in our worlds came to a hault as the news sank in.  It was especially troublesome to Rachel and her family as she has already lost both a sister and a brother to cancer, and her mother had battled breast cancer.

Because of her family history with cancer, Rachel chose a very radical form of treatment, Radioactive Iodine. She needed to be quarantined  for 5 days.  Rachel and I are kindred spirits in scrapbooking, so we
prepared ahead of time for this period of her life that she would be in seclusion.  So when she felt up to it, she could hopefully pass some of the long hours alone by scrapbooking her family.  It would be good therapy.

Where do you go to place yourself under quarantine?  With the great thanks of our church, a family that lived just down the street from Rachel were going to be out of town on a mission trip, and offered Rachel their house for her recovery!  God always works out those details!  I must admit, I couldn't stay away.  I felt the need to love on her and care for her during this crazy time of solitary confinement.  I went over for lunch one day to keep my friend company.  Oh she tried to keep me away, but I was persistent.

I've asked Rachel to share with you some of her fears and triumphs during this difficult time:

Thyroid cancer is a very slow growing cancer and the doctors kept telling me this, however it brought little comfort because I had no idea when the cancer first began...was today the day it would go from my thyroid to the lymph nodes...from the lymph nodes to my lungs?  Would it be tomorrow?  Waiting for the surgery was difficult.  I felt infected on the inside and wanted it out of my body..YESTERDAY!

And how did your faith help you through your cancer treatment?

I was blown away by the love and support of family, friends, and the church.  The help through this time was overwhelming.  It was especially helpful to find others who had walked this journey and have them share their experiences.  I have been able to be that person to others who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and it has been rewarding to be the encourager saying "You CAN do this!".

My family was such a great example of how to deal with cancer because of the many times we had been through it together.  I rested on the knowledge that God was in control at all times.  I felt the prayers of family and friends, even strangers, as they were faithful in praying for me.  Fear has tried to overtake me several times as I ponder the magnitude that cancer has had on our family.  Three of five children had some kind of cancer, and my Mom with breast cancer.  It keeps me wondering not if my kids will get cancer, but when.  It is still a battle of fear, but I know that it is in God's hands, not mine, and I try to make the most of each day.

How is your health now?

I have passed the 5 year mark being cancer free and I am feeling great!

I can't express to you how blessed my life is by Rachel and her family.  We have had so many fun times together and I am so thankful that God brought her through cancer.

Relay for Life is also about celebrating those who have fought this disease and who are living examples of courage to the rest of us.

Would you make a donation today to celebrate those who have won the battle?


 Our crazy families on vacation together last year.


Anonymous said...

Keep the faith! God Bless

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