Team Up Against Cancer


A Patient Testimony – Mary Elrod

Number 1,000

While both my husband and I were raised in Christian faith and have been members of various churches throughout our lives, we had been fighting a battle that to us was unbelievable.  Unable to have the regulatory agencies acknowledge the illegality of the actions that were hurting not only us but others working in our arena also, H.K. and I isolated ourselves from the church we attended and from seeking that support.  We failed to ask for God’s help or to turn our problems over to him.

In June of 2010, H.K. became feverish and found a red spot on the back of his leg.  He went to our little clinic in Page on Saturday morning and within a couple hours he was in surgery at our local hospital.  The first surgery was at 2PM, the second around 8PM and the third at 8 AM on Sunday.  Industrial strength antibiotics by IV were started at the same time and the wounds were left open.  By Monday morning, as he was headed back to surgery to remove more rotting flesh, life flight was being arranged to Phoenix.  The as yet undiagnosed infection, some sort of flesh eating bacteria, was eating tissue faster than the doctors could get ahead of it.  By 6PM H.K. was ready to be flown to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital where a team of surgeons and infectious disease physician would be waiting for him.

I drove from Page to Phoenix and due to fires in Flagstaff , I was detoured through the Grand Canyon making this one of the longest journeys of my life.  The almost 8 hour drive gave me time to pray to our Savior as never before.  I thanked him for all the wonderful qualities he had given my husband and that he had brought him into my life.  I prayed that his life be spared. 

When I arrived at the hospital H.K. was awake and in intensive care.  I spoke with the surgeon who gave me the diagnosis…Fournier’s’ Gangrene.  It is a very rare and aggressive flesh eating bacteria…absolutely no idea how it was contracted.  The surgeon felt the procedure was a success and that they had gotten ahead of the bacteria…saving all of his organs and his leg.  Four weeks later, the surgeons closed up 42 inches of open incisions.

During the time H.K. was hospitalized, an old friend and business associate, David Bryant, came to visit him…they had coffee and prayer 3-4 times per week.  David shared with us his spiritual journey and we began to open up and talk about our beliefs.  David brought Pastor Saeed to meet H.K. and they bonded instantly.  We learned about Phoenix First and the Prayer Pavilion and the hope being promoted with Team Up! Against Cancer.  H.K. and I were added to the prayer chain and H.K. received his cell phone prayers every Tuesday.  The loving outreach and prayers warmed us and brought us back to our bibles for knowledge and understanding.

Checking H.K. out of the hospital, I opened the tailgate on my Explorer to load his suitcase and strained a muscle in my arm.  It really was nothing and we headed home after a long 6 week hospitalization.  H.K. was very emotional leaving, breathing the fresh air and actually coming home.  Praise God for the miracle of his recovery!  His wound care was to continue weekly in St. George, UT.  My arm continued to bother me and while rubbing it, I felt the lump under my arm….every woman’s fear.  A few days later and several tests in Page, we were told to find a breast center somewhere.   The tumor appeared to be malignant, was large, involved 2 lymph nodes, and was very aggressive.   There had been no sign of it on my last mammogram 8 months previous.  We left the hospital feeling like a bucket of ice water had been thrown on us.  Cancer…find a breast center….could take two or more weeks to get in…what to do?

Stunned, headed home and checked the internet for breast centers….one of the first to pop up was the Laura Drier Breast Center at Good Sam here in Phoenix.  We knew the hospital well so I called the breast center and told my story to the receptionist. The thought of waiting two weeks to get additional tests and a biopsy was more than I could bear.  The gal put me on hold and I was certain that she did not understand the immediacy of my request!  I wanted to be seen ASAP not in two weeks!  When she finally came back on the line, I was already looking for numbers of other breast centers on the internet, but she said, “Mary, can you be here in Phoenix at 8AM tomorrow?  We have scheduled all the tests, procedures and a consultation.”  WOW! GOD is great!  We couldn’t pack fast enough to head to Phoenix.

The suspicions proved to be true and I had the test results the same day.  This was on Thursday, the next Monday I met with the surgeon, and that Friday I had a partial radical mastectomy.  Just a few weeks later, 20 weeks of chemotherapy began with trips to Phoenix for the treatments.  This was followed by 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments.

While in Phoenix for the first tests, David Bryant encouraged us to attend our first Tuesday night Prayer Pavilion.  The prayer, support, and encouragement were remarkable.  David introduced us to many cancer survivors.  All had chosen their own path of treatment but the mainstay for all the survivors was faith and attitude.  It became apparent that keeping the faith and not allowing fear to overwhelm us would be key.

We studied our bibles, asked questions, found areas where our Christian education fell short, and sought more knowledge. 

The problems that we had allowed to eat us alive before were nothing compared to what we were both now fighting.  What did God have in mind for us?  Why haven’t we trusted in Him before and turned all this over to him?  Why did we think we were in this all alone?  Slowly, through prayer, we have surrendered our troubles and fears to Him. 

H.K.’s recovery has been steady with no recurrence or side effects from the drugs or surgeries.  My PET scan showed no sign of cancer.  Recovery from the cure has been tough, but cure it is.  God has something in mind for H.K. and I.  Spiritually, we have grown more then imaginable.  God has blessed us.

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength (causing it to multiply and making it to abound).      ISAIAH 40:29