A Patient Testimony – Nancy and John H.
Throughout my life I believed our family was uniquely blessed. We seemed to be shielded from loss, overwhelming challenges, or tragedy. This stability came to a screeching halt in the spring of 2010 beginning with the loss of my father, our family’s patriarch. With my mother’s dementia accelerating after the death of my father, the harmony of our family was replaced with tension and division as it became necessary to make decisions for her care. Struggling with the loss of my father and the heartbreak of my mother’s declining mental health, I began to seek the close walk I experienced with the Lord before I allowed the busyness of my career to consume my life. I questioned if it was even possible to regain that close relationship and fully trust in Him. My answer came in a phone call on October 13th of 2010 with the startling results from a biopsy showing infiltrating ductal carcinoma in my left breast.
The diagnosis of breast cancer was life changing. In the weeks that followed, my husband John and I turned to God’s word for comfort and peace. Through the most challenging storm of our lives, we experienced God’s abundant love and we became certain there are no coincidences in the lives of believers, only divine appointments. We saw God working in our situation daily and we were overwhelmed by His loving mercy.
The first divine appointment came when God used circumstances and scheduling for perfect timing and early detection of the cancer. The radiologist performing the biopsy assumed the biopsy was not necessary as the tumor was not significant. With the unexpected results, he questioned the radiologist who initially detected the tumor. Dr. Hanson responded, “ I just had a feeling.” I know that ―feeling was the hand of God. When viewing the films in the surgeon’s office a week later, the surgeon said, “How did the radiologist find that?” It was an opportunity to say, “God tapped him on the shoulder.”
In the weeks that followed God held us close through His word and the prayers and love of family and friends. He brought friends from our past back into our lives in the most unexpected ways. More divine appointments. We felt the gift of God’s love and mercy as He surrounded us with the support of Spirit filled believers.
The course of treatment recommended was lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection with radiation to follow. On Sunday night before my scheduled surgery, God once again showed His amazing love and care with another divine appointment. While singing and praising God at our church, John and I recognized one of the worship leaders. She was the assistant to the surgeon who would be performing my surgery the following day. Karen leads worship at the Central Campus, but that Sunday evening she was needed at the Northwest Campus of our church where we attend. We spoke with her after the service and were blessed beyond measure to know a believer would be standing over me during surgery. There are no coincidences in believers’ lives.
The week following my surgery brought the good news of answered prayer. Clear lymph nodes! Praise God! The pathology showed an additional surgery was necessary, as the required margins were not achieved. John and I needed a few days to pray about the next step. We were certain there was a rea-son the surgeon had not achieved the required margins. After prayer and God giving us numerous affirmations, we were confident and at peace in moving forward in my treatment with a double mastectomy. Once again we thanked God for His hand on my life as the pathology reported an unexpected find in a different area of the breast. Without God giving me the opportunity to change the course of treatment, it would not have been detected and removed.
All went well following surgery and I began to regain strength quickly until I developed C-Diff a week after surgery. C-Diff is a severe intestinal disorder requiring hospitalization. The symptoms and medications resulted in loss of appetite, continued weight loss, severe stomach pain and loss of strength. Having always been healthy and active, I became discouraged as my greatest accomplishment for the day was showering.
God knew my discouragement and growing fear. On the day of my greatest need, He sent one of His precious children to minister to me. Crystal Azizi, a member of Phoenix First Assembly and friend, called saying, “God told me to come and visit you today. I welcomed her visit and will be eternally grateful that she followed what God laid on her heart. She arrived at our home armed with the Word of God, prayer, praise music, healing scriptures, and information about Team Up! Against Cancer. That day was pivotal. The growing fear and discouragement was replaced with trust and peace.
Following my diagnosis, I received extensive information regarding cancer support groups. Though they are extremely helpful to others, I did not plan to join as I felt my support was adequate. Crystal asked me to speak with David Bryant, leader of Team Up! Against Cancer, and she invited us to the prayer meetings held weekly at Phoenix First. After speaking with David, his knowledge, warmth, and helpful spirit encouraged me to give the support group a try. John and I arrived at the first meeting as strangers and left feeling as though we had been with family.
Meeting with this special group of believers, attending the prayer service, and joining the prayer circle each week have been instrumental in my healing. As Pastor Saeed has said, “We need to have a need.” We thank our Lord for allowing us be blessed in our need through this ministry.
John and I thank God for the prayers, love, and support of believers through these months. I thank God for holding me by my right hand. I am now cancer free with only an 11% possibility of recurrence. Thank you Jesus! “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13