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Peggy

Peggy – Healed of Cervical Cancer

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the fall of 2012.

I had surgery and the cancer was determined to be stage 1.  There was no cancer in the lymph nodes and they had gotten clean margins.  The doctors recommended radiation just as a precaution to make sure all the cancer was gone. 

After completing radiation I began seeing the oncologists and radiologists every 3 months for follow up.  In the fall of 2013 they ordered a CT scan as part of the follow up.  The CT scan revealed 3 spots in my lungs.  The doctors thought this could not be cancer since I had no sign of cancer in my abdomen (which is where cervical cancer usually spreads).   I was referred to Beaumont’s lung nodule clinic so they could determine what the spots were.  There they recommended a lung biopsy.  The spots where smaller than what they usually can successfully biopsy but the location of one of the spots made it possible to biopsy the spot despite its small size.  The results were the cervical cancer had spread.

I met with my oncologists and he said we would now have to do chemotherapy.  But he warned me that only 20-30% of the patients see any positive results from the chemo.  Positive results included the chemo just keeping the cancer from growing or spreading but not killing the cancer currently in the lungs.  He told me the chemo would consist of 2 drugs.  There was a third possible drug but he did not recommend using it because it could cause a ruptured bowel.  If this happened the patient had a 50/50 chance of dying. 

Needless to say he was not very encouraging.  But he did suggest getting a second opinion.  So I decided to pursue the second opinion.

I have a sister who is a nurse with excellent contacts in the medical field. She offered to ask them for an oncologist they would recommend.  In the meantime I went to the Karmanos website.  I looked under cervical cancer and found Dr. Morris, who was the head of all gynecological cancers.  So I called Karmanos asking for an appointment with him.  Karmanos said they would call me back.  I completely expected that they would call me back to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment with Dr. Morris for 6 months but I could get an appointment with another doctor.  To my surprise in an hour Karmanos called me back and said I had an appointment with Dr. Morris in 2 days. 

About an hour after that my sister called me to tell me that after talking to the doctors she knew she was told that the best oncologist for my type of cancer was a Dr. Morris at Karmanos.  She was surprised and relieved when I told her I already had an appointment with him.   

My long-standing boyfriend, Vince, went with me to meet with Dr. Morris.  He told us that chemo would include 3 drugs including the drug the 1st oncologist did not want to use.  He explained that the perforated bowel side effect only resulted with people who had been diagnosed with colon cancer.  Since that was not my diagnosis the risk of this happening to me was less than 1%.

Vince and I were then faced with which doctor or treatment plan to chose. To help make this decision, Vince suggested that we pray about it.  While we were praying, I kept seeing the Karmanos sign in my mind.  Afterwards when I talked to Vince he said he kept seeing Dr. Morris’s face while he was praying.  So we had our answer.  God was directing us to go to Karmanos.

A couple of days after the first chemo session, Vince and I went to Salt Lake City to visit family for Christmas.  One night after dinner I did not feel well.  At bedtime I still didn’t feel well and couldn’t sleep.  At 3:00 am, this general uncomfortable feeling changed to a pain on the right side of my abdomen.  I conclude that either I was having a ruptured bowel from the chemo or I had appendicitis. 

At 8:00 in the morning I told Vince he needed to take me to the hospital, but what hospital?  With the cancer diagnosis and the possible ruptured bowel scenario we couldn’t go to just any hospital.  So while Vince was talking to his family about where to go, I googled hospitals in Salt Lake City.  Up comes an article that lists the top 5 hospitals in Salt Lake City.  The hospital listed as number 4 on this list was only 2 miles from our hotel.

I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am.  They did a CT scan and determined that I had appendicitis.  They operated at 3:30 pm.  I was discharged at 8:00 pm and was on a flight back to Detroit at 8:00 a.m. the following morning. 

It was this point that Vince and I started attending the weekly Illness Recovery Classes at Life Christian Church in Troy.  I reviewed the lessons and scriptures every week and began listening to praise and worship music in my car.  One of the scriptures that particularly spoke to me was Matthew 17:20.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

One of the praise and worship songs that ministered deeply to my soul was based on this same verse.  It’s entitled, “It’s Only a Mountain”.  I liked this scripture (and song) because I wasn’t sure how strong my faith was but I knew I had faith at least the size of a mustard seed, so therefore I must have enough faith to move this mountain.  I began to refer to the cancer in my body as the mountain and my mantra became “It’s only a mountain”.  

After 3 rounds of chemo the doctor ordered a CT scan to determine if the chemo was working.  I was extremely nervous.  I had been listening to a lot of praise and worship music and one song in particular spoke to me, it was “Trust in Jesus” by Third Day.  So when it came time for the CT scan, I sang that song in my head the entire time I was in the CT machine.

One week later, I had a doctor’s appointment to get the results of the CT scan.  As I was getting dressed I realized that I had woken up with a song in my head.  It was “Trust in Jesus”!  I hadn’t listened to it before I went to bed or even the entire day before.  I took this as a sign from God to trust Him and everything would be OK.

At the doctor’s appointment I was told that the spots in my lungs were either gone or dramatically reduced.  The doctor said it appeared as if the cancer was melting away.  The chemo was working!

I have been incredibly blessed during this season.  I had very few side effects from the chemo.  After the 5th round of chemo I went for my regular appointment with the doctor.  At that particular appointment, I saw an assistant I had never met before.  She started with the usual questions about what side effects I was experiencing.  I told her that I was starting to get more winded when doing certain activities.  I explained that during practice with my figure skating team I would get winded when before I didn’t.   She stopped me and our conversation went as follows:

Dr.:  You figure skate?

Me:  Yes.

Dr.:  And you are still figure skating?

Me:  Yes, I am on a “Theatre on Ice” team.

Dr.:  How much do you skate?

Me:  I only skate on Saturdays because of work.  But on Saturdays I skate for 4 hours, two hours in the morning with my personal coach and 2 hours in the afternoon with the team.

Dr.:  You are working full time and skating 4 hours on Saturdays?

Me:  Yes.

Dr.:   I don’t think we have to worry about you getting winded.  You are not our normal chemo patient! 

After the 6th round of chemo, the doctor ordered another CT scan.  Again I was very nervous.   Before the test I called Vince to pray with me.  Again I sang the “Trust in Jesus” song as I was in the CT scan.  This time when we saw the doctor to get the results, he told me the news I’d been waiting for … that I was cancer free!!  They could see scars on my lungs where the cancer had been but there was NO CANCER!!!  The doctor then proceeded to warn me that the cancer could return.  The moment he uttered those words, in my head and in my heart I heard, “Oh no, that is not going to happen”.  This happened so fast that I don’t believe the thought came from me.  I believe God was telling me I was healed!!!  

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