Peace Family you have been a huge part of my journey with cancer and I wanted to share with you the good news…As of January 28th, 2019 I am now 5 years cancer free! Here’s a picture of my doctor, Kathleen Schmeler and I at my check up a week ago.
I began working for Bryan Broadcasting in 2013 and three months later was diagnosed with cancer. I was shocked and had the unenviable task of telling my bosses that news. I also had to ask for time off for treatment. In all my career I have never asked for time off the first year I work a new job. It’s not done in radio. One of my strengths is being dependable, showing up on time and working hard. This went against everything in me. I was scared.
The news was met with support and an assurance they would hold my job and wait for me to get better. They would be there with me. It was amazing. I also was only 90 minutes from one of the most renowned cancer centers in the world: MD Anderson in Houston. My doctor fast-tracked me there and 25 days later I went under the knife to removed a 2 cm tumor. Then the hard part started. Radiation for 6 weeks M-F with a chemo called Cisplatin every Monday to enhance the radiation. Boy did it. By the 4th week I had second degree burns and was begging for mercy.
No mercy was given. Doctors explained that radiation was cumulative and since I had sensitive skin it would be something I would just have to endure. That was the price to try to make it 5 years without a recurrence. That is a difficult place to be in. I worked years to learn to be present in the moment and not live in the past or future, and now I was asked to reverse that. It pushed me to my limits and drove me into the arms of Jesus. There were some days I was so weak I used a wheelchair. There were times that my prayer was just the word Jesus…it was all I could get out in my suffering.
You never know how you will react to a challenge like cancer but I realized something profound. God is God and he is good even if I had cancer. My faith was solid. I did not ask why or feel sorry for myself. He was my only source of help. If there was any immaturity in me it was burned away during radiation. I realized that I might not be okay and that was okay. I had lived an amazing life and a gratefulness entered me like I had never known.
I had tests every 3 months for 4 years and then every six months. Now, it’s once a year. To be honest I did not think I would make it to the 5 year mark. There is still no guarantee it will not come back at any time. I try now to live fully each day. And my family and lifelong friends say I have a peace and calmness about me that wasn’t there before. I guess facing death will do that to you. And your priorities get checked really fast.
So, in closing, I am here!! I can’t tell you the joy that brings me. Thank you for your prayers and kindness during this time. It’s been an honor to be with you every day on Peace 107 and be a part of your life. My purpose in life is to encourage others in Jesus name. And I will stay and do that as long as God allows me to.