The Madison East Church invited me to share a brief testimony of my cancer journey last Sabbath, which I decided to share here also. On September 11, 2017, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulenemia to be specific. There is no localized tumor. The cancer is spread through my body in the blood/bone/lymph systems, and I’ve been told it’s incurable.
I cried, prayed, and frantically began searching for something to fix it! My desire was to get better naturally. I believe whole heartedly in the beautiful health message that our church is blessed with, (plant based diet, exercise, water, sunshine, trust in a loving caring God, fresh air, restorative rest, temperance in all things). I strongly believe prevention is the way to go. But here I am with cancer.
First I found an oncologist willing to give me time before starting traditional treatment. Within a couple of weeks, I was at Eden Valley Institute, going through their Lifestyle Program of diet, herbs, fasting, fever baths, hyperbaric oxygen, poultices, essential oils, and much much more.
When I came home I followed that program meticulously. I was not in any pain, but I did have a steady decrease in energy and immunity. Ten months later my bone marrow quit making neutrophils, zero. My immunity was shot. After several weeks in the hospital with no improvement, I knew my body needed more help than I knew how to give it, and I began a six-month targeted therapy of weekly shots, pills, and infusions.
Those treatments finished last December and with the Lord’s blessings has put me in a partial remission! Praise the Lord!! The plan now is that I receive an IV infusion every two months for the next two years in an attempt to slow down the cancer’s re-growth.
I’ve learned a lot in the last year and a half. Being diagnoses with an incurable disease; being given an expiration date; is not fun. You feel very mortal. Really stops you in your tracks. It forced me to take a serious look at my life, time, relationships, purpose. Early on after my diagnosis I started praying, “Lord, let no trial be wasted on me.” Let me learn.
So, here are a few lessons God and cancer are helping me learn:
- Relax. I don’t need all the answers. I just need to trust. God knows what He’s doing.
- Simplify. We sold our house and most of our possessions and moved into a small apartment. It’s been wonderful!
- Guard the first hour of each day for Bible reading, singing, and a walk outside. No media checking allowed!
- Slow down. Don’t say yes to so many things.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Smile lots. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
- Ponder, meditate and pray regularly. It brings wisdom, judgment, and confidence.
- Sing every day. It lifts the spirits like nothing else.
- Pray out loud. It adds to the reality that God is truly listening.
- Count my blessings daily. It keeps perspective
- Sleep more. It restores, repairs, renews.
- Move more.
- Forgive freely.
- Take more time for friends.
- Travel now. Don’t wait.
- Be kind, all the time.
- Voice your love and appreciation regularly.
- Enjoy simple pleasures Bask in sunshine’s warmth, smell a flower’s fragrance.
- Peace amid tragedy is possible, and freely available in Jesus
I’ve always thought it a little crazy when hearing a person say, “Cancer has improved my life.” But I’m beginning to understand. It’s improved my perspective and helped me love, enjoy and live more intentionally. I’ve never felt closer to my husband, my family, my church, or my God than I do now.
Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Learning to lean on Jesus, rather than my own understanding is a journey in itself. I love this chorus; if you know it, sing it with me right now. “Learning to lean, learning to lean, I’m learning to lean on Jesus. Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus.”
Juanita Edge, Communication Director