Contributed by cancer survivor, Ms Virginia M. Baty living in USA.
God's Healing Touch
It was January 1978. The year had begun pretty much like any other year. However, three weeks into the month, I discovered a lump on one breast. My first response was denial. Troubled thoughts ran through my mind. It wasn't cancer-it just couldn't be cancer, and there's no cancer in my family. I couldn't even tell my husband. With much fear and trembling, I could hardly get through my days. For three weeks I was in denial. Finally, I had to tell him to keep my sanity, and he immediately insisted that I make an appointment with the doctor. I still rejected the idea that cancer was a possibility-there must be some mistake.
My husband couldn't go to the doctor with me, so my daughter-in-law took me. We saw the gynecologist first, and before I knew what was happening, he told us there was a suspicious lump, most likely a tumor. Even though it could be benign, I should see a surgeon as soon as possible. Then he made an immediate appointment with a surgeon friend of his and sent us on our way. I was in somewhat of a daze as we followed his directions to see the surgeon.
Following x-rays, we discussed my situation and options. Indeed, there was a tumor and the doctor wanted me to have surgery right away. I was still sure it couldn't be anything, and I knew a biopsy would prove that. I even asked for a week's reprieve since we had already planned a trip for the upcoming weekend to see some of our family 200 miles away. The doctor reluctantly gave permission but insisted on scheduling the surgery for the following week.
We went on our trip but the words that we had just heard weren't far from our minds the entire time. We told our loved ones and friends, who all began to pray for me. Without the knowledge of this prayer support, I am not sure I could have gone on in the next few days and weeks.
Even as I signed the papers prior to surgery, there was no doubt in my mind, that I would be OK. My surgeon was a Christian and he prayed for me before being taken into surgery which was a real comfort. Oh, yes, I was quite fearful, but with my husband standing by, I went to sleep fully trusting God would take care of me The tumor was Cancer! A radical mastectomy was performed, taking 6 hours and a tumor the size of an egg was removed, along with 24 infected lymph nodes and leaders, spreading under the breast bone. The doctor indicated he didn't think they had gotten all of the infected tissue during the surgery. He even had to do a skin graft from my leg to the chest wall. We were told chemotherapy treatments would follow my recovery from surgery.
It is at a time like this that you realize only the prayers of God's people can and will help to carry you through. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).
It took 4 months to recover from my surgery. During this time, as I waited for chemotherapy to begin, I became increasingly apprehensive and fearful. The Devil taunted me, and I was quite unsettled. You know how the enemy works, "You would not be fearful if you really were a Christian." "Where is your faith, Virginia?" Finally after much prayer and counsel I came to realize my fears were only human and it was OK. Again, I confirmed that God would see me through.
I literally fed on God's Word. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:1b-3).
Another scripture that encouraged me greatly was, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).
I underwent 12 months of chemotherapy treatments and had very little of the severe side affects many experience. I was even able to work part-time that year. God drew very close to me through the reading of His Word and meditating on it.
The following Scriptures took on new meaning and gave added strength for this time in my life. "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Joel 2:32). "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Of course without the constant support of my husband, Dave, I would have lost heart many times. He was a wonderful morale booster and my best friend in and through this time of change and adjustment. His steadfastness and love gave me the courage to go forward no matter how difficult things were. I praise God for giving Dave the ability to stand by me at this time.
I have now been healed for 24 years and praise God for His touch on my life. During these many years of continued good health, God has confirmed to me that the things we go through are often just the experiences that give others the courage to go on. This scripture expresses my feelings well. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-10).
It has now become my ministry to encourage others to trust God fully for their healing also.
During my hospitalization, our youngest son, Dale, who was deep into a life of drugs, alcohol, and waywardness, was broken-hearted about my illness. He kept telling me that he was the one who should be suffering-he was the one who had done wrong, why was I suffering? We encouraged him to understand that trouble comes to the just and unjust alike. My faith was still in Christ. About that time, our oldest son asked me if I would be willing to die if it would mean Dale's salvation? I agreed that I was willing to do whatever it took to have him become a Christian. We continued to pray, and as the time went on, we began to see a change in his attitude, and finally he did make a decision to give his life to Christ. I truly believe my bout with cancer was used of God to help bring him to the Savior. Of course there were other people and situations that affected his decision. But, Dale has now been a Christian for 20 years. Praise the Lord! God not only heals our diseases, but heals from sin and its consequences as well.
About Virginia M. Baty
All scripture is from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.
Virginia M. Baty is retired editor and a free-lance writer since 1983. Her favorite types of writing are personal interest stories, devotionals, and poems. Other interests are family, church, walking, crocheting, and music. Virginia has 5 children and 13 grandchildren and lives with her husband of 48 years, David, in Olathe, KS (USA).
Contact: 412 Meadowbrook Lane, Olathe, KS 66062. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org