Here is my own personal experience with cancer and God’s mighty ways!
Four years ago this month, I received a phone call from my Aunt in Oklahoma. She is one of my very favorite aunts, yet I was very surprised to hear from her just out of the blue (I live in Phoenix, Arizona). After our initial chatter, she said to me, “Penny, if you want to see your Father alive one more time, you had better come to Oklahoma as soon as possible!”
I was so taken aback! I knew my Father had been very hoarse and was losing weight, but I was led to believe that he just had a problem with laryngitis and a persistent cold, that’s all! My Aunt was so insistent about my Dad that when we hung up, I called my mom and asked her what was going on with Dad. She said he had been pretty ill and (finally) went into detail about the last few weeks and how she would sit on the stairs leading from the bedroom and just pray, apparently my father could barely even take a breath. My Mom had not told me, she didn’t want to worry me as I am my families only means of support and Lea was only about three years old at the time, so my Mom knew I was already under a lot of pressure, she didn’t want to add to that pressure!
The first miracle in this story is that since I was my families only means of income, there was not going to be any way that I could afford to fly to Oklahoma and take all three of us! I just didn’t have the money. I really did not want to go without my baby daughter though, I had never been away from her overnight before! I started praying about it. I had been working for a company for eight years – this company didn’t give out any kind of bonuses ever! They just didn’t do it! But this particular year, they decided to reward the employees who had been with them for the longest and I was the longest ever!! I received a $10,000.00 bonus from them! I can’t tell you how much that helped with all of our bills and the flights and eating out – since we were away from home! My husband, Lea and I got on an airplane a few days later and flew to Oklahoma!
When I pulled up to my parents home after the flight, my mom and dad came out of the house to greet us. I didn’t even recognize my Father, he was GRAY and didn’t weigh 100 pounds! The next day, when we drove my Dad to the hospital for all the tests he was scheduled for, he asked me to make sure that mom was always taken care of! He was talking as though he was going to die! I was absolutely in shock! I began my “prayer quest!” I never stopped praying from the time we got in that car!
All of my aunts and uncles reassured me that it was probably just “thyroid” problem, that sort of thing. The word Cancer was never spoken. The hospital that my Dad was admitted to was a 4 hour drive from their home, so arrangements were made for lodging at a local motel where my aunts and my mom and I could take turns resting, so Dad would never be alone in that hospital room! I never saw the inside of that motel room! I wouldn’t leave his side, except for bathroom breaks or to go outside and be alone with the Lord! My mom also never saw the inside of that motel room, we just never left Dad’s side.
The second miracle in this story is that when we first arrived at the hospital, we met the oncologist who was going to be performing the tests, etc. He was a very very gruff man. No compassion at all! My very first instinct was to be very angry with him, a few times, my mom actually had to calm me down, I would get so upset at this man’s rudeness! I once again took it to the Lord . . “Dear Father, this just isn’t the man! Please send us the right Doctor, In Jesus Name!” The next morning, a young man, about 37 years old and about 5’4″ tall walked in. He introduced himself as my Dad’s new specialist, that he would be in charge of the tests and any possible treatments after that! He held my Dad’s hand and hugged him!!!! His name was Dr. Snell. He was an incredibly humble man even though he was one of the top notch surgeons in the country!
Once X-rays and MRI’s were completed, it was apparent that my Dad had a large tumor in his throat. The tumor was growing inward, not outward towards the skin, making it particularly dangerous to operate on. Dr. Snell informed us that my Dad would need to go into an initial surgery for a tracheotomy. He wasn’t getting enough oxygen. This surgery was very tricky and there was every possibility that the trach couldn’t be done without my Dad literally choking to death! Once again, I took it to the Lord, “Father, I don’t know why all these steps are necessary! But Dear Lord, you are all I’ve got – you sent us the best surgeon in the Country! Guide his hand Father! In Jesus Name!” Three hours after the surgery, they wheeled my Father out, his color was actually better than when he had gone in to surgery!
Dr. Snell came out to speak to the family, he told us that the tumor was much larger than the x-rays had shown and was in a much worse spot than he had originally thought. He didn’t think it could be operated on at all and He said it would be a miracle if my Father survived the surgery. And yes, the tests performed confirmed that the tumor was indeed cancer. He said, “Statistically, he has a 1% chance of making it through the surgery!” He said at least my Father was breathing again, but he would have to stay in the hospital on breathing machines and that he probably would just die there. They would try and make him as comfortable as possible!
Once again, Satan was trying to steal our victory! Inside I was screaming, “NO NO NO – I refuse to accept this!” So, I prayed, and I prayed, “Father, I’m not ready for him to go yet, NOT YET Lord! There are so many things I need to tell him, I need to spend more time with him, I need to love him some more!” At this time in my life, I hadn’t picked up a bible in years! I only prayed when I needed something. Yet, I instinctively knew that if I just accepted this and didn’t give the Lord a chance to heal him, he would truly just die. The Lord spoke to my mom and told her that we were to go ahead with the surgery, he would be with my Dad the whole time!
The third and big miracle: Several days after the trach surgery, my Dad was finally scheduled for the “big” surgery. I hadn’t seen my husband or daughter in several days at this point, my Mom and I had been alternating sleeping upright in a chair in the ICU ward right next to my Dad’s bed. I couldn’t sleep much the night before the big surgery, so I prayed, I walked the halls of that hospital and prayed. I told the Lord, “I’m not going to try and bargain with you here, I haven’t lived my life like I should have been doing all these years, but I’m going to ask you straight out, to bring my Father back to me!”
I know you can relate right now, the absolute despair, the fear that was overwhelming us! So you know that I went back to the only place where I got any relief from that fear and despair, I went into prayer. I didn’t bargain, I didn’t even ask God for his will, I just kept asking for my Father’s life. Eleven hours after the surgery started, a very exhausted Dr. Snell walked out and said my Father had done fantastically throughout the whole surgery! He told us that he would make a full recovery and go on to live a very long life. He was in absolute amazement because although the tumor was excessively large, it had not spread to any other part of the body and he was able to remove the entire tumor in one piece! He said, “It had to be God!”
That was four years ago and my little Dad is going stronger than ever!!! I’ve turned my life over to the Lord, if he would do that for me and I wasn’t even one ounce worthy – how much more could he do if I found out more about him and his word? This doesn’t make me any more worthy, it’s just that I discovered so much more about his love!
And Jesus said to him, ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23
Penny (Received on Monday September 10, 2001)