Transcending the Fear of Cancer
"If God wants me, He is going to have to come get me at my house!" Sylvia told those who tried to talk to her about Jesus. She was independent and hardened after the wrong turns she had taken.
When Sylvia was a young girl her Dad took her to Sunday School. Another family that often invited her in for meals, even though they were poor themselves, influenced her a lot. She loved going with them to Sunday School and the summer vacation Bible School because they cared about her. One particular granny at the church often said to her, "Jesus loves you, honey!" Sylvia believed her.
But other things happened in her life too. Her dad beat her mom, so her mom and the kids moved out, but no one came to help them. They ended back with her dad again. Her dad ignored and neglected her. By the time she was 16 they had moved 23 times. She was soon promiscuous too, and drinking and trying drugs. The happy Sunday School memories faded far away.
With one small son and another on the way, her first husband left her. She had spent seven years alone as a single mom when she met Barry and was happily married again.
They'd just had a baby boy, Alexander. Things were going so well for her - yet Sylvia felt something important was still missing.
Alone at home one day, she felt ever so lonely and empty. She asked herself, "Have I ever felt this state of joy I'm watching for?"
Just like that she remembered those early Sunday School days and one time in particular when she sat in the sunshine singing to herself, "Jesus Loves Me." That was when she was totally content and at peace with the world. "I've got to find that joy and peace again!" Sylvia exclaimed.
The next Sunday she packed up the boys and went to church. A few Sundays later her husband asked why she didn't invite him to come too. Sylvia had not wanted to pressure him, but was glad to have him come along. Both of them decided to be Christians.
Sylvia decided too, that the Christian life is like a marriage; either you are or you aren't in, it has no fence to ride.
She got baptized and gave her testimony, sharing how she had cleansed their home of bad music and videos. She used to love horror movies, but after becoming a Christian she just couldn't watch them any more. They seemed repulsive to her. The Word of God became an ointment of healing to her heart and mind. She much preferred the joy and peace Jesus had brought to her life and home.
In the fall of 2004 her husband won a trip to Mexico. She had felt a lump in her breast before they went, and noticed that it got darker, but she decided not to say anything until they got back.
Right after Christmas she went to the doctor, and immediately was sent for x-rays and ultrasound. Before she got home her doctor was trying to reach her. When she spoke to him the next morning he kept saying, "It's not good! It's not good!"
When she got off the phone, Sylvia was trembling. This was not the way her life should go. She sat down on her bed to think. "Wait!" she told herself. "I'm a believer. God is in control." Peace poured over her. She felt loved and protected, and it has continued through all that has followed. She only asked God that she not be led by fear.
Some years earlier, when her boys were little, she'd had a cancer of the cervix. It was operated on and taken care of very quickly, but it came to Sylvia now, that even though God had forgiven her all her past sins, the consequences were still due. This cancer should not surprise her.
Sylvia rose up. This would turn out for the glory of God.
There have been low times, especially as she deals with intense pain, and some close to her have trouble accepting it, but her faith has continued unafraid.
Her biopsy the next week showed her cancer to be very aggressive. Sylvia just wanted to leave and go home without hearing more. Barry was present however, at that appointment, and took in more than she did.
The January 15 surgery removed two lymph nodes, but the cancer kept coming back, so, several times, they have removed more. The oncologist told her there was an 80-100% chance of return of this cancer. She asked how much time he thought she had. He said maybe five years. At first she refused radiation and chemo, then she decided to try it, but after three treatments refused to take any more.
Sylvia tried alternative treatments with supplements but they upset her system, so now she basically takes pain medication and focuses on glorifying God. She is willing to talk about this with anyone who will talk with her. She has already had four and a half years, and believes the length of her life is up to God. He can lengthen or shorten it as He chooses. She clings to His solid promise in Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths."
People are watching her, and marveling at the grace and strength God has given Sylvia. Even her brother who is not a believer, comes once a week from a few hours away, to make a fresh fish fry for her and stands amazed at her strength.
The God who truly loved her as a child still loves her very much, and comes to meet her where she lives, and the love and peace Sylvia has now is far greater than this cancer. If she must suffer pain and die to see others come to faith in this wonderful Jesus, so be it! Sylvia is not afraid.