Let me introduce you to my beautiful and fearless friend Barb. I met Barb at the YMCA because she is always there in the morning working hard. She started coming to my PiYo classes and I was immediately drawn to her because of her incredibly positive presence. After I got to know Barb a little better, I learned even more about her tremendous strength. I asked Barb if she would share her story with you. Please read below because she is an inspiring woman!
My God strengthens me in so many ways. When I first learned that I had Ovarian Cancer of course I was shocked. I went into the hospital with what was thought to be an infection in my abdomen. After three days in the hospital receiving intravenous antibiotics my doctor decided to do emergency exploratory surgery. This was on Labor Day 2016. Before allowing the doctor to do the surgery I asked if I could have my pastor pray for me. A friend who just happened to be in town was with me at the time and she jumped in and became my secretary and put a call into my pastor and his wife. I was expecting a conference call on speaker phone in my hospital room. But no, God had something bigger planned. My pastor and his wife headed straight to the hospital after they got my call. Not only did they pray for Tom and I but they stayed in the waiting room with Tom the whole time while I was in surgery.
While I was in surgery little did I know how big God was taking care of Tom. Not only were our friends (our Pastor and his wife) there with him along with our out of town friend but two women whom my husband did not even know ended up in the waiting room to pray for and with us. They all were there when the doctor came out and informed Tom that they had found a tumor and that they had to do a total hysterectomy. The doctor told Tom that there was a 95% chance that the tumor was cancer. Our pastor commented “well we serve a God of 5%s.” As God provides, the women, one whom I knew who was there because she had heard and answered God’s calling that day that told her to go to the emergency room for me, the other I did not even know, both had had cancer and were able to ask questions from their experience that we would have never known to ask. They were a great comfort to Tom.
Once back in my room and after the others had left I asked Tom if they had to remove my ovaries. Luckily for me Tom is a strong man of faith. He looked at me and simply told me they had found a tumor and removed it. The strength in which Tom was able to give me the news was just so matter of fact that I took in the news and then asked what’s next. Of course the mass needed to be tested. I have been blessed by the knowledge that my cancer is Stage 2…. it has been explained to me that it is rare that they find Ovarian cancer so early.
I am so very blessed with the people that the Lord has placed in my life. Many times over the next couple of days so many came and went and all shared their faith and prayers with us. There were times when I was alone in my room that I struggled with what our new normal might look like. I’ve had two very special woman close to me that have been on this journey with Ovarian cancer. Both are strong in their faith and both have been there for me through this.
I do not recall ever asking God “why me”. I did cry out His name though because I know there is healing in His name. Two women that visited me while I was in the hospital provided me with scripture that resonated with me. The one that gripped me the most is 2 Chron. 20:15 “This is what the Lord says, Do No be Afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. I decided at that moment that I was going to live out this journey in a way in which others will see that Cancer is not a death sentence.
Tom and I have felt the prayers of our family and friends. It is truly amazing to know that God loves us and that He has provided great Christian friends to carry us through. I know that it is because of those prayers that I have been able to remain strong. He has blessed us by this journey more than we can even imagine.
So many times during this journey we have witnessed how God shows up strong. Before I started on Chemo my beautiful friends gathered at our house and prayed over Tom and I. He has enabled me to be able to continue to work full time. I have not had to modify my workouts, in fact, I have even branched out and tried new classes. Along with Metabolic Effect three days a week I now take Warm Barre and PiYo. Just as I couldn’t imagine going through this journey without God, I couldn’t have done it without my workouts. One of the ladies who had just recently been on this same journey told me that she would go home from treatment and drink a lot of water and walk for an hour so that is what I did. I saw her continue to show up at the Y and workout and I wanted to do that too. I was afraid that if I stopped I wouldn’t start again.
No matter where I go I have a very strong support system and I hope that I have been able to give back to everyone who has given to me in some way.
God has strengthened me in ways that I may never realize. He has kept me healthy through this journey.