Earth Angels and Answered Prayers
How God used people to give me hope after losing my husband to cancer and then facing it myself.
Throughout my losses and struggles with cancer, earth angels and answered prayers helped me make it through—and continue to give me hope today.
By earth angels, I mean people that give of themselves to help another person in their time of need. And God has used several in my life.
The good doctor
In 2013, my husband, Gene, was unexpectedly diagnosed with lung cancer.
Cancer has played a sad chapter of my family’s story—I lost my mom, dad, and three sisters to cancer (one from treatment complications). Yet still I found myself unprepared to face my husband’s journey.
We found a doctor that was willing to go the extra mile. Though my husband’s cancer was terminal, this doctor did everything in his power to help him, including referring us to experimental treatments that helped him live at least a year longer than he was supposed to.
Three years after my husband passed away, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.
In October 2019, I experienced pain underneath my right arm and felt a large lump. Even though I am no stranger to cancer, this discovery shocked me because I had been diligent to get mammograms every year and each year the results were normal.
I was blessed with a physician’s assistant, an earth angel, who treated me like family. She started making phone calls on my behalf to schedule appointments at the earliest possible time and helped me to choose a doctor.
To pursue treatment or not
After losing Gene, I think I went into a depression, because I told God, “My kids are grown up, my husband is gone. What am I here for?”
When they discovered I had cancer, I didn’t want to pursue treatment. But then a conversation with my oncologist—the same one who cared for my husband—changed that.
“Why would you not want to pursue treatment for cancer that can be cured?” he asked.
I did not know my diagnosis was curable. I felt like God sent me an earth angel to give me a dose of hope when I needed it most.
Go, fight, win!
One of my motivations to fight was to be there for my grandchildren, which my son pointed out. “You have eight reasons to fight, mom,” he said.
And he was right.
On the day I started chemo, my daughter was with me. I hugged her and told her: “Go, fight, win!” which is something I often say to my kids and grandkids before their academic and sport competitions.
Even with these brave words, I couldn’t help fearing all that was ahead.
How I found hope, strength and peace on my journey
My doctor gave me hope at a critical time. But it was my relationship with God that became my true rock throughout my journey.
I often prayed Jeremiah 17:14
“Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
Going through cancer deepened this relationship to a level I didn’t know I was possible. God did this for me, and it helped me face the challenges that lay ahead.
The months of treatment included Doxorubicin chemo, aka “the red devil.” I renamed it “the lady in red,” after a dear friend advised me to not see chemo as an enemy, but as medicine that was going to help me.
Even so, I lost 70 pounds through this chemo. But the positive thing was that it was working. An enlarged lymph node, under my right arm, disappeared after the first treatment, which I took as a sign from God letting me know that I had made the right decision.
After my third chemo treatment, I started having problems walking and falling. An MRI revealed that I had severe spinal stenosis. My doctor prescribed morphine to help me with my chronic pain. I used a wheelchair for several months because I could not have surgery until I finished chemo and radiation.
A lonely season
God blessed me with many earth angels who brought me food, gifts and prayer books during the start of my journey.
But then Covid-19 hit, and I became isolated from my friends and family for many months.
I began experiencing loneliness and depression. For a time, I feared covid more than cancer – especially after losing my oldest niece from Covid-19 complications.
An answered prayer
During the darkest part of this lonely season, one morning I was out of morphine and experienced severe pain and unbearable withdrawal symptoms.
I felt like my faith was being tested, and I desperately asked our Heavenly Father to help me and to send me a sign that He was with me.
God heard my prayers because as soon as I finished praying, I saw a post on Facebook from Hope Has Arrived. I knew this was a sign from God telling me He was with me. I asked to join the support group and was accepted.
The members came alongside me and shared encouraging words and prayed for me—which helped lift me out of those dark days. I have now been a member for three years and counting and I consider Chris, the founder, and all our prayer and support group members, an army of earth angels.
A year ago, I joined the Hope Has Arrived support staff, and now I lead the prayer and support group as a moderator.
I love it. This, along with some other volunteer opportunities, has given me renewed purpose and fulfillment in my life. I want to keep serving the Lord and to follow Him more closely for the rest of my life.
Where I’m at today
Early on, a spiritual advisor told me not to see my illness as a punishment from God, but rather to see it as a calling to get closer to God. And that has happened as I have continued to seek him, especially during the hardest parts of my journey.
Today, I have some difficulty walking due to the numbness on my feet, several minor health issues. I am still waiting for my oncologist to say that I am cancer free, but I feel blessed and thankful to be where I am at.
Advice for others
In the support group, I often tell people that God is with them. I know from experience that God will be with us if we ask him to be.
I’ve experienced this firsthand, through answered prayers and earth angels.
I truly believe that God is the greatest source of hope and help we can find when facing cancer or other difficulties.
There are many people out there facing difficulties who need encouragement. Today is a good time to reach out and grab a hold of the hope waiting for you by beginning a relationship with God or drawing close to Him.
For more about how to begin a relationship with God see Knowing God Personally.
To unlock the power of prayer see Asking God for Help.
Is cancer a punishment from God? Discover the encouraging answer in this article.
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How to find God’s hope, strength and peace