The Woman of 1000 Miracles
Stacy Ward survived three cancer battles, hospice, and continues to share her hopeful story.
A doctor once called me “the woman of 1000 miracles.”
Lying in a hospital bed in 2016, with my vital signs fading, I needed a miracle—and fast.
I had been hospitalized from lactic acidosis, a life-threatening condition where lactic acid builds in the bloodstream and oxygen levels plummet in cells, which was probably caused from my three battles with cancer.
Soon my pulse slowed to half of what it should be.
My husband called my youngest son and put him on the phone so he could say goodbye.
More about my journey
My cancer journey began eight years prior when I was in my early 40s.
Some leg pain led me to be diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My family and I were shocked but also hopeful for how doctors could treat it.
After undergoing one year of chemotherapy, it seemed like I was in the clear. But then a scan six months later showed that the cancer had spread to my ovaries.
In response, my doctor prescribed stronger chemo that some call “The Red Devil” which caused me to lose my hair.
After finishing this gauntlet of treatment, I reached remission in 2012.
While I was relieved, I was so sick during those years that I struggled to be there for my husband, Joe, and our three teenagers.
Three years later
It seemed the worst was behind me, but then three years later I started seeing double at my daughter’s soccer game.
These strange symptoms led to the discovery of a third cancer: nasal squamous cell carcinoma, something more common in Asian men who smoke, rather than my demographic. In fact, I have never smoked a day in my life.
I changed to a different oncologist who opted to treat this cancer with radiation, which shrunk the tumor and released pressure from my optic nerve so I could see normally again.
However, the 35 rounds of radiation damaged my mouth, which made it difficult to speak, swallow, or hold my weight. The worst part—the radiation stopped shrinking the tumor.
My doctor said there was nothing more she could do for me.
With my body whittled to just 90 pounds, yet with cancer still progressing, I needed a miracle.
A different approach
I started looking into alternative treatment, but we were out of money.
We spent months raising money including when my daughter panhandled on Mother’s Day weekend with a sign that said, “Cancer Sucks” and raised $3,000. We later discovered because of me being terminal that we were able to cash out on my life insurance policy.
As a result, I was able to go CHIPSA in Mexico for treatment, which proved a step in the right direction.
However, when I returned stateside, I grew exhausted while packing up our house to move to another state.
I soon faced sepsis, and that’s how I ended up in the hospital, with decreasing vital signs.
How I find hope, strength and peace
I have often found hope through my relationship with God and going through cancer has certainly made it stronger.
His answers to help us are not always immediate, but they do come.
My family, my husband and three kids, have also been a constant source of strength. They are the reason I wake up every day—to be with them and take care of my grandkids.
My extended family has also been encouraging, including when my cousin gave me a plaque with Philippians 4:13 written on it: “I can do all things through (Christ) who strengthens me.”
This has become my life verse and helped explain what happened next.
A rough week
My oldest son and daughter came and prayed over me and my vitals began to rise.
Against the odds, I survived those perilous days in the hospital, but doctors didn’t think I’d last the week, so they sent me home to die.
My husband called our family and friends so they could come and say goodbye, and my husband also made funeral arrangements.
I have very little memory of that time; I was pretty much sleeping all day. But then to everyone’s surprise, after four or five days, I woke up.
I turned to my husband and said: “I know you have had to go through a lot this week, but you are not going to have to go through this again.”
And I meant it. During my sleepy state, I felt like God told me that this was not the end of my journey on earth.
Sure enough, I started to slowly regain my strength, little by little, week by week.
Seven months passed and eventually doctors graduated me from hospice, meaning I no longer faced the end of life. I was living a true-blue miracle.
The miracle continues
It’s now been six years since, and the miracle continues; I still have no active cancer.
My health and energy have improved, to the point where I take care of myself and cook meals for my family.
I’m now 55 and I have a new lease on life. However, ongoing side effects of treatment remind me of all I’ve been through.
I attribute part of my miraculous recovery to the lifestyle changes I made. I adjusted my diet, started taking supplements and met with a naturopath doctor. He is the one who gave me the nickname: “the woman of 1000 miracles,” because of how I have continued to survive.
I used to resist being called a miracle, but over time I’ve accepted it as true. I’m thankful for each day I get to keep living and be with my family.
I also started a Facebook group to help others find hope called Stacy’s Health and Health and Wellness, which has more than 1,500 members.
Advice for others
For others going through the journey, take time to research all your options—not just what your doctor tells you.
Alternative medicine is often a slower process than conventional, but it proved helpful for me.
Besides treatment, we all need to pray. Pray a lot. Seek out other Christians and your church family to lift you up in prayer.
Many people did that for me, and no doubt that was part of my miracle.
Finding your own miracle
To those who need a miracle, know there is always hope for one. I’m not special and I did not do anything besides trust God with my life.
God healed me and he can do that for you, too.
Wherever you are at on your journey, I hope my story causes you to pray, and encourages you to keep going.
If you would like to open your heart to God, read Knowing God Personally.
For help with fear, check out Fighting the Fear of Cancer.
To discover how prayer can help you on your journey, read Asking God for Help.