No cancer, thank the Lord

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
In a recent column, I shared with our readers a bit about my four month medical dilemma. Having just relocated to Florida from Texas, I was caught somewhat off guard in the fact that I have been so seldom ill in my life and the fact that I knew no doctors in my new location. Complicating this dilemma even more, I discovered shortly after my first physician’s visit that my perfectly good Texas insurance policy was not accepted in Florida. I was not aware that some policies are written on a state wide basis rather than a national basis.

My daughter and I both had verified that this office accepted my insurance, but the young lady that answered our questions was new to the practice and simply recognized the name of the company. We immediately began the process of getting a Florida policy in place and finally were successful.

I don’t intend to take the time or space to walk you through the step by step events, but needless to say they were quite involved. I think it seemed bigger than most hurdles because I was not familiar with the new medical community and simply wasn’t practiced in being the patient. I had most often been the caregiver.

Some of the words I heard that first day in the operating and recovery rooms, I had heard before. In fact, they were burned into my memory having heard them a little more than five years ago when my late husband was diagnosed with late stage cancer.

To be honest, I did not know what to think or say when the surgeon told my daughter and me that one of the large polyps he had removed from my colon was cancerous. I had gone through my husband’s cancer and death, and had written many articles for the wonderful Julie Rogers Gift of Life program in Southeast Texas, won awards from the American Cancer Society, and written for an extensive clinical trial out of California. I spent weeks interviewing and writing a huge series – Profiles in Courage, so I knew cancer.

But, I had never once considered I might have cancer. I had not one pain. I wasn’t sick. I was working and going to the beach with my friends. I ate what I wanted. Nothing hurt. I did not feel badly. I had always been healthy. And, now, I was the patient with a potential serious disease that could and would change my life.

I really did not want to talk to my friends because the news made them so sad in my behalf. My children were kind, but very concerned. My closest friends were praying for me and encouraging me as often as possible.

We had to wait 19 days for the lab’s confirmation. I simply kept busy and followed my normal routine. I prayed and claimed favorite Bible verses. My favorite is Hebrews 6:19 – “My hope is an anchor, both sure and steadfast…” The surgeon told me that the lab had verified his initial opinion, but that the report indicated the cancer was contained or kept within the polyp and that had been removed.

He still had some concerns about the large stalk of the polyp and whether or not the cancer might have gone into and through the base into the colon itself. We agreed to a second invasive colonoscopy, and again, he found something that was sent to the lab.

And, we waited. A very slow 20 days went by and we met again. I was diagnosed with Chronic Colitis and Chrohn’s Disease, but both are treatable by medicine. In fact, I have the medication for the two months he feels it will be needed. The last two words he shared with me were, “No cancer.”

I had not realized until I walked out of his office and through a light rain to my car just exactly how much weight I had been bearing. I felt as though I could breathe more deeply and that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I honestly cannot comprehend how people go through meaningful, frightening things like this without faith in God and His rich blessings. I simply trusted Him and knew that whatever happened, He would be with me.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
brendacannonhenley@yahoo.com

[8-12-2019]

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