[ Godsends ]

The Great Physician

During my fifth pregnancy, I became very sick. Anything I ate, I couldn't keep down. The sight and smell of eggs cooking in the morning sent me reeling to the bathroom.

After noticing and palpating a lump on my neck, I rushed to the doctor. Following a series of tests, he sat me down. "Hodgkin's disease!" he pronounced.

My mind swirled. I spiked a fever. How could I raise my children when I felt so sick? How could we get through this? I felt terrified.

I knew I would have to wait until the baby's delivery before beginning treatments. The disease spread. My legs erupted in sores. Another lump appeared in my groin area.

Fright and dread gripped me as never before. I prayed to God -- first bargaining, then accepting.

One evening, I fell into a fitful sleep between cold night sweats. My husband lay next to me. About three o'clock in the morning, I felt a sublime sense of peace swirl through my body. My husband reached over and placed his hand on my side. I pushed him away. "No," I whispered. I did not want the feeling to vanish.

As quickly as it had come, it went away. I felt as though God had allowed the peaceful encounter to happen. I knew He was right at my side. He was always there.

On December 28, 1972, my healthy son Kelly came into the world three weeks early by Caesarean section.

I had to get on immediately afterward with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Little Kelly was my lifeline. All the energy required to care for a new baby diverted my attention from the disease. The year seemed to zoom by.

Treatments in 1972 were experimental. I took the maximum treatment for Hodgkin's disease prescribed then. Then, just last year, I learned the radiation used in that treatment had collected in my thyroid. Another cancer!

Thinking back to that special time at three in the morning, I felt conflicting emotions -- ones of fear and others of acceptance -- that just as God had been ever-present in my recovery in 1972, He would also be with me through my thyroid surgery.

The cancer was contained. Thank the Lord!

Now, just this year, I have experienced my third bout with cancer. The doctors think my immune system had taken a beating.

But just like the other times, I called upon God to see me through. It was out of my hands. I put all my trust in God. For like that night in 1972, He is always by my side.

Patricia S.

Indiana, PA