Three Time Cancer Survivor- Lisa’s Story

You gotta believe this……………

I’m a 3 time cancer survivor.  The big C word is scary,life changing, and emotional. Not only for you but also for your family and friends.  They love you so it’s hard for them to see you going through trials physically and emotionally.  Now, 2019, we have amazing healthcare and years of research that is still currently and will be going until cancer is cured.  So if you do get a diagnosis, just remember, they cure many cancers now as well as put a lot in remission.  So, all in all, you gotta BELIEVE ! Even in tragedies in life that may not be of health… Just Believe

If your not one of faith in Jesus, this may be a good read for you. If not, at least I got you to read this far.  Just Believe and your already on your way there.  I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and that he paid for my sins on the cross – rose from the dead on the third day and sits at the right hand of God our father – Now, I and you have eternal life in him by Grace. Repent, Repeat. My faith has gotten me through times no one else could. Without my Faith and personal relationship with HIM, I don’t know what I would have done.  It would have been so much harder and that’s not good.  Anytime in your life, it’s not too late to reach out to Him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus.  Nothing is impossible to him nor anything is too big that he cannot fix or forgive.  It’s you.  You call on him and repent, get rid of pride that you may have been wrong and say, I’m sorry for my sins.  Then leave all into his hands.  Leave all worries and thoughts at the foot of the cross while thanking him immensely for all the good you’ve had in your life and what’s to come.

Early 2003, I was helping in a pre kindergarten class at my daughters school who was then in 2nd grade.  I kept catching colds and just thought it’s because kids were coming to school sick.  By the end of that year I had developed a cough and felt three lumps in my collar bone.  The cough would not go away.  It would just come on and I would cough hard.  One day I coughed up foamy white substance. It just wasn’t right.  I then developed a red round mark on my lower thigh and thought it was a big bite.  But it was flat. Another tinge hit my stomach that something was not right.  When school let out I thought this will be great having a summer with my daughter. She was 8 at the time.  But then right after school ended, I developed a low grade fever that would not go away.  Then I was getting breathless  I called dr and then I went in to have a chest X-ray. I realized that walking into the building the breathlessness was getting worse. I just thought it was pneumonia.

I had an x-ray, they told me to wait in the waiting room.  As I came out after getting dressed there were 3-4 people looking at my X-ray.  Asking if I had pain.  They then told me they called my dr and to go up with my x-rays and had me go straight to my dr.  He looked at then said it was my lymph nodes 5 cm all over in neck and chest.  Some were pressing into my thorax which was causing the cough and my lung to retain fluid.  He admitted me then.  My mind and stomach left my body.  My Faith remained.

I was diagnosed after 6 days in hospital with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 2B. after cat scans, X-rays, lumpectomy, blood tests.  It was then I met my oncologist who I believe God literally picked him for me thru my internal med dr.  He explained treatment options and let me go home. I had family friends praying.   There was a calm reassurance that I felt everything would be ok. I was praying and opening my heart to God And asking him to please save me for my 8 yr old daughter Rebecca and my husband Ken and of course my sweet parents.  Jim and Joan Damke

I knew my mom had a prayer chain going with her church and she was a fervent praying mother. Family and friends prayed and helped us. My first revelation at that time with my dear Lord was when I was waiting outside of a ctscan before I went home.  I prayed and wished I was at church with Ken and Rebecca. I cried. Odd thing was this hall way was empty and no one was there.  I waited and prayed before the scan. As I prayed, I heard the Lord spoke thru my mind and said it will be OK!

I had 12 rounds of ABVD chemo and 20 radiation treatments. By May 2004, I was cancer free!! Praise God!! There were many moments during this time thAt I felt the Holy Spirit and was given messages and glimpses from him!  My mom would pray and she would say, you are going to be fine. I believe it. I took that strength she and my dad had and husband and wrapped it up and stored it away into my mind body and soul.

THEN, A vivid dream where I was forced to the hospital and they gave me a shot. It was then a big round light appeared above me from the ceiling.  At first I was so upset and scared but in the dream, nurses in the old time uniforms surrounded me.  They claimed they gave me a shot and all of the sudden that round light became so bright, a brightness I have never seen and warm.  The shining sun on a clear, blue sky day, isn’t even as bright as this light was. A feeling of love and euphoria never even known before shone above me. That is when one nurse remained and as she made her way down to the foot of the bed, she turned to me and was glowing.  She had a smile that was so loving and with that she said ‘you will be cured’!

I finished radiation of 30 treatments in February 2004.  I was done!!!! They didn’t have you ring the bell back then but I was super excited.  My hair was coming back slowly. Then I had to wait for a pet scan.  Had it in May of 2004 and ALL CLEAR!!! Thank you Jesus!!! In 2011, I was considered to be cured!  And released from anymore checkups etc.  Did well! Living my life to the fullest!!!

Fast forward to Oct 2017, I was bothered by a funny bump on my tongue. Had the dentist check it and he figured it was tooth trauma since I had a lot of dental work that year.  Luckily, I had to go back to him within two weeks for a permanent cap.  He looked and said, you need to be seen. Went through the oral surgeon , biopsy, then to a head neck surgeon at cancer center. It was squamous cell carcinoma on my tongue. I had scans and then had it removed from my tongue.  At this point the surgeon wanted to be on the safe side with my history, so he had me do checkup scans.

One year later, oct 2018. They found a mass on my left breast. Very small but did biopsy, and it was invasive ductal carcinoma. Stage 0.  Had lumpectomy, mammosite device implanted. Did five days of seed radiation treatment two times a day. Then they removed device.  I rang bell. Done!!! Or so I thought.

I was feeling great had wonderful holiday season. Right before Christmas I had checkup with my radiation oncologist.  She said all looked good but had I setup an appt with an oncologist yet. My heart sank. But I made the appt immediately and went in with celebrating Christ’s birth with my family.  My daughter moved back home from living in LA so not much bothered me at that point. Everything was wonderful. Again.

Until I went to my appt Jan 2019.

Went to an appt for an oncologist to follow up with me for five or so years and at first he said we probably did all we needed, but I will discuss at a disciplinary meeting and present your records.  Let’s make another appt in a week and we will go from there. So I went back and he told me. 4 drs and myself agree you need adjuvant chemo.  It will cut your 25 % chance of it coming back anywhere.  Did Four rounds of chemo.  In four months.  Once again Rang the bell!!!! Praise God. What a relief!

One thing I’d like to emphasize is when someone goes to treatment, you are all there doing the same. Getting treatment to fight for your life! The other thing is that each person‘s treatment there is individual and no one’s treatment is the same. do you want to talk with others of course and it’s good to talk to softens the harshness of thinking of putting these medicines on your body that are said to be poisonous  in reality you need to remember sometimes you just don’t compare lots and of course that’s even in the Bible you know you should never compare to another woman’s lot because each person‘s story is their own  There is a mystery all of  our lives but each one leads into a wonderful story. However, speak with others only of good things to focus on. One good thing I liked to focus on was, God is so much stronger than this medicine they are giving me. He is the one who had sewn these concoctions into the minds of gifted humans, called doctors..

I learned another very valuable lesson during treatment. At least with chemo my husband could go in with me but when I had to do radiation you have to be in a room by yourself and they close of the foot thick in between you and everyone. I literally fell apart and started shaking when I did my first radiation treatment my husband couldn’t be in there with me no one could but guess who could Jesus I finally got over the fact that my husband going to be in there with me I was scared but then I finally let go and I prayed to Jesus I think I even set it out loud Jesus please hold my hand and Calm me Protect me from any damage that this treatment May do and just directed to the cells that need to be taken care of for you know you are the one who created radiation for the treatment for the cure you are in control Amen. I then had another revelation: at that time – I knew I could not carry all of this on my own. I then thought, either way, I’m going to be ok. It’s scary but then that’s when you realize there’s only one person that you can rely on for every single thing in your life and that is Jesus there’s not one person on this earth that knows your story, even you don’t know all of the details associated with your story and you shouldn’t  rely on everyone else to take care of all those details of your life you also shouldn’t rely on people for your happiness and who you are and what you need to do. That is a big thing that I learned. TRUST IN JESUS!!!  Jesus wants you to rely on him, he doesn’t want you to put someone on a pedestal to look up to you not that it’s wrong asking for help or helping others –  looking up to people However, we shouldn’t look up to people in a way where we completely put our full trust in them only. You see he wants us to put our full trust in him he wants us to talk to him as we do to a friend, to her husband, cousin ,sister, brother, mother, father –  oh wait I said it,  Father  – he’s a good good father!

There were times that I literally would look at the doctors face or a nurse and expect them to tell me you’re going to be perfectly fine and I would also expect that from my family but the reality is I put my full trust in him in Jesus name. I learned to put full faith and trust in God for every thing for he is the one that can take care of everything in my life everything about my mind body and soul.   Also that I shouldn’t depend on everyone to take care of me in that way to lean on them for a better understanding of what would be going on in my life of anything.

This recent battle when I went to the oncologist office for the first time, I was nervously looking around and overly anxious. I kept praying under my breath clenching my hands together.  I looked up at the ceiling and it hit me WOW….+they had a huge round light which looked a lot like the round white that I experienced in my dream 16 yrs prior.  I felt That indescribable love peace and warmth Of God’s love and healing and where the nurse told me as she glowed like an angel, I will be cured! Even though this light wasn’t quite as brilliant of a light in my dream, I knew it was symbolic of that message from the Lord.

After surviving and going thru all, you feel as if you should get a pass on work, doing your housework, doing your daily errands etc but you don’t. That’s when you stop yourself from thinking, that you are entitled to no more grief and remind yourself you are living and change any dim perspective such as that.  But you do get an amazing perspective that no other has who hasn’t experienced survivorship.  It is almost like a gift but not in the way that you receive. You think I have a second chance. In my case a third chance.  What does God want me to do? What is his will?  You want to give it all.  All praise and effort to God. For he brings you through.  You feel as if you should glide through life as if your a celebrity. You envision people standing on the sides clapping and cheering as you walk the red carpet. Mine would be pink. Lol.  You feel like people should know what to expect.   If you become sad, they wonder why.  You wonder too. I’m alive!!! Thank you Jesus.  But I fall back into that sin of fear. Not relying on HIM who gives me strength and has brought me thus far. But that just means I am human. It still somewhat troubles me that I fail because of the message I received in my dream.  The light!!!!!  But that is the message here even though years ago he used this in my dream, he wanted me to remember as I did this journey once more, he had me notice that light in the drs office and Always look to the light and never forget, he is always with you.

Joshua 1:9 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go*Do not be afraid or discouraged, for he is with you wherever you go…

Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Philippians 4:6, NIV: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”. Philippians 4:6, ESV: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”.

About Karen Tripp

Beyond being a Christian Counselor and the President of Cancer Companions, Karen loves to read (she's a great reader) and loves to sing (she's a bad singer) in her home near St Louis, MO. Cancer has personally touched Karen's personal life through her dad - a 23 year colon cancer survivor. Impacting lives for Christ through her speaking, writing and counseling fills Karen with a passion which infuses every task she approaches. (except matching socks. Karen hates matching socks.)
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