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A Life-Changing Appointment

My Testimony

written by Sharon Padgett (pictured below) 

March 11, 2005 is a day that I will never forget.  I had been having trouble swallowing and my primary doctor thought perhaps I had a polyp.  An endoscopy was scheduled and I was at the office to get my results.  Never in my wildest dreams was I prepared for what I was about to hear.  “Sharon, the results are not good.  You have esophageal cancer and you are in the fight of your life.”  To be very honest I remember very little after that.  A call was made to an oncological surgeon and, subsequently, an appointment was made for me to see him ASAP.  I was in total shock and really feeling nothing at all.

Upon leaving the office I called a dear friend to tell her my results.  Disbelief again.  I hung up the phone (I was driving home) and within seconds my pastor called.  He talked with me all the way home.  I can’t tell you anything about the conversation that occurred except I am sure that he prayed with me.  I was still processing the diagnosis.  Shock was slowly being replaced with fear.  God, how could this be?  I hadn’t smoked in 29 years, didn’t drink, yes I was overweight (which turned out to be a blessing) but had always taken good care of myself. 

When I got home, I went straight to my bedroom, fell on the bed and began to cry.  I didn’t want to die.  I had three young grandchildren that I wanted to be around for.  I had a wonderful family and great friends that I didn’t want to leave yet.  There were still so many things I wanted to do.  WHY, GOD, WHY?  As I sat on the bed pleading with God for my life I looked on the wall next my bed and saw the wall hanging that says, “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”  For an instant this was so comforting.  Then reality set in again.  I believe that I spent the rest of the day on the phone calling family and friends.  All I wanted was to hear voices of those that I loved.  I also asked to be put on prayer chains and for their individual prayers.  At this time I was unable to pray.

The next six weeks were filled with batteries of tests, doctor’s appointments and minor surgery.  I continued to work and went on with my everyday activities as best I could.  At this point in time I was able to pray but the prayers became very selfish.  I stopped praying for others and focused only on myself.

I opted not to have the surgical procedure that was suggested that I have.  I also refused a feeding tube.  I just had a ‘feeling’ that everything was going to be okay - not great but alright.  On May 2, I began to undergo chemotherapy and 36 bouts of radiation.  During this period of time I became extremely ill, lost 40 pounds, had no strength, lost my hair, had insomnia and became extremely depressed.  My diet consisted only of water, cantaloupe and watermelon.  I couldn’t tolerate anything else.  Even though I could not pray I know that God had surrounded me with amazing prayer warriors.  They carried me through this trying time.  God continued to put people in my life that ministered to me.  Family, friends, and neighbors began to take on my daily tasks, keeping my refrigerator stocked with the food I could eat, taking me to treatment, cleaning my apartment, getting my mail, sending cards and gifts, giving communion, encouraging phone calls and most importantly fervent prayers.

All these acts of kindness sustained me.  I also have to say that I had an incredible medical team, oncologist, radiation oncologist, primary doctor and the nurses that assisted them.  They were always there when I needed them.

On July 10, 2005, I had another endoscopy and was pronounced CANCER-FREE.  I was beside myself.  God had watched over me as he had promised.  Everything would be great from now on.  WRONG!  My body was still fighting all the chemicals that were in my body and I became extremely depressed.  I cried all the time.  This was when I really became angry.  “God you healed me of the cancer so why am I still feeling so bad?  Don’t leave me now.”  I was taking all kinds of medication that seemed to interact negatively with each other.  This lasted almost four weeks.  I could not function.  I was encouraged to fly to Maryland to visit by brother and sister-in-law.  A friend came to pack for me because I couldn’t even concentrate long enough to fill a suitcase.  I needed a wheelchair to travel the airport.  While in Maryland I began to be weaned off most of the medication and began to regain a lot of who I was before.  My strength returned, my mental state returned, the tears stopped and I began to connect with God again.  My family prayed with me, monitored my meds and just loved me when I wasn’t loveable.

The most important thing that my sister-in-law did was send me a book ‘When God and Cancer Meet’ by Lynn Eib.  It is a great book that gives hope when dealing with the insidious disease.  I have taken this on as a ministry.  Whenever I hear of someone who has cancer I will send them a copy it (with their permission, of course).  If you know of anyone that may benefit from this book please let me know and I will be happy to send it to them.

I returned back to work in September and was pretty much back to a full life.  Another God thing that happened was my employer kept a position for me (although not my former position) for five months and two individuals paid my health insurance for two of the five months.  God is so good!!!

As you can see I ran the gamut of emotion - shock, fear, anger, disbelief, but I can honestly say that I could feel God’s presence even in my darkest hours.  I am not saying that it was easy but I knew He was there.  I saw Him in the eyes and smiles, love and compassion of those he placed around me.  Thank you God.  You are so Awesome.

Back to Testimonials  A Parishioner Speaks  Christmas Miracle

A  Life-Changing  Appt  Rick Wolter's Testimonial

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