By Janet Cline
Fatigue, high liver enzymes, problems focusing, and confusion sent me to my GI doctor. Standard tests and procedures showed that I had stage 3 cirrhosis due to autoimmune hepatitis. He prescribed immune suppressants which were supposed to help prevent my immune system from continuing to attack my liver. I began feeling better, but six months later, I had stage 4 cirrhosis and a malignant tumor in the area of my bile duct or pancreas. The tumor was blocking my bile duct and probably caused the continued liver damage. A stent was placed inside my bile duct, and again, I began feeling better.
Opinions from surgeons, oncologists, and hematologists were unanimous that autoimmune hepatitis was an incorrect diagnosis. The stage 4 cirrhosis was probably caused by the tumor blocking the bile flow from the liver and pancreas.
I asked my prayer warriors to pray that God would provide me with strength and peace to face whatever lies ahead. God provided both, plus no pain or sickness, just fatigue. Doctors explained that stage 4 cirrhosis makes chemo or surgery risky, but surgery and chemo were my only chances for a cure. And I planned to go for the cure!
Scans before surgery showed the tumor had tripled in size in just three weeks! Now I needed chemo to shrink the tumor before surgery. This felt like the worst news yet. “God, please continue providing me peace and strength to get through this!” I prayed.
I worried about what chemo would do to my body and sanity. “Please, God, help me handle this ordeal with some dignity!” God continued to be with me. The oncology nurse said the type of chemo prescribed would not cause my hair to fall out. Yea!
Upon her suggestion, I attended a cancer support group which introduced me to many others who were fighting this monster right along with me. We got acquainted by sharing stories and tips to battle the side effects of treatment. In addition to learning from each other, we discovered we could lean on each other when we needed extra support.
The highlight of the meeting was a surprise. A lady I had reached out to on Facebook, Danielle, came and brought everyone a Compassion Bag filled with thoughtful items for women battling cancer. Danielle explained these bags were sponsored by Mission Monday online sales at Altar’d State stores. Danielle is a cancer OVERCOMER herself and truly cares about people. She does not work for Altar’d State, but took a day off from work and drove over two hours with a baby to come to our meeting. God worked through Danielle and the Compassion Bags to show us how even complete strangers care and are praying for us.
Janet Cline is an OVERCOMER who lives with her family in Harold, Kentucky.