Faith Lessons

February 6, 2008
By Faith Shaffer, Cleburne, TX

We always admire and look up to TV favorites or famous movie stars, but do we think of the many men and women today who fight for life itself? They spend their days in hospitals with machines surrounding them. They travel miles every week so doctors can treat and attempt to cure them. They have been a target of cancer, a deceitful thing that attaches itself to someone‘s body and spreads anywhere and everywhere. Or, so it seems. It takes strong men and women to fight it and find the strength to go on at one of the lowest points in your life, but some do succeed. One of these is my grandmother, Sarah, an extraordinary person, who is alive and healthy today because she clung to her faith and didn’t give in to cancer.

I recall finding out that my grandmother had cancer. Worry immediately seized me, and the mention of cancer brought back memories that tasted of death. You see, my grandfather died while battling cancer. Though my mother continued to assure me that there was much hope for her, I couldn’t help but already hear the doctor telling us that she didn’t have much time left. I knew what cancer did to one’s body and how it affected your life. It kept you from tasting food, spending time with family, sharing in the laughter, and feeling joyful. You could never be sure of plans for the day. Your life became fighting the cancer.

My grandmother began chemo treatments soon after the diagnosis. We were thankful that her body responded well the first month or so. The doctors warned of symptoms, but the side effects decided to wait awhile before making their attack.

Three months after the start of chemo, my grandmother developed an awful infection, which required admittance to a hospital. So began, six weeks of good and bad news, good or no appetite, driving to and from Scott and White hospital, and lots of prayers. We, as an entire family, united through the stress and pressure to fight the cancer. I’m sure that we all experienced anxiety at times, but we believed.

Finally, my grandma had the opportunity to leave the hospital and return home. It hadn’t ended yet though. She still required a few weeks of radiation before the doctors would declare her cancer-free. But, at the time, we were just thanking God for her healing and her return home. On the day of her final appointment with the doctor, he confirmed that she was indeed cancer-free. We rejoiced in knowing that Grandma could become Grandma once again. The mouth-watering meals, the scent of burning candles, the voice of Bill O’Reilly on the TV, and the arms of a loving grandmother would continue to greet us as we walked into her home.

Though this tiresome experience, I learned that faith, hope, and determination do work, and through the good and bad news, you have to continue to believe. My grandmother believed that she would eventually be cancer-free, and through trials and tribulations, it finally came to be true. Her example inspires me still to this day, and I love her ever so much for it.

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