I am a cancer survivor. My name is Patti Merrill and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, 2001, My friend, Kathy Nields, asked me to share my story so others who may be battling this illness will know they are not alone.
After my diagnosis I had a lumpectomy in June 2001, which was not successful because they could not get what they call a "clear margin." So, then in August I went back to surgery to have a mastectomy. I then had to have a 12-week course of chemotherapy. The amazing part of my story for me is how God was with me before, during and after my treatment.
Almost a year and half prior to my diagnosis I had started with bi-monthly chiropractic treatments, just for general health benefits. I had also started a walking routine a year or so before. I truly believe it was God guiding me and preparing my body for the fight that lay ahead.
I had seen a show on television about a year before that also helped to plant a much-needed seed. It was called the Hour of Healing on channel 10 at 11 p.m. weeknights. I started to watch it every night and I believe from the bottom of my heart that God was planting a seed for me to draw from down the road. The seed of what the Bible teaches us about healing showed me exactly where to turn to for help.
My family was a tremendous support through my entire experience. My husband, David; my children, grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters, as well as my church family, gave me so much love and encouragement.
My friend, Anne, who overcame her own battle with cancer years before, was a rock for me. She prayed for me, drove me to doctor appointments, and really listened to me.
Anne and I flew to Oral Robert's University in Oklahoma about a month after Sept. 11 for a Women's Conference. I had just had my last chemotherapy treatment. I was wearing a wig that the American Cancer society had so generously provided for me, even before I had lost all my hair, so I would be prepared. An amazing thing happened at the conference led by Lindsey Roberts. She literally stopped during the prayer time and said she felt God was telling her to pray especially for women with breast cancer. She called us down front in front of hundreds of people to be prayed for personally. I knew that God had put me in that place at that time. I mean, we all know there are hundreds of diseases or illnesses that people are battling and yet she had singled out breast cancer, the disease I was battling. I really felt the presence of God enveloping me that night. It says in the Bible "by the stripes of Jesus we are healed." I believe that with all my heart.
I am healthy, my check-ups are all good, and this May I will reach my nine-year cancer free mark.
By Patti Merrill