My journey started with a devastating doctor report of malignant breast cancer, following a routine mammogram. Numerous painful biopsies, MRIs, ultrasounds, first-time surgery, scary chemotherapy, and equally scary radiation were all part of the process. The day before the chemotherapy was scheduled to begin, I was diagnosed with possible COVID. The side effects of my treatments included extreme hip and leg bone pain, bad stomach pain, hot, burning eyes, a sore mouth, altered taste buds, nausea, and more. At one point, I had a severe reaction to the chemotherapy drug. The medical team rushed over to disconnect the IV, and after a bit, they started it back at a slower drip.
Another difficult aspect of my journey was being told I would lose my hair, and it wasn’t long before it started falling out in clumps. This was especially devastating. I felt out of control! A dear friend of mine suggested getting my shoulder-length hair cut short, thinking it would be easier than having long hair fall out. She scheduled an appointment and went with me for support. I thank God for such dear, caring friends. The day after having my hair cut, it started falling out even worse. I began wearing a hat. I decided, with the advice of family and friends, to go ahead and shave my head. I felt so vulnerable. A few weeks earlier, I had set up anappointment with the Healing Boutique. After being fitted, a wig was purchased. With the advice of family and friends, I chose a short style so that when I finished with the chemotherapy treatment and my hair started coming back, I could stop wearing the wig. I felt so much better without a hat and with hair on my head, even though it wasn’t my own.
There were times I felt like this couldn’t be happening to me. I felt that the energy just left my body, leaving nothing behind but excruciating fear. I found myself on my knees, calling out to Jesus. How can this be? I have too much to do. I am the caregiver of my elderly, sweet, 85-year-old mama. And what about my family? I felt alone, even in a room full of people. During times like this, fear wants to take a hard grip. All of this was just so hard to accept.
I began to remember: I have already been through a lot of hard things in my life. I am a fighter, a warrior! The words “I give up” are not even an option. I would speak these words out loud: “Jesus, by your stripes, I am healed. There is power in the name of Jesus; healing through the blood of Jesus; forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus.” I communed with Jesus every day, believing for a miracle. 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us, “Cast all your anxiety on the Lord, because He cares for you.”
After chemotherapy, I rang the bell hard and loud! After radiation, I rang the bell hard and loudagain!
I met some wonderful people during my journey, and I know they will be lifelong friends. Throughout this time, Jesus never left me! Without him, I could not have done this. I praise him! I give him glory and honor! Hallelujah!
Here is a poem I wrote during this battle:
Fear Meets Faith
The devastating words crippled me with fear.
It had to be a bad dream—words no one wants to hear!
The unknown future, like a lion, began to roar–
like a ship without an anchor or a canoe without an oar.
Fear took a hard grip; this could not be so.
run to my Savior; I knew I must go.
During the times I felt all alone, I drifted away from Him.
He never left me, even when life looked grim!
Refuse to let fear win; faith without works is dead.
Raise your head and get up off that bed!
God will come through, there’s no doubt.
Lift your hands, run, jump, and shout!
Prayers have answers: sometimes yes, sometimes no.
We must trust Him; to Him we will go!
Bloom where you’re planted; let your light shine.
Encourage, support, and love those to whom you’ve been assigned!
Keep pressing on, even through a rough day.
Don’t be discouraged; you’re going to be okay!
Fear met Faith today. Faith stood tall and proud.
Keep your head up, Victory in Jesus, and sing it loud!
Written by: Tammy L. Craven 04-25-2023
I became a member of the IPHC about twenty-seven years ago, taking membership with Moncks Corner PH Church. With much prayer and God’s guidance, I have been attending Hickory Grove PH Church for the past six months. I am a daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, aunt, cousin, niece, and last, but definitely not least, Memaw. I love my “honey buns.”
I want to thank my mama, husband, two sons, daughters-in–law, grandchildren, bonus children, dear friends, and last, but definitely not least, Jesus Christ, my Savior, for being there for me during a very hard battle with my health. My story is a long one, and I am in the process of writing a book, with God’s help.
Thank you for this incredible opportunity to share a part of my story.