45 Years Later: Cancer Survival By Suzanne Sanders

When Mindy (Herald ad manager and cervical cancer survivor) called me and asked me to write about my journey with cancer, which was many years ago, I hesitated at first because I was sure most people didn’t even know about it.

Then, I started to think about her journey with cancer, not so long ago, and what an inspiration she was to me as I watched her go through it and I read her article in the newspaper. Every time I would see her at church, or in the stores, she always had a sweet smile on her face, despite all the chemotherapy and treatments she was going through. Then I thought about my journey with cancer over 45 years ago and I thought it might inspire others to never give up.

I am no writer. I was a music major in college, so please excuse.

I will simply tell my story in the hope that it will help someone along the way.

Back those many years ago, I had lost weight on purpose, which I think was a God thing, because I might not have realized something in my body wasn’t right. I went to a physician and he assured me I was fine. But, a week later, I still felt something wasn’t right, even though I never felt sick or in pain. So I went to my gynecologist in Springfield the following week and, upon examination, he promptly picks up the phone and reserved an operating room for surgery. This was on Friday, and on Monday the surgery began. You have to remember that that many years ago, no one talked about cancer, and it never was mentioned to me about the possibility.

I had ovarian cancer, consisting of two large tumors, just floating around, not attached to the lower part of my body. After the surgery, the doctors ran tests to be sure no cancer cells were hiding anywhere. They found nothing. But, to be sure, they decided to have me go through six weeks of radiation as a precaution.

This was in the dead of winter. So, every morning for six weeks, Weldon and I put our kindergartener and first grader on the school bus, and headed for Springfield for a 10 a.m. appointment. Then, back home to work.

I felt God had directed my journey every step of the way. I felt great every day, got up every morning, got dressed and started my days being so very thankful for the life God had given me. Why should I feel sorry for myself and make myself miserable and everyone around me? You can’t imagine how many churches, friends, and family kept me in their prayers during those long weeks. It is still a miracle to me! I have always stayed positive, being thankful for every day and the hope that my life might be a beacon of hope to anyone who might be going through the same trials. Just a prayer, a smile, and a kind word can make a difference in someone’s life, although you may never know it.

I love my family and friends and hope my life will be a testimony to those who read this. I am certainly not perfect, but hope my journey in life through the good and bad will help someone.

So, don’t give up! God is with us and He is in control and his timing is not always the same as ours.

Thanks to Mindy for her faith and testimony, as she has been and is an inspiration to me. Thanks for reading.