My whole life journey has been a really rough one coming from a dysfunctional family situation, a divorce and single parenthood, and trying to strive for a better quality of life overall.
I had graduated from college in my 30s, and then started a temporary job, hoping to be hired full time. I began thinking, finally I'll have a career, make enough money and begin to move forward.
That's when the cancer hit.
I wasn't expecting it at all.
Then I got the news, I'd have to lose my foot.
The two tumors were entangled around the bones in my foot and ankle.
I lost everything.
My place to live...my car... my life as I had planned for so many years.
I have been through this cancer a total of five times, six tumors. I almost died from infections that were caused from surgeries.
I learned to walk again in a prosthetic leg...it wasn't easy. There were times I wanted to give up. Especially since I was walking this journey...alone.
But, in so many ways, I was reminded over and over that God was with me and He wasn't about to let me give up so easily. I would like to think and still believe He has great plans for me. I question sometimes why I'm still here, what is my purpose?
Then he puts someone or something in front of me that shows me what He is doing to shape and mold me into what He wants me to be.
One such thing is an outreach I had a vision for, an Art Cart for patients in treatment. The idea came during one particular season in my cancer battle.
When cancer hit for the fifth time in a period of 7 years, I was devastated. I had to have my leg amputated in August 2010. When my cancer(Synovial Sarcoma) came back again, taking chemo was rough. More tumors popped up over time. I had to do more treatments, which included chemo, a chemo pill, and radiation twice a day. When I was diagnosed with another tumor, my doctor agreed to let me do my treatment closer to my home in Anderson, Indiana.
The treatment was done at the infusion lab at Erskine center through St. Vincent hospital.
It was long and boring for many of us there.
Then I remembered that when I previously had treatment at IU Simon that someone came around with an art cart and provided art supplies and things to do and make if we wanted to while there.
What a great idea! I suggested this to the nurses.
The next thing I know I was talking with Nancy Smock Anderson, foundation director, at the hospital.
The conversation led into the ordering of a cart, they had the print shop make a logo for it and with donated supplies, we got started. Elizabeth Hart, volunteer director, signed me up to volunteer.
We had a special day that we presented it to the infusion lab. The cart was even blessed by the chaplain.
Since then, I have volunteered over 100 hours since July 2018.
I truly enjoy working with the patients, talking with them and even praying with them. People will sometimes ask what they can donate to keep the cart going. It doesn't take much money to put fun items on the cart. Adult coloring books, colored pencils, gel pens, paint, paper, stampers to make cards, etc have been donated. Crossword and Word Search and Sudoku and other cool items like stress balls or anything anyone donates that would bless the patients.
In addition to the Art Cart, I've been blessed to share some Christmas joy with the patients by partnering with Gilead Ministries. This is the third winter I have picked up bags from Gilead Ministries and brought them back to the infusion center to pass out to patients.
I handed out some of them recently and they were shocked and excited!
I love making them happy.
The joy and hope in that cancer wing is infectious and I feel blessed to give back.
Gilead has supported me through nine years through many ways such as phone calls, cards, and support in ways I never expected. I am thankful I can give back.
I try to go to Marion about once a month to help volunteer in the office. I love the camaraderie among the staff and volunteers.
I've got time and whatever time I have left, because I am aware my cancer can come back, I want to make the most of it. If I can help someone, at least one person, through this journey then I have helped many.
The Christmas spirit should last all year. I like doing my part through the bags and Art Cart.
Although I live with anxiety and PTSD from the many things I've been though, I hold on the God's hand and he keeps me from falling. One of my favorite verses is "But those who trust in the lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 nlt.
I will most likely struggle here on this earth, but I know God's got me. Someday, I will leave behind the struggle and hurt of this life and be in heaven.
I'll have two legs, and I will run happily into his arms.
For now, I will take one day at a time, pray and ask for his continued guidance.
It is time to start my life new.
What I am thankful for is that I am a cancer survivor with a purpose.
God may not replace what I have lost, but He has something much greater for me in mind.
I can't wait to see what it will be! Amen!