Prayer­ful fight against breast cancer Ann-Marie El­lis’ tes­ti­mony

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Tamara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

THE THOUGHT of be­ing di­ag­nosed with a life-threat­en­ing ill­ness is scary for many in­di­vid­u­als, and their hope is to never face such a fate.

But what of those who have been so di­ag­nosed and are told to arm them­selves for a fight?

For years, Pauline El­lis felt lumps in her breasts that would dis­ap­pear af­ter a doctor’s visit and a dosage of an­tibi­otics. But had she known the ef­fects of ne­glect­ing the find­ings of one of her self-ex­am­i­na­tions, she would have done things dif­fer­ently.

“In June 2013, I felt a lump as small as a mar­ble in my breast, but I didn’t think it was any­thing be­cause I was al­ways do­ing my mam­mo­gram, and at a par­tic­u­lar time of the month – ev­ery month – I did my self-ex­am­i­na­tion and noth­ing came up. How­ever, af­ter ig­nor­ing it for a while, I felt it again, but this time, it was big­ger,” she be­gan.

El­lis, through wise coun­sel, vis­ited the Ja­maica Cancer So­ci­ety in Oc­to­ber of the same year.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously made an ap­point­ment to see her gen­eral prac­ti­tioner, El­lis, out of cu­rios­ity, asked for her breast to be checked. It was there that she re­ceived the first opin­ion that she did, in fact, have breast cancer.

“I got two re­fer­rals: one for the mam­mo­gram cen­tre and an­other for surgery. I went to the Cancer So­ci­ety to pick up my re­sults and when I read it, it said I needed to do a biopsy.”

PRAYER GROUP

While El­lis waited for her re­sults, she had a prayer group on­line that sup­ported her through­out the nerve-wrack­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“To col­lect the re­sults and get the date for the surgery was the same day. A friend’s daugh­ter ac­com­pa­nied me. I col­lected my re­sult and it said ‘non-be­nign’. I asked her quickly to Google it and then we knew: it was it.”

She added: “By the time I had my next visit, you could see the lump and I didn’t have to lie down to feel the lump. The doctor told me it was Stage 2 T1 breast cancer. By this time, it was De­cem­ber and I even­tu­ally got a date for surgery in Jan­uary of 2014.”

El­lis was ad­vised by the doc­tors to live a stress-free life dur­ing the wait­ing pe­riod, but the prob­lems, at times, were over­whelm­ing.

“He gave me all the in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the cost for ac­com­mo­da­tion and surgery and ev­ery­thing else. It was about $200,000 for ac­com­mo­da­tion, but all I had in my ac­count was a lit­tle over $100,000. I re­mem­ber once when I went to the in­sur­ance com­pany to make a claim, but things were de­layed and I found my­self sit­ting in the bus park cry­ing – just cry­ing.

The time had come for El­lis’ surgery and, fi­nan­cially, ev­ery­thing worked out and she was now look­ing to God to work out the rest.

“I think I was blessed: I had five doc­tors on my team, and they were the best doc­tors. I did tests to find out if the cancer was spread­ing, and I was in the clear in that re­gard. I did a mas­tec­tomy and ev­ery­thing went well to the point where the doc­tors even said I could go home the same day, but they kept me un­til the next day. I even went back to my nor­mal diet. I didn’t even get pain med­i­ca­tion. I was good.”

One hur­dle was down but oth­ers were ahead. One such was chemo­ther­apy treat­ment.

“Peo­ple were pray­ing for me, not only in Ja­maica. I was fear­ful nonethe­less, not be­cause of the cancer, but the phys­i­cal help that I needed. I won­dered who was go­ing to be there as my sis­ters had work and were some­times far away. My best friend, Ann, had just left to an­other coun­try.”

She added, “But you had peo­ple like Peaches, who was a tower of strength; Dionne Francis and Sis Tay­lor, who en­sured I had my sup­ply of veg­eta­bles and the right foods to eat while do­ing chemo; and my brother, Evan, and his wife never left me out.”

LES­SON LEARNT

When it was all over, El­lis learned to cher­ish, even more, the gen­uine, God-fear­ing peo­ple around her and learned to rely to­tally on God for His sav­ing grace.

“There were many days when I had to tough it out. It was my jour­ney to bear and I had to deal with it through God’s grace. It wasn’t money or any­thing like that that saved me. It was the prayers. I was fear­ful of the ‘C’ word be­cause it runs in my fam­ily, but God de­liv­ered me and I am blessed and anointed.”

She ended, “If you find your­self in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion, do not de­lay, don’t be fear­ful. Trust God and be­lieve He’ll come through for you as He did for me.”

El­lis is a grate­ful sur­vivor of breast cancer and owes it all to God .

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