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Kathy Wood

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in Warriors | 0 comments

Kathy Wood

While on a vacation in Colorado, my family climbed Mt. Herman. That left me sore. As I rubbed my pec muscles, I felt a lump. I almost ignored it (as did my GYN). I was only 32 with a 2 year old son when I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time. After my third surgery, a mastectomy, I knew the statistics surrounding my cancer: 3 types of Breast Cancer (DCIS, I-DCIS and Lobular); a total of 8 cm of tumor; 22 of 24 lymph nodes positive; and it was fast growing. I decided to have my treatments done at UNC hospital because of their great reputation on Women’s issues and because they use a team approach, i.e. : oncologist, patient, and surgeon, etc., all working together.

To match the speed of my Cancer, my oncologist decided to give me 4 rounds of Adriamycin Cytoxan every 2 weeks (vs. the usual 3). My husband gave me nightly shots of an experimental drug (now known as Neupogen) to stimulate white blood cell growth. This helped my body “recoup,” so I’d be ready for the next round of Chemo. My husband shaved my head for me on our 12-year wedding anniversary.

Next up was a stem cell transplant. After many tests, I was put in a hospital room where I stayed for about 1 month. My husband describes the process as: they gave her the strongest Chemo to “kill off everything, including Kathy, and then hopefully bring her back with the stem cells.”

Radiation followed that. I received life time dosages of radiation to my chest wall. It was amazing to see how this body, that God created, reacted: 2 weeks after I stopped “cooking,” there was skin growing again!! I learned LOTS going through this process about God’s wonderful creation: the human body.

Bad as all this was, my husband and I really felt God’s peace as so many people prayed for us and as His word promises: “In all things… the peace of the Lord, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4: 6-7)

Four years later … 2 brain tumors were discovered. Ugh! One tumor was surgically removed, but the other was located on my motor track and was considered too risky to remove. The recommended treatment was full brain radiation daily for four weeks. Unfortunately even after all this treatment, the tumor was still there. The doctors decided to radiate it again but more intensely with something like a Gamma knife. This killed the cancer at the center of the mass, but the rest of the mass has still not receded – so, I still have a large mass in my brain.

During all of this radiation and brain tumor fighting period, I was on high doses of steroids, which kept me awake at night. I used that time to start a website – it was great. Maybe you were one of the many who read it?

Now I am on anti-seizure medicine for the rest of my life because that left over tumor likes to rear its ugly head occasionally. My hair is still very thin from the radiation (which stinks) but as my friend prayed one time “Thank you Lord that she is alive to complain about her hair!” And indeed I am!

After I was done with all the treatments, I finally took the stained glass class I’d always wanted. In that class, I designed an image that represented me: a person with cancer who survived the ordeal by “Hangin’ on (my) Faith” in my Lord Jesus Christ. My husband had a pendant made of the cross and ribbon I had designed. I was encouraged by many people to produce my cross to sell to others and so I did. But now I want to do more to help others that face any difficulties in life. I pray that you will find encouragement, strength and peace about whatever YOU (or a loved one) may be facing.

God’s peace and love be with you, through His Son, Jesus the Christ!

Kathy Wood – Founder of “Hangin On Faith”

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