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    From Terminal Cancer to a Miracle

    Had I put a question mark on my prayers? January 7, 2022 by Darlene Tustin
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    Feature
    Darlene and Paul are soldiers at Belleville Citadel, Ont.
    Darlene and Paul are soldiers at Belleville Citadel, Ont.

    Just over two and a half years ago, on July 9, 2019, I sat in the office of my oncologist at the Cancer Centre in Kingston, Ont. Her words will forever be etched in my memory: “Cancer. Inoperable. Terminal.” My husband, daughter and I sat there stunned, hearing the words no one ever thinks will be applied to their life.

    My daughter finally spoke up and asked, “How long does my mother have?”

    “I am so sorry,” my doctor replied. “Two years, at best.”

    Rock Solid

    The following days were filled with question marks: What do I do? How does one prepare? Chemotherapy? Will it slow the cancer down? Will it give me more time?

    I didn’t know the answers, but I knew who did.

    “Dear Lord,” I prayed. “In the days ahead, direct my path when I don’t know in what direction I need to go. I put it all in your hands, trusting and believing you know best.”

    Soon after, my daughter gifted me with a beautiful journal.

    “Mom,” she wrote in it, “this is a special place for you to record your journey. I pray this journal is a spot to release your story and feelings now, and a special place for your family later.” She also added, from Psalm 61:2: “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

    That “rock”—Jesus Christ—became the solid ground where I found the strength to face the chemo, pain and sickness that followed.

    Words of Wisdom

    Two weeks after my diagnosis, someone posted the following on Facebook: “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14).

    Following that, they wrote: “The battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s. When you feel weak and overwhelmed, remember your strength comes from the Lord. Don’t give up! During the battle, the Lord will fight for you. During the trial, the Lord will strengthen you. During the test, the Lord will encourage you, through Jesus Christ. Don’t give up! Give it to God!”

    “Could surgery be an option?” I asked my doctors. “I am sorry, no,” was the answer. —Darlene Tustin

    Those words, along with the love and prayers of my family and friends, carried me through many days. But, to be honest, there were days I didn’t think I could rise above all that my cancer journey entailed.

    “I don’t want to dismiss a miracle, Lord,” I wrote in my journal, “but it would have to be an awful big one, and I don’t know if I truly believe that it can happen for me.”

    Highs and Low

    More than two years passed. I went through chemotherapy, blood transfusions, pills, injections, MRI and CT scans and, for the most part, I felt good. I was hopeful that my cancer was either regressing or sitting dormant.

    “Could surgery be an option?” I asked my doctors.

    “I am sorry, no,” was the answer.

    Considering the extent of my cancer, surgery would be a drastic measure, and the doctors could not guarantee they would get it all. Even so, at that time, I felt no effects from the cancer, though I struggled daily with a rare autoimmune disease called scleroderma, an uncommon side-effect from the chemo.

    “You Are a Miracle!“

    Considering everything, however, I was surprised and grateful to be where I was. But I was certainly unprepared for what came next.

    Sitting once again in the same oncologist’s office on September 14, 2021, where I had sat two years before, I heard some other life-altering words that, again, I never expected to hear: “You have no cancer. We cannot find it.”

    “How is that possible?” I asked.

    “You’re right,” she replied. “It is impossible! In all my years of practice, I have never witnessed a patient go from Stage 4 inoperable cancer to … ‘We can’t find it!’ ”

    Looking right at me, she stated emphatically, “You are a miracle!”

    Photo of Darlene with her children, Nick, Peter and Jessie
    Darlene shares a happy moment with her children,
    from left, Nick, Peter and Jessie

    Knocking on Heaven’s Door

    That was the last thing I expected to hear.

    “Oh, my goodness!” was all I could stammer. (I think I repeated that about 10 times in the office.)

    If I had had my wits about me, I would have shared that, while I may be a miracle, it is because I know the Miracle Maker—Jesus Christ! But I was too stunned to communicate much of anything.

    I couldn’t believe God would perform such an incredible act in my life. And that was my problem.

    I realized then just how small my faith was, for the Lord hadn’t really answered my prayers. You see, I was praying for perseverance and faithfulness through my journey, whereas my church friends and family had been praying for the miracle I never expected would be mine.

    “I am so sorry, dear Lord, for doubting,” I prayed that night. “Maybe not really doubting as much as feeling unworthy. I know your love has no boundaries, but I put boundaries where there should have been none.”

    God’s amazing grace and love taught me one important lesson on this cancer journey. While we have to pray for one another, we have to pray BIG! How can we have the incredible miracles God intends to bless us with if we don’t put it all there before him?

    Through this time, I was not aware of how much I put a question mark on my expectations, thinking I was outside the realm of such a miracle. That day, I learned there are no question marks with God, who loves us more than we sometimes love ourselves.

    “Thank you, Jesus,” I concluded my prayer, “for reminding me there are no limitations with you.”

    This story is from:

    Comment

    On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, Cordie Sylvester said:

    Your testimony has helped me with my husband’s healing. I’m praying and believing God for a miracle healing with his illness. He healed you and will do the same for my husband. The church and other people are praying for him. We have to go through the process and walk by Faith and not Sight. God allowed me to see your testimony so I will not give up on Him and past this test.

    On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, Lorna Gillett said:

    Amen! God is & always will be the God of miracles! My daughter had 5 lumps in her chest. We had people praying & believing world wide for a miracle. And on the way to her hospital appointment on December 30th, God removed every lump & she has a clean bill of health. That's the God we serve!! All power is His & He is never going to give any of it away!

    On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, Rita Jastrow said:

    Your story has brought me to tears... I know for myself I've often had a talk with the he big guy upstairs or (the Direct Line) as often I jockingly refer to... just asking him if he'd be so kind to let us keep you with us just a little bit longer and to give you the strength to overcome this. I also know my faith is not as strong as it once was, but the ask was not for me... so I dared, and made a few good arguments with him... now I have no words, but I am ever so grateful that he desided to spare you, guess he agreed that we needed the angel that you are a bit more down here and that he could wait to have you with him by his side up there for much later... I am so grateful for the miracle that he's gifted you with... God bless. Hugggsss... from me to you... love you Darlene

    On Monday, January 10, 2022, Elizabeth said:

    That's amazing. God is so good. I'm also facing a cancer diagnosis and my oncologist says that there is nothing else can be done. I'm praying for a miracle. Its inoperable. Praise God for your healing.

    On Monday, January 10, 2022, Miriam Leslie said:

    What a beautiful testimony! God still performs miracles today!

    On Sunday, January 9, 2022, Leba Hayling said:

    God is just awesome. Words cannot express my gratitude. May He continue to bless and keep you

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Colley Jackson said:

    Thankful for the boundless Grace of God in Jesus!

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Beverly Hawthorn said:

    It is hard when you get a diagnosis of cancer. I Went through this when my husband of 28 years was told hr had agressive cancer. He fought the battle for 9 months until He was called home to be with the Lord August of 2020. I miss him not being at my side. He is in God's Arms and his love we shared will always be in my heart

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Sharron McKinnon said:

    Psalm 91:14-16. The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation......blessings Darlene ❤️

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Joe Thompson said:

    Your Heavenly Father knows what you need even before you ask. Nothing is impossible with God.

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Marilyn Keating said:

    writing through tears to say "Thank you Lord for Darlene and Your miracle. Even when we don't know how to pray, God is there with us and working His plan. He knows there is still work for you to do Darlene, even when you thought it was over. Life happens but the Lord is bigger than life, and His plan will prevail. God bless you Darlene on the rest of your journey, and we all know He will

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Pam Woolley said:

    Wonderful news Darlene. I hope to get up there next fall, depending on Covid of couse

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Viola Grant said:

    An absolutely amazing story. God is an awesome God!

    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, Lorna Faulkner said:

    Amazing! God answers prayers that we don’t even pray. So Happy for you.

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