I’m a Survivor
The main character in my novel, A Cry From the Dust, is about two months past her last chemo treatment for breast cancer. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the protagonist is in remission. As the saying goes, write what you know, and I am a breast cancer survivor. I don’t mind talking about it. I figured God had a plan and purpose for everything.
I had a lot of strange ideas about cancer, chemo, doctors, hospitals, and dying. Mostly I didn’t think about them at all. I’d never been in a hospital except to visit someone. The doctors I knew were friends. I believed you died when you got cancer, and chemo made you violently sick. And of course I thought all your hair immediately fell out.
I discovered you didn’t have to die from cancer. My oncologist gave me a printout on my survival chances (survival chances? Now there’s an eye opener!) I had a 79% chance of living longer than five years if I had surgery, chemo, and hormone treatment. Living longer than five years? Good heavens, I figured I wouldn’t need to think about dying until I was really old! Well, I’m coming up on eleven years in remission, so the printout was right.
I never questioned why me? It’s not that cancer runs in my family. My thoughts were more along the lines of “God never promised that your life would be easy, only that He would see you through it.” And He did. I posted a verse from Hebrews 12:1 on my refrigerator: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” I made that verse personal. I saw the cloud of witnesses as the folks around me who would watch to see how a Christian would handle adversity. The weight and sin would be my own weakness in not trusting that Christ would work my life out for God’s purpose. And, of course, the final line said it all: “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. She teaches forensic art courses to law enforcement professionals and is the author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing. Carrie began to write fiction while battling breast cancer and was mentored by New York Times best-selling author Frank Peretti. Now in remission, she continues to encourage other women struggling with cancer. Discover more about Carrie on her website at www.carriestuartparks.com.