Faith Walkers

Walking through cancer with Christ

Vivian Griego

 

“God was so faithful.  I could sense His presence and I was so comforted by that. Even when I was suffering really bad He would comfort me.  I knew it was Him.

In my darkest time when I was alone and suffering He always came and let me know He was there.”

I will not die but live

and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

Psalm 118:17

Discovering Ovarian Cancer

In 2008 I was shopping for my grandbabies at Macy's. I was on my cell phone talking with my sister, Carol. There was an unfinished display on the floor. I tripped and fell on it. When I stood up I was not okay, but I was able to drive home. Dan, my husband rushed me to the emergency room. The pain was beyond anything I had ever experienced in my life. The doctor took an ultra sound and told me "There is something brown behind your bladder. Let's just hope its poop." He then ordered a CT scan and blood work. Shortly after he got the results he came into my room and spoke the words no one ever wants to hear, "Vivian, you have cancer." Not only was it cancer, it was in a very advanced stage. Stage 3C.

I was shocked and devastated. Two days later I was rushed to Swedish Medical Center in Denver by ambulance as I had to have morphine every 8 seconds to try to control the pain. The oncologist surgeon operated and told me she was 95% sure she got all the cancer but that she wanted to do pathology tests. I was allowed to go home to recover.

She then called me with the results of the tests. She told me that the cancer had escaped into my lymph system and that I was going to have to do chemo. She also told me I had a 10% chance survival rate. I was beside myself with fear and grief.

The battle to save my life began. Dr. Diana Medgyesy of Front Range Cancer Specialists in Fort Collins, CO became my new oncologist. Together we fought for my life and won! A miracle to be sure.

I was then informed that I would spend the rest of my life battling for my life. I went into remission for 2 ½  years and spent the majority of that time recovering from the side effects of the chemo cocktail that was given me. I recovered and stopped taking drugs in December 2010.

Recurrence

On March 7, 2011 at my six month checkup Dr. Medgyesy told me I had cancer again. So the battle continues. I believe God loves me and has a plan for my life. I so want to live. I will continue to storm the gates of heaven with my prayers and ask our Lord for a miracle and an end to this attack against my life. Please join me in prayer as I ask God to intervene, but not only for me, but for others I have met along the way.

I believe the medical community failed me. But I have since learned my story is not uncommon for ovarian cancer which is called "the silent killer" of women. I am very sad because I am not one to be careless with my health. I exercise, eat well and have regular yearly checkups. I complained for years to many doctors that something was wrong. I went to 8 specialists with my complaints and none of them found the cancer until it was almost too late. My complaints were the classic signs for ovarian cancer. Even my OB/Gyn clinic missed the signs. They blamed my symptoms on my age, on menopause, on my weight, etc. But they were very, very wrong. Please, women who read this, be aggressive with your doctors. Make them take tests for you. Make sure they are listening and taking good care of you. Your insistence for care could save your life. We need to spread the news about ovarian cancer. It’s a very deadly and serious disease. I will spend the rest of my life fighting for my life and also trying to help other women be aware and be more proactive with their doctors to protect their health.

God is my healer and my protector. I surrender to Him and have faith that He will help me to meet my dream. And that is to watch my precious grandbabies grow up, dance with them at their weddings, be there when their babies are born and be Great-grandma Vivi just like my parents have been able to do. I so love life, I so love living, I celebrate everyday and the one who makes it all possible. Our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the day the Lord has made I will be glad and rejoice in it!

Perspective in the Battle

I have been so humbled and shattered by this experience, but what keeps coming to my mind is a more profound respect for God, our Creator and what He has done for each of us. The miracle of His creation astounds me. As bits of my health have been removed and challenged I am more and more in AWE of God. He created the body. The genius and intricacy of the human body alone speaks of a Creator so brilliant and so magnificent that it boggles human understanding. All the systems that are carefully woven together so that we can in Him "move, breathe, and have our being” astound me.

I took my health for granted as we all do. Don't most of us take this wonderful gift for granted? Do you ever think of the 3 trillion cells that move around in your body that define you? And that no one else is just like you? When you have your lattes or are stuck in traffic fuming, or at work trying to beat that deadline, or driving your little ones to school, or are late to somewhere - do you think of all the wonderful systems working inside you effortlessly allowing you to experience the pleasure of the taste of that latte? The luxury of experiencing the rush of impatience/anger while stuck in traffic? The genius behind all the mental processes allowing your fingers to type in sync with those flowing from your mind to the computer? The luxury of being healthy enough to move about freely in the world of your own creation?

Yes, you are late because you created that in your mind first. But, beyond all this are the countless miracles of your being - a Creator sustaining your every move whether you honor Him or not, whether you obey Him or not. The psalms state that if He stopped thinking about you, you would cease to exist in an instant.

All this to say that as I suffer I become more and more aware of the gifts I took for granted. When my husband has to hold my hand so I can walk to the bathroom, when I am able to eliminate, when I can swallow, when I have one hour without pain I think about my Creator and thank him for what he has shown me when I could do these things effortlessly and now when every breathe is measured and I am more dependent on my loved ones to care for me as I am at this time no longer able to do so. It’s all a gift. The awareness of absence of health that brings one to The Cross and realize this is my cross, my Calvary experience, my passion with my Savior - and the awareness of all the blessings of health, work, job, family, freedom of movement as I went about my day prior to the onset of disease and the cancer journey.

Am I better than my Savior? Was I ever guaranteed a pain free, struggle free life when I became born again and gave my unconditional YES? Should I begrudge my suffering and do as Job's wife suggested - curse my Creator and be damned thus giving into the suffering and succumbing to external? The temptation arises when one is in excruciating agony - the challenge is to rely more and more on the Savior, the finished work of The Cross, our belief in our God. My Christian arrogance stripped away I stand naked before my Creator and realize now more than ever without Him I am nothing and without Him I cannot do this.

He stands merciful and comforts me at my breaking point more than once. Recently, I had an unannounced visit from a team of charismatic prayer warriors. After a few seconds of prayer that ended 1½ hours later I felt the Holy Spirit fill the room as we prayed, worshipped and glorified the Lord. He touched me and imbued me with the Holy Spirit and His Love. "My love is more than enough."

I want to inspire and encourage you all to keep praying. I am more and more aware that God is listening and our prayers are going up to His nostrils - a sweet fragrant perfume and he is very much aware of YOU and your faith and your perseverance, love, and hope as you help sustain me and my B&B sisters in prayer.

All my love and gratitude to each and every one of you.
Blessings to each of you,

Vivian

Epilogue

Vivian passed into eternal life on July 13, 2013. The lives she touched and the legacy she left with her family and friends testified to the eternal value of her life and her journey with cancer. Many, many people shared about the impact she had on their lives through her CaringBridge site, her prayers and her faith and focus on her Lord, Jesus Christ.

Follow My Journey

You can follow my journey on my CaringBridge site. Thank you for your prayers and may your journey, whatever that may be, draw you closer to our Creator, Father God, our eternal partner, Jesus Christ, our counselor, the Holy Spirit.

The Song Playing on This Page

This song is "Wrestle" written by Jorie and Matt Henderson.  It comes from Jorie's CD, "Songs of Deliverance" © 2008 Jorie Henderson.  You can learn more about Jorie by visiting www.myspace.com/joriemusic.  Her music is available for purchase on iTunes (http://www.apple.com/search/ipoditunes/?q=jorie) and on cdbaby (http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Jorie).

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