Hey there! I'm Autumn!
I blog about life, laughs and love over at "Mrs." in the Making.
I am so excited that Brit asked me to take part in Now Rejoice!
There is nothing I enjoy more than sharing what God has done in my life.
He constantly takes my breath away.
I hope this encourages you!
When I was 7 years old,
I asked Jesus into my heart.
I understood that He was God's only son,
that He died on the cross for our sins,
and that He conquered death and rose on the third day.
I knew He loved me.
And I loved Him.
Fast-forward to 2004.
I was an active, healthy 15 year old one day-
and then all of a sudden,
I couldn't sit, stand, or walk without extreme pain in my lower back.
Pain that I can't begin to describe.
A few months later,
they did an MRI and found a large tumor on my spinal cord.
The tumor was removed and we were told it would never come back-
but that I would have to have MRIs every 3 months as precaution.
Fast- forward 2 years (2006).
I was an active, healthy 17 year old senior in high school one day-
and all of a sudden....
all of my symptoms were back.
We called my neurosurgeon.
He said all of my MRIs were clear,
and that my symptoms were just from nerve damage.
Fast-forward 2 more years (2008).
I was 19 years old.
Everyone went off to college..
I couldn't put on my own socks,
I couldn't get up and down by myself,
and I had slipped into severe depression.
My neurosurgeon assured me that my MRIs were clear...
which was great...
but I hurt-
and I was angry.
Where was He?
I thought He loved me.
I didn't want to live with that pain for the rest of my life.
Satan saw my struggle,
and he slipped suicidal thoughts into my head.
In December 2008,
I went to have a routine MRI.
The next day,
my neurosurgeon called me...
and said he needed to talk to my parents and me, in person,
as soon as possible.
We went the next day...
and his words would change my life forever.
"You have multiple small tumors on your spinal cord,
and you have 1 very large tumor on the base of your spinal cord.
You've had the large one since 2007 and somehow I've missed it for 2 years.
We have to get the large one out before it paralyzes you..and you will need to begin radiation 1 month after the surgery. Because it came back, it is now classified as cancer..and it is a rare type.
Not much research has been done on it- the radiation will, if anything, just keep the smaller tumors from growing as fast."
My world stopped.
For 2 years I had suffered....
because he didn't see the tumor?
I thought that's why I had to have MRIs every 3 months.
So he could make sure nothing came back.
How can one of the best neurosurgeons in the US "miss" a tumor for 2 years?
More surgery....and then radiation?
.......and I have....rare, incurable cancer.....?
My surgery was scheduled for April 2009.
So for the next 4 months,
my mom researched my radiation options.
We learned that regular radiation would burn my reproductive organs up...
but that there was a special type of radiation that was less damaging.
It was called proton radiation,
and at that time,
there were only 5 proton radiation centers in the US.
The closest centers to me (West Virginia),
were Boston, Massachusetts and Jacksonville, Florida.
My mom called and left messages at both of them.
Boston never called back,
but the head doctor at Jacksonville location called her back a week later.
He said that it usually took a year to get into their center,
but that since my case was so rare,
they wanted to fit me in exactly 1 month after my surgery.
There was only one problem...
we would have to stay in Florida for 6 weeks-
and we didn't know where we were going to stay.
We decided to have faith that God would supply our needs.
The months leading up to my surgery passed quickly.
With 1 week to go,
my grandpa called.
He said that his cousin and her husband were in town visiting
(Edna and Clarence)
and they heard about me and wanted to meet me.
My parents and I had no clue who they were
or where they were from.
they lived 30 minutes away from the proton center in Jacksonville, FL-
and they said we were going to stay with them...no ifs ands or buts.
God was working.
He was assuring us that He had everything under control.
1 week later,
I had my surgery.
And 1 month after my surgery,
we headed down to Jacksonville for the 6 week stay.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon.
Edna said that she wanted us to go to church with her that evening.
She said she had told everyone about me,
they had been praying for me,
and they all wanted to meet me.
At this point,
I was no longer angry at God.
I knew He was going to take care of me-
but I was still struggling with depression..
and I didn't really want to go.
But Edna was the sweetest woman I had ever met
and I couldn't say no to her.
when I walked into the sanctuary-
the music had already started...
and the praise and worship leader
just so happened to be the man I would marry 2 years later!
and my rare, uncurable cancer?
The one that was going to end up paralyzing me?
The one that caused me so much pain?
God completely, totally healed me!
And the doctors just can't seem to explain it :-)
But you can bet your aunt Frances that I explain it to them!
Our God is the Healer, the Deliverer, the Creator, the Writer of love stories....and so much more.
He can take your darkest days and turn them into the brightest days you've ever seen.
He overwhelms me.
Thanks again for having me, Brit!!