AP NEWS

Breast cancer survivor found peace through faith

October 1, 2018

DIXON – “It was the most unusual feeling I experienced.”

Longtime Dixon resident Marcia DeVries was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in January 2013, but it wasn’t any type of dread or anger or even numbness that she felt.

“People get shaken up, but I wasn’t,” she said. “I had a sense of peace that was amazing. I felt like I was going on a grand adventure.”

That doesn’t mean that it was easy – the year and a half adventure featured a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and reconstruction surgery on top of other needs and bills – but there was a constant presence protecting her from worry.

Faith.

“God was there for us every step of the way,” she said. “He does not abandon you in tough times, but draws very close to you if you call out to him.”

Every adventure has trials to grow from, but one of the most difficult aspects for DeVries was seeing the effect it had on her family. Her grandmother and mother, Elaine, died from ovarian cancer, and her younger sister, Joyce, died from the same form of breast cancer, about 6 months after DeVries was diagnosed.

“I had so much peace, but I knew it was so hard for my family to see me go through it,” she said.

There was also the trial of facing a 10-hour reconstruction surgery, but her worries were soon quieted.

“I had this nagging worry for a long time, but then I felt God was tapping me on the shoulder saying ‘honey, it’s time to take care of this worry.’

“I said I’m not afraid to die, but it just tears me up what my husband and family would go through if I die; I can’t bear that thought.

“Quietly in my heart I heard him say ‘do you trust me,’ and I forced myself to say out loud ‘Lord, I trust you.”’

It was nearly the same question and the same answer she gave about 4 decades earlier when she learned of her mother’s cancer.

“He gave me the comfort I needed, the peace,” she said. “That’s when my faith became my own, not just my parents’.”

DeVries and her husband, Dave, have been married 31 years and have two children, Jonathan and Hannah.

Faith also inspired her to write a book about her story detailing “an amazing spiritual adventure in the wilderness of cancer” with the help of her husband and daughter called Pink Ribbon Adventure: Amazing Works of God in the Midst of Breast Cancer as a way to encourage and inspire others in tough times.

DeVries, a 54-year-old homemaker and member of the Bethel Evangelical Congregational Church in Dixon, and her family write about a variety of experiences, lessons and instances of spiritual guidance, including finding the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois, and encountering a pleasant surprise when paying for a sizable dental bill.

She always keeps a copy with her in case she comes upon someone in need of hope.

“It can be hard for people to see past hardship. We don’t always see why it’s a good thing, but it always is,” she said. “I know that trials can bring treasures.”

Local resources

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} • Home of Hope Cancer Wellness Center in Dixon offers a wide variety of programs, services referrals, support groups and other resources for cancer patients, caregivers, survivors and their families throughout Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties.

Programs support groups and other services specific to breast cancer are offered.

The center at 1637 Plock Road is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, and by appointment.

Call 815-288-4673, go to www.homeofhopeonline.org or find it on Facebook for more details.

• KSB Hospital in Dixon also offers classes, programs and services for those diagnosed with breast cancer, including a free presentation, “Breast Cancer Awareness: What You Need to Know,” from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday in its Lovett Center at 101 W. First St.

KSB also offers 3D breast imaging technology,mammograms that takes 25 images of the breast from many different angles.

Call 815-284-5700 to schedule an appointment; call 815-288-5531 or go to www.ksbhospital.com to learn more about the hospital’s various cancer programs.

• CGH Medical Center in Sterling offers specialized support through its Breast Cancer Navigator program, which connects patients with resources and has a nurse available to help provide emotional support during treatment.

In partnership with the CGH Health Foundation, it also offers screening mammograms with no out-of-pocket costs, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. (That does not include diagnostic mammograms or further treatment.)

Call 815-625-3610, or 815-625-0400, ext., 5550, to make an appointment or for more information.

• The American Cancer Society offers information on reducing your risk, the latest information on breast cancer research, and ways to donate money or volunteer your time.

Go to www.cancer.org and click on Cancer A-Z, then on breast cancer to learn more.

AP RADIO
Update hourly