Cancer What's Lacking

Cancer: What Can a Friend Do?

I lack the words to tell you the effect this weekend has had on me. I went to visit my dear friend, Debra at the nursing home. She is fighting Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Besides the chemotherapy and some kind of radiation cap that she had to wear all the time, Debra has had two brain surgeries to try to stop the swelling and the growth of cancer. The doctors give her less than six months to live.

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Think before you speak

A Tribute to a Friend with Brain Cancer

A Godly Woman

I’m inspired by a godly woman from our church, Delores. A year or so before my illness, she ultimately healed from stage 4 brain cancer. She was a vivacious lady around 60 years old living life to the full. She and her husband ran the local annual rodeo and a western store. 

One Saturday evening, she laid down because she had a headache. The next thing you know, she was having a full-blown seizure. Soon afterward, we learned it was cancer. I have never seen someone have such a positive attitude. It was the most beautiful thing to see. She spoke life to the entire church during her journey to heaven. She would always tell us, “I’m just along for the ride.”

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Cancer Won’t Steal My Joy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thought it would be a great time to interview my beautiful niece, Nihlia Griffin who has a rare form of breast cancer. Be encouraged by her journey of ten-plus years.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

1. Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

nihlia griffin cancer wont steal my joy
Nihlia Griffin

I was diagnosed in April of 2007 with invasive ductal carcinoma. I had a mammogram in February everything was normal.   Woke up in April with a knot on my right breast the size of a golf ball.  I have always done my breast checks. I called my doctor and from that day my life forever changed. 

2. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?

I have always had a strong faith.  I learned to depend on God more than I ever have in my life.  Cancer made me see life and death in a totally different way.    My life slowed down, and I felt everyone’s life carried on as usual.   I trust God more than I ever have in my life.  

3. Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?

My turning point was after I woke up from having my breast removed. I knew my outward appearance would never be the same again. Losing my hair after my first round of chemo was nothing. But feeling my chest flat and seeing all the drain tubes coming out of my body. It took my breath. 

  You must take sponge baths until all the drain tubes are removed.  I remember the day the nurse removed all the bandages I did not want to look. When I got home that afternoon I undressed and looked in the mirror nothing was there my check was sunk in and I had all these stitches.  I sat in the tub and cried my eyes out.  I felt like I was not a woman anymore it has taken me years to overcome losing my breast.

After many reconstruction surgeries, My body kept rejecting the implants. I had to make a choice in August 2018. Do I want to live and enjoy life with my family? Or is having breasts so important that I am willing to risk my life to have implants. 

4. What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey? Why?

Psalm 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 

as a hart
Canacer can't steal my joy

I have always loved this verse.  If you watch an animal drink when they are thirsty. They try to drink the water so fast to get as much as they can.  Same with us we should absorb everything about GOD. Soak it in. Hold His Word close to your heart.  

5. How do you find comfort on especially painful days?

Comfort comes from within and the faith I have in my Lord.

I have a great support system my family is awesome just knowing I have them is comfort.

NIhlia with her daughters cancer wont steal my joy
Nihlia with her daughters

6. Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this.

I talk to a lot of women when they are diagnosed. Since I’ve been there done that, I am able to connect with them and encourage them through the long process.

*Nihlia is also an advocate for a group fighting against environmental issues in her town that causes cancer.

7. Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.

I am a very happy person. I did my best to not allow cancer to steal my joy.  If I found myself feeling down I would get up and do something like walking outside take a deep breath.   I was out of work for a long time from 2007-2011. 

Life is not about possessions

I learned a lot during that time. Life is not about possessions or having the biggest house, fancy car, or a lot of money. I learned to be satisfied where God had me. I kept telling myself there is a reason God is allowing this in my life.  I saw how problems in life had beat me down.  

Even though I had cancer I feel like God used that time to put me back together and help me find myself again.  When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I was coming out of a very abusive relationship. We do not understand why this is happening and why me Lord.  But I have learned God is in control, not me.  God always comes through for me. He has never let me down.  I learned to trust in God more than I ever have in my life. 

Preachers often say God is always on time. I understand that even more today.   Click To Tweet

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Nihlia Griffin Cancer wont steal my joy

Nihlia works as a customer service Rep at Global Partnership for Telehealth (GPT) is a nonprofit organization with a worldwide footprint that is based in Waycross, Georgia. GPT offers telehealth technology solutions and web-based platforms that bring much-needed healthcare resources to urban and rural communities with a focus on underserved areas. We work with school systems, hospitals, clinics, and health systems to connect people with health services.

Before cancer, she was a master cosmetologist. She has recently received the following certifications From Hometown Health University: Patient Access Specialist, Managed Care Professional Finance Counselor, and Certified Hospitality Specialist. She has also acquired several technical certifications and an associate degree in Bible Theology.


Mammogram options

Mammograms ~ You Have Options

My first mammogram was one of the worst days of my life. To make matters worse, it was my anniversary. It was so traumatic for me that I spent the whole next year dreading the next mammogram. I did everything I could do to skip having mammograms. This is NOT a good idea. I didn’t know it at the time but I have fibromyalgia – a sensitivity syndrome that makes everything more painful than it should be. But I have learned that I have options, so now I share these with you.

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