By Lacy Hilliard
If you dont believe in miracles, youve never met Judy Davis. Davis overcame the greatest of odds in her battle with renal cell carcinoma with such success that she amazed not only her family, but also her doctors.
In January of 2008, Davis was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma– an extremely aggressive form of kidney cancer. The United States National Library of Medicine reports that in about one-third of diagnosed cases of renal cell carcinoma, the cancer has already metastasized. Davis doctors knew that swift action was in order in the form of a life saving nephrectomy or kidney removal surgery. The extremely invasive surgery came with it a long recovery and the beginning of a waiting game and a series of CT scans that would show whether or not the cancer would rear its ugly head again.
In October of 2009, the worst-case scenario was realized. The cancer had returned with a vengeance and this time, doctors were unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The grapefruit sized tumor growing on Judys only remaining kidney led doctors to inform Judys husband Jay that she had only six months to live. The removal of the tumor would also require the removal of a large portion of Judys bowels; a procedure that the doctors told her would never be reversed. After the surgery, Judy contracted a life-threatening infection that landed her in the hospital for a total of fifty-six days. For all but two days of her hospital stay, her husband Jay remained by her side. At this time Judy also began treatment in the form of a chemotherapy pill that only showed a success rate of fifteen percent.
Though Judy was never officially given the same information that her husband Jay was made aware of in terms of her prognosis, she had no doubt that her time on earth was drawing to a close. She began making final preparations and even planning her own funeral service. When asked how she was able to cope with the realization of her own mortality, Judy simply said, I felt sadness for my family and a fear of what might happen to them after I was gone but other than that, The Lord provided me with a very serene peace throughout the entire ordeal and I never felt scared for myself.
Judy has been a member of Rainbow Mennonite Church for forty-six years. As the director of the church choir, it was Judys desire that the choir sing at her funeral. When Judy approached her church family with this request, there were a lot of tears, though not from Judy. Her stillness and tranquility throughout the entire ordeal was an inspiration to all those around her and it never waivered even when it seemed there was no hope. Judys attitude toward her battle with cancer was, You may be the Big C but Ive got the Big G. Judys faith in God has inspired her friends and family long before her cancer diagnosis, but maintaining this sense of pious divinity throughout her ordeal showed a deep sense of unwavering faith that was an inspiration to all those that know her.
With each CT scan subsequent to Judys life-ending prognosis, the doctors were astounded. The cancer was disappearing at a rapid rate; a scenario that nobody anticipated. Her recovery was so successful that even the bowel procedure that Judy underwent with the promise that reversal of the procedure was impossible, was reversed. Judys husband Jay was elated, having solely held on to the burden of Judys six-month survival prognosis. Judy realized after her scans began showing the disappearance of her life-threatening cancer that the main reason she was told that the bowel procedure would be irreversible was because her doctors never anticipated that should would live long enough to have it reversed. Judy became a living, breathing miracle and it is her firm belief that God healed her. Davis also maintains that had it been her time, she would have gone willingly and peacefully, finding solace in the belief that Gods master plan is at work.
In retrospect, the support Judy received from her loved ones including her husband Jay, and her friends Jewel, Janie, Janet, and Debbie as well as the support from her church family and the community in general is still a source of amazement for Judy. For several months, Judys $600 per month medical co-payments were paid for by an anonymous donor. The teachers at Judys former place of employment, Mountain City Elementary, also lent a hand by organizing meals for Judys family for several weeks after her second surgery. Judy says she is thankful and proud to be a part of a community that will do whatever they can to support those in need.
Judys advice for anyone currently going through the perils of cancer is this, Trust in the Lord, he will never leave or forsake you and he will always be by your side. So the next time you watch the news and it seems that all that exists in the world today is sadness and evil, remember Judy Davis story. She is living proof that miracles do happen.
By Lacy Hilliard