Jackson County Times

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meet Elizabeth Saunders, A Breast Cancer Survivor!!

“My prayer is that through reading my story, more women will engage in early detection programs”.

By Elizabeth Saunders

“I was raised in a Christian home in Ocala, Florida. After graduating from Ocala High School, I attended FSU, where I earned my B.S. in Elementary Education, my Masters in Reading/Language Arts, a Specialist Degree in Administration/Supervision, and a Doctorate in Reading Supervision. Armed with those degrees, I served as an educator in the Jackson County School System for forty years.”

“I have lived in Jackson County since 1965 with my wonderful husband, Charles Saunders, who died in 2002. We were both devout Christians and have always had a close relationship with our God. I believe He is currently preparing me for a significant event in my life which will glorify His name.”

It is that devout testimony which has given Elizabeth the strength of conviction and determination she needs to conquer the terrible trials she has been facing for the past five years.

It was one day in October of 2004 that she felt the need to immediately have a mammogram. At first she tried to ignore the message, but the message continued over and over until finally she called Flowers Hospital and attempted to schedule the test that day. Since she was not scheduled for a mammogram for another two months, they informed her she would have to pay for it since the insurance company would disallow the procedure. She agreed to those terms, and they finally gave her an appointment for later in the day. She first had to be examined by a Gynecologist. He did an examination and could find no lumps. She continued to insist that a mammogram be performed, describing the “message” she was receiving. Finally the Doctor recanted and agreed to the test. “I now know it was God telling me to go immediately for this test at all cost”, Elizabeth states convincingly.

The next morning she received a call from the hospital, asking her to return for further testing. A biopsy was performed on a small lump which had been discovered. This disclosed a malignancy in a non-invasive tumor which would only require a lumpectomy. Over the weekend she prayed constantly, asking God for direction relating to the surgery which was to occur on Monday.

On Monday when she met with the surgeon she told him that God had instructed her to have a full mastectomy, not a lumpectomy. The surgeon said that he too was a Christian, and would follow her wishes if it gave her inner peace.

During the surgery they discovered a second tumor which contained a very fatal form of breast cancer. It would not have been found if only a lumpectomy had been performed! The Doctor stated that if one cell from this deadly form of cancer had entered her lymphatic system, she would have been dead within a week! That was five years ago!! Unquestionably, God’s message and her insistence had saved her life.

In 2007 another tumor was discovered in the other breast. This led to removal of the second breast and reconstruction of both breasts, a procedure which took over fifteen hours of surgery. Currently, Elizabeth is recovering quite well, and is living a happy, productive life. She credits God for saving her life. As Dr. Charles Stanley stated, “When you obey God and leave all consequences to Him, you will live your life at its fullest”.

Elizabeth encourages all readers of this inspirational story to actively engage in monthly self examinations and annual mammograms. “And if God speaks to you, always obey Him!”

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