Walking Closely with Him
Who would have known that on the other side of Angie and Jason’s picture-perfect June wedding would be an ugly cancer diagnosis? God knew, and used it for good.
Angie grew up in a Christian home; Jason had a background of addictions and poor choices. God introduced them at Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, IA. Angie was on staff; Jason was a theology student.
They married after Jason’s graduation in June 2007. Five months later, Angie was pregnant, and they moved 600 miles from Angie’s home state to be involved in a ministry where Jason had found the Lord years earlier.
One year after their son, Brady, was born, Angie received the shocking news that she had an aggressive form of tongue cancer. She endured three major surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. The painful radiation treatment took place inside her mouth, throat, and face. Unable to eat or drink, she sustained a feeding tube for months and lost 70 pounds.
JBU: What was your initial response to the diagnosis?
ANGIE: My mind went a million directions. I didn’t hear much after the doctor said “You have a cancerous tumor in your tongue. I am not going to sugar coat this for you. It is a dangerous and aggressive cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma…” That’s where I stopped listening, even though the doctor said much more. While he continued, my mind went all over the place. How much will this cost? What are we going to do with Brady? I hope Jason doesn't have to go back to work today. We have so many people to call. I’m scared. I want to see my son grow up. I guess we won’t be having more babies anytime soon. What's for dinner tonight?
JBU: How has your relationship with God changed since that day?
ANGIE: My life had been easy before cancer, but my faith had not been challenged. I knew a lot about God but I never had the opportunity to trust Him for every breath. As I began to draw on what I had been taught, I began to experience His faithfulness, care, provision, and love firsthand. My faith is real now. I have seen Him at work in my life.
JBU: What is your prognosis and how are you doing?
ANGIE: The most recent three-month PET scan showed I am cancer free! If the cancer has not re-appeared in five years, I will be considered cured. I have some permanent hearing loss from one round of chemo, which was subsequently stopped. As a result of the radiation, my eating is still not back to normal, my mouth is often irritated, and my face is still discolored.
JBU: What resources helped you?
ANGIE: Friends and family shared Scripture with me, which I compiled into a notebook to keep handy. John Piper’s article, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”, helped me turn the focus from “me” to what God can do through me. The article is available at: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2006/1776_Dont_Waste_Your_Cancer/
JBU: What was the reason for your move to Ohio as newlyweds?
ANGIE: We moved to Akron, Ohio to be involved with Haven of Rest, a homeless shelter/rescue mission: www.havenofrest.org. Jason serves as a chaplain to the men’s residential program. Jason’s unique testimony provides an excellent way to reach men who struggle as he once did.
JBU: What is your personal ministry?
ANGIE: I continue to work part-time from home for Emmaus Bible College, as well as provide day care. I am involved in the women’s Bible studies and a discipleship/mentoring program at our church. I look for opportunities to share that God is faithful, loving, and good even in the midst of trials.
JBU: How did your cancer affect your new marriage?
ANGIE: Jason and I thought we were in love but now we know what “true love” is. Jason faithfully cared for me, including the dirty work. His actions showed how much he loves me. Our new marriage motto is “serve one another in love”.
JBU: How is God is using your health issues in your toddler’s life?
ANGIE: Brady had many caretakers through my surgeries and treatment. Now he is easy-going, friendly with people, and content in new surroundings.
JBU: What are some ways a mother can help her young children when she is going through a difficult time personally?
ANGIE: Try to be the one to get them out of bed in the morning and put them to bed at night. Give lots of hugs, and do fun, spontaneous things together even if you don’t feel like it. Chances are you will feel better after hugs and play time. On the flipside, Brady provided entertainment, joy, and laughter to us throughout my treatment.
JBU: What are your future goals?
ANGIE: We’re taking one day at a time. Normal feels good for a change.
- Favorite Scripture passage: Psalm 139
- Favorite Book: Currently, I’m wrapped up in parenting books!
- Favorite Hobby: Reading, watching baseball, drinking Starbucks, playing with Brady
- One fun thing she likes to do with her husband: Dinner and a movie
To contact Angie:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- To read more of Angie’s journey, visit her blog at: www.angieandjason.blogspot.com