Four years ago, Pat Hayward, longtime church member and member of the First Methodist Church Foundation Board of Directors, was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer. “It was a real shock and depressing,” she relates. “But since I don’t believe in crashing, I set about learning my own options.”
Deciding that chemotherapy was not an option for her at 84 years old, Pat was able to convince her oncologist that she would only do radiation. “She reluctantly agreed,” Pat adds, “and we proceeded with that protocol, knowing surgery was next.
By the time Pat’s surgery was done and the result was deemed “excellent,” the cancer was gone. “That experience opened my soul to the miracles that I knew happened,” she says. “and I had just had one of my own! My cure was only done by God and it changed my whole being. I thank Him every day for this blessing.”
Then, two years later came another shock — and another cancer diagnosis, but this time no treatment was offered for the large mass discovered in Pat’s pancreas. Told by her doctors that she probably had six months to live, Pat recalls, “I was put on Hospice, and that will get your attention!”
Pat says that at that point her prayers became more for hope and pain-free days and helping her family deal with what lay ahead. “I always knew I had a strong group of prayer warriors in my circle,” she adds, “and when I called them, they responded quickly.”
After about two weeks the hospice nurse informed Pat that she was not ready for them and dismissed her from their care.
So, Pat went on about her business, living every moment of her life and continuing to pray for peace, hope, and pain-free days. She felt pretty good most days, and even in pandemic managed to enjoy friends, family, her lake house, and even a short trip or two. Her focus on love and prayer and joy and hope remained constant, even as she waited for the other shoe to drop.
Then it didn’t.
“My last CT scan was about three months ago,” she now reports, “and the result stated on the radiologist report was that ‘the pancreatic mass is resolved.’ That is another God cure and another blessed miracle.” She pauses, then adds with a smile, “My oncologist calls me her miracle patient.”
Pat says that these experiences over the past year have changed her spiritual practices by making her much more aware of the blessings God hands out to us freely. “I see it clearly every day when I get up and greet the new day,” she says. “My prayers are for His care and love given to all His children, and I try even harder to go out and share His love, peace, and grace.”
Adding that she’s now looking forward to what her life holds next, including whatever challenges may come, and praying that she can respond as God would want, Pat says, “I am so blessed. And I guess He’s not through with me yet.”
Melinda Folse Smoot is a writer, editor, collaborator, and content strategist. In addition to her work for FUMCFW, she has a deep passion for telling stories that make a difference. With a focus on faith, grace, hope, and spirit for faith-based organizations and other clients, Melinda is always on the lookout for people with inspiring stories to share. If you have a story of faith you’d like to share, please contact Melinda at firstname.lastname@example.org.