September 14, 2018
Veronica thought that when her mother passed away in 2011 it was the hardest thing she would ever have to go through. Later, she realized that this was just God preparing her for what was to come. Because Veronica felt so lost after her mom passed away, she decided it was time to seek God and began attending Compass Christian Church, where her son and his family attended. She had found her way home again just in time for the fight of her life.
Veronica is a school bus driver and in April 2012 she woke up one morning with a sore throat. She treated it like any bus driver would, thinking it was just a sore throat and a virus that she probably picked up from one of the kids on her bus. In December this sore throat came back and seemed worse this time, along with a knot on her neck. After seeing her primary care doctor, she was referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor, and through a CT scan, she was diagnosed with stage four squamous cell carcinoma—cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of squamous cells.
Veronica was told that she would not ever return to work and that she should file for disability. She was given the “you have cancer” talk and was shocked as she did not smoke or drink, but somehow felt like this cancer was punishment for what she had done in her past. She and her husband, Roy, prayed for strength she needed to get through it all. Veronica confided, “When you are faced with losing your life and not knowing what is next, it brings great comfort to know that Jesus will never leave me.”
Veronica had insurance to cover the cost of the treatments but was unsure how they were going to cover the day-to-day bills with only Roy’s income since she was unable to work. When her co-workers heard about her situation, they generously donated enough of their own personal sick days to her so she would be covered through the end of the year. She was also nominated for the Dollar Club at Compass so the bills for the month would be covered. God had provided so many blessings for Veronica and Roy—now they knew what it meant to be overwhelmed by God’s love.
In March 2013 Veronica had a modified radical dissection where the doctors removed her tonsils and 56 lymph nodes. There are approximately 800 lymph nodes in the human body and this surgery removed 56 lymph nodes, 13 of which were cancerous. Her doctor said that he felt like he had removed at least 98% of her cancer, but additional treatment would still be necessary.
While she was in the recovery room after surgery, Veronica had a reaction to the medication they had given her. “I opened my eyes and was feeling very calm. I was laying there and kept hearing ‘hit her again, hit her again’ then I saw something or someone in the form of a light, just above me. I smiled; I just felt this sense of peace wash over me. Next, I remember Roy standing by my bed, looking over me.” He told Veronica that her heart rate had spiked out of control and the medical staff basically brought her back to life. He said when he first saw Veronica she was pale and her lips were a shade of blue. “I remember thinking at that time that God was not done with me just yet,” Veronica shared. She went through a long recovery period which included chemo, radiation, and a lot of therapy. She was free of cancer finally.
Veronica was devastated when she was diagnosed with stage four squamous cell carcinoma a second time in October 2015. She tried contacting the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), but they did not have a treatment for her type of cancer. So, she went through a second round of chemo and radiation and dealt with the horrible side effects. These treatments even wiped out any remaining salivary glands that she had left, but once again, God healed Veronica through these treatments.
Veronica spent most of 2016 with no real problems. She even went back to work. Just when she thought she had beat cancer a second time, in January 2017 Veronica was shocked when she was diagnosed with stage four cancer yet a third time. This time the cancer had fanned out and encased the entire base of her tongue and had wrapped around her carotid artery. Her doctors said she had received too much radiation and chemo with the past two treatments and was not a good candidate for any more treatments for the duration of her life. The doctor told her family she had less than six months to live, and to take her home and keep her comfortable.
That night Veronica’s family shared the bad news with her, and yet she did not feel sorry for herself as she felt that God still had a plan for her—she just did not know what it was. Roy, Veronica, and their kids started preparing the funeral plans. “I left their house that night thinking this can’t be it. It just can’t be the last days with my mom,” said her daughter, Hope. “All I could do is pray for more time and no suffering.” That night Hope could not sleep, she felt a strong urge to call CTCA. She blew it off and tried to sleep, but just could not get the voices out of her head to call someone. By 11:30 p.m. she finally reached someone who helped her get her mom into CTCA the following week. She knew that God had orchestrated this phone call and the miracles that happened next.
Upon arriving at CTCA, they were met at by numerous doctors and staff members. Veronica remembers being welcomed warmly and one of the doctors even prayed for her during that first visit. Her three daughters had traveled together in the same car and met Veronica at CTCA. They had been listening to a ’90s band in the car to help ease the tension and keep the mood light on the way to the appointment. When they were on the way back, after the appointment, the radio suddenly went off and came back on to a Christian station that was playing the song, “There Is Power in the Name of Jesus.” They all looked at each other and confirmed that no one had touched the radio to change the station. “God was telling us that despite my mom’s circumstances, despite what doctors were calling terminal, that He was able,” said Amanda, Veronica’s other daughter. They all listened to the song and knew in their hearts that their mom would be healed on “this side of heaven.”
Veronica was given a new drug and began treatment immediately. After just four treatments she returned to the center and had a scan which miraculously showed no trace of the cancer. This inoperable, untreatable cancer that was supposed to have taken her life, was completely gone! She remembers the doctor that prescribed the treatment stated that he had never seen anyone have these results in such a short period of time.
On a Saturday evening, many of Veronica’s co-workers came to join her at church as a surprise. “It was awe inspiring to see Veronica’s faith remain strong and to watch her witness to others during her own trials and tribulations,” Pastor Brian Jobe stated.
Though Veronica is still receiving treatment every three weeks and will be in some form of treatment for years to come, she is still cancer free and is now once again, back to driving her school bus. “God answered every prayer request that I made; from not feeling sick during the chemo to not losing all of my hair. He orchestrated every moment during this amazing journey. I am so thankful for my husband, Roy, who never missed an appointment and has been by my side throughout the entire process. My daughters … though they have been through a lot, they have always been supportive and are my angels. I am also thankful for Emeritus Pastor Roger Storms, Pastor Brian Jobe, all the elders who visited week after week, and the entire staff of Compass who prayed for me. I know that I am alive today to tell my story and to share the hope that only Jesus can provide.”