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Brain Cancer Pushes Woman's Faith to the Limits

When Jennifer's flu-like symptoms turned out to be stage 3 brain cancer, she and her husband believed God would heal her. With only a few months to live, they embarked on a test of faith they didn't see coming. Read Transcript


I just didn't feel well.

I couldn't put my finger on one area, like my head hurt

or my ankle, it wasn't anything like that,

I just generally didn't feel well.

NARRATOR: Jennifer Polk had experienced flu-like symptoms

for two weeks when her husband, Irvin, insisted

she see a doctor.

She was diagnosed with high blood pressure and given

medication, but the next day nausea and headaches

sent her to the ER.

A few minutes later, the emergency room doctor comes

in, and he goes, well, I'm going to do a chest X-ray and a head

CT scan just to see what we're looking at.

NARRATOR: The scan showed swelling

on the right side of Jennifer's brain,

so her doctor ordered an MRI.

The MRI revealed a tumor the size of a small orange.

It went from I'm here for high blood pressure

to it looks like you have some swelling to the neurosurgeon's

saying you have a brain mass, and we're going to surgery

this afternoon at 4:30.

It was that fast in 45 minutes.

IRVIN POLK: I threw a little mental fit,

I guess, and I had to get it together.

I had to pray to God and ask him for some clarity,

some bring me together.

I still had to be there for my wife mentally,

I had to get there, and to do that I had to have God.

I don't freak out about a lot of things,

and it was so funny because I absolutely, positively

knew it was going to be fine.

I was like, God's got this.

I knew, deep down, that he had it,

and yes, I guess it was just my faith, my defiant faith,

that he at it.

NARRATOR: Jennifer underwent surgery for 4 and 1/2 hours,

and a biopsy revealed that she had stage 3 brain cancer.

Because there was a 70% chance a tumor would regrow,

her doctors gave her four to six months to live.

They recommended chemo and radiation in an attempt

to extend her life.

TONYA TOLLEY: A glioblastoma multiforme

is primary brain tumor that is malignant, it is cancerous.

It is usually considered not curable,

even at early stage diagnosis.

NARRATOR: Despite the dire prognosis,

Jennifer chose to trust God.

If you think my God, who created this universe,

can't whoop some puny, old cancer cells,

I said, you got another thing coming.

He raised Lazarus from the dead, you

think he can't take care of this?

Are you serious?

I will do chemo and radiation as a precaution,

that's the only reason I'm going to do it.

And I said, if those are the tools

that God has given me to beat this thing,

then that's what we're going to do.

I was frustrated.

I was really mad, and that's when that feeling come on me

that I had to get close to God real fast,

or everything was going to get out of control.

I had to get that clarity in my mind that he was in control,

and he had it taken care of.

NARRATOR: Jennifer stood firm in her belief

that God would heal her.

She endured chemo and radiation for the next few months,

with Irvin by her side.

And, about half way through the chemo,

I had about three months left, and I looked at him

and I said, I'm done, I'm not doing it anymore.

I was just so tired of being sick, and he was like, Baby,

you've got to finish.

And I didn't want to because I was so tired of being sick

and he was like you've got to finish, and I would,

but it was awful.

It was horrible.

There were many days where we cried,

there were many things were we laughed,

and there were many days where we got angry.

But we got through those days together

and with the Lords' help.

NARRATOR: Jennifer's faith was bolstered by the many people

praying for her.

My mom and my stepdad, at their church,

everybody they knew was praying.

My whole entire family was praying,

their churches were praying, my Mary Kay

family that I have been in for years

at that point was praying.

I mean I had consultants and directors all across the United

States, all across the world, praying for me.

The prayer chain was just overwhelming

because we'd get notifications that, hey, you're

on our prayer chain.

It was all over the place.

NARRATOR: One day, while resting at home,

Jennifer was overcome by assuring presence.

And, all of a sudden, it just felt

like somebody had laid a big, thick, fluffy, warm blanket

on top of me and just completely covered me with it.

It was like the warmest, most comfortable feeling, and all

of a sudden, I was so thankful.

I can't describe it, and I just knew at that point

that it was God saying I've got you.

NARRATOR: Jennifer completed the chemo and radiation

and has been cancer free for seven years.

The Lord brought her back 100%.

She was down, let me tell you, and God

has given me the joy of seeing her beautiful face every day.

And I love her more and more every time I see it.

God was 100% part of Jennifer's healing.

A glioblastoma is a primary cancer

that can take people's lives, and for her to be here

seven years later is a true miracle.

I'm sure that everywhere I go people

get tired of hearing my story, but I go to the nail salon,

and I tell people that God healed me from a brain tumor.

It doesn't matter where I go, I go to the bakery,

I tell people.

Everywhere I go, I feel like I'm still here for a reason,

and I think that reason is to tell people

that he is still on the throne, and he is still

working miracles.

And I'm sitting here today because he does.

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