BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
There is Life After Breast Cancer
By Mark Ellis,
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
CBN.com FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA (ANS) As Attie DeVries glanced through a Christian magazine, an article about actress Ann Jillian's battle with breast cancer caught her eye. When did I last have a mammogram, DeVries wondered to herself?
Surprisingly, she couldn't remember ever having a mammogram, and she was in her mid-fifties. "I felt fine," she recalls, but she complained about a pain under her right arm that wouldn't go away. "I was so ignorant about what a mammogram actually was, I came to the conclusion that I never had one."
She booked an appointment for a mammogram, which is a low-dose X-ray of the breast. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women over 40 get a mammogram every one to two years and at even younger ages if a woman has a history of breast cancer in her family.
DeVries' casual approach to such matters changed after an unexpected call from her doctor. "I went over your mammogram today, and we found a nodule in your right breast," he said. DeVries was in the middle of a cozy dinner party at the time, and she suddenly felt as if a bomb had dropped into her otherwise pleasant evening.
Two days later a surgeon reviewed her X-rays and felt certain her nodule was harmless. In fact, he informed her he was 99.9 percent positive she had no cancer.
"Can you guarantee this 100 percent?" she asked.
"Only God can do that," he replied, and suggested she wait six months and for another mammogram.
She insisted on a biopsy right away. "I had to push for the biopsy," she says. "Women have to speak up, because it would have been deadly for me to wait."
DeVries describes the inner challenges she faced - and the faith God supplied for her to get through her crisis in the book There is Life After Breast Cancer (Creation House).
Six years after her breast cancer, doctors discovered two brain tumors near her carotid artery, which had possibly metastasized from her breast cancer. At risk of losing her eyesight, she would have to endure two delicate brain surgeries.
"Cancer is always devastating news," she says. "The devil plays havoc on your thought life. But if we acknowledge God and stay in His will, He can supply the peace."
"The 'Big C' is no match for a bigger God," DeVries says. "God is still in control and He still can heal."
"I want to encourage women to have a mammogram every year and to look to the Lord," she adds.
DeVries and her husband, Simen, immigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1958. After receiving a call from God, they launched a ministry called Our Masters Video in 1979. Their first program, Wonderen Vandaag, which means Miracles Today, started broadcasting in Canada and spread to French TV5 and the New World Channel satellite.
Wonderen Vandaag emphasizes God's abundant love. "We do a Bible study applied to everyday living, and on every program we give an invitation to accept the Lord," DeVries notes. It is currently seen twice a week via TBN Europe in the Middle East, Africa, and throughout Europe and Russia. Also a one-hour program is seen in Amsterdam and surrounding cities twice a week.
Mark Ellis is a Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service. He is also an associate pastor in Laguna Beach, CA.
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