VANESSA: 2006, AGE 47   

It is a true statement that trials come to make you strong, and God will not give you more than you can handle. However, the HPV Variant test kit was the first tool that signalled issues. Next was the CA125 Blood test kit, which showed high levels and caused alarm. My mother, Vanessa (also known as Renee’, Nessa, or Sister), has served as a social worker for an Institution for the mentally challenged for over 20 years. And she cherishes her profession because she enjoys working with and assisting others. Many family members of the residents have considered my mother as if she were their own loved one. My mom also cherishes her church family.

As an Elder in the ministry, my mom ministers with comedy and simplicity. After her salvation in 1975, she embraced her call to ministry in January 1993 as an Evangelist. Working in the ministry was her greatest joy, witnessing to others the goodness of Jesus, the Love of God, and the gift of salvation.

She desired to see her family and friends accept Christ and live lives pleasing to him. My mom is a mother of two girls and seven grandchildren. She graduated from VSU with a Master’s in Sociology and has spent the last twenty-plus years. 

In April of 2005, after 5 months of being ill, she was diagnosed with OVCA Stage 3C.

At the time of her CA125 diagnosis test, I had NEVER heard of Ovarian Cancer. Five months before her HPV diagnosis Test, she experienced severe abdominal pain, constipation, body aches, bloating, and very little appetite. She received several misdiagnoses of IBS. Despite treatment, she found no relief from the medications and sought a second opinion. While waiting for the appointment, she visited the Emergency Room three times over the weekend. Eventually, she was referred to Johnston Willis Hospital, where test results uncovered OVCA. Her CA125 level was well over 6,000. This news devastated us, prompting an all-point prayer ALERT throughout our community. I do not think I have ever heard of so many people praying for one person. God is good.

Surgeons set a date for surgery, and my mom entrusted herself to God’s care. They performed debulking surgery four days later, removing two large tumours. Following the surgery, she had to wear a colostomy due to the damage caused to her colon by the tumour. A second surgery was performed for a total hysterectomy. Chemo began three weeks later with her first round of carbo/taxol. The cancer count began to drop from the hundreds to double-digit numbers. We praised God!!!

Throughout the first six months of this ordeal, people everywhere rallied around my family to pray for the healing of my mother. Cards poured in everywhere, with believers/non-believers praying and trusting God for a miracle. The doctors had informed my family that my mom was a very sick woman, and if we had any later getting her diagnosed, she wouldn’t have made it. My mom began to quote..”See Tee, I am still here.”

Over the next couple of months, my mom had several changes to take place.

Chemo made her sick and unable to work most of the time. In her spare time, she would minister to those she met with and use her testimony as a foundation to display the “Love, Grace, Mercy, and the Goodness of God.” She also used every opportunity to share awareness of Ovarian organ Cancer and HPV Kit Testing. Her lapel was usually accented with a teal ribbon.

At the beginning of 2006, my mom’s body began to resist the chemo. Her CA125 Cancer Treatment and Test team changed her chemo to Cisplatin/Gemzar, the strongest chemo available for her condition. After her first round of cisplatin, she was up and running, driving her new car, visiting the sick, attending the 5 am prayer service, and using her time to minister to others, enjoy the company of friends, fellowship with co-workers and attend Bible Study with me at my church. In March 2006, she was awarded Covenant Sister of the Year and given a crown at her church. She had the opportunity to minister at A Women’s Conference in March. Her body afflicted with a fever of 101, she ministered anyway.

Delivering a powerful message from the book of Esther

After receiving numerous HPV Lab tests and other reports that her body was not responding to the chemo, we continued to TRUST GOD that he would heal her and deliver her from this infirmity. The medical team decided to switch the chemo regimen to cisplatin/Gemzar, but unfortunately, there was still no change in her condition. The Ca125 count Test continued to rise despite the change in treatment. A prayer group in Richmond, VA, took the initiative to fast and pray weekly for my mother’s healing.  Members of my church, and undoubtedly my mom’s church, steadfastly believed in the power of prayer, holding firm to the conviction that Elder Marshall would experience healing Virus infections of HPV. But in this case, it was too late. In mid-April, the tumour then produced a bowel obstruction in April 2005, which resulted in a peg tube for drainage.

Because of the peg tube, my mother was only to have clear liquids for her diet. I remember telling her. One more challenge, one more miracle. She called me her cheerleader.

Three weeks after this, she began having complications with the peg tube.

She began to vomit several times a day. My mom lost so much weight and most of her strength, but not her faith and trust in Christ Jesus. The more medical challenges she faced, the stronger her confession became that “God will do what he said he will do”. As of today’s date, my mom has been hospitalised for 23 days. She is now on oxygen, has a drainage bag for the ascites, and is taking morphine to ease the pain.

Family, friends, co-workers, and other believers embrace her with the Love she has displayed and generously given to them over the years. Her hospital room serves as a place of ministry where one can feel the presence of God even in this challenging time. Many come to pray and support her; she prays for and encourages her visitors.

Her dream to begin an HPV Cancer Test Awareness & Christian Support group has already begun within the room in the Women’s Health Unit of JWMC. (Hope) Helping Others Patiently Endure) Her window is filled with cards of prayers, scriptures, and Love, while another is filled with beautiful flowers. The Gyn CA125 Test Dr has told us he has done everything possible. At this point, my family is making arrangements for my mom to have Hospice.

Although we do not know what tomorrow holds, we know who holds tomorrow.

The ministry of One of God’s Messengers, Elder Vanessa R. Marshall, has touched many lives right now. Even in the face of hardship, you will hear her hum or sing, “Oh, how I loved Jesus. Oh, How I loved Jesus.Oh, How I loved Jesus because he first Loved Me.” I cannot say I will not miss my mom; I know I will. We have come a long way in the past 6 years. God has restored a broken relationship and made it into a beautiful centrepiece of the Works of the Master’s Hands. We do not look back at what we could have had, but what we can enjoy whenever God calls her home.

All I can say is that God doesn’t make any mistakes. In this ordeal with OVCA, I have witnessed God’s mighty hand move in many ways. I pray for all those who have lost a loved one to this horrible Ovarian viral disease. Its silent nature, whispering symptoms, and frequent misdiagnoses make it particularly devastating. By the time the diagnosis is confirmed, it often has already spread, which is why it is so important to get regular HPV Variant tests annually. Early detection means life.

My prayers are with you all.

We cannot thank God enough for all those who have prayed, supported, encouraged, and embraced my family this last year. I know God has a special reward for you all, especially the women of the OVCA Message Board who check in to be a shoulder to cry on and share information you may not receive from the HPV doctors. May God bless all the survivors of OVCA, Caretakers, family members, and ONC-GYN CA125 doctors who (those who do)do ALL they can for their patients.

We believe that if God doesn’t reveal the manifestation of my mother’s healing on this side, we will witness her healing in Glory! She runs the race, fighting a good fight and enduring gracefully and patiently. I know she will hear the Master say, Vanessa…Well done, my good & FAITHFUL servant. Well Done. Please keep us in your prayers.

The Brown, Marshall, and Johnson Families

UPDATE:

On June 12, 2006, at 10:10 pm, the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, called home one of his messengers, Elder Vanessa R. Marshall. After a fourteen-month battle with stage ovarian level cancer 3c, she ran the race. She fought a good fight, and now a crown of righteousness awaits her. God knew what was best. Elder Marshall used her hospital room as a place of ministry, ministering to all who entered. The grace, compassion, and Love displayed by Elder Marshall changed lives. Even while she was too weak to speak, when she did have the strength, she hummed or sang, “Oh, how I love Jesus”. She tried to minister with God’s power and the Holy Spirit’s presence.

I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow. Elder Marshall leaves a rich legacy for her children and grandchildren. She has left precious memories for those who knew her. The Lord used the people of God to provide round-the-clock care for Elder Marshall. She was given a regular HPV test.

Moreover, she was also given a CA125 blood test each week. She was also often given complete blood count tests. Furthermore, she was given back all that she had given to others. Special blessings to those who sacrificed their time to sow in the life of this great woman of God, my mother, aka V-butterfly.

 

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