Member’s tumors result in over $50,000 shared thanks to CHM members
By Alice Rouse, Monument, Colo.
I’m so grateful for the CHM members who faithfully prayed for me as my husband, Darren, and I navigated the medical events of the previous year. I’m pleased to share that God worked out my situation for His glory and my good as Romans 8:28-30 states. I pray my testimony will encourage the CHM members who served as my faithful prayer warriors and let them know their prayers on my behalf have brought glory to God.
On Oct. 2, 2018 I was at home putting groceries away when I began to hemorrhage. My thoughts turned to 1984, when I underwent a total hysterectomy and was told this kind of bleeding was abnormal.
I called and then went to see my family physician right away. Within an hour my husband and I were told that I appeared to have an abdominal mass causing hemorrhaging and bowel function interference. Tests would confirm if the mass was malignant.
We had already been through a tough medical ordeal just months before when Darren lost his mother to ovarian cancer. We watched her go through surgery and chemotherapy but she never regained any resemblance of health. We said our final goodbyes after only two weeks of hospice care. Our hearts broke at the pain she felt, and knowing the brutality of her treatment’s side effects added weight to the decisions we now faced.
After much prayer, we agreed that if my mass was cancerous I would undergo surgery to remove it and regain functionality, but I would not pursue chemo or radiation treatment. Also, Darren would take a year off of work so we could travel together while I still had the strength. The Lord gave us great peace about our plan.
I contacted CHM to let the staff know about my situation. I remember being so encouraged by Katherine Rufener, the staff member who took my call. She prayed with me and asked God to give my family and me peace and to work His will in my life. What comfort I felt during such a difficult time! I still thank the Lord for her kindness.
Meanwhile, I was scheduled for bloodwork, a Pap smear and an MRI. My bloodwork results showed an elevated cancer antigen level and the MRI confirmed that the mass had a very active blood supply, meaning it was growing rapidly. I was grateful the Pap smear results came back normal and that a follow-up colonoscopy showed no signs of colon cancer. However, the test confirmed the mass was large enough that it was interfering with my colon function.
I kept in touch with CHM. I learned how to best interact with doctors, imaging facilities and specialists when asking for self-pay discounts. I uploaded my medical bills and the medical bill processing forms through CHM’s online Member Portal.
I found the process of sending and sharing medical bills very straightforward and not difficult. In fact, every medical fee was discounted because I was a self-pay patient—even if I didn’t initiate asking for it first. I praise the Lord for His goodness.
It was November by the time all the test results came back. My doctor referred me to a gynecologist, who would surgically remove the mass. His schedule was filled with end-of-year surgeries, so the earliest date I could get in was Dec. 26. I asked my family doctor for a second referral. We were encouraged to see the new doctor on Nov. 29—sooner than we expected—which felt like the Lord showing us we were on the right track.
Meanwhile, another health crisis was brewing. My parents, who had lived in our home for six years because of my mom’s dementia, were facing difficulties of their own: On Nov. 19, my mom was transferred into hospice care because she could no longer swallow food or medication. Doctors explained she could pass away within the next few weeks, so I hesitated to schedule my surgery.
However, my oncologist was concerned that my mass was an aggressive and unusual cancer that causes a very low survival rate. Part of my bowel would need to be removed, but the new surgeon was confident he could re-section my bowel to prevent a colostomy.
On Dec. 4 I was admitted to the hospital for surgery. The surgeon was surprised to find my abdomen full of several masses. He successfully removed the original large and additional smaller masses and re-sectioned my bowel without the need for a colostomy. In the process he discovered and removed a strange-looking mass from under my colon.
Praise the Lord: everything turned out benign!
The six days I spent recovering as an inpatient were some of the longest I can remember, but God was gracious and answered my prayer that my mom wouldn’t pass away while I was in the hospital. (She went home to heaven on Dec. 24.) Additionally, since all the tumors were benign, there was no need for chemotherapy or radiation. We felt we had indeed received a miracle from God from beginning to end.
Aside from finding out the masses weren’t malignant, the most astonishing part of my health crisis was the outpouring of prayer support in the form of cards, letters and emails from CHM members across the country. Each week our mailbox was filled with fervent, written prayers from the amazing Body of Christ.
I’m grateful for so many things, not the least of which is the CHM members who ministered to me through their prayers and through their faithful participation in this ministry. It enabled Darren and me to pay my medical bills totaling $50,977 after more than $38,000 in discounts.
I wish I could personally thank each one of you, but I look forward to extending the same act of love if and when other members find themselves in the midst of a medical crisis.