By Cassie Millburn, Mechanicsville, Va.
Editor’s note: This information was published in the April 2020 issue of Heartfelt Magazine, CHM’s monthly magazine that provides CHM membership-related tips and tricks, medical advice from doctors, testimonies from CHM members, and more. Please refer to the CHM Guidelines and applicable web pages for the most up-to-date information regarding CHM membership, sharing eligibility, and ministry news.
Our family moved from Oregon to Virginia when my husband, John, accepted a job opportunity. His new job didn’t have healthcare benefits though, so I searched for an affordable solution for our family of six. A friend suggested CHM. I researched the ministry and immediately knew it was perfect for us.
Before we joined CHM as Silver members, our then seven-year-old daughter, Mallory, showed me a small bump on her thumb. It looked exactly like a blood blister. Since it didn’t hurt or bother her, we didn’t think that much about it. However, a few months after we joined CHM, she showed us the bump again. I was shocked that it was still there—and bigger. A friend from church, who happens to be a physician’s assistant, recommended we see a specialist.
We made an appointment and went to the specialist in March 2018. After x-rays and a CAT scan, he informed us that Mallory had a tumor which needed to be removed and biopsied.
Mallory’s softball season also started in March. When practices and games began, we noticed that the bump grew every day. The doctor concluded that it would get larger when it was impacted, such as when swinging the bat to hit a softball.
Mallory underwent her first surgery at the end of May. The doctor put a soft cast over her thumb and instructed that it stay covered for the first 10 days. At the 10-day checkup, we were excited to see her thumb without a tumor. But when the nurse took the soft cast off, I noticed there was still a small bump. I didn’t say anything to the doctor because I thought it might just be scar tissue.
However, the bump began to grow. I couldn’t believe it—the tumor was still there! The doctor explained that the tumor was wrapped around the nerves in her thumb, and he had to carefully unwrap and shave away the tumor.
“Sometimes,” he said, “there is a tiny piece that can be missed and continues to grow.” We scheduled another surgery for July. When we went in for her follow-up appointment, the first thing I did was look for that dreaded small bump. I found it.
The doctor informed us that a third surgery would not be safe. My husband, John, did further research of the condition and found out that a teenager from a different state had the same issue. After unsuccessful surgeries, the teen’s doctors used radiation, destroying the tumor for good. We contacted our doctor about this treatment. However, he told us that radiation wasn’t a good option for a seven-year-old and suggested we wait until she was older.
As a mother, I was distraught because I couldn’t help my daughter. Within a few short months, the tumor was bigger than the width of her thumb; I knew it was only going to get bigger. I turned to our extended family and asked them to pray for Mallory’s healing.
At the same time, we learned from CHM that while Mallory had signs and symptoms before joining CHM, because they were being maintained through the appropriate treatment, it qualified as a maintained pre-existing condition and bills from her surgery were eligible for sharing on the Prayer Page. (Editor’s note: Active pre-existing conditions are conditions in which you are actively undergoing treatment—other than with maintenance or routine medication—even if your signs and symptoms are undiagnosed. Such expenses are ineligible for sharing. For Gold members, medical bills incurred from maintained pre-existing conditions are eligible on the Gold schedule or through the Prayer Page. For more information, please see Guidelines Z and AA.)
I was frustrated at first and scared that financial support from the Prayer Page wouldn’t come through for us. Not only was I unable to help my daughter, but I was concerned that we were relying on donations to pay more than $40,000 in medical bills. However, the Prayer Page turned out to be exactly what we needed. In less than a year, our generous CHM brothers and sisters helped us pay off all of our daughter’s medical bills with their monthly donations.
Furthermore, members from all across the country began to pray for Mallory’s healing and sent her encouraging cards and letters. Someone even mailed her a handmade stuffed animal!
A few weeks after asking people to pray, we realized that Mallory’s tumor was smaller. We watched her tumor continue to shrink until one month later, it was entirely gone. I know with all of my heart that the tumor shrank and disappeared because of the power of prayer.
It has been a year now since the tumor began to shrink and disappeared. The generosity of “strangers” has left me in awe—but it just goes to show that we aren’t strangers at all. We are brothers and sisters connected by our Heavenly Father. Thank you for supporting us on the Prayer Page; my faith in the power of prayer and helping others in need has grown.