Battling cancer but “falling through the cracks”

0915_SDR_NL_01aToday, Kathryn is bravely battling cancer.

When she first started experiencing pain nearly a year ago, all the doctors would do was give her pain pills and send her on her way. There was no diagnosis, but it got to the point where she was in so much pain she considered ending her life!

“I still had to work because I had bills to pay,” she says sadly. “But I ended up in a house with no electricity and the water about to be turned off.

“A catch 22.”

Because of the medications she was taking and her health issues, no local treatment program would accept Kathryn.

But neither would any of the health centers because she didn’t have a diagnosis!

Finally, one of the doctors she was seeing recommended the Rescue Mission’s Recuperative Care Unit.

“I was so happy to be here,” Kathryn says with tears in her eyes. “The Rescue Mission got me into a clinic the day after I arrived and it was just three weeks later that I finally got a diagnosis – Stage three cancer.”

“I can’t give up!”

Since her diagnosis, Kathryn has been receiving regular radiation and chemotherapy to reduce the size of the cancer before it can be operated on. And the RCU staff have been with her every step of the way. “Sometimes I want to give up, but I know I’ve got somebody I can turn to that can help me.”

Because the Recuperative Care Unit is part of the ministry of the Rescue Mission, there are also people who will pray with and for Kathryn. “I get a little bit of everything here… practical help with the reality that has to be dealt with everyday, and spiritual guidance.”

Sometimes Kathryn becomes frustrated and angry with her situation. There have been “temper tantrums.” But she’s so grateful that she is being cared for by people who understand. “They know what I’m going through, but that doesn’t mean they let me get away with the tantrums.”

While she’s here with us, Kathryn’s 17-year-old son is living with an aunt and uncle in Oceanside. They bring him to visit and they talk on the phone. “He was having issues with my cancer…it was all he could think about. So we nicknamed my cancer ‘Sally,’” she says with a grin. “‘Sally’ is one of those pesky houseguests who doesn’t know how to go home. Now we’re both working hard on kicking ‘Sally’ out!”

“God’s got my back!”

“I’ve got support and so much prayer going on,” Kathryn says. “There are twenty-nine references to the serenity prayer in the Bible, and I’ve copied all the verses and I’m writing my own understanding of what it’s all about at the end of each one.”

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