Wednesday, May 2, 2012
So, Marty, first things first. How long have you been a Christian?
Marty: I was raised as a Christian and was very active in the music program of my church in Pennsylvania, but when I moved to the Boston area I felt isolated and had difficulty settling in to a church. When I got married and moved to Florida, I knew that I needed to go deeper.
Anne: I know that feeling well. How did that event happen for you?
Marty: My husband Ross and I (both musicians) found a church with a great music program. The church also had great mentors. An older couple, Pastor Tony and Ada Hostetler, became mentors and surrogate parents to us. They showed us by example how to live as Christ-Followers. In 2002 we rededicated our lives to Christ and were baptized. Ada handed me the towel as I came up out of the water. It was very symbolic of the New Birth, because I had just successfully completed chemo treatments for breast cancer.
Anne: Your blog last week revealed you have been living with cancer for a long time. If you would, I'd like to know how you felt when you first found out you had cancer.
Marty: I was frightened. My father had died of cancer, and my mother had been stricken with breast cancer a few years previously. I decided to become an expert in healing and not a cancer expert. I did a lot of research on how God heals us, and I copied what the successful survivors did. Part of my healing was learning to trust God and not to fear. I heard there is a ”fear not” verse in Scripture for every day of the year. I found many of them, wrote them out, and said them aloud daily.
Anne: You also mentioned an accident that finished your music teaching career. Would you be willing to elaborate on what happened?
Marty: I love to teach music and was teaching classroom music in a little private school. My classes ranged from pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade. Teaching classroom music requires moving instruments, dancing with the kids, jumping, and bouncing--very physical.
The year I was hired, breast cancer struck again, but I taught while going through chemo treatments. The following year, I noticed my leg was getting sore. I attributed it to playing piano while standing up, but it didn’t go away. Finally I had difficulty walking and was forced to give up my job. Some months later I fell and found that cancer had caused my hip and pelvis to break. I ended up at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and had a wonderful doctor who did a special kind of hip replacement. I can now walk with the aid of a cane.
Anne: I understand you're in a different type of cancer treatment. Would you tell us a little more about this, too?
Marty: As the cancer is now in my bone, I became a candidate for a trial of a new drug which combines the miracle drug Herceptin with another drug that takes it directly to the cancer cells. The drug trial world is a new one for me. Before I started, I spent a whole week having scans and blood tests. The day I started on the drug I was at the treatment center for eight hours and then had to go back at exactly the same time each day that week for blood tests. As the center is not close to our home, it took up a great deal of time. The drug looks very promising and there are no placebos. Everyone in the trial actually gets the drug.
Anne: Based on your own experience, what is the most important advice you would give someone diagnosed with cancer?
Marty: I would say first of all, "Don’t panic." It is not necessarily a death sentence, even if they say it is. I was supposed to die in 2001, and I’m still here. Also, get a Bible concordance or go online and find scriptures that deal with healing, trust, and not fearing. Write or print them out, and say them aloud daily. Thank God for your healing BEFORE you actually feel it. Read books by people who have been healed of cancer. Watch your words, and never let a negative word cross your lips. I believe that God honors our faith.
Anne: And the last question I'll bug you with today: What's the most important advice you ever received?
Marty The most important advice I ever received comes from Proverbs 3:5 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” That covers any situation. God is always at work, even when we can’t see it.
Anne: Thanks, Marty. I love your answers. They reveal a deep faith in God's goodness. I guess we all know that sometimes God chooses to take a person home to heaven rather than a worldly healing, but I like what a friend of mine said several years ago. Since I have no way to contact the friend at this time, I won't put his name in here, but he was talking about his son who had been severely injured in an accident. He said, "I believe that Joe will walk again. If I die before that happens, I will die still believing that God will heal Joe."
God bless you, all those of you who suffer from this life-stealing disease. May God grant you the courage and lift your own faith to keep on believing. Know this: HE loves you. He LOVES you. He loves YOU.