Monday, March 18, 2019

Hope: Living with Cancer ~ An Interview with Rhonda Devine

Do you or someone you know has cancer?

Statistics state that 1 in 3 people have cancer and and that is why we wanted to take about this important topic today, even though this is not a topic we normally cover, but we hope we might be able to help and encourage someone who is going through it right now.

My dear friend, Rhonda Devine, is the author of Hope: Living with Cancer: One Woman's Journey Using Alternative Treatments. It is a helpful book about her life, and full of wonderful tips and hope for someone facing this challenging diagnosis.

We had a chance to interview her recently so you could hear her story.

Here it is:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

First of all, I want to thank you, June, for inviting me to share my story with your readers.
My name is Rhonda Devine and I have been married to Herb for 35 years.  We are both biblical counselors with ACBC and members at Lake Hills Baptist Church.  I also published my first book on Amazon in 2017 entitled, “Hope:  Living with Cancer.” 

We have four adult children.  Herb and I both came to know the Lord and His gift of salvation for us when we were both in our teens.  After we married, it was our heart’s desire to raise children who would follow the Lord.  We started home educating back in the 80’s and our youngest just graduated in 2017.  I have spent most of my life devoted to raising and educating our children while also being secretary for our family remodeling business.  Life has been full and now I am beginning to move into a different phase of life and I love it just as much and look forward to grandchildren one day!

2. How did you find out you had cancer?

The year I turned 50, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage 3 after my gynecologist performed a complete hysterectomy to address problems I had with cysts and bleeding.  Over the summer of 2012, I began to experience unusual swelling in my abdomen accompanied with loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.  It is called the silent killer because there is usually no pain associated with it and many times when swelling has started, it has already spread to other areas.  

I was familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer because I had lost two friends to ovarian cancer.  An office visit with my local gynecologist also had him suspecting the same and he sent me to a specialist in Chicago who could operate and stage me for cancer.  That was one of the hardest days of this journey:  to go home and tell my husband and children I probably had cancer.  I was scheduled for surgery 6 weeks later and looked 9 months pregnant by then due to the swelling. The mass they removed was the size of a watermelon according to the surgeon and it is God’s grace that I am still alive today to write this.  I didn’t understand what the Lord was doing, but I knew He loved me and was wise so I could trust Him. 

(picture taken by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America by Lake Michigan)

3. How long have you had cancer?

I was diagnosed in the summer of 2012 so have been battling this cancer on and off for almost 7 years.  After my surgery in 2012, I went into remission for 4 years.  My oncologist was thrilled with my progress using alternative treatment for follow-up and told me whatever I was doing to keep it up.  I even began to forget I had ever had cancer and felt great.  However, cancer returned in 2016 due to residue that had re-grown from the surgery.  This time it was wide-spread and I was offered two strong chemo drugs with no cure, with a remission of 6 months.  I knew that was not an option for me.  The second opinion given to me was the same except he recommended hospice if I rejected chemo, also a plan I rejected.  The first of the four of our children was getting married that fall and I was graduating our youngest the following May.  As a mother, I wanted to be present, not sick, lying in bed from a treatment that offered me no hope, yet plenty of misery.  

I had begun to use naturopathic treatments back in 2011 and had never used any other medical cancer treatment other than the surgery in 2012.   I began to pray, ask God for wisdom as we’re instructed to do in James 1, and found hope in the same place I found it before:  alternative treatment.  In as little as 6 months, I began to feel so much better and symptoms began to fade away over that first year.  The natural treatments were working well until I get hit with the flu and pneumonia in 2018. The cancer, once again began to spiral out of control and this time I sought out an integrative facility, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where I currently began a new treatment with them about a year ago.  Combined with the alternative, treatment, my body has responded well and the chronic disease I have is being held in check.  I still have cancer and will always have it until a real cure can be found. 

4. What made you write this book?

 A verse that really spoke to my heart one day while reading the Bible was II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  I learned an amazing truth that day—our suffering in this life is not just about us, it is also for the purpose of blessing others.  As I researched and sought out answers for my own problems, I knew I wanted to share what I was learning to help others.  

I was also training for my certification in biblical counseling when the cancer returned so I was learning a lot of truth from God’s Word about dealing with fear, having hope, and handling anxiety.  These emotions are something every cancer patient battles on his or her journey.  I set out to write a book that not only addressed my story and the natural treatment that was helping me, but also to deal with the emotional and spiritual struggles that come with a cancer diagnosis.  I knew my book needed to offer the reader hope because you cannot live without hope.  There is no better place to find hope than in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.  The book was published in 2017 and it has been a blessing to see God use it to encourage others.  Only He could bring such beauty out of ashes.

Thank you Rhonda, for sharing about yourself!

Some notable chapters included in her book that we found especially helpful were:







and these are just a few, there is much more.

I highly recommend it and hope you get a chance to read it!

You can find this book HERE.

Sweet friends, if you or a loved one is dealing with cancer right now please now we are praying for you! We hope this book will bring hope and healing!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

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