Finding Peace in God After Cancer Diagnosis
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“My first reaction was to the Lord. And it's so human and it sounds terrible, but it was like, 'Lord…why'd you let this happen?'” Jill Falco was 56 years old when she started having intense cramping and heavy bleeding in the fall of 2014. At first, she wasn’t too worried about it. “It was two years after menopause,” Jill explained. “I wasn’t really concerned. I kind of thought, well, maybe this is natural. Maybe this is what happens. So, I was hoping it was just a fluke.”
It wasn’t. By early November, she was sitting in a doctor’s office getting the results of a biopsy. Jill had uterine cancer. Shocked by the diagnosis, she called her husband Jim into the office who had been waiting in the lobby. “I just fell into his arms crying because the word cancer…no one wants to hear it.”
“You probably could have knocked me over with a feather,” recalled Jim. “Or I felt like gut punched. Um, because it was so unexpected.”
“I was devastated. I was crushed. I was a mess and Jim was a mess,” Jill said. “I could look at his eyes and see he’s not doing a whole lot better than I was doing and he’s trying to be strong, but his eyes were telling me he wasn’t.”
Jill knew in the weeks to come she would need God’s help to hold it together. “I do remember Romans 8:31, 'God is for me, who can be against me?' I remember saying that scripture in there, like, I knew God was for me and I was holding onto that,” she stated.
While they caught it early, Jill was told the cancer would spread quickly if not treated right away. Her oncologist explained that treatment would involve a hysterectomy, extensive chemotherapy, and radiation. “As she was scheduling appointments, it was becoming more and more real, and it was becoming more and more scary,” said Jill.
Adding to her fear, Jill watched her mother, father, and brother battle cancer. Her mom was the only one who survived. Trying to come to grips with her illness, Jill says she received a message from God that gave her peace. “I was laying in bed and I remember hearing the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and it was like, ‘Look at the paper.' It said endometrial. And I kept looking at it and to me it said, 'end-o-me-trial, end-of-my-trial.' So I felt like God was telling me that.”
Meanwhile, Jim was dealing with the possibility of losing his wife. “There were moments when I was depressed, afraid,” Jim revealed. “I couldn’t imagine life without her. I didn’t want to go through that. My prayer for God was you know, please don’t take her.”
For the next seven weeks, the couple waited anxiously as Jill’s surgery date drew closer. They prayed and listened to worship music constantly, believing that God would heal her. “He's always sitting here with me,” she said. “He's always with me and you say, ‘Lord, I need You. I can't do this. I need You to get me through this or lift me up.’”
They also turned to their family and church friends for prayer and support. “The whole, um, church had me come forward and they gathered around me. And not only was the prayer amazing and the worship, every song I felt like the Lord was singing to me,” Jill explained.
On January 2, 2015, Jill and Jim made their way to the hospital for her hysterectomy. “I remember driving and we had, uh, praise music on in the car and Jill was worshiping God and I, if I live to be a hundred, I'll never forget that,” recalled Jim. “It was just so all I could think of was, 'God, thank you for giving me such a godly woman'…just her faith was amazing.”
“I kept saying, ‘Lord, You're my physician. I know You are the one who heals.’ And no matter what it looked like to the world, I knew He had me,” said Jill.
The surgery was successful, and Jill went home after two days. A couple of days later, her doctor called. They’d been waiting for test results that would tell them whether they’d gotten all the cancer. “She said, ‘Your cervix was perfectly clean and like new.’ She said, ‘All your lymph nodes were perfect, which with all the symptoms you have is pretty amazing.’ I was elated and I was, we celebrated. We were just praising the Lord and worshiping. We were, uh, really excited.”
The news got even better. Her doctor also told Jill she wouldn’t need any more treatments. “The best part was canceling any appointment that would've been out there,” she stated. “There was no chemotherapy. I had no radiation. I was glad not to go to the wig shop.”
Jill is still cancer-free. “When I look back at this and see God in this journey, I can see where He held me. I can see where He carried me. I can see when He was coaxing me forward, like, you can do this. It definitely has been an amazing journey, growing deeper and deeper in the Lord. And that is probably the most amazing part of it,” Jill concluded.
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