By His stripes, you are healed

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A Lumberton woman shares her story as a breast cancer survivor and how her life changed

By Daniel Elizondo

As Darla Eason of Lumberton recounted those dreadful days a year ago, hearing a doctors voice tell her she has cancer, her reaction was like anyone else – “How can this be?”

As a working woman, a loving wife and mother of two sons, her life was in jeopardy, and all she could think was the worst.

Darla wasn’t scheduled for a mammogram until April 2016, three years after her previous test, which was recommended by her physician.

However in September 2015, she began to have intuitive feelings that left her uneasy.

“We have all had those feelings,” she said. “Just those nagging feelings like something isn’t right. It was the most overwhelming feeling that I needed to go and have a mammogram.”

But it wasn’t that easy having a mammogram ordered without first seeing her physician. After making a phone call, the best they could do was reschedule a mammogram for January.

As October rolled around for Darla, seeing women around with pink breast cancer awarenes shirts gave her more ill feelings.

So, she found a place that allowed her to order a test on her own, even though the physicians were happy about it.

“I was scared,” she said. “I think I was mostly scared because of the gut feeling I had that sent me for the test in the first place. I just knew something was wrong. It wasn’t’ that I could feel any lumps or bumps or even any pain. I just knew something wasn’t right.”

Things began to change for Darla. Signs and voices were reassuring her safety, however the fear continued to loom.

On the way to the first test along with her husband, Darla recalls hearing a voice clearly saying “Everying is going to be okay. Don’t worry.”

As much as she wanted to believe it, the fear overcame her emotions.

After speaking to a physician to order a biopsy, Darla said the doctor told her chances were in her favor and not to worry. But Darla felt the presence of something terribly wrong.

On Oct. 29, 2015, Darla heard the words she never thought she would hear from a doctor – “You have cancer. It’s the real deal – invasive ductal carcinoma.”

“He couldn't possibly mean me,” she said. “I'm only 49 and I have kids at home.”

Darla began to think about her life, telling herself, “I’m busy and I don't have time for cancer. I'm sure every single person diagnosed has those same types of thoughts. This is terribly inconvenient.  And it certainly wasn’t okay.”

Darla’s husband, Randy, took the initiative after the diagnoses, and began making appointments at MD Anderson in Houston.

Her first appointment would be with Chief of Surgery for the Breast Cancer Center on Nov. 9, 2015.

In the meantime, Darla reminded herself of her Christian faith and met with a priest at their church. From there, the priest offered an annointment of the sick – and it was the beginning of change for Darla as she knew it.

Signs were coming from all angles to Darla. She wasn’t aware of what it all meant, but it struck her curiosity quickly.

After her meeting with a priest, she received a text from a co-worker, assuring her that everything was fine. But her co-worker also shared a story telling her that while she prayed, she lifted her palms into the air and prayed, “we praise you Lord for healing Darla Eason. We praise your name for your miraculous healing thank you that Darla is healed.”

Darla was amazed at how God was speaking to her co-worker, a three-time cancer survivor, to share those thoughts with her.

The evening before the scheduled appointment at MD Anderson, Darla recalled at bedtime a prayer time along with her husband.

“We have always been Christians and we have always attended church,” Darla said. “But we have never been Bible quoting scripture kind of folks.”

That evening, Darla said she heard a voice tell her five to six times, “By His stripes, you are healed.” Each time she heard the phrase, she saw purple ribbons flowing.

When she woke up the next morning, she had no clue where the phrase was from, so she Googled it. In her search, she found it was a Bible scripture from the book of Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes, we are healed”

At that moment, Darla felt that it was the presence of God, speaking directly to her.

She met the mammographer the next day, and she told Darla that she was praying for her, and that she felt the presence of God in the room.

All the signs were pointing to Darla to be healed, but she was unaware of what it all meant.

There was nothing shown on the tests taken on Nov. 9, so doctors ordered a surgery for Dec. 1.

During the time waiting for surgery, Darla remembered her husband, Randy, at his work place, and how he had forgotten to give her a letter that one of his co-workers had meant to send her.

Randy read the letter to Darla, and in it, his co-worker shared her thoughts of how God wanted to share with Darla the scripture Isaiah 53:5.

On surgery day in December, Darla was feeling uneasy, knowing her life was about to end, but not at the hands of cancer, but to complications from the anesthesia.

She said the anesthesiologist held her hand and recited “God is on the throne, and the devil is a liar and ‘by His stripes, you are healed’.”

Darla’s parents spoke to a woman at a local pharmacy, who had also survived cancer, and asked them if God had told her, “by His stripes, you are healed?”

She was lying in bed one evening shopping on Amazon, and noticed that a recommendation to buy the book “By His Stripes, We Are Healed.”

Darla needed 20 radiation treatments, which required her to receive stripes on her to line up the machine.

She said the stripes were purple, however they were red and blue, which combined, make the color purple. During the final five treatments, the nurse needed to re-mark her, and used a purple, free flowing marker.

The oncologist ordered an oncotype test, which is a genetic test that determines the chances of recurrence. From that test, it would be determined if chemotherapy would be needed.

Darla continued to pray, and before meeting the the oncologist to determine if she should take chemotherapy, the signs continued, this time from a small prayer book she randomly opened, which revealed the same Bible scripture.

On that very day, she received the news that she did not need chemotherapy, and that she was healed.

“Sometimes our capacity to receive God is actually expanded through our suffering. I was ready to receive God and he poured his blessings on me,” she said. “Cancer changed me. It made me more empathetic, more compassionate, and more emotional (that part I could do without).  Cancer changed my family. It changed our relationship with God. It changed our prayer life and our trust. It taught me that God surrounds me with exactly what I need, when I need it. So you see, life as I knew it was over – and that’s a good thing.”

Darla continues her life as a realtor in the Lumberton area, and her family has grown closer to one another. The scare of her life turned into a blessing – and for that, she will never turn her head.

Twitter: @dtelizondo

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