I'm Not Dead And God's Not Done - Caradine Tully's Story
UPDATE: Caradine went to be with Jesus on Jan. 12, 2017 after her long battle with cancer. Our prayer is that this story continues to display her faith and celebrates that, in Jesus, death is swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54.) Our prayers are with Caradine's family and friends.
I remember asking my doctor, “Am I going to die?”
I was scared, but did not want to be a victim. I knew my parents were terrified. I was panicking on the inside, but told myself to look strong on the outside.
I was 15 when I was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer. The pain started during gym class — sharp, shooting pains throughout my legs. It became difficult to sit in my classes and to walk up and down stairs. Once the cancer was confirmed, my teenage life came to a halt.
I was diagnosed with a stage 4 soft tissue muscle cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. I started chemotherapy and radiation, and after 56 weeks of treatment, scans showed no signs of cancer in my body. But two years later, the cancer spread again, and I was unable to finish my junior year.
If God heals me, I am blessed. If He does not heal me, I am still blessed.
A New Relationship
Before cancer, I did not pray on a daily basis or hear God speak to my heart. I asked Jesus into my life when I was 11 years old, but I lacked a close relationship with Him.
My mother didn't believe in "organized religion," and although I attended church with my father and step mother, I wasn’t interested and didn’t develop my relationship with Christ.
But shortly after my initial diagnosis, a friend encouraged me to pray and read my Bible. The more I read God’s Word, the more I began to feel His peace. I realized that a close relationship with Jesus was what I needed.
When the cancer returned, a two-year battle of treatments followed. I also had a stem cell transplant, and was medically induced into a two-week coma. I awoke from the coma unable to care for myself. I had to re-learn to walk, breathe and eat.
A Grim Diagnosis
Soon, scans revealed more cancer in my lymph nodes. The doctors told me there was nothing more they were capable of doing to cure me. The best they could offer was a mild chemotherapy pill that would delay the spread of my cancer.
Although I entered into this beautiful relationship with Jesus, things weren't easy. Often confused and angry, I would lash out at God. Why was He allowing me to go through this? What was my purpose in this physically painful life?
But in the midst of my distress and questions, our neighbors kept inviting us to NewSpring and my sister began to ask me about Jesus. We prayed together and she asked him to be her Lord and Savior. After visiting a few times, my sister and I decided to become owners and we got baptized together.
His Glory Revealed
In the midst of my battle with cancer, NewSpring has shown me who Jesus is. I learned to let go of anger -- to surrender my entire life into God’s hands, sick or healthy. He is my shield and strength.
My victories are not what I have accomplished, but what God has accomplished through me. God used His glory through my illness to impact my sister, and He also brought peace to our family.
Since becoming involved with NewSpring as an owner and volunteer, my faith has impacted my parents because they’ve seen a change in me. Anger is replaced with patience. They see understanding in my circumstances. I see optimism and gratefulness in my father who was once very fearful and hopeless.
The Lord used my illness to mend a relationship with my mom. She tells me she is amazed with how I handle my battle with cancer and I give her hope from the peace God has given me.