When Melinda Booze learned she needed cancer surgery in October 2014, she didn’t worry too much about the diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment regimen.
With a high calendar year insurance deductible, getting the operation scheduled before the end of December loomed as her primary concern.
Although she has no history of breast cancer in her family, Booze scheduled a routine mammogram in 2014, the year she turned 50. When a biopsy in November showed she needed surgery, Booze initially sought to delay the operation until January, to ensure that medical bills wouldn’t overlap two years, thereby triggering a second high deductible.
Although the cancer was noninvasive, medical personnel advised her not to wait that long.
Booze had the surgery on Dec. 2, allowing her to complete most of her teaching duties for the semester at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. She is assistant communication professor and school newspaper adviser.
The surgery went well. But three days later, her physician explained that cancerous tissue had been left behind, necessitating a second operation. Again, concerned about the deductibles, Booze wanted to move as soon as possible. The second procedure, also successful, took place on Dec. 9.
Nevertheless, Booze still faced six to eight weeks of follow-up radiation treatments that would spill well into the new year. But Booze’s doctor, knowing her fiscal concerns, suggested a newer but swifter form of radiation called brachytherapy. The method enabled Booze to take the therapy twice a day for five consecutive days.
Booze completed her treatments on Dec. 23.
In the aftermath, Booze never felt the need to take pain medication. Yet emotionally Booze hit a low point on her next birthday, March 20, 2015.
As she sat in her office that morning, Booze questioned whether her work mattered. Then flowers arrived from a former student. Other former students and colleagues dropped off cards and gifts.
“I was overwhelmed with expressions of love, which is not the norm on my birthday,” says the soft-spoken Booze, who is single. “God reminded me that I mattered, and what I was doing impacted lives.”
Booze discovered later that her sadness had a chemical cause: a severe vitamin D deficiency. The depressive episode reminded the normally independent-minded and self-sufficient Booze that she needed God’s people around her. Likewise, she says she now is better able to relate to students with physical challenges.
“God knows what will get our attention and what will enable us to be obedient to what He asks us to do,” Booze says. “I hope going through the experience has made me a weight-bearing block, and not a stumbling block. I want to help people who go through ordeals much worse than mine, to point them to God and say God is faithful and His purposes are good.”
Tammy Bicket, a writer and editor, has been friends with Booze for 30 years, since their days as co-workers at the Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center. Booze learned to rely more on friends such as Bicket during her cancer treatment.
“Her strength, faith, and positive attitude from the moment of her diagnosis through her surgeries, radiation, recuperation, and her continuing checkups has never ceased to amaze and inspire me,” Bicket says of Booze. “She took some pretty scary, unpleasant, and difficult things in stride. She was the ideal patient and example of courage and faith in the Lord to everyone she encountered on her journey. I felt privileged to walk with her through something so significant.”
Meanwhile, Booze is enjoying life to the fullest, having returned from a two-week trip to Scotland June 7. She continues to have cancer checkups every six months — visits she is convinced God will provide the finances for, as He did with the brachytherapy.
Source: AG News