April 13th, 2011 by admin

46 Comments

Daughter of a King

Daughter of a King

Marnie Spencer

At A Glance

Marnie Spencer’s body has been ravaged by cancer for the past eleven years. But in a world where women are told that beauty is an indication of their worth, this mother of seven has found a different source of confidence: her knowledge that she is a beautiful spirit in the eyes of God.

Can you guide us through the health problems you have encountered?

I had been healthy all my life, and had seven successful, easy pregnancies. But in 2002, when I was 36 and my youngest child was ten months old, I had a stroke. I spent a day in the hospital, where specialists ran a battery of tests to find out why the stroke had happened, but they couldn’t find any reason. A year and a half later, in spring of 2004, I found a lump in my breast, which turned out to be cancer. My doctor told me that the lump had probably been there for years, and suggested that the tumor had likely caused the stroke.

I had a lumpectomy, then a mastectomy, and then I began chemotherapy and radiation. After nearly two years, from 2004 to 2006, I seemed to be in remission and was able to stop the chemotherapy treatments.

Almost immediately, I started to have some strange symptoms. I was thirsty all the time, and I started losing weight, which was nice for a while, but before long I had lost too much. I started zigzagging when I walked and was really tired all the time. One morning I got out of bed and was so exhausted I went back to bed an hour later. I basically slept for three weeks. I rarely got up. People kept waking me up, trying to talk to me, and I just kept falling back to sleep. My husband would try to feed me but I didn’t want anything. I would drink water but I wouldn’t do much else.

After a couple of weeks, my husband Wes started to give me sweetened drinks, and after several days I was able to eat a little. As soon as I could get up Wes took me to the doctor. Clearly something was wrong, but no one knew what it was. Besides my family doctor, I saw an endocrinologist, a gynecologist, an oncologist,, and a chiropractor. Everyone ran tests – blood tests, x-rays, an MRI –  but found no explanation for my symptoms.

Marnie and her family in 2004, the day before she started her first round of chemotherapy

Marnie and her family in August 2004, the day before she started her first round of chemotherapy

During this time, my home teacher gave me a priesthood blessing in which he blessed me that I would be inspired to know which doctor could help me. After he left I found myself thinking “Dr. Wood! Dr. Wood. Dr. Wood, Dr. Wood, Dr. Wood.” I had never met Dr. Wood, but I remembered that a friend of mine had called me a couple of weeks earlier, and had mentioned his name. She said he was ear, nose, and throat doctor. An ENT was something I hadn’t considered, but I made an appointment to see him right away.

Dr. Wood asked me some questions and pulled up my MRI films on his computer. Right away he saw a tumor on a facial nerve near my brain. Dr. Wood made an appointment for me with a doctor in Salt Lake, who told me that the tumor was cancerous and needed to be removed right away. That month, March 2008, he operated, removing the tumor  through my right ear. This left me deaf in that ear and also paralyzed half of my face.

Following the operation, I had to do brain radiation, which is a terrible, terrible thing. I did that for three weeks. In order to kill the tumor, they have to fry all of your brain cells, and when I was finished, I was not myself at all. I didn’t understand a lot of what people said to me. I couldn’t read well. A neighbor came over and said that my kids needed lunch money, and that she would take it to school if I could write the check. But I couldn’t remember how to write a check. I was just not myself. That was a scary experience, as I knew that I was not the person I used to be. They couldn’t tell me whether or not I would ever be normal again. I am still not quite where I used to be, but the brain is an amazing organ. It has mostly healed and rebuilt, but the experience really gave me compassion for those who have intellectual disabilities, who can’t understand what’s going on a lot of the time.

The doctors also found that I had tumors in my ribs, so following radiation on my ribs, I went back into chemotherapy. The chemotherapy was making me sick and was reducing my immune system, making me very vulnerable to infection.

I am still not quite where I used to be, but the brain is an amazing organ. It has mostly healed and rebuilt, but the experience really gave me compassion for those who have intellectual disabilities, who can’t understand what’s going on a lot of the time.

Several months after the surgery to remove the tumor from my head, I went to my family doctor because I had a urinary tract infection which was caused by a catheter I had during the surgery. I expected to get some antibiotics, but the doctor tested me and sent me right to the hospital, where they immediately started me on an antibiotic IV. I felt okay, but an hour my doctor came in and said, “I need to be really honest with you. You’re very sick. The infection has spread into your blood and is moving throughout your body. There is a very good chance that you will not live through the night.” The doctor explained that he was going to call my husband, with my permission, and tell him what he had just told me. It happened to be a Monday, and after the doctor spoke to Wes, I got on the phone and told him to bring all the kids to the hospital so we could have Family Home Evening.

My bishop got there first and said, “You know, you’ve lived a good life, you’ve had your children; when it’s your time to go, it’s time to go. The Lord must have work for you on the other side.” I knew that he was right, but I wasn’t ready to accept that my life was about to end. Wes arrived with the kids shortly afterward and he and our home teacher gave me a blessing. They didn’t say anything about me being cured, but blessed me that the Lord’s will would be done concerning my life. As soon as I got the blessing, I knew that I would be fine.

My whole family of nine squeezed into that little room, and we had nice Family Home Evening. I felt the Spirit strongly as I bore my testimony to my children. We read from 3 Nephi about the Lord’s visit to the Nephites, and reminded the kids that the Lord can heal any affliction, and that He could heal me if that would be best for us. I gave everyone a hug and told them all I loved them before they left.

Marnie and her youngest daughter at a youth event several months ago

Marnie and her youngest daughter at a youth event several months ago

The doctor had told me that if my blood pressure fell below 80, they were going to put me in intensive care and try to save me, but that they probably wouldn’t be able to. At that point, my blood pressure was at about 91. I did not dare go to sleep. I felt fine, but I wouldn’t go to sleep because I was worried that if I did, I would never wake up again. So I just sat there, all night, and watched that blood pressure number.

89…88…86… It was just falling and falling…83…82…81…81…81….82….83

It never did go below 80.

Having someone tell you that in perhaps only a few hours you will be gone really puts things into perspective. Because I didn’t go to sleep, I spent a lot of that night praying, and it was really one of the most spiritual nights of my life. I had experiences that I won’t share but they were really dear to me.

I returned to the hospital twice more with infections. Last March I spent 16 days there when an ear infection became septic. I was underweight and malnourished, and needed to stay in the hospital to be fed through a tube. Dr. Wood operated on my ear and nose, and that left me with very impaired hearing in the left ear. So I’m deaf in my right ear, and have a hearing impairment in my left year.

My oncologist decided that the chemotherapy program I was on was too harsh for me in my weakened condition, and changed my to a maintenance dose. I still visit the cancer clinic every week to receive cancer-fighting drugs through a port in my chest. Half of my face is still paralyzed, which makes me goofy looking. And I’m pretty much bald. The chemotherapy that I was taking has affected my eyesight, so I can’t see very well. I have lost my vision, my hearing, my breast, my energy, and my hair to cancer. But I have not lost myself. I have not lost my family. I have a great husband, really neat kids. I have really great friends. I have the gospel! I really have a great life, I do. I could hardly be more grateful for what I have. The things that aren’t so great in my life have taught me an awful lot. So I really can’t complain. I do sometimes, but I shouldn’t.

My  quality of life is much better now than it was on the strong chemo, but I will probably be on weekly maintenance drugs for the rest of my life. Because my cancer has spread from its original site, it is fourth stage, metastatic cancer, and considered incurable. I assume I’ll die of cancer, unless something else gets me first.

Having someone tell you that in perhaps only a few hours you will be gone really puts things into perspective. Because I didn’t go to sleep, I spent a lot of that night praying, and it was really one of the most spiritual nights of my life.

After the surgery to remove the tumor in my head, doctors said that I had weeks or months left to live. That was two years ago. Several doctors have used the word “miracle” to describe the fact that I’m still here, given my prognosis. I’m just grateful for any time that I have. I’m not afraid to die, because I know it’s not a bad thing, but I don’t feel ready. I feel like there are things I need to do. I have seven children who are still fairly young. I don’t feel like I’m ready to give them up, to leave them without me. Still,  if that’s what the Lord wants, I have seen enough to know that He is smarter than me, and when I want something that’s wrong, it doesn’t work out. When He wants something that looks wrong to me, He turns out to be right. I am doing everything I can to stay alive for my kids, but if it were best for them, or best for me, or best for anybody that I go, I guess I go.

How have these health obstacles affected your seven children?

My kids are good kids. My oldest son, Sam, was thirteen when I was first diagnosed with cancer. He has always been a good kid, but he was kind of selfish, self-absorbed, and a little worldly. He always worried about what other people thought of him. He tested the limits, so we worried about him a little bit. It was after I was diagnosed with cancer that he started to take life a little bit more seriously. He started to realize that people can die, you don’t know when, and you have to live your life right. There is no time for goofing around. He is on a mission now. He will be home in December and he has been an excellent missionary. He has done so many great things and has really been privileged to hold positions of leadership. He was talking like he wasn’t going to go on a mission when he was in his early teens. I don’t know if my cancer made a difference. It may have. We have a lot of fun as a family, but I think most of my kids are a little bit more responsible, a little more thoughtful, and a little more serious about life.

If someone had come to me and said, “Your kids are looking like they are going to waver off the path a little, and you might lose some of them to Satan. Would you be willing to go through a big trial like cancer if it would bring them back?” I think almost any mother would be willing to go through anything to help their children. That is one thing for which I have always been grateful –  that it was me. Not my husband, and not my children. If someone has to go through this, it’s better me than anybody else.

It is impressive to see how you have been able to relay on your faith, but are there ever moments where you waver?

There are still times when I think, “This isn’t fair! How come I have to do this? Others seem to happy and I’m stuck with this miserable body.” But these times are rare now. When I was six, I got lost and I prayed that Heavenly Father would send somebody, and He did. When I was in sixth grade, I prayed that He would switch me to another teacher in my school, and He did. When I was in high school, I prayed that my chemistry teacher would trade my lab partner with the boy that I had a crush on, and He did. When I was in high school, I didn’t have any tennis shoes, and I prayed for the exact shoes I wanted. Size 7, Nikes, dark blue with the light blue swish, and they showed up in my P.E. locker! I never knew who put them there. They were used, but they were exactly what I wanted. How can I ever doubt that He loves me? How can I ever doubt that He is looking out for me, if He will do the little things like that? Giving me the shoes I wanted, the teacher I wanted, the lab partner that I wanted. If He will give me those little things, how could He ignore me when I needed a big thing? And I just have to believe that if I don’t get the answer I want, it’s not because He can’t do it or He doesn’t care. It’s because He knows what’s better for me. My faith has not always been strong, and it still slips sometimes. It’s a growing process, and the trials that I’ve been through have helped me along. They have strengthened my faith.

You have told us how cancer has ravaged your body. In a world where women are often taught that our beauty is an indication of our worth. What have these experiences taught you about your worth as a daughter of God?

A couple of years ago, I had lost most of my hair, my face was half-paralyzed, I had patchy skin, and I had an eye infection that was making the area around my eye swollen and my eye puffy and runny. I looked awful. I was getting ready for a Church meeting and I was feeling really uncomfortable. I thought make-up might help, but it just made me look worse. I was alone in the house and I was just very discouraged with my appearance. I knelt to pray and just called out, “Father?” and I waited. Sometimes when I do that, I can hear Him say, “Yes, my daughter?” It’s just such a good feeling to know that He is there. I said “Father?” and the voice I heard this time instead said, “Yes, my princess.” It was such a contrast to how I felt. I felt because I was ugly, that I was not worth a lot at that moment. I said out loud, “Ha! I don’t look much like a princess.” The voice I heard after that said, “You will always look like a princess to me.”  I started to cry (which didn’t do much for appearance, by the way, but I didn’t care anymore.)

Marnie today

Marnie today

If the whole world could hear that message! He loves us and we look like royal Daughters of a King to Him. I’m not saying that beauty is not important. Beauty is a gift that can open doors for people. Esther, because of her looks, was able to save all of her people. Perhaps beauty is a gift like musical ability, or physical strength. But it’s not everything, like the world tells you it is. It’s just one little thing. If you don’t happen to have that one little thing, you are not any less valuable than anyone else. That’s the Lord’s message, not the world’s message. For me to hear that, I knew it didn’t really matter how I looked.

The doctor who removed the tumor from my facial nerve told me that after a year my face would be moving again. It’s been three years and it hasn’t improved much. That’s been a disappointment, and is something I have prayed about. I told Heavenly Father that I thought I’d learned all I could from my strange appearance, and that it might be time to have my face healed. The thought that came to my mind was, “What makes you think it’s for you?” So I haven’t really pleaded again for that gift, because there may be others who need to see this.

At one point, I had not been to the temple in a while. I finally had been feeling pretty good for a while and I felt like I could go to the temple. I prayed fervently before I left that I would be able to do everything I needed to do in the session and that I would be attentive and have a good session. As soon as I got into the session, I just messed up everything! I dropped my things while dressing. People had to keep coming to help me. Even when I was sicker I did better than that. I was a mess. There were very kind people sitting near me who helped me, and it wasn’t a big deal. I just wondered why I felt like I could go that day, that I would be fine, and that instead I was a mess. I sat in the Celestial Room for a few minutes, just soaking up that peace, and then I went downstairs to change. As I entered the locker room, a woman that I did not know grabbed me and hugged me. She started crying and said, “Thank you so much for coming to the temple today. I really needed to see you here.” I still don’t know why she needed that experience, but it shows us that the Lord can use us in little ways if we are willing to be His servants. He can find ways to use us no matter what our situation is.

Health trials take an immense amount of courage to get through. Where do you find that strength?

I never thought of myself to be a courageous person. I’ve usually been quite shy, even timid. I never would have used the word “courage” to describe myself. As I was diagnosed with cancer, people would say, “You are so brave.” I thought, “Brave? I have cancer and I’m scared! How can I be brave?” However, as I went through it, I realized that there is a different kind of courage. There is an everyday practical courage of facing what we have to face, doing what we have to do. The pioneers put one foot in front of the other, which might not have seemed courageous at the time, but when you look back at the journey they made, it was certainly courageous! Maybe someday we will see the same thing in our life. We may say we never felt courageous, but look what we did! I think most people, in some way or another, exhibit that kind of practical, simple courage every single day.

What other lessons have you learned through these experiences?

After the doctor’s appointment where I learned I had a very aggressive type of breast cancer, Wes and I went straight to the grocery store. There was a clearance bin and I was kind of digging through it with another woman. We were talking, and I made a little joke with the cashier, and I thought, “All these people are treating me so normally, like they can’t even tell that I’ve had this terrible news.” It occurred to me that maybe someone there had just gotten divorce papers, or had learned that morning that her child was addicted to drugs. There may have been many people there whose hearts were aching and yet they looked perfectly normal like I did. It really taught me to give people a little slack. You never know what people are going through. I learned just to treat people with a little extra kindness, just in case it is one of those days.

“You will always look like a princess to me.”

We often look around and think we have all the trials, nobody else seems to have trials, and that’s just not true. We all may have different trials, but everybody has some, and I think we have what’s right for us. We have the trials we need to help us grow and to strengthen others. It’s easy to see it sometimes, but harder other times. I can remember after I found out that I had cancer the second time, doctors assured me I wouldn’t live long. Heavenly Father really helped me with a gift of clear sight at that point. I could see so clearly that in this life, what we think is hard is really not that hard. He sends us here, He tells us what to do, He helps us do it, and if we don’t do it, He allows us to repent and gives us another chance. It is a very merciful and loving plan of salvation. The plan of salvation is a plan of mercy, of happiness. It really is. We learn from our mistakes, we learn from our good choices, and we come out better most of the time.

How has the role of your Heavenly Father evolved over the past ten years?

During the worst of the chemotherapy treatments, I had an experience where in my mind I saw an old-fashioned scale. On one side, there were beautiful gold coins that dropped when there was good that came from the cancer. On the other side were these heavy chunks of wood, which represented the negative outcome of the trial. At first the negative side was much heavier, but I saw that eventually the scale would balance and tip toward the positive. I shared that experience with a friend, who then asked what the wood looked like. I explained it was almost like pieces of railroad tracks, but kind of rough and broken. She said, “Like pieces of the cross?” That thought hadn’t occurred to me before, but I thought that was interesting. I know that all of our trials, all of our burdens, our sins, our pains, our embarrassment, and shame is covered by our Savior because of that cross, because of what He did for us. The wood pieces are falling less frequently  now, but the gold pieces are still coming.

The other day a friend took me out to a buffet and I was stuffed afterwards. I made a comment that I didn’t think I could cook dinner that night and that I would never be hungry again. We talked about how when you’re really stuffed, you can never imagine being hungry. When you are really cold, you can’t think of being warm again. When you are in pain, you can’t imagine ever feeling good again. But you do, you can. Those kinds of things are fairly temporary. I was miserable for a while, and it didn’t last. I can hardly remember being that sick. It’s hard sometimes to have an eternal perspective, but when we do, life makes more sense.

I couldn’t always see this as a blessing, but I’ve gotten to the point now where I can really see that the gold side of the scale is heavier than the wood side of the scale. I’ve been very blessed, and I’m happy. I have a great life.

At A Glance

Marnie Spencer


LDS_woman_photo_MarnieSpencerCOLORLocation:
Utah

Age:
45

Marital status:
Married 23 years

Children:
7 children: 20, 17, 16, 14, 12, 11, 9

Occupation:
Mom and free-lance writer

Schools Attended:
BYU

Languages Spoken at Home:
English

Favorite Hymn:
“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

Interview by Amy Doxey. Photos used with permission.

46 Comments

  1. Amy Doxey
    10:12 am on April 13th, 2011

    From the Interview Producer: It was truly a life-changing experience to be able to interview Marnie. She really is a stellar example of finding the blessings and lessons in our trials. Thank you Marnie for being so open and willing to share your experiences!

  2. Arrin Newton Brunson
    10:23 am on April 13th, 2011

    What a beautiful woman Marnie is. Her story will be an inspiration to all who read about it! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. Michelle Hoggan
    11:12 am on April 13th, 2011

    Your message is so important and precious to me! You are doing a great thing by sharing your experiences and insights with others. Thank you Marnie!

  4. Robin
    11:59 am on April 13th, 2011

    Wow. Marnie, I want to be your friend. Your family and friends are so blessed to know you and to hear your insights. You have such a beautiful relationship with Heavenly Father. I wish that you did not have to suffer these health challenges, but the “gold coins” resulting from the trial are precious beyond measure. Thank you for being so valiant, and for sharing with us.

  5. Savannah
    1:02 pm on April 13th, 2011

    This is a beautiful, poignant, and wonderful interview, and I’m a better woman for having read it. Many thanks to Marnie for having the courage to tell her story; you are an incredible inspiration. It is evident how deeply Heavenly Father loves you, to carry you through all these times of great need. I hope that I can someday grow as close to Him as you have…and I hope you feel better soon.

  6. Louise Elder
    2:21 pm on April 13th, 2011

    That was a beautiful, beautiful interview. My soul has been so touched reading this. Marnie, you are beautiful. I am inspired by you.

  7. Carole Warburton
    3:42 pm on April 13th, 2011

    I’m privileged to have met Marnie a couple of times. She is an inspiration. I really loved reading more about her and her family.

  8. Caryn Payzant
    4:32 pm on April 13th, 2011

    Wow- Marnie’s story is truly inspiring. Her ability to keep it all together with the proper perspective is amazing. Thank you for sharing. This web site is a treasure.

  9. Becky
    5:55 pm on April 13th, 2011

    Thank you.

  10. Kristy
    6:30 pm on April 13th, 2011

    This interview is one of my favorite’s from the MWP. While many of the other women have done amazing things with their lives, Marnie’s example is the one I hope to remember most.

  11. Rachael
    6:48 pm on April 13th, 2011

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  12. Debbie Ditton
    9:41 pm on April 13th, 2011

    Thank you for telling this beautiful story. Marnie is my neighbor and has touched my life in so many ways. I count her as one of my blessings and hope to have even a sliver of her every day courage and her amazing faith. Thanks Marnie for your beauty and grace and your refreshing sense of humor.

  13. Kim Woodbury
    9:56 pm on April 13th, 2011

    Marnie definitely is an amazing example to all who know her! She and her family inspire me with their faith and courage. We love you, Marnie!

  14. Roxanne
    11:58 pm on April 13th, 2011

    Wow, what an inspiration Marnie is. . .if nothing else those who read this are touched and better for it. This includes her husband and family, they are lucky to have her in their lives. They must be special as well to share this experience with her. My testimony has been touched by this story, thank you so much for sharing it with us, it was very brave.

  15. Wendy Spencer
    6:56 am on April 14th, 2011

    Marnie- Thank you for sharing your story, most importantly the spiritual lessons you have learned. I needed the reminder. Miss you!!! Wish we lived closer…

  16. Teresa Bertolio
    7:28 am on April 14th, 2011

    Marnie,
    You are such an inspiration to me. When I think about my trials, I have to just think of you and what you are going through to put my life in perspective. I really appreciate our friendship we’ve had over the years, and am sorry I wasn’t a better friend to you. I still think of you often and you and your family are in my prayers a lot! May God continue to guide and bless you and your family!
    Teresa

  17. Julia Taylor
    10:23 am on April 14th, 2011

    Thank you Marnie for your faith, beauty, courage, grace, and humor. You have helped so many–more than you know–just by telling your story and including your before and after photos. You are a PRINCESS to us all.

  18. Carol Poulson
    11:19 am on April 14th, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your very personal story with us. I too would love to have you for my friend. You are an inspiration! Do you ever talk to/with Relief Society groups? I would love to have you come to my ward in Cedar Hills, Ut.

  19. Nancy Woodbury
    12:01 pm on April 14th, 2011

    I agree totally with all these comments. Marnie is an amazing, inspiring woman whom I have been privileged to know for many years. Her dear sweet husband has also been amazing, loving, supportive, and faithful through all this. Thank you, Marnie, for sharing your story and yourself with everyone. Love you!

  20. Kathy Wyatt
    6:41 pm on April 14th, 2011

    Marnie, you are incredible! Thank you so much for participating in this interview and for the many wonderful insights you shared. I am about half-way through your book (Jenny sent a copy to me) and am loving it as well. I hope you are planning to publish it soon. I know I am one of many who can say that you have had a definite positive impact on my life, particularly in how I view my trials. Thank you for that.

  21. Gia McNaughton
    6:55 pm on April 14th, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently working hard at being grateful each day for the things that are great in my life. You are an inspiration to me.

  22. kittywaymo
    9:45 pm on April 14th, 2011

    Hello. I happened across your story tonight. I have been so very depressed do to my sister Nancy age 50, dying yesterday to congestive heart failure do to alcohol addiction. I have just been looking, searching for something to make me realize that trials will eventually end! I found this story. This dear beautiful daughter of Heavenly Father is a great blessing to me tonight. Thank you for sharing such a personal, painful journey. May God bless you and your family.

  23. Marnie
    8:56 am on April 15th, 2011

    Kittywaymo, I am so sorry about your sister. I have never lost anyone close to me like that and I can hardly imagine how painful it must be. Please allow yourself to grieve. Your pain will lesson eventually, but you will always have a sad place where your sister used to be. And that’s okay, I think. It shows you have a loving heart.

    I’m so glad my story helped you a little. You will be in my prayers today.

  24. Christine Jensen Southwick
    10:05 am on April 15th, 2011

    Marnie, Aunt Louise shared this link with the family and I have to say I am so touched! Whenever we ask how you are, the reply is always that things are still bad but that you are amazing! I had no idea how bad things have gotten for you as everyone is always so positive about how well you are handling things.

    I hope that you will feel up to making it to the family reunion in August, I know we would all love to see you. You have been an inspiration to me over the years & whenever I have a pity party, your challenges remind me to get it over quickly and get on with life. Additionally Wes & the kids are a great reminder of unconditional love, support & service. You are all dearly loved!

  25. Linda Groneman Taylor
    1:29 pm on April 15th, 2011

    Marnie, Aunt Louise and Wes shared this website with the family. Living in Idaho I don’t see anyone or hear much about how they are doing. I didn’t realize you were still going through so much. Life does throw us some curve balls doesn’t it? You must have been one of our Heavenly Father’s most valiant daughters. What a wonderful attitude you have and what a blessing and inspiration you are to those around you. May you continue to be blessed for the wonderful example you are to all. Our prayers will be with you and your family. Linda

  26. Kira Weight
    1:30 pm on April 15th, 2011

    Amazing and inspirational! Your life will be blessed because of the trials you’ve experienced. Your story truly is life changing!

  27. Tatiana
    2:02 pm on April 16th, 2011

    Marnie, thank you for giving us the privilege of getting to know you, just a little bit, from this post. You are an amazing person and I’m so inspired by you, and touched by your example of grace and strength. Thanks!

  28. Sara
    3:56 pm on April 16th, 2011

    This was such a cool thing to read. I loved the part where Heavenly Father called her a princess. Sometimes I forget that’s the title I need to live up to and it was amazing to hear it through Marnie’s perspective. This made my whole day.

  29. Carolyn S. Read
    7:12 pm on April 16th, 2011

    Dear Sweet Marnie,
    I was so touched by your interview! Thank you for sharing your amazing testimony. My journey through cancer has been so small compared to yours, but I, too, have felt the presence of the Lord every step of the way. I, too, am thankful for the love of our Savior and our loving Father in Heaven. I, too, am thankful for your example, words, and precious heart. May you and your family continue to rejoice in the Lord’s blessings. Aunt Carolyn

  30. Darlene Farmer
    2:42 pm on April 17th, 2011

    Marnie,

    I have been asking Trista about you for the last seven years. She recently sent me your interview. I was so happy to be able to read it. You life is a miracle. When you were first diagnosed with late stage cancer you said you wanted to live to see your youngest son go on a mission. I hoped that it would come true but the odds were stacked against you. You continue to overcome each challenge set in your path. I hope you live to see that little son go on his mission. In the meantime, you are on a mission yourself night now with your example of faith, determination and courage. God bless you and surround you with his spirit.

  31. Marnie
    2:53 pm on April 17th, 2011

    I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my interview. I am really not as amazing as you think, but your kind words make me feel like I can be, someday.

    I am glad to speak or help however I can. My email address is my first and last name with a dot in between, on gmail. That’s the best way to reach me about speaking or about anything else.

    Again, thanks to you all for your wonderful messages to me. I feel like I have lots of new friends!

  32. Karen Durrant
    5:34 pm on April 17th, 2011

    Dear Marnie,

    I am a friend of Jenny W, and she shared some of your story with me last year when I was just starting my roller-coaster journey with breast cancer. I cannot tell you how much you have inspired me, and how much your writings helped me when I was facing the first unknowns with breast cancer, less than a year after I had stopped nursing my youngest son. I have wanted to thank you personally, and really was touched by reading your story on MWP today. It was the message that I needed to hear today. Even though my hair has grown back some, and I finished chemo in the fall, I have been sick with every illness that my kids have brought home over the past 6 months. I have yet to feel healthy enough to think of myself as a survivor of cancer, since many days I am just trying to survive to bedtime! I have had to go back to my part time job, and it has been hard but it is something I need to do to help our family. My faith in the Lord is strong, but there are still many challenges, and I really appreciate your example. You are amazing!

    I too feel that I was blessed greatly, and know that the Lord loves us, and He is the Ggreat Healer. Before cancer, I had other challenges, including many miscarriages after my second son was born, and feared cancer the most. My second son also has a very rare disease, and had a time when they thought he had cancer. That has taken me on a different journey, including traveling often for his medical care the the NIH across the country in Bethesda, MD, thatt led me to start a non-profit (nomidalliance.net) for these conditions when no one else stepped up to do it. Jenny W. has helped me recently with this too. She is also an amazing woman.

    My cancer was stage II, and had only made it to 2 lymph nodes, and chose a full mastectomy after prayer, and much time in the temple. At the time, the doctors did not think I had much cancer, since it looked like only specks on the mammogram and biopsy and questioned my adamant request for a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. I was sure that it was the right choice after much prayer, and a very spiritual experience in the temple. A few weeks later, the pathology report came back showing that there were two different kinds of cancer in that breast, that it was throughout the breast, and the cancer had spread into the first two lymph nodes. All that cancer had been removed with the first surgery, but I went on to have a lymph node dissection (which proved that there was no more cancer in the other nodes, thank goodness), and then chemo. I chose to have a mastectomy of the right breast a few months ago, since one of the kinds of cancer that they found on the left was likely to pop up in the right, and is hard to detect early.

    Like you, my thoughts and prayers were always for my children and family. I was willing to take whatever came my way, so I could be here longer. I have nothing to complain about in comparison to you, and have prayed often for you in the past year, when I have been struggling myself. I am so glad to see your story today! I too feel that I have much more work to be done here, and am just getting started in many ways with my family, and what we are doing with our non-profit. I am going to save your story and keep it for the days when I start to feel overwhelmed, have worries or doubts or feel exhausted.

    I am thankful for Jenny sharing your writings with me last year, and for your humor and amazing understanding. Your dedication to your family and the Lord is a great example to me. I am sorry that this came your way, but you are truly blessing so many. I cannot thank you enough! Karen Durrant

  33. Staci Groneman Mauchley
    8:55 pm on April 17th, 2011

    Marnie,

    Thank you for sharing! I desperatley needed to hear your whole story. It has made me appreciate my life more, and reminds me to never take anything for granted. I rememeber coming over to your house YEARS ago with my mom and dad (Dave and Sheryl) and siblings. I was really little, but I remember having ice cream and hanging out with your kids. And now, I have a family of my own! Time sure flies!
    Thank you for being so strong to share your story and your testimony. It touched my life! You’ll be in my prayers. Feel better soon!

  34. Heather Faanunu
    5:24 am on April 18th, 2011

    Marnie,

    I want to thank you for taking the time to share your story. As a new mother, I was truly inspired and strengthened by your example. I can’t imagine traveling on such a difficult and painful road, and yet still being able to maintain the beautiful perspective and strength that you have today. You have truly shown the power of the Gospel in our lives and the incredible gift that the Holy Ghost is in helping us along the way. I am also grateful for your example of truly appreciating every day and making the most of it because we do not know when the Lord will say “It is enough” and take us from the earth to serve a new purpose. I’m grateful that you’re still here to share your experiences and testimony of the Gospel.
    My husband and I can’t have children which was very hard for me to accept in my life. However, I too learned Heavenly Father’s plan for me individually and how to have true faith in His plan over my own. My favorite talk that gave me the perspective I needed during that time of healing was “But if Not” by Dennis E. Simmons. It helped me to truly understand what faith really was and I learned to accept God’s plan for me without bitterness. We have since adopted a beautiful baby girl from an incredible birth mother and I can’t imagine life without her. She was part of Heavenly Father’s plan for me and I wouldn’t change anything about the process we had to go through to get her. Once again Marnie, thank you for your example and for sharing your story. You will be in our prayers.

  35. Kelli
    9:02 am on April 18th, 2011

    Marnie – thanks for sharing your story. my faith was strengthened while reading it.

  36. Kaitlin
    11:19 am on April 21st, 2011

    Marnie –

    Your story has strengthened me and helped me to want to be better. Thank you for the beautiful things you said and for sharing your personal experiences.

    Kaitlin Smith

  37. Krisanne
    6:04 pm on April 21st, 2011

    This was a deeply touching interview. Every word vibrated with truth and humility. Thank you!

  38. Linda Smith
    3:22 pm on April 22nd, 2011

    I was so overwhelmed when I read your story. It has been years since we (me and your Uncle Richard) have seen you. I did not realize the extent of the road you have traveled down. Your story is an inspiration to me not to bemoan the challenges that are placed before me. You are truly a wonderful example of how to grow from life’s challenges. In many ways, I see you as Job. I know your blessings will be many throughout the eternities. Please do keep us posted with how you are doing.

    Love,

    Aunt Linda

  39. Christine
    6:10 pm on April 25th, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your faith and experiences. May god continue to bless and heal you.

  40. Liz Sampson
    7:10 pm on April 25th, 2011

    Marni,

    I was touched beyond measure after reading this article of your experiences of the past 7 years. Your courageous strength through adversity touches me deeply as I continue to enjoy the marvelous friendship that we have.

    I have watched you time after time shine with a renewed spirit as you have conquered the tremendous barriers that cancer brings. I have felt of your testimony that is strenghtened more with each trial that you are faced with.

    You have literally touched hundreds and hundreds of lives, and we are all better people for it.

    I look forward to tons of more visits with you such as the one we had today. You make me laugh, you encourage me to follow my dreams (remember the Liszt piano piece I a going to learn and perform) and finally you make me want to grow closer to God each day.

    What more could a person ask.

  41. Steve Spencer
    7:28 pm on May 30th, 2011

    Marnie, Jill and I read this some time ago, but I didn’t get back to commenting until today. You have been such a great example to so many. Your influence for good spreads every day. I don’t understand why you have been called on to endure this, but you have dealt with your trials like a real angel! We wish we could see you more. You and Wes and your family are truly amazing.

  42. Marie Henry
    3:24 pm on June 25th, 2011

    Marnie,

    I came across your story doing research for a lesson I am giving in Relief Society about LDS woman. I love preparing lessons becuase of the opportunity I get each time to feel the love God has for each of us by helping me put my lessons together. The things he guides me to find. I cried the whole time I read your story. I am sure becuase of your situtaion but mostly because of the spirit I was able to feel. It is always a refreshing boost when you are able to witness the feeling of the Holy Ghost and Gods love. Thank you for sharing your life eperiences!

  43. Bindu
    10:39 pm on June 27th, 2011

    Dear Marnie,

    Thank you for your wonderful example. I am greatful for having this opportunity to read about you. Thanks for the courage and positive attitude that you are carrying forward. I am sure you touch the lives those around you and you are in my humble prayers to fight through this this. I loved the relationship that you have with Heavenly Father and yes you are a princess.

  44. gayatri kusuma
    7:28 am on June 28th, 2011

    It is such a blessing to read about you in my life ..i want you to know ..you gave me somuch hope and strength…I love the way you endured..your life is a great example to me….love you …for what you are …THANK YOU THANK YOU SOMUCH …

  45. Eloïse
    1:30 pm on September 26th, 2011

    juste un grand merci pour votre experiance et surtout pour votre grande foi et l’amour de Dieu que vous portez en vous. merci merci merci. a chaque fois que j’aurais une epreuve si petite soit elle je penserai a vous.

  46. Suzy Willie
    8:32 am on June 5th, 2013

    Hi Marnie,
    Just your neighbor down the street – I just read your story and wanted to tell you how much I admire you. You are in my thoughts and prayers and my heart goes out to you! I’m ashamed of ever feeling sorry for myself on my bad days! Thanks for sharing your courageous story!
    Love you!

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