Evangeline (Evon) Parker of Portsmouth persevered through a battle with breast cancer, which she experienced 19 years ago. Ultimately, it has been her faith in God that allowed her to triumph despite the challenges she faced.
“At the end of December of 1996. I went to have my annual pap smear done. At the end of my visit, the doctor didn’t order a mammogram,” Parker said. “I usually had a mammogram every year. So I asked him, ‘aren’t you going to order a mammogram?’ He stated, ‘no let’s wait until next year.’ The very next month, January 1997, I found a large lump in my breast, which was very painful when I touched it.”
After making the questionable discovery, Parker said she contacted her doctor.
“I called the doctor and told him that I had a lump in my breast. He then ordered a mammogram. I went to have it done. I waited and they said we need to do an ultrasound on you. The ultrasound was very painful, and I was there for hours. They found the tumor, and said that I needed to schedule a biopsy. “
Judging by her husband’s response after the biopsy, she said she knew immediately that the news was not favorable.
“When I awoke from the biopsy, I saw my husband standing there with is back to me. I asked him, what was the outcome? He turned around with tears in his eyes, and said that the doctor would be in to talk to me. The doctor came in with tears in his eyes to tell me the news,” she said. “He said that it was a fast growing cancer, and because it was a tumor with spider web-like things coming from it, I had to have a radical mastectomy as soon as possible. The day that I was diagnosed was day that would change my life. I didn’t seem real. How could I have cancer? Only four years ago I was diagnosed with lupus! I had to prepare to fight cancer and win.”
She sought out a second opinion, only to have the same information confirmed.
“I decided to get a second opinion. The second doctor stated the same thing that the first one stated,” she said. “It still didn’t seem real. I told my husband that I needed to go back to work to get my work caught up before I could schedule the surgery.”
After hearing of Parker’s diagnosis, a co-worker questioned her faith.
“So, I went back to work. Everyone at work knew that I was a Christian. One co-worker came up to me and stated, ‘How can you serve a God that would do that to you?’ I looked at her and said, ‘How can I not serve God, who will heal me?’”
The mastectomy was scheduled for February 1997.
“When going into surgery, I had the faith that I would be healed and that they would not have to perform the radical mastectomy,” she said. “So, after surgery I reached up to touch my breast, believing that it would be there. But, it wasn’t there. That’s when it finally hit me.”
She was determined to beat the challenge she was facing, considering her family. Her husband and children, and a daughter who was very young at the time. She wondered if she would be there to see her youngest daughter grow up.
Parker had to undergo six months of chemotherapy.
“They wanted me to follow up the chemo with radiation, but decided against doing radiation, due to my lupus being in remission,” she said. “The doctor thought that if I took radiation, it would kick my lupus out of remission, but it didn’t. Since that time, I have just been claiming my healing and went forth. The doctor said that they had gotten it all with the surgery, and I was cancer free. “
The support from her husband, Willie Parker, who is now deceased, other members of her family, and fellow church members from the church she attends, Living Faith Temple in Portsmouth was incredible.
“Willie was very supportive. He took me to all of the doctors appointments, was there will me through the surgery, and all of the chemo treatments, and was very, very supportive,” she said. “There was one day when he got really weak, and we both ended up in the emergency room together. But the tables were switched when he was diagnosed with a rare form of multiple myeloma. I took him to Cleveland Clinic and they diagnosed him right away, and he stayed in remission for 10 years. We were both going to the same cancer doctor, and we helped out one another. He passed away, in what was nine years, January 10th of this past year. At my church, which is Living Faith Temple, they were really there for me, and really helped me out. There was about eight or 10, members, women and men who would take shifts, and come to my home to help me. They were all such a tremendous blessing to me during that time. They were right there when I was diagnosed, and were with me through the whole thing.”
The journey in her battle with cancer has not been easy, but in Parker’s own words, “I am still here.”
“I truly believe that God won’t put upon us more than we can bare. I had to put my trust in him that he would take care of me,” she said. “He said that He would never leave us or forsake us. So I knew that with God, I could make it. God has brought me out of many things in my childhood, that only made me stronger, so that I could withstand things in my adult life. Now 19 years later, I am still here. I saw my daughter grow up. I have been able to watch my oldest grand children grow into adults, and am now watching younger grandchildren grow and become what God would have them become. I am still here to enjoy them and enjoy all of my family. God is an awesome God. Thank you, God for all you have done in my life.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.