Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Kept alive by faith - How Jody Wilson-Hinds beat breast cancer

Published:Saturday | July 30, 2016 | 7:00 AMCarl Gilchrist
Jody Wilson-Hinds (centre) speaking with Minna Walters (left) of the Jamaica Cancer Society, while Marilyn Williams, manager of the St Ann/St Mary branch, looks on.
From lef: Minna Walters of Jamaica Cancer Society, Jodi Wilson-Hinds, cancer survivor, and Marilyn Williams, manager, Jamaica Cancer Society St Ann/St Mary Branch.
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Jody Wilson-Hinds is not supposed to be alive. At least that's what doctors thought a year ago. But today, through faith in God, Wilson-Hinds is able to testify about how she beat the dreaded breast cancer that was supposed to gobble up her life.

Diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in July 2015, doctors gave up on her, telling her mother to start preparing for her funeral and giving her just about three months to live.

Her condition was such that they not only predicted she would die soon, but that she would become a cripple before she died.

At the launch of Jamaica Cancer Society St Ann-St Mary Branch's Relay For Life (set for August 20 at Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios) on Wednesday afternoon in Ocho Rios, Wilson-Hinds began her testimony, saying simply, "I am Jody, a breast cancer survivor for one year."

At the end of her riveting testimony, though, she earned a rapturous round of applause from the gathering, which had held on to every word she spoke.

Wilson-Hinds said she first noticed a small lump in her left breast in 2012, but several checks with the doctor over the ensuing years suggested that she was OK. Until 2015.

"Those who know about cancer know that once it reaches stage four there is said to be little or no hope for you and you are expected to die," she explained.

And that's what doctors told her, literally, calling her mom to take her home as there was nothing more they could do for her.

"Despite what the doctors said, I never lost faith or hope because I knew to myself that the final say was not with them but with God," Wilson-Hinds testified.

Her illness had reached the point where her liver was damaged and had become swollen and her bones also were damaged, causing severe back pain.

Given up on, she was sent home from hospital on July 27, 2015. The following Sunday, she was taken to church for prayer.

"I was prayed for and received several prayer handkerchiefs as part of connection to God for healing through faith, and that's when my healing process began.

FULL OF FAITH

"Within the following week I got a call from Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) to come in and start chemotherapy, even though I was told (before) that nothing could be done. However, I was told not to expect anything because the cancer was way too advanced and was aggressive and spreading rapidly, so the chemo might not work."

Wilson-Hinds told the fair-sized gathering that came for the launch that even though the medical personnel were sceptical, she was full of faith.

"I had my expectations. I know the God I serve and I believed He would work through the chemotherapy."

The treatment sessions were a heavy financial burden on the family, with the treatment costing $43,000 for each session, every three weeks, and with over $1 million dollars already spent caring for her.

But her mother and other relatives stood by her, ensuring that she got the necessary treatment.

She improved gradually. Exactly a year later, on Wednesday, she was able to testify.

"What a coincidence, or should I say, God's willing, that on the same 27th of July a year later, despite what the doctors said about me not being alive and being crippled for life, I'm here standing, not crippled and in a wheelchair, giving my testimony about my experience as a diagnosed cancer patient, to encourage especially newly diagnosed cancer survivors, not to fret or lose faith because once there is life, there is hope, despite the pains and struggles you may endure."

NOT UNGRATEFUL

A cancer patient with no money and no help on a death path, she went on to, explain further that treating cancer cannot focus entirely on the disease alone but must address the pain, fatigue, and depression that come along with it.

Wilson-Hinds is not ungrateful. Since her ordeal, she has been giving back, becoming a member of the Cancer Society's Survivors Group and campaigning to help raise money to fund the society's programmes each year. The Relay for Life is the branch's main fundraiser.

"Being part of the group is like home away from home. Here you receive counselling, encouragement, moral support. Therefore, I implore you to continue sponsoring the Jamaica Cancer Society," she urged.

One such sponsor, Jamaica National Building Society, which has been with the branch since it formed 11 years ago, is on board again this year as one of the sponsors for Relay for Life.

"Health is very important to Jamaica National. We have staff members who have suffered from cancer," branch manager at JN Ocho Rios, Omar Haye told Family & Religion.

"Cancer is one of the leading causes of death, and so we see it as something to help, to give back. We collect donations from our customers. Staff members donate as well, so we see it as something important, helping to save a life."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com