Thank You For The Miracle.

Felicia Slattery cancer survivor

Just hours after surgery, the day I received a miracle.

Felicia Slattery cancer survivor

Me a couple weeks ago with my soon-to-be 95 year-old Grandmom, whose genes of strength and longevity I’ve luckily inherited for certain!

Dear Friends:

As I write this I have tears of humility in my eyes and my heart is  overflowing with gratitude.

Today is a joyous occasion for me.

One year ago today I received a miracle. And it was because of you.

I was cured 100% of lung cancer.

It happened through my amazing medical team and the miraculous part came about from the power of prayer. Sharing this story is my way to say thank you and perhaps, if you are battling something in your life: illness, addiction, heartache, you will feel inspired and hold onto hope for a miracle to cure your life, too.

After many months of x-rays, tests, and two bronchoscopies (a procedure that did a look-see down my windpipe to the outer region of my lung), stemming from a serious case of pneumonia that never fully resolved, and a negative biopsy of a tumor found at the entrance to the middle lobe of my right lung, I was diagnosed with adeno-squamous small cell lung cancer on September 20, 2012.

Suddenly I was in a medical whirlwind that those who have ever received a cancer diagnosis know all too well. Seemingly endless tests from CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, blood tests galore and more gave way to appointments with specialist after specialist all sharing their take on my challenge and some gingerly sharing horrible things like “5-year survival rates,” which for a never-smoker, non-asbestos-exposed, no-other-typical risk factor case in a young 42 year old female, were pretty good at about 80-85%. I did meet with this one jerky oncologist who, before examining me, and barely opening my file told me the others were either lying or idiots and I had only about a 60-65% chance of living to see my 47th birthday. He did so in front of my worried father, who carted me to every single one of those visits. You’ll be happy to know, I never saw that oncologist again in my life, and had I not been pre-occupied with cancer, would likely have written a strongly-worded letter to someone in charge. I wanted honesty and truth, but above all I wanted and deserved as a human being COMPASSION and EMPATHY.

I knew family and friends were praying for me. And I decided to set up a private Facebook group for those close to me so I could update my status from one appointment to the next. I chose social media because most of my family and friends were there regularly anyway and it was easy for me to “check in” at hospitals and so forth, add photos, and more.

After all those visits I quickly weighed my options, chose a surgeon, and scheduled my surgery for the day after what could have been the final speaking gig of my entire career. Then I had an odd sense of feeling relieved and at peace. I knew, somehow, that everything was going to be okay.

Next is when the miracle of YOU happened.

The night before surgery, nervous yet calm, I sent out a plea to my community of subscribers, my blog readers, and my social media friends and followers, numbering close to 30,000. Here’s what I wrote:

“If you’re the praying type, please send up a prayer for me and the surgeon (Dr. McAfee) that all goes smoothly, is easy, and painless. If you’re more of the visualizing type, please visualize the IV going in the first time easily and my body healthy and complete. And if you’re of the sending good energy type, I’ll take all the good vibes you can muster!”

That short request led to an avalanche of prayers and positive energy from friends and people around the world, in 22 countries, most of whom I had never met in my life. I was added to church prayer lists, lifted up in Facebook prayer warrior groups, and thought about in the private hearts of people around the world. I’m in tears now as I remember it and so grateful for every single one; I can never know how many people even paused for a moment, but I know it all led to my own miracle.

lifelicia Slattery cancer survivorThe next morning as I was prepped for surgery before dawn, I silently wept, afraid most of the terror of the IV going in. You see, I’m what they call a “hard stick” and have had occasions where more than a dozen nurses, doctors, and EMTs took over two hours just to run one IV with more than two dozen attempts – each a painful stick of a needle and then some digging inside trying to find access to a vein.  Much to my shock and horror, I not only had to have one IV run that day, but because of the multiple medications and various procedures, I needed TWO – one in each arm. I had held it together pretty well over the past couple of weeks, not because I felt the need to hold it together, but because I really was simply working through the process of what needed to be done, but that news was enough to bring the tears forth.  My husband was in the room and one of my best friends texted me comfort.

As I was wheeled into the surgical waiting area, away from my husband now, alone with strangers who would soon be cutting into my body, I tried to relax (as if) and focus on the various instructions, repeating my name and birthdate to at least seven people. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery area and my surgeon telling me what she had found.

Similar to most cancer surgeries, when the doctor removed my tumor and lymph nodes, each was examined while I was in the operating room to make sure nothing else needed to be removed and to once again verify the specific diagnosis. That’s when they found something curious – and miraculous.

a picture of lung cancer

A picture of cancer. The top left are the open, clear and healthy airways of my left lung. The top right and bottom two images are of my blocked right airway leading into my right lung – the tumor.

What was only days before diagnosed from an actual tissue sample as “small cell adeno-squamous lung cancer,” suddenly became something different.

At this point in the story, you should know there are three categories of lung cancer: small cell with its variations, large cell with its variations, and something so rare it’s barely ever mentioned called muco-epidermoid. In fact, in a 20-year study at Harvard University Cancer Centers, exactly 12 cases of this muco-epidermoid lung cancer were diagnosed and treated. Of those 12, not one person died, the cancer never spread, and it never returned. So my diagnosis from a much more lethal small-cell type of lung cancer almost certainly requiring radiation and chemotherapy, to something that became a relatively easy “cut and paste” job requiring only occasional follow-up, was the miracle I received that day.

It’s all thanks to you, my community, my family, my friends and the power of prayer.

I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for my next book. 🙂 For now, as always, I like to provide a few take-away lessons for you, dear reader. So here’s what you can do when you find yourself in a life-challenging situation:

  1. Build Your Connections Before You Need Them: I’m not getting on my “public speaking rocks” soapbox, but I will tell you most of my connections, and eventually the prayers and support, all came because those people saw me speak either in person or virtually through the Internet.  However you do it, build your network and nurture your relationships because someday you may need an army of people to reach out to.
  2. Kick the Negative Ninnies to the Curb: Stay away from people, even doctors or other specialists and experts who don’t support you or treat you how you want and deserve to be treated. Period.
  3. Surround Yourself with Loved Ones and Let Them Circle the Wagons: There is virtually nothing family and friends can do for you medically, if that is your challenge, so they often feel helpless. Allowing them to do for you in any way they physically can while you take care of yourself, rest, and recover is a gift so they feel useful and as if they are contributing to your wellness (because they are!) while at the same time giving you the time and space to heal that you desperately need.

With that, I’d like to end with a song that is uplifting that I love listening to. Mandissa thinks you’re an over-comer and I do too! And from the bottom of my LUNG I thank you gratefully for the miracle.

About the Author:

43 Comments

  1. Carrie October 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I was one of your prayer partners during that time, and I’m so beyond thrilled to read this today! It is posted at a much-needed time in my life, as I’m having surgery next Friday to remove some precancerous uterine tissue. So relieved to find out it is not cancer (we caught it in time), but I’m nervous about the surgery anyway (I’ve never had surgery other than a c-section for our twins). Thank you for posting this message of hope, miracles, and victory!

  2. Gordon October 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing that very moving experience. May God continue to bless you with all you need.
    Ps great song.

  3. Ellen Delap October 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Blessings!

  4. Regina Smola October 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Woohoo! Congrats! Felicia I am so happy for you. Sending you a giant virtual hug. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. God bless.

  5. Brian Basilico October 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Great post of fear, faith and fans. Thanks for being so transparent and open to share. Plus I love joyful endings 🙂

  6. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks Brian!! Fear, faith and fans… I LOVE it! 🙂

  7. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Woo hoo is right Regina!! Big virtual hugs back at you 🙂

  8. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks Laura!! I love a happy dance 🙂

  9. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you Ellen! I am blessed indeed 🙂

  10. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you Gordon! I’ve been singing this song all week now. Glad you like it too!

  11. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Carrie,
    Hooray that you’ve received a wonderful diagnosis! What a relief. Now I get to be your prayer partner. I’m lifting you up and have faith your surgery will be quick and you’ll have a speedy recovery. Hugs to you!

  12. Shannon October 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Felicia, not a dry eye in this house. And that is saying something. I remember it all very well and so grateful and lucky you are here to tell the tale. Grateful and lucky because my life would be so different without you in it.

  13. Sherrill Barbary October 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Felicia, I’m so happy for you that you are 100% cured! Go on to live a full and happy life, as I know you will do!!! Best wishes, and thank you for your newsletter. I’m sorry I hadn’t written sooner to help you and support you, but I know you’ve got many loving friends and relatives who did a great job in showing their love and caring to you as you have shown everyone yourself thru the years. All the best to you, dear, and ENJOY!!!! I would like to continue receiving your newsletter, and I promise to chime in from time to time from now on…….All the best!!!!!

  14. Lauren October 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    So glad to hear that you are well. You’re an inspiration on so many levels, Felicia. I’m blessed to know you!

  15. Susan Baroncini-Moe October 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Felicia, what a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your story—I can’t wait to share it with my people. I’m just so darned proud to call you my friend. You rock, sister!!!

  16. Kate October 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Rejoicing with you, Felicia!

  17. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you Kate!

  18. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing it Sue! I actually enjoyed writing it. And yay for good friends 🙂

  19. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you Lauren! It’s a day full of feeling blessed!!

  20. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Sherill, I’ll take the support ANY time and ALL the time!! It’s always the perfect time, so thank you very much. Look for another newsletter on a Wednesday coming soon 🙂

  21. Felicia Slattery October 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    From a tough New Yorker like you, Shannon, the tears mean a LOT! Thank you for walking the journey with me and being one of those friends who truly stepped up to help me. You were in that circle of wagons and I could never have gotten through without your help, love and support.

  22. Phil B October 4, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Felicia…your post reminded me of two of my all time favorite quotes:
    “Where there is great love, there are always miracles”
    Willa Cather (1873-1947
    “We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty”
    G.K.Chesterton (1874-1936)

    It’s selfish to say, but your full recovery is one of the best things that ever happened to me. xoxo

  23. Steve Sipress October 4, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    You’ve written a lot of posts, articles, etc., Felicia.

    This one is clearly my favorite.

    Can’t wait to follow all the future miracles you’ll create for yourself and others, Felicia!

  24. MJ Schrader October 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Congratulations @Felicia. I’m so glad I know you and so glad you are happy, healthy and well. 🙂 You are amazing.

  25. Jay Vikaz October 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Felicia, That truly is a miraculous story of healing and recovery.
    It is true, you do make an impact on people when you speak, reach out and build relationships. I met you at Terry Wygal’s event in Houston, sat at the same table at the group lunch, had some wonderful conversations and went on to follow you on Social Media. Later, I found myself praying and sending positive vibes during your hospitalization and surgery. That was just one person. Now I’m imagining how many more people were out there like that. People you touched with your speaking or in other ways. People who were praying for the miracle of healing.
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is truly inspirational and brings joy to the heart. Praying for your continued good health for many more years to come.

  26. Susie October 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    This was a beautiful story and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your miracle and your faith. Hugs and Blessings always.

  27. Jonathan Gunson October 5, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Felicia.
    Lovely, lovely song! Thrilled that you’re out of the woods. Humbled and uplifted by your miracle.
    Jonathan

  28. JonathanGunson October 5, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Felicia.
    Lovely, lovely song! Thrilled that you’re out of the woods. Humbled and uplifted by your miracle.
    Jonathan

  29. Felicia Slattery October 5, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Thank you Jonathan!! I’m glad you were so excited you posted twice 😉

  30. Felicia Slattery October 5, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Thank you for reading, Susie!

  31. Felicia Slattery October 5, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Hi Jay,
    Yes I remember meeting you at Terry’s event. Thank you for your prayers. And yes, I can only imagine how many people prayed for me; so humbling!! I am blessed 🙂

  32. Felicia Slattery October 5, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Thanks MJ! I am VERY happy and so very healthy today. YAY!

  33. Felicia Slattery October 5, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Glad this is your favorite one of all, Steve! Thank you for your support during that time and now.

  34. Felicia Slattery October 5, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Phil- Those are fabulous quotations!!! I may be using them myself. And you can be as selfish as you like 🙂 THANK YOU!!! You always make me laugh!

  35. Paul Counts October 5, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Thank you for sharing this awesome story! You are truly an amazing, kind, caring, and inspirational person! So glad we have met several times and connected at JV Alert Live events. Very proud of you.

  36. Kellie Frazier October 6, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Felicia even though you told me the story personally, reading it in your post allowed me to thank God all over again for your full recovery. I know I’m not alone in that. I’m celebrating your life, your love and your devotion to knowing where to turn and where to place your trust when you needed to. The greatest message here is that you still have much more to do and that is evidenced by you’re being able to write this post and inspire others. I’m deeply grateful for that.

  37. Risa Baker October 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Felicia. Love your enthusiasm and positivity 🙂

  38. Lisa C. Decker October 7, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Felicia, so great to hear the miracles you have experienced and that you are doing so well a year later. I’m happy to be celebrating 16 years breast cancer free last month. Your post reminded me so much of my own experience from the problems with the IV sticks to the schmucky doctors who said unbelieveable things at times.

    Well lady, even though you’ve joined the sisterhood no one wants to belong to, I’m proud to have you among us. You are a shining light in the world. Continued good health!

  39. Felicia Slattery October 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you Lisa! Here’s to giving the smack-down to those schmucky docs and high fives to the survivors and thrivers in the sisterhood! Congrats on 16 years 🙂

  40. Felicia Slattery October 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you Risa!!

  41. Felicia Slattery October 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you Kellie!
    Much to celebrate and definitely still much to do 🙂

  42. Felicia Slattery October 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you Paul! I’ve met so many wonderful folks through the JV Alert Live family, and you are one of them. Hope to see you again soon!

Leave A Comment