Be encouraged...Keep the faithBy SPECIAL TO THE E-T,
“I’ve been through the storm and rain, but I made it…I’ve had some hard aches and pains, but I made it…I’ve had to cry sometimes..you know what? I made it….Hallelujah, Thank you, Lord…..I MADE IT!”
It’s been over a year and a half with May 13, 2019 being two years since Evelyn Taylor-Jackson of Ruleville, Miss. was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with metastases to her liver and lymph nodes.
Her initial article publication to share her journey was in October 2017. Within the article, she told of how she discovered her plight on Mother’s Day weekend which coincidentally was her granddaughter’s 13th birthday.
She expressed her appreciation to the surgeon, Dr. Bennie Wright, her oncologist, Dr. Tony Sultani and all the hospital physicians and staff she interacted with during her stay and treatment of care during those soul searching days and the months that lay ahead.
She commended her family and friends for their love, support and their prayers. This expression of appreciation still continues.
As many of you may remember, Evelyn mentioned that 2017 was her proposed year to graduate from the Capella University’s Doctoral Program in Public Health. She vowed that she would finish her studies.
Despite the chemotherapy treatments, doctor appointments, the side effects of a bi-weekly regimen of chemotherapy, the loss of medical insurance coverage for two months and the loss of her mother in 2018, she persevered to complete her studies and to maintain a 4.0 GPA.
She stated, “ My mother was my biggest cheerleader. I told her I was tired. She looked me straight in my eyes and she told me that I would finish my studies and that I had to do so. ‘You will get to fulfill your dreams.’ She told me that I could accomplish anything that I put my mind to. The only reason why I didn’t have what I desired was because I hadn’t applied my mind to do it.”
Those were wise words from a mother who knew her daughter better than anyone else.
These words were spoken to Evelyn once her mother, a resident at a local nursing home, found out that her daughter was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.
Evelyn remembers their phone conversations before her mother’s rapid decline in health.
“We encouraged one another with scriptures. We were the “dynamic duo” of Team Faith/Team Fight.
That became our mantra which was highlighted with a fist pump when we would greet one anothe,r” she fondly reminisces.
Her mother passed months earlier before Evelyn received the confirmation January 11, 2019 that she had successfully met all the requirements to graduate from Capella University with honors as Dr. Evelyn Taylor-Jackson, DrPH.
Nevertheless, Dr. Jackson states that she will not forget the struggles and obstacles she encountered as she attempted this great feat and those who supported her along the way. There were too many shoulders that built the ladder for her to climb.
Healthwise, she still continues to receive chemotherapy with routine labs at the Cleveland Cancer Clinic, scheduled MRIs and PET scans, primary physician appointments and the hepatology follow-up appointments with Dr. Mark Earls in Jackson, MS. “There is not a timeframe of completion for this journey at this time based on my diagnosis,” according to Jackson. “It’s one day at a time….one infusion at a time. I am still here and whatever it takes to remain here to fulfill my course of life….so be it.”
“I recall when I lost my insurance coverage from my former employer after my extended medical leave of absence, I was devastated. Every thought and emotion you could imagine presented itself. The system has a very gray area for those like me who worked all their lives, paid into the system like we were required to do, and pretty much helped those who couldn’t or wouldn’t help themselves. I soon found out that what you put into to the system is not always what you get in return. Food stamps, Medicaid services, public transportation, funding for travel and chemotherapy services from Cancer Research Organizations were not knocking down my doors to readily help. One thing I soon learned is that you have to let go of what you have in order to get the very minimum of what the system offers you for all your years of contributions. Sadly, it does not balance out. It saddens me to think of the many lives gone due to the bureaucracy of health insurance, the lack of encouragement to fight, and the lack of knowledge about the potential treatments for their disease and illness,” Jackson stated.
“I had negative friends and family members….who I will name “ The Jobelites” who came at me from different directions to question me as to why this happened to me and then they proceeded to tell me their opinions, their theories and how poor and grim my future outcome would be based on what happened to someone they knew. I did not care who they knew…. I knew who God was and I knew whose I was…..I still believed that God would perfect that which concerned me. He promised to make my feet as hinds’ feet to stand on my mountains. I kept the faith at some of the hardest times during this journey. Did I cry? Yes. Did I get angry? Yes…but at the naysayers…not God. Was I mistreated at times? Yes…but I forgave them because they didn’t know what they were doing….they are now my footstools. Did I get tired? Yes….but the joy of the Lord was and still is my strength. What’s next?......WHATEVER I PUT MY MIND TO DO……!!!!”