Heaven Sent Rainbow

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Ongoing bronchitis led me down the scariest path of my life after finding a 1.2 cm nodule on my lung x-ray. My allergist and internist said it could be scar tissue, and it could be nothing as people can sometimes develop these with age. But both agreed it was better to be safe than sorry, even though the nodule was seen on my previous x-ray eight months before and had not changed in size. Yet, the fact that I kept getting bronchitis that lasted for months at a time, which prednisone would not cure, was concerning and needed further testing. And believe me, as someone who talks for a living this condition was a serious work hazard!

Walking into an oncologist’s office was incredibly frightening. I could not believe that my legs were shaking, my palms were sweaty, and my heart was beating a mile a minute. Thank goodness, my wonderful husband was with me. I could not imagine what others who were there, also for the first time, were feeling because I at least had been there many years before to make a TV commercial for them and had even interviewed the oncologist I was seeing. But when you are faced with a cancer scare, it can do a number on even the strongest, bravest, faith-based individual. I was petrified that this was cancer, and that my beautiful life was getting ready to change drastically. Sounds somewhat selfish, and it embarrasses me to say it, but it’s an honest statement.

Sadly, the oncologist was not the least bit comforting. He was very direct and to the point. He said, “I am all business when I am concerned with a life threatening issue.” But how about using the line that my other two doctors used? “These things are usually benign, and don’t worry until you have to worry.”

And when he said, “Everyone has their time,” I felt like I was dying.  He was not one single bit reassuring. My brain said, well it’s nice he is in charge and determined to get to the bottom of the problem, but my heart and hands needed comfort too. When I told him he needed more bedside manners, he said, “Do you want a great doctor or someone who will pat your hand?” I replied, “I want both and deserve both just as every person who comes in here deserves!”

Over the next few days, I had CT scans and PET scans from head to thighs to see if cancer was developing anywhere in my body that may be causing the lung nodule. I have always been someone who stayed on top of all mammograms, colonoscopies and annual blood-work, believing that anything caught early could be cured, but what if they found something that was not caught early? The oncologist scared me further by saying there are many cancers like kidney cancer or liver cancer that can develop with no signs until it’s late in the game! So, as you can imagine, I worried myself sick.

Well, after many prayers from friends and family, and my own prayers, I was blessed with good news. No cancer. I have a condition known as Bronchiectasis that I will have for life but can be managed with meds. As for the nodule, I must return for a CT scan in six months and then annually to stay on top of it. I have already set that up with a new oncologist, who is great at what he does, and who is reported to offer his patients the greatest in comfort and reassurance along the way. Sometimes, you just have to take charge and do what you know is right for you.

In addition to my personal good news, I also had several experiences during this health ordeal when I knew God was with me. It’s amazing when you pray and see your prayers answered in such an extraordinary way. It wasn’t just about getting good news. It was also about finding comfort during the journey in the strangest places at the weirdest times as God gave me signs that He was near.

This health scare made me realize it was okay to be frightened and worried even as a strong believer in God. That’s only natural. But it made me wonder how anyone who is going through a health crisis could ever leave God out of the equation when He is such a source of strength when you ask Him to be. The oncologist might not have been a hand-holder, but I knew the ONE that mattered the most was doing just that.

I am truly blessed to have received good news after six weeks of worry. Not everyone is so lucky to find a rainbow at the end of their storm.

About this writer

  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane is the host and producer for “Inside Out” as seen on HTC TV Channel 4, and serves as a commercial spokesperson for several local businesses. She and her husband Chuck own Stages Video productions in Myrtle Beach and share passions for food, theater, travel and scuba diving.

    They own three four legged kids that they adore!

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One Response to “Heaven Sent Rainbow”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Dianne, what a fright that must have been. Thank God it was no worse and you are being monitored by a more compassionate doctor. Your story is compelling.

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