Vanessa Hudson has been dealt some tough blows, but join us in reading the 3rd and final installment of her journey.
Part 3 – Cancer.
(If you missed it, read Part 1 here)
When we saw the specialist,he told us that depending the size of the tumor I might have to have a
hysterectomy, but if the tumor is bigger and the cancer has spread I couldn’t have any more
children. I looked back at the abortion clinic and I thanked my Lord for being there with us that day.
The specialist examined me and said I cant have a hysterectomy and he can only test the lymph nodes
while in theater. The op had to be done ASAP! That weekend I called a family meeting. As I began to
speak, I started tearing up, I closed my eyes and prayed for strength. I told my family that my pap results
had come back and I had cervical cancer! My brother was speechless. My mum and sister started
crying, and covered their faces. I held my sisters hand and told them not to be scared, I was going to
get thru this, I just need them to be strong for me. My mum held me in her arms and said ‘No, not
my baby, please dad don’t take our baby, our sunshine” I found myself comforting them instead of
them comforting me.
The night before the surgery, the house was quiet and tense, my mum stayed over to help with the
kids. Paul and I prayed the divine mercy as we sat in quietly in each other’s presence. Eventually we
got some rest. 6/03/2012 Day of the surgery. I had to be at hospital early to get prepped for theater.
The procedure began at 10:00 am and it took five hours.
I remember waking up in recovery and hearing the nurses talking, I vaguely remember saying to one
of the nurses to have faith. She smiled and said thank you, despite what I was going through God
gives me the strength for try and be strong for others.I was taken to ICU when I came to, I had
pipes and tubes coming out of my body, a drip in my jugular vein, a drain in my tummy, a catheter
and a heart machine. I also had morphine pumped into my body on demand. I didn’t have a clue as
to what has been done , all I knew was that I couldn’t move. I was only allowed close family as
visitors and could only see my kids through a glass window. I remember looking into the eyes of my
little girl as tears rolled down her cheek, as she said I love you in sign language. It tore me apart not
being able to hold them or kiss them or to tell them that mummy was going to be fine.
The next day when the doctor came to see me, he told me that the cancer had spread to the lymph
nodes so he removed the nodes but I needed to start treatment ASAP. I spent 14 days in ICU, I was
being washed in bed and as a woman, the thought of you not being able to care for yourself makes
you feel like an invalid. I wanted to get out! On my last day in ICU a priest visited me, he said he was
there to read me my last rights but I didn’t look like I was ready to go. It was hilarious but at the
same time scary.
I was then moved to the surgical ward. My movement was still very limited. While laying in bed I
began learning how to say the rosary and I found comfort and the healing of my soul began.
The next day I had to start physiotherapy to learn how to walk again. At first I thought it would be
easy..but I couldn’t even sit up straight. As the sessions went on ,I progressed. By the 4th session I
took my first step. I tried my best but sometimes it felt so hard that I would cry throughout. But I
was determined! My doctor told me that I was doing so well, I started eating soft
solids and started going to the bathroom by myself. On the 19th day of being in hospital the doctor
said I could go home the next day. I was in pain but shouting in thanksgiving to my lord.
When I got home I was really moody and emotional. My husband had to bath me and washed my
hair and as he poured the water over me I started crying uncontrollably, apologising to him for being
such a burden and he didn’t deserve this. He tried to comfort me but I heard nothing. I was angry
with myself for not being able to do things by myself. Two weeks after the operation Paul and I went out
for lunch, we started arguing as he was over indulging in alcohol, and I started to make a scene so we
left for home. I was still going on in the car. He dropped me off at home and drove off, later I learnt that
he went to his friends place to continue drinking. I didn’t go inside the house instead I walked from
home to St Theresa’s church, in pain with stitches , I didn’t care, it did not matter, nothing mattered. I
At first I sat outside the church, just sitting there and crying, alone and cold. My phone rang so I put
it on silent. I ignored the call. I then went into the chapel and as I sat there alone, I felt a presence in
there with me, could it have been? As I sat there I spoke to my lord about all that I felt.. I spoke my
innermost feelings, I shared all my thoughts, fears and anxieties. It was the most miraculous day of my
journey. I stepped out of the chapel feeling new and whole again, with a new attitude to face the world.
A friend of mine eventually got a hold of me and asked if she could fetch me, as I wasn’t in a position
to be out and about. When I got home Paul was passed out on the floor, luckily my kids were at their
granny’s place. I didn’t have the strength to deal with him right now, I need to focus on me.
I was called to the Oncology centre the next day and all the necessary tests were done, I waited
patiently. The oncologist called me in and said treatment couldn’t start as there was something
wrong with my kidneys. I had to go back to the specialist. This was really beginning to drain me.
The specialist said that my kidneys were leaking and I needed to go back into theater, he was going
to put in 2 straw like structures to hold the kidneys up. On the 4th of April, 1 day after my 26th
birthday I was back in theater and came out the next day.
On the 10 April 2012, I began my treatment of radiation, I had to have 33 sessions of radiation. That
week I had my first chemotherapy session, and in total I had to have 17 sessions of 5 hours each.
The radiation was quick but so harmful and I wasn’t allowed to use soap or a scrub, as the skin was
extra sensitive. At times I would get so frustrated that I would scrub myself and then later. Regretted
that! As I wiped myself my skin peeled of like a banana skin. At times I would just cry and look to the
floor as it was covered in brown skin…my skin.
My chemo was extremely difficult to handle especially being told that after the dose, I couldn’t come
into contact with anyone as it was extremely dangerous to my health, they said that my hair would
fall off after the first session and that I needed to drink a solution to make sure that the chemo
leaves my body ASAP as it will damage all my other organs if it stayed in for too long. I took all these
negatives that were handed to me and handed it over to my lord.
It was tiring on both my husband and I going for these treatments, as he had to take the reigns of
the household, the kids and me. Some evenings my faith sharing group used to come over and pray
with me. As they knelt at my feet, I was humbled by HIS grace, I cried at the sound of all these people
praying for me, their loving words, their care and support.
The effects of the treatment felt worse as it went along, my immune system started battling to
keep up. There were other treatments and at times I would get turned away for chemo on account
of the bloods being to low, until it couldn’t be postponed any longer. I had to receive injections in
my tummy administered at home to increase the bone marrow. Paul hated giving them to me as he
hated seeing me in pain. These injections felt as if I was being torn apart inside out. I couldn’t handle
the pain and I called out to my lord to take me, I didn’t want to feel this way. It hurt so much.
I calmed down a little as my little girl came to me and said , please don’t go to heaven mummy, I need
you, please don’t leave. I really tried to be strong. My husband sat by my side feeling so
helpless. Holding on tight to his rosary and praying as I moaned and groaned in pain.
At my chemo sessions I tried to keep my mind busy by studying for my BEd exam in October.
My hair didn’t fall out and I didn’t lose that much weight. When people looked at me they would
never have guessed that I was sick, unless I told them. I always tried to look good to feel better.
It was hard financially too, even though we had medical aid. And Paul tried to hide this from me, but I
eventually found out.
But there were positives too, bills were getting paid, the anesthetist called to say there is no
charge for the second time in theater, the specialist refunded the deposit because he didn’t do the
Life carried on around us and my sister in law was expecting her second child and asked us to be
Godparents.. I was so excited for my first godchild, it’s a privilege to be an aunt, but a God mother… it
was a dream of mine, it was such an honour and I was overjoyed.
I registered for the ACTS retreat 2012. And many advised against it as it could be hazardous to my
health. I didn’t have all the money to pay for my retreat and it was hard since my employer wasn’t
paying me a salary. A friend from work and a sister from my faith sharing group heard that I was going
and insisted that they would pay for it as a gift. I told my oncologist about it way in advance so I could
have my treatment the day that I had to leave.
I had to go to work the day after all my chemo just so I could get paid.I covered my mouth and wore
gloves to keep away from germs and took it a bit easy. My ACTS retreat was the most memorable,
touching, amazing experience for me. It was there at the chapel that sat and cried my heart out and
came to realise all that was handed to me over the past months was my cross to bear. I was no longer
afraid of death, I embraced it. I realised that it is not death I should fear, I should fear failing to live every
day that HE has blessed me with. My husband also went for the retreat so we were able to share our
On June 22 2013, my niece was born Jasmin Theresa Ellis, our first, most precious Godchild, our little
angel whom I thought I would never get a chance to meet.
After the retreat in July 2012, we got notice from the landlord that we needed to move out as they
wanted to start renovations. We were beyond stressed and I searched the net day and night. Finally I
came across a place for sale in Glenwood, we went to have a look as I walked around.
We were the second offer in and weren’t too sure if we would get a bond with the year we just had. At
the end of August we got an email saying that the bond was approved and the first offer fell through!
In September we moved in and on the 18 of October 2012, I had my last chemo session. At the end
of October I wrote my Bachelor of education 2nd year exam and passed with distinctions. On the 16 of
January 2013 I went for a final scan. On the 23 January 2013 while shopping, I received
a phone call it was the oncologist, she called to tell me that I am officially cancer free!!! I started
screaming and shouting, my husband picked me up and twirled me around, people thought we had
won the lotto but it was much better than that, we won our lives biggest battle!
To get back to the present… I am 4 years cancer free, but because of all the treatment, I have loads of side effects from the treatment.
I am 30 years old, I am on hormone replacement because I’m going through menopause. I cant have
anymore kids and I am gaining huge amounts of weight because of the hormone imbalance.
I take 50 000 mg of calcium a week because I have osteoporosis. I can’t eat most eat most foods as it affects my intestines which are damaged due to radiation therapy. I’m moody, etc etc etc…
I can go on and on complaining but the most important thing is that I’m alive…
I am a strong believer of speaking healing into your body and life.. I said that I am going to own a car by end of the year and have my license and it became a reality because I believed it would.
Where the mind goes the body follows, Choose your thoughts carefully.