Features

One person’s journey through cancer

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"Oh my goodness, I have cancer!" That is what Jill Hostetler thought as she walked through the hall of the gynecologist office eight years ago. At the age of 43, Hostetler was in for one of the biggest struggles of her life. It was a busy day in the music department where Hostetler worked. As she threw away the gum one of her students was chewing, she saw something sticking up from her shirt. Later that evening she took another look at it, thinking maybe it was a muscle due to her stress. However, the next morning the lump was still there so she called her doctor. In the back of her mind, she knew. She told her husband and they went to her appointment together. From there on out, every appointment and experience was "we" for her husband and herself. Several years previous to being diagnosed with cancer, Hostetler and her husband lost their son at birth, a stillborn. Hostetler realized the worst thing a parent could experience is outliving her children. From then on she spent countless nights praying that if anything bad were to happen to her family, it would happen to her. But it was not the first thing she thought of when diagnosed with cancer. Instead, she battled to find a connection with God. Finally, on one of her long walks, God broke the silence? "Help me!" Hostetler said. Then she heard a quite response. "I answered your prayer." She knew at that very moment that God had spoken to her. All she needed to do was speak out of pure honesty to God during her prayers. After that revelation everything became clear for her. Hostetler’s situation went from tolerable to do-able because she knew it was a part of God’s purpose for her life. Although she understood her cancer was a part of God’s great purpose, there were still difficulties throughout her experience. "It was very lonely... you're the only one that has to go through it," Hostetler explained. "(But) watching those who love you watch you go through it (was the worst). It was harder on them than it was on me." After six months, two surgeries, six treatments of chemotherapy, hair loss, countless nights of restless sleep, and watching her family suffer, Jill Hostetler survived. "It's not enough to be a survivor," Hostetler said. "(I must) choose to move beyond a survivor, get out of my comfort zone." Hostetler has changed through this experience by making everyday choices; like not letting those “little things” get to her, not getting angry, and just taking things as they come. "Deal with life as it comes," Hostetler said. "There are a lot of things in life that are not happy. I'm in a happy place."
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