Luckiest Girl Ever
LUCKIEST GIRL EVER
By Jaime Jenkins
My name is Jaime Jenkins and I am a 4 time cancer survivor. My initial diagnosis was stage 4, and I am the only patient my oncologist has with no current evidence of cancer. My survival is a miracle, and I have learned so much from the struggle that I no longer hate my cancer. Every time it returns, I learn or relearn important principles, and I become a better me. And isn’t that the point of life? To be the best you can be! Life is God’s gift to us and what we do with it is our gift to Him.
When I was growing up, I thought if you just made the right choices and controlled everything, you could have a perfect, happy life. When I struggled to have a baby and then lost one to a miscarriage, I became angry and bitter. I thought no one deserved a baby more than me. I couldn’t even look at other people with babies without resentment. I struggled with depression. I could not enjoy the beautiful boy I had been given already, and the beautiful life I had been given. It wasn’t until I accepted God’s plan for me and learned to live with joy again that I had my baby girl. As I looked back, I could see how I had wasted precious time being sad, and that God’s timing of each of my children’s birth was perfect.
When I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 4 years ago, I was grateful. Grateful because I had felt something hard coming and had been praying that it not be something to do with my children. The fact that I had cancer and they did not, felt like an answer to my prayers. I was determined not to repeat my mistakes of the past and waste my time with a bad attitude. The first cancer fight was the harshest chemo of all my battles. I lost my hair and became very weak. It was at this time that I heard an address given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He talked about our expectations of seeing rainbows without rain. He testified that gratitude in our trials would bring joy.
“How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I could not understand how this was possible, but as I began to notice each blessing and tender mercy I received from heaven, I did experience joy in the middle of hard times. As I felt joy, I felt more trust in God and a desire to serve others. This brought even more joy!
After I beat the cancer, I was a different person. I was gentler and kinder, more forgiving and empathetic. I felt on top of the world! But as time went on, I became more lazy and complacent. Then the cancer came back, and again and again! It was hard! But I became better each time, embedding the truths I had learned deeper in my heart and soul. Just as a lump of coal is transformed into a diamond with intense pressure and heat, so my heart has been transformed and brightened from the struggles I have experienced. And I am truly thankful for that.
It is my greatest wish that I can somehow pass along what I have learned, because I know my experience is not for me alone. I know that I have a responsibility to build, strengthen, encourage and love through the knowledge and light I have gained. I know now that God is in control, that He has a plan for each one of us, and that His timing is perfect. I know that each person on earth is given trials and experiences to help them grow, and it is our choice whether this struggle will make us bitter or better. Choose joy, choose to look outward and lift other’s burdens, and you will be lifted as well!