Sid: What happens when you’re married, you have an LPN background, you’re a nurse and then you can take some advanced studies, you become a psychiatric nurse, then you’re called on the mission field? Then in June 1995 my guest, Shirley Smith, I’m speaking to her at her home in North Little Rock, Arkansas came back from the mission field. She had a bladder infection, was about time for a yearly checkup and she went to the doctor and had no idea what the doctor’s report was going to be. What was it Shirley?
Shirley: Well like you say I returned home and went for a checkup and the doctor checked me. He found a very tiny little rectal mass like the size of a split pea, half of the size of a split pea a little tiny green pea. Only a skillful hand could have taken that. So I knew that was God already beginning to orchestrate and intervene on my behalf. Then after he found this small rectal mass he said “I really believe this is endometriosis.” So he requested exploratory surgery just to look around to see really what it was. So 3 days later I went into the hospital and he found 3rd stage ovarian cancer.
Sid: Now for those that are that familiar, what does 3rd stage ovarian cancer mean?
Shirley: Okay it is an advanced stage of cancer. 4th stage means that it is totally metastasized all over your entire body. So mine was… in fact I think technically speaking it really was between 3rd and 4th, but we say 3rd. This meant that it metastasized to or spread to my intestines and other structures of my body.
Sid: What was the prognosis on such a horrible statement of what was going on?
Shirley: Oh his prognosis was that I had 6 months to live, chemotherapy possibly, I had a 35% chance to live 12 months and that was the prognosis.
Sid: That is a… you know it’s one thing to preach healing, it’s another thing to get a sentence like that out of the blue from a doctor the last thing you expected. What went on inside of Shirley Smith at that moment?
Shirley: Well you know he said he took out all he could and sewed me up and left the rest. What was going on inside of me at that time is I’m thinking medically as a nurse, I’m thinking “You know he’s left a lot in there” and I’m trying to deal with the sentence of death spoken over me, which happened at my birth when I was born but I hadn’t had a sentence like that since. I was astounded when I heard these words I panicked.
Sid: You almost died when you were born?
Shirley: I was born too rapidly. The doctor who delivered me gave my mother too much medication and I was born without hardly any oxygen. I was very black, there was no oxygen in my body when he removed me from my mother’s body he threw me across the room in the air and said this “SOB is dead!” He cursed me with death and said “Leave her alone and let her die.” So the curse of death has been over me…
Sid: Not only that it’s been over a number of members of your family …
Sid: …that have actually died from cancer.
Shirley: Right and there’s been 17 people die on my mother’s side with malignancy. I was thinking you know my mind began to think on those things, but I was thinking “Wait, wait I’m trying to deal.” I’m going into denial in and out. I’m going into reality and it was very difficult at that. I’m thinking “Now didn’t he say he only wanted to do exploratory and didn’t he say that he thinks it’s only going to be endometriosis?” I though “This cannot be true he has made a mistake.” So here I am in denial again. Then I thought “I have felt good except for the fatigue I’ve had recently” but I connected that fatigue with the missionary trip because we worked long hard hours for 30 straight days in that intense heat of the jungles. Doing medical clinics and evangelizing at night, so I really didn’t think I was sick. After the surgery you know I was in bed with all these tubes coming out of my body I was moving in and out of conscientiousness. When I began to still again was when I wakened I heard conversations around my bed and they were saying “She has cancer, she has 6 months to live 12 months possibly with chemo” and I’m thinking “Am I have a nightmare? Is this really real? Am I dreaming? What is going on?” I began to think… see I was going in and out so my thoughts were repetitious many times and I was thinking about the 17 people who had died with cancer and I knew that it was a generational curse. I had prayed many times about this. My mom had been touched by this breast cancer, of course she’s been fine ever since, but I became overwhelmed as I recall the history of the family. Then I would remember I have the silent killer, I have the 3rd stage of this. I was just trying to deal with all of this, then I began to reason and deal with God like many people do in those situations, and so you know I just begin to just give him my pedigree and I said my ministry profile I said “Lord I’ve just done so much for the kingdom of God. I’ve been very fruitful, I’ve been very faithful in ministry the past 30 years and I’ve been a good girl, but you know what I’m just really ready to check out because if I die I’m yours and if I live I’m yours. But I am willing Lord to do whatever pleases You.” That was my bottom line statement to the Lord “Whatever pleases You I’m willing to do it.” I also began to remember and say to Him “I know that my destiny isn’t finished because I have many callings on my life.” I also remembered prophetic words that had been spoken over my life and had not been fulfilled. I knew that I had to fight and I remembered in the midst of all of this that 1st Timothy 1:18 when Paul spoke to Timothy he said “Son Timothy according to the prophecies that went forth over you by them, war a good war fight.”
Sid: You know it’s kind of interesting just last night I heard an evangelist say “We are to fight sickness just the way we fight sin.” We are to really be aggressive in this… isn’t this in effect what was going on in you Shirley?
Shirley: Absolutely, absolutely, but you know I thank God because I’m a fighter by nature and I’ve done spiritual warfare for a number of years. I teach spiritual warfare, and I just had a lot of experience in that you spiritually speaking. Even in the natural being raised in violence I was a fighter for survival.
Sid: What do you mean raised in violence?
Shirley: Well I was raised in a non-Christian home and my father under the control of very violent spirit with manifesting rages and violence and abuse that we lived in for 19 years, my sister and I along with my mom. I just knew you know you had to fight for survival so I learned to fight at a very young age. I learned to fight I guess at birth because he told me then you know I would not live I’d die.
Sid: By the way even the doctor said you could have a few more months if you would have the chemotherapy, did you try it?
Shirley: Actually I did it was not my desire, it was really not my choice, personal choice, but I began to be pressured to take this. My family especially my mom was very hysterical over this and very emotional bidding me to take this to extend my life, maybe there was hope, maybe I could make it. Both doctors you know told me the same thing they began to coerce me you know “Take the chemo, take the chemo.” My husband thank God said “Shirley I’ll stand with you on your decision whatever say I’m not going to pressure you whatever you decide to do I’ll stand with you.” Being a nurse myself I knew what chemo does to the body so I flatly refused to take the chemo. Well that didn’t satisfy family, or oncologists, or friends so they continued to pressure me and pressure me. So one day the doctor said to me, the oncologist, said to me “Well listen Shirley I have a natural substance made from a Yew tree and it’s very successful with ovarian. I can give you this substance.” So under pressure with everybody I agreed for only chemo treatment. This was… I want to make this point to the audience, I had one chemo treatment only. I had a double dose and I was extremely highly allergic to this substance. They put me back in under IV again and tried to flush me for 4 days and 4 nights to get this out of my system. This substance is pure poison it was to my system. It felt like hot liquid fire flowing through every part… I could feel it when it went through every joint, every muscle, to all my major organs in my system, when it went into my brains, when it went into my ears my ears were in extreme pain. My body would jerk and convulse on the bed from the pain of this thing. I mean I had… my mouth bled, my gums bled, inside of my stomach was very raw when I urinated, my bowel movement was like liquid fire. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. My immune system was knocked out, my hair fell out, I laid at deaths door for 9 days. That was my one and only chemo treatment.
Sid: Okay medically speaking there’s nothing that can be done. You’re told you have 6 months to live what did you do about it?
Shirley: Well after I came out of the chemo I… the battle started for my life. It started in the arena of my mind that’s where the battle is, that’s where the battle is. I had to sign a declaration to my family and I said “Listen I have tried it your way and it don’t work for me, it my work for others it don’t work for me. I almost died from it now leave me alone. It’s my body, it’s my decision and I’m going to make my own decision. Now it’s just between me and Jesus from now on.” At that moment I just made a quality choice it’s me and the Lord. I have to say it’s an awesome feeling when you just abandon yourself to God and the face of death.
Sid: Ah Shirley our time is up we’ll pick up here on tomorrow’s broadcast.