Faith and Family Sustain Denise Seay Through Battle With Cancer
Faith and family. These have been the cornerstones of Denise Seay’s life—and even more so during her battle with cancer.
Last year, due to her insurance carrier changing, Denise scheduled her yearly mammogram in August instead of December. After her mammogram, she was told to come back in six months because there was a place they wanted to recheck. Denise couldn’t have imagined all that would follow the second mammogram.
“After my second mammogram, I was sent for an ultrasound, then a biopsy,” recalls Denise. “At this point, I started to get concerned. I called a coworker who had been through breast cancer and talked to her. It was great to be able to talk to someone who understood.”
“I will never forget sitting in Dr. Barrett’s office to get the results of my biopsy. I was with my friend, who is now my fiancé, Tim Garrett. When Dr. Barrett came in she told us, ‘There’s a little cancer in there.’ After Dr. Barrett delivered the news that I had cancer, she gave us a few minutes by ourselves. As I thought about the words she had just said, a peace came over me. I know that it sounds strange to be at peace after you’ve just been told you have cancer, but I knew if the Lord brought me to this, He would see me through this.”
Denise has been uplifted by her family, her own strong faith and the faith of a strong community of believers every step of her journey with cancer. From the biopsy, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, her family, church family at The Church of Christ at Bellwood and her work family at Old Hickory Credit Union in Lebanon have been right beside her, supporting her and praying for her. Her nephew Mark Anthony Jr. took her to treatments every three weeks and her son took off work after her surgery so he could be there to help. Her fiancé Tim Garrett was a constant supporter and caretaker throughout her surgery and treatments. Since the beginning of her cancer journey, her church family has prayed for her and been there for support and encouragement. The president of the credit union came to see Denise and brought gift cards the staff had collected so she wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. It was her friend and coworker, Bonnie Word, who brought food after each chemotherapy treatment and whose words made a lasting impact on Denise. “Bonnie told me, ‘we are going to get through this’,” remembers Denise. “It wasn’t I would get through it, it was we would get through it. It meant so much knowing I had so many people praying for me and supporting me.”
“After I received my cancer diagnosis, my friend Angela Ward told me about Sherry’s Run,” says Denise. “It has been such a relief having assistance from the Sherry’s Run organization. I’ve had to be out of work for my surgery and I’ve missed some days at work because I was sick from treatments, but I never worried. Sherry’s Run has been such a blessing!”
“A cancer diagnosis creates so many unexpected expenses from medical bills and time missed from work for appointments and treatments. The Sherry’s Run organization is glad we could be there to help Denise,” said Alisa Eakes, Sherry’s Run Director of Patient Assistance. “The Sherry’s Run organization works to help fill the gaps, enabling the patient to focus on their health and well- being.”
This year has been full of highs and lows for Denise and through it all her faith and her family have sustained her. “I had cancer, but it didn’t have me. I wasn’t going to let it consume me with worry and fear,” says Denise. “In the Bible, 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love, and a sound mind.” I believe God won’t put more on you than you can bear. At the benefit held for me, it was so encouraging to be surrounded by my family and friends. My sons, LaDrackus and LaMarkus were there and my six grandchildren. My daddy told me then he had been so worried about me, but he never said anything because I was so positive. I just relied on my faith and family to see me through this journey.”
Stronger faith and a stronger bond with family, church and work friends aren’t the only positive parts of Denise’s journey with cancer. While Tim Garrett was her friend, caretaker and supporter throughout her diagnosis, surgery and treatment, now he is much more. Tim proposed to Denise on August 28 and they are planning an April 11, 2020 wedding. “April was life changing for me with the cancer, now it will be life changing with our marriage,” says Denise.