Prelude to my cancer story…

Although my story begins well before 2009, I was born February 19, 1962 in Toledo, Ohio, what prompted me to create this site, My Voice of Life, and my ministry, Healing Hope, is being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early April 2009.

On the day of my first chemo treatment I began a blog Christ & Cancer . In 2011, I decided to add my participation to the Mass General Hospital blogging site Care Pages for cancer patients. I named my page “Healing Hope.” Here on My Voice of Life, I will bring these two blogs and my other writing, about being an ELL teacher and raising my two sons among other topics, together in one place.

Mary-Margaret, Jamie Fisher, Elisha Almonte

Mary-Margaret with her two sons Jamie and Elisha

For several years I shared a home, Abba’s House, with another amazing single mother. On the Abba’s House page, I want to share some of my fantastic adventure of mothering and my own stories of raising two sons—one now a young man and the other is a young boy.

I love my vocation. I am an ELL (English Language Learners) writing teacher. For some time I have been writing about that. You can link to my professional Wiki page from this site.

As part of my 50th birthday celebration, I have begun a ministry that, like my Mass General blog page, I also named Healing Hope. I collect pharmacy gift cards that I give to Mass General cancer patients. The social workers at MGH help me to identify patients in need of this financial blessing.

Batanian family photo

The Batanian Family. Mary-Margaret is third from the right, back row.

I am Armenian and the third of seven children. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school. It was at age 26 that I accepted Christ as my savior. I will share more about this here. My faith in Christ sustains me. I place my trust in Christ Jesus, but will and am deeply grateful to the medical expertise of the MGH oncology team.

My ministry, Healing Hope, is a way to share the love, care, and power of God, pass something onto my fellow Cancer patients. It is giving something back to those at Mass General who so lovingly care for my physical body.

In April 2009, I thought I had a hernia, my primary care physician wanted to rule out appendicitis. I was feeling some severe groin area pain. I felt bloated. (I thought mid section fat was part of my mid life age) I was fatigued, but who wouldn’t be with an active young child and an impending divorce? The CT scan showed masses-VERY large masses. Two of them-on/in my ovaries.

They were termed tumors once the Stage 3c Ovarian diagnosis attached itself to them as they left my body through surgery! My surgeon later revealed to me that one was the size of a junior basketball, and the other was dense-heavy like a shot put. His analogy helped me understand these growths and their dimensions instantly.

I made it through surgery and post surgery chemo that Spring into Fall of 2009, and, but for the grace of God, and many details to numerous to go into in a paragraph, I survived. I was counting on surviving the diagnosis, and reaching the two year mark where perhaps a black and white photo would be taken of me smiling, and my cancer survival success story would be shared openly on the “Wall of Hope” at MGH on the 8th floor near the Healing Garden. I deeply desired this cancer milestone.

It is really interesting to me that I set up the CarePage on the Mass General blog around two years after the diagnosis time. I wanted it to serve as a testimony of my complete physical healing from the cancer and the effects of its treatment. I thought it would greatly encourage others battling cancer. It was shortly after setting this CarePage up that I was told that the cancer had indeed returned. I wouldn’t be getting a nice black and white portrait of myself and my cancer remission story, after all. Well, this news sent me into somewhat of a tailspin.

The recurrence stayed minimal, and deemed unnecessary to do nothing but monitor. I was happy and in agreement with that. I was not ready to face chemo again in Spring 2011. It has been up until the very end of 2011 when has become really clear to the team of oncologists that it is time take chemotherapy again. So, this is the starting point of the Care Pages blog. To document my journey in facing the battle against cancer with chemo for a second time. Healing Hope is still that I am living, for today, to testify to this.

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