Candy, you have written Face of Faith. What is it about?
When I was thirty years old, I was hospitalized for the removal of a pea-sized cyst in the nasal cavity. Instead, I was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant tumor the size of a baseball situated underneath the brain in the center of the head in an inoperable area of the head. Grade-three bone cancer is not receptive to chemotherapy or radiation. They told me that I could lose the right side of my face.
I had always thought that I was a Christian, but I had never really surrendered my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In the hospital room that night I was finally at the end of Candy - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I ask God to totally take over my life.
My circumstances didn’t change, but God began to change my heart to one seeking His will only for my life whatever that might be.
Two weeks later I met with a craniofacial surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. He was very upfront about my surgery and my prognosis. No sugar coating.
He explained that he would cut across the top of the head and down the middle of the face enabling him to peel back both sides of the face and remove the greater portion of my face including the forehead bone, the right cheekbone, and the nose. He could hopefully remove the bulk of the tumor, buying me some time. He would not replace the bones to the face. I would wake up severely deformed and blind in the right eye, probably the left.
Miraculously, he instead attempted to remove the tumor in its entirety, and it worked. Even more miraculously, he took the bones to the face that had been thrown in the trash and reconstructed my face. I had a new face. And was cancer free.
What goes through someone’s mind when they are told they have an inoperable tumor in the center of the head and could lose the right side of their face? You were thirty years old. That’s pretty overwhelming.
For me, the will to live took over. That stubborn will to fight no matter what the odds.
There were complications after that first surgery. What did that involve?
Seven months after the first surgery, infection spread throughout the forehead bone and forehead skin. I was put in isolation. Five weeks later and four more surgeries, I returned home weighing 79 pounds with a shaved head, sunken in forehead, and two skin graphs on the front and back of the head.
Two years later on a routine check up trip to the Mayo Clinic, the tumor recurred. Same place. This time the size of a raspberry. So they did the whole first surgery again
During those three years of nine surgeries and frequent trips to the Mayo Clinic, did you ever ask God “Why me?” Were you ever angry with God?
I never asked God “Why me?” I did ask what was going on? I didn’t understand. I asked why He was allowing so much in my life, but not so much why it was happening to ME. Yes, I was angry with God often. Thankfully someone informed me that God could handle my anger.
How do you address the importance that society has put on beauty?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look the best that you can look. I personally have always enjoyed experimenting with makeup and getting professional makeovers, especially now that I am facially disfigured. I want to make the most of what I have. But at the end of the day for me, the make up comes off and the hairpieces come off. If my confidence depended on beauty, I could be devastated. And many facially disfigured people are.
In a world obsessed with perfection of the outer appearance and makeovers of every kind, God is more interested in a different kind of makeover – one that lasts – a makeover of the heart.
That’s what happened with me. He began a makeover of my heart. And He’s still working on me!!
How did your husband handle the stress of your illness and the new Candy?
Unfortunately ours was not a happy marriage before I was ever sick. It was an emotionally abusive household. After twenty-four years of marriage, Lee filed for divorce.
Candy, you have experienced emotional pain and physical pain. Which is more difficult?
Physical pain is difficult– especially chronic pain. It is wearing and can affect a person emotionally as well. But there are medications for pain.
But the emotional pain of abuse is sometimes more difficult, I think. You can’t take a pill for it. It requires a lot of time and counseling. Only the Lord can heal the broken heart and enable us to forgive.
Where can we find out more about you and this book?
Please visit my web site at faceoffaithbook.com. Thank you for letting me visit with your readers today!