A Miracle in Disguise

by Rachael from Salt Lake City, UT

Right now I am listening to my favorite song and I am feeling genuinely happy and so grateful to be experiencing life. Even the hard and trying parts. I have reason to believe that God’s hand has been revealed to me in my life. Although I don’t feel like my story really belongs among some of the wonderful and inspiring stories I’ve read here from you amazing friends, here’s my experience with GIST.

I’ve entitled this essay as a Miracle in Disguise. That is what I believe I’ve experienced. My story begins roughly a year and a half before my GIST diagnosis. At 20 years old I found myself engaged to be married in 1 month. This was July of 2004. I’d been taking birth control for two weeks when I experienced a heart attack. WHAT?!?!? I had always kept physically fit and at a healthy weight- and I was young! Surely they were mistaken! (Actually, I almost didn’t go into the hospital, as heart attack was the last thing on my mind. However, my dear older brother dragged me into the hospital at 3:00 am). A clot was found in an angiogram of my heart.  I recieved a priesthood blessing from my brother and was subsequently put on two separate
blood thinners by my doctors.  For the next year or so I had no idea I was bleeding internally — presumably from the blood thinners.  The source of the bleed kept eluding doctors until finally one day in late 2005 they had me swallow a little camera which went through my system, taking a picture every 2 seconds. GIST was found in one of those pictures.

The miracle is this: As you know, GIST is almost always asymptomatic until it has metastasized to other organ or/areas. If I had not had a heart attack, I wouldn’t have been put on heavy blood thinnners, and I wouldn’t have had the subsequent bleed that eventually let to the GIST discovery in my small intestine. I believe I still would have that tumor in me today. I’d choose  a heart attack any day, considering the alternative.

My GIST was removed by surgery. I recieve yearly CT scans and I am not on any oral medication. I feel healthy. I don’t know why Heavenly Father spared me, but I live everyday so thankful that He did.

You people are so strong. I truly admire you and feel close to you, although we’ve never met. I look forward to getting to know you better.

~Rachael from Salt Lake City, UT~