Faced with Stage-4 cancer, woman turns to God

by Elizabeth Carlton

Few who have met Jennifer Dyer forget her.

The upbeat Bank of America employee is the proud mother of two “young adults” and an active member of Denver United Methodist Church where she inspires smiles on every face she greets. But that disposition didn’t come without divine inspiration.

Jennifer Dyer

Dyer had always believed in God. But she hadn’t experienced a relationship with Him until one night a supernatural experience saved her life.

It was just after midnight on September 5, 2008. She had just returned from a trip to Boston. Her daughter, Jena, was out for the night and her son, Hank, was away at school. That evening Dyer began to experience abdominal discomfort. She chalked it up to fatigue, but the pain kept her up.

“I lay awake, tossing and turning, unable to sleep. I watched the ceiling fan turn round and round,” she said.

“The room was dimly lit, and no TV or radio was on the house. It was totally silent. Then from nowhere, clear and loud, a voice said, ‘Get your clothes on and go to the hospital.’ I was wide awake, I was not asleep. I was thinking to myself, ‘Did I hear what I thought I just heard?’”

Dyer didn’t take any chances. She got dressed and headed for Presbyterian Hospital in Huntersville, where she checked into the emergency room. The staff ran an X-Ray, then a CT scan, before the unfavorable results rolled in.

“After reviewing the scan, (the doctor) came in and sat down by my bed,” Dyer said. “He said he hated to tell me this, but it looks like I have cancer. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. He was very nice, and said they were going to admit me and do some further tests. Then he left the room and I was alone with the new knowledge that I had cancer. So I did the only thing I knew to do – pray.”

Tests revealed that Dyer had Stage 4 appendix cancer. It was then she handed her fate and her heart over to God, knowing that only He could determine what would happen next. Through the next four years, she leaned on him and the support of her church family as she endured treatments and four rounds of major surgery.

“Prior to 2008, I took way too much for granted,” Dyer said. “Denver United Methodist Church is like an extension of my family. I can’t imagine not having these wonderful people in my life. They prayed for me, visited me, and have been there for whatever I needed throughout this journey. Often times, I’d wake up at Baptist hospital and a church member would be in my room. Their support has been humbling.”

Despite life-threatening odds, Dyer exudes a God-given peace and positive attitude that she uses to face each day. Her optimism has become a breath of hope for many within the Denver community who find her joyful nature contagious and inspiring.

“I don’t know the plans God has for me,” she said. “But I do believe that He has used me as some type of ambassador. I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve told me that I’m an inspiration to them. While that is nice for them to say, it is not me who deserves the credit.”

Dyer still isn’t out of the woods when it comes to her battle with cancer. Yet her illness doesn’t haunt her. If anything, she is more alive than ever before.

“I hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” she said.

“I’ve been through four major surgeries that I didn’t think I’d make it through. They are long and tough to recover from. But I don’t dwell on the possibility of another surgery. I just live for the day. To be present in the moment and to appreciate everything, every day. That’s what I try to do.”

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