After tough year, blessings count for Myers family

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 12, 2002

BOGUE CHITTO — Beating the odds is an accomplishment KarenMyers says she couldn’t have done alone this past year.

Myers, 34, knows nothing but gratitude toward God and everyonewho prayed and helped her while she battled the gastric cancer shewas diagnosed with in October 2001.

“People have been so good to us,” said the mother of three. “Icouldn’t have gotten through it without family, friends and evenstrangers who prayed for me.”

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She knows those prayers are what brought her good news in Julyas she finished up her last round of chemotherapy.

After undergoing surgery to remove her stomach in January atOshner’s Medical Center in New Orleans, Myers also had to gothrough several rounds of chemotherapy and radiationtreatments.

It all ended on July 12, and since then her medical reports havecome back looking good. That puts a smile on her face and the facesof everyone around her.

“I wake up every morning and say, ‘Thank you Lord,'” said Myers.”I’m proud I made it to 34 (years old). I’m thankful for every dayand every year I get.”

Each day is more precious to her, with nothing taken for grantedas she takes out a new lease on life.

She can’t seem to get enough of time with her husband, Mickey,and their three children — Blaine, 11; Braden, 7; and Brooke, 4 –all of whom kept her going through the tough eight months oftreatment.

“I just wanted to raise my kids. I couldn’t see their lives orMickey’s without me,” said Myers, holding back tears.

In her purse she still carries a letter her oldest daughter,Blaine, gave her on the first day she and Mickey had to make thetwo-hour trip to Oschner’s.

Simple activities, which seemed routine before the Myers’ familywas faced with the tough reality of Karen’s illness, now makelasting memories.

“There’s just a bond there now that’s hard to describe. Thetogetherness is so special,” said Myers.

She’s also glad to get back to her job as a kindergarten teacherat Bogue Chitto Attendance Center.

“I love my job. My little kindergartners were inspirational tome because I could go to work and not think about the cancer,” saidMyers, who taught when her strength allowed her betweentreatments.

Fellow teachers and other faculty members were also a source ofcomfort during treatment. Myers is so appreciative of theirkindness and love.

She recalled the outpouring of love everyone showed at a benefitin May. Numerous items were donated and auctioned off forunbelievable amounts of money as people in the community pulledtogether so the family would not have to worry about finances.

“It’s amazing that a $5 Barbie doll sold for $100. I just sat inthe bleachers not believing what people were doing for me,” shesaid.

She recalls how the generosity started from the first day, whenshe was waiting to have x-rays at Southwest Mississippi MedicalCenter in McComb. As she and her husband sat in the waiting room, astranger prayed with them asking for angels to line their path.

Myers was astonished a few days later when a nurse from Oshner’scalled, identifying herself as Angel. Her family was continuouslyshowered with blessings throughout the ordeal.

“We feel indebted so much to God first and to countlessChristian people who live in Lincoln County and other surroundingareas,” said Mickey Myers as he looked at his now healthy wife.

He hopes to see her smiling face every single day for decades tocome as they continue to build on a marriage of 14 years.

“One of my goals in life is to have a golden weddinganniversary, and I just pray that I can reach that goal,” hesaid.

Mickey Myers, known as Coach Myers to most of the community,will return to Calhoun Gymnasium with a renewed love for life,students, friends and basketball.

During his wife’s illness, Jack Case filled in for Coach Myerswhen necessary, helping lead the Bogue Chitto girls basketball teamto the state championship tournament last year.

Karen Myers is glad her husband will be back in the place heloves so much. She looks forward to watching him from the bleachersat every ballgame.

“The kids were also really excited about it. They didn’t wanthim to give it up,” she said.

Almost every factor of Karen Myers’ life has returned to normal,except her eating habits, which will never be the same.

She cannot eat sugar, so chocolates and other sweet indulgencesare no longer allowed. She can only eat small meals, becausewithout a stomach her body cannot handle an overload of food.Another rule to follow is that she cannot eat and drink closetogether.

“I’ve adjusted and have gotten used to it now,” she said, addingthat she has lost 50 pounds and is now enjoying an entirely newwardrobe.