Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Favorite Cancer Survivor

On November 26, 1946, into the home of Porter and Laura Lazenby, came a round, happy, blue-eyed bundle of joy - my little sister.
Virginia Kay Lazenby Whittington

I read the following and it is a perfect description of my sister, Gingie:
"A blue-eyed person is kind-hearted, looks for the best in others, loves with all their heart, and are the type of people who are hard to forget.  They are the best at pretending to be happy during hard times and will tend to please others before themselves."
  Yes, that's my sis!

In 1952 we added another sister, Sarah, which put Gin into the "middle child" birth order.

Gin was the pleaser and the appeaser of the three of us.  She was the happy, outgoing, and most congenial of us as well.  It was a seven-year old Gingie who sat with me in our dad's Studebaker one Saturday afternoon and told me that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart.  She was right, and I did.

We weren't always best friends.  However, there came a time when, in our teens, Gin outgrew me in size and character and decided she had had enough of her sassy and sometimes abusive older sister, and let me know she wasn't taking it anymore.  Again, she was right.
From that time on, there was a healthy respect between us.  And today, we three sisters could not be closer and enjoy spending time together any more than we do.
Gin was always very popular in school.  She was very athletic and played basketball and tennis in high school. One of her best friends was Lynn.  Their senior year they were selected Homecoming King and Queen and "Most Likely to Succeed."  And succeed they both did in their own way.

Let me tell you how my sister, Gingie, has succeeded.
 She is a survivor!

Late in her senior year of high school, we learned that she had a goiter on her thyroid which necessitated having to have a complete thyroidectomy.  It took many months and years to get her meds regulated, but
She survived!
 Gin met and married Thomas in 1969 and in a few short years they had added two robust sons to their household, Eric and Doug.
 And now, they have three grandsons and two granddaughters.

In 1999, Gin learned that she had two different types of cancer in one of her breasts.  After a lumpectomy, she had radiation treatment.
She survived! 

In 2003, after having a routine checkup, it was discovered she had a malignant tumor on one of her kidneys.  A third type of cancer.  They removed her kidney and no other treatment was required.
She survived!

 In 2004, she was told that although she had never had a blood transfusion, she had Hepatitis B and would have to undergo almost a year of the most horrible treatment.  The suicide rate for persons enduring this type treatment is very high because of the side effects of the drugs.
She survived! 

Then, in 2010 after having a routine mammogram, she was given the dreaded news that again she had another type breast cancer.  This time she had a mastectomy and months of chemo treatment.
She survived!

She has not only survived but THRIVED!

I have never seen anyone face so much and yet not lose her beautiful attitude and faith and determination to fight.  Yes, there were down times, but she didn't stay there long.
Gin can explain this to you so much better than I can.
"Having survived three bouts of cancer and several other things in my adult life gives new meaning to the words thankful and grateful.  I am alive today strictly by the Grace of God! 

"These difficult times have only made me stronger.  It has given purpose to my life; made me appreciate my life, and my family more.  It has given me the need and desire to reach out to others.
"It has given me stronger faith in my Lord, knowing that He loves me so much.  He has continued to heal me and strengthen my body in order that I might be and do the things for which He has called me.

"He obviously isn't ready for me to go to be with Him yet, but that day will come and I will be ready when He calls." 

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
In Opelousas, the small South Louisiana town where Gin works, they celebrate as only Cajun folks can.  BIG!
Gin was chosen by her employer, Evangeline Downs, to represent them for the week-long, town-wide festivities.
One of the things the town does is to have a BRA Decorating Contest.
 These are some of the creative entries.

But, the 1st place winner was done in Gin's honor by Eric, Artistic Coordinator at Evangeline Downs.
"Survivor's Natural Habitat"
I had the honor of naming it and writing a short description.
"Just like Louisiana's natural habitat must fight to survive, the Breast Cancer Survivor has also fought a battle.  And, she has become strong, determined, resilient, and beautiful because of it."

As the Evangeline Down's representative, my beautiful sis participated in the Breast Cancer Awareness Style Show.
Thomas was proud of his special beautiful Survivor.

What makes one a Survivor?
 Gin shared that the following scripture found in Psalms 139:23-24, has always meant a lot to her:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts.  Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."
 And, this anonymous quote that Gin wrote in the front of he Bible many years ago sums up her life and why she is a survivor:
"Joy is a Christian word and emotion.  It flows from deep springs within your life, regardless of what may be happening to you on the outside."
 I love you, my precious and beautiful sister and truly you are strong, determined, resilient, and beautiful.


  1. WOW! She is definitely a survivor! Living proof that if our mind is in the right place and with God steering the wheel, we can survive anything and keep a positive outlook while doing it. As for that "Survivor's Natural Habitat" Absolutely love it and what a perfect description!

  2. What an encouraging and lovely tribute to your beautiful sister! I was blessed and strengthened by reading about her strong faith in spite of so many onslaughts of cancer. May God continue to use her for His glory. What a dynamic woman! Thank you for introducing her to your readers. I've been blessed!

  3. WOW~ her story is soo inspirational and a testimony to to the grace and power of our God. I have been soo blessed by it, thanks for sharing it!

    Enjoy your day!

  4. Good grief, Libby, I had no idea your sister had survived and survived and survived. What a testimony and what an inspiring post! Thanks for sharing!

  5. What an amazing story!!!! I enjoy reading these life stories so very much!! Such an encouragement to never give up faith!!!


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