Lisa Callahan fell in love, got married, and one month into her new season of life, found herself in the midst of a valley; it was revealed that her husband was struggling with alcohol and prescription drug addiction. What should have been a time filled with joy and laughter was cloaked in distrust, deep pain, and difficult roads to travel. In the first six months of their marriage, Lisa and her husband spent their time apart – he at a recovery center and she paying for him to get through it and praying they would be okay after he got out.
Once he returned home, Lisa said she could see the Lord’s provision over both of their hearts during their time apart; he returned clean and ready to walk through the process of getting to know his wife, again.
“We had to start from scratch, it felt like,” Lisa said. “We were learning to trust each other and getting to know one another all over, again, but we were prepared.”
But the rehabilitation of their marriage was not going to be all they would battle.
In January of 2013, Lisa began to experience odd joint pain – in her knees and then in her shoulder; she found herself becoming fatigued quickly and feeling weaker and weaker. She eventually had to quit her job as a hair stylist because mornings brought sickness and her pain was too great.
In April of 2013, she remembers speaking to her husband, Paul, about starting to believe that the Lord might be calling her to a life of weak health.
“I remember being deeply called by the Lord to pray for Paul through his recovery, but in this process of trying to live with these new pains and weaknesses, I couldn’t feel the Lord – I felt as if He wasn’t concerned for my pain,” Lisa recalled.
A short time after speaking with Paul about living her life with the pain, Lisa fell on a Sunday evening and quickly realized that getting back up, again, wasn’t an option – the pain was too great.
The next Monday she went to Urgent Care and nothing could be found on her X-Rays;
“I felt so incredibly frustrated – why was I in this much pain over, seemingly, nothing?” Lisa said.
That Tuesday brought another call from the radiology department with an answer; Lisa’s pelvic region had lesions on it. She was encouraged to go get a second opinion.
That next Saturday, Lisa went to get blood work done and went home to rest and lay down, but the doctor where she had just gotten blood drawn at was calling.
“They wanted me to get my blood retaken – my calcium levels were high; they were immediately looking for cancer. The doctor told me to get to the emergency room as soon as I could.”
She was admitted right away. Her doctors believed multiple melanoma was a possibility because no tumor could be found, but just 24 hours later that was ruled out and they were on the hunt for cancerous tumors; none could be found.
Lisa was then ordered to get a PET scan done.
“Every part of my skeletal system lit up – they found a mass in my thyroid,” she explained.
Lisa was diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid Cancer and talk of treatments began immediately.
In the midst of her diagnoses and discussion of best options for healing, Lisa felt her doctors were incorrect.
“There was never a sense of, ‘I have stage 4 cancer,’” she said. “I never felt comfortable with what they were telling me.”
While treatment plans were being drawn up and presented, Lisa had people rallying around her, lifting her up in prayer, and even suggesting other possible diagnosis.
“Both my uncle, a veterinarian, and a close friend came to me separately and suggested I ask the doctors about my parathyroid. They both felt my diagnosis was incorrect and that there had to be an explanation,” Lisa said.
She recalls her doctors always standing up and speaking above her when she first came to the hospital, but that day, her doctor sat on the edge of her bed and looked her in the eye as he prepared to answer any questions she had.
“I told him I was going to try my best not to cry, but that there was really only one question I needed answered,” Lisa said. “I looked at him and said, ‘I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and I have, literally, hundreds of people praying for me and I don’t feel right about this diagnosis; can we do another biopsy to double check?”
The next day, Lisa went in for her second biopsy. As people came to visit her while she waited for results, she felt an overwhelming sense of wellness about her and that, through all of the time in the hospital, the Lord would be glorified.
“When I went back for the second biopsy, I remember nurses coming in and asking why I was back for another one; to be able to look at them and say that I felt like the Lord had made me better was such a gift!”
Her biopsy results came back negative for cancer and a doctor that no longer saw new patients was called in; Lisa was informed that she did not have cancer, but actually had parathyroidism, exactly what her uncle and friend had felt she had.
Lisa’s paraythyroid had to be removed in order for her to be cured, but what resulted was that her body needed to drop her calcium counts in order for the procedure to be successful.
She was in the hospital for a total of one month before she was sent home with 50 calcium pills to take a day and other supplements to help her calcium to regulate.
Through her time in the hospital and her recovering at home, Lisa couldn’t help but feel the Lord’s grace washing over her.
“To see how quickly He worked over my body to make it better was such a remarkable thing to experience,” Lisa said.
As Lisa got stronger and her body got back to normal, her husband celebrated first his one year of sobriety and then, in April, his second.
“Had this happened six months before it did, I don’t know that Paul and I would have survived it,” she explained.
She saw the Lord used his recovery and her illness to completely restore their marriage – she was dependent on her husband’s care and it allowed both of them to step up exactly where they needed to be to receive God’s grace.
“The Lord can take broken things and completely repair them,” she said. “He makes things better than I could have every imagined.”
Lisa is healthy, active, working, and loving her husband in a marriage that is better than she ever intended. Hallelujah.
Author: Stephani Duff