Mary Jane Finney’s challenging journey with cancer began more than 25 years ago. “It started as a thickening in my breast and most doctors showed little concern about it,” she recalls. “At the time I was working in Columbia, South Carolina, and after about a year, I went to another doctor. Though mammography did not indicate a problem, this doctor suggested a biopsy. To everyone’s surprise, it came back malignant. I was devastated.”
“Because of the type cancer it was, I had a mastectomy and returned to my family’s home in Gadsden, Alabama, to recuperate,” she continued. “Shortly after I recovered, I decided to move to Jackson, Mississippi. My younger sister lived there and I had plans to earn my masters’ degree in family counseling at Reformed Theological Seminary.”
Several years later, after receiving her degree, Mary Jane established a counseling practice in Jackson. “I enjoyed my practice, my church, and my sister’s sweet, growing family. My life was very fulfilling.”
During a 1992 check-up, a CT scan revealed lesions in both of her lungs and a biopsy resulted in a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. “After seeking medical advice from several physicians, I chose to treat it with Tamoxifen. After three years of treatment, there was no trace of the lesions. It was a miracle.”
Once more, Mary Jane returned to her busy lifestyle only to be interrupted, again, by the results of a “routine” check-up. This time, a malignant tumor was discovered on her right adrenal gland.
“Again, I set out on my thorough pursuit of possible therapies and, ultimately, decided on a very aggressive treatment which did successfully attack the cancer. However, it also caused a blood disorder that prompted my kidneys to fail and I had to undergo many additional treatments including dialysis. Finally, after two years of dialysis (and reversing the blood disorder), my kidney function improved enough that I was able to get off dialysis.”
Considering her remarkable experiences with cancer as well as a serious blood disorder, an because of her faith and relentlessly resilient attitude in the midst of all these challenges, friends encouraged her to write a book to encourage others.
Mary Jane took their advice and published A Stable Place. She is quick to explain, “When I asked my doctor if I was ‘well,’ she told me I was ‘stable.’ As a lover of horses, that word took-on a special meaning to me. A stable is a place of safety for horses. That is why I used it in the title of the book and that is where I am today…stable.
I am enormously grateful for the wonderful care I received at Baptist, for the support of my friends and family, and my church. Because Baptist Health Systems had all the services I required, and some were complicated, I was able to have all my treatments here in Jackson so close to those who helped and encouraged me. My faith in God has sustained my through all of this. As stated so beautifully in Psalm 46, God has been, and continues to be, ‘my refuge and my strength, my ever present help in trouble.’”
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