Heather Akins Overstreet shared her powerful testimony of surviving cancer at the Bulloch County Relay for Life Survivors and Caregivers dinner recently at First Baptist Church.

Survivors and Caregivers attending dinner Credit: Grice Connect

After 6 rounds of chemo, 17 infusions of Herception/Perjeta, 30 rounds of radiation, 3 surgeries, and a year of oral treatment, Heather is cancer free! Even though her cancer is gone she still struggles daily with the side effects left from the medicines and procedures she underwent in the battle.

Heather shared her life story which included the loss of her dad to cancer and two miscarriages’, before giving birth to two beautiful girls. Then came cancer.

Below is an excerpt in Heathers’s own words from her message to the audience explaining about how her faith pulled her through this very difficult period in her life.

TRUST

“TTell God how you feel

  • It’s okay to tell God exactly how you feel – he created all your emotions and nothing takes him by surprise.

Yes, my support system was tremendous but they can’t go with you everywhere. They can go with you to the doctor but they have to stay behind in the waiting room while you have to walk alone into the examine room and especially the radiation room.  During radiation they place you in a cold room and make you lay on a cold steel table completely exposed while the technicians position you and then they leave. You can hear the door slam shut and it’s just you. But guess what, it wasn’t just me. Jesus walked in there with me and was standing right beside me during those 8 long minutes on the table. That’s the amazing thing about him, he goes places with you that man can never go. Even though I was alone physically in that room, I had him with me the entire time telling me it was going to be okay! 

RRefuse to become bitter – you can either become bitter or better

Two questions the preacher asked – Will you love God NO MATTER what happens to you? Will you trust God NO MATTER what happens to you?

What is the antidote to bitterness? – Worship

I did not want to go back down that path of depression and bitterness. After hearing that key point in the message, I made a point to worship. I didn’t google anything about breast cancer or HER2+ because I didn’t want worry and fear to slip in. When I was home sick, I couldn’t read or watch TV because the strength of trying to focus was too much. I was able to listen. So I would lay on the couch in the dark and turn my iPad to scripture. It was just a calming voice with light piano music in the background speaking scripture on healing, God’s grace, his mercy, his faithfulness.  One scripture that stuck out to me was 2 Chronicles 20:17 “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your position, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”

UUnit with people of Faith – This is why it is so important to surround yourself with people of your same faith. I was blown away with the love and support of the community. People I never met would walk up to me in town and say “I’m friends with such and such and follow you on Facebook and I’m praying for you.” My niece would send me praise songs via text and they always seemed to come when I was low in spirit. When I was home alone, in the bed sick, and felt like giving up. Those were the moments when someone would text me with a scripture or a song or just a hey, I love you, I’m praying for you. It is so important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when you feel a tugging on your heart, or someone comes to mind that you normally don’t think of. That could be God’s way of using you to remind others that they are loved. 

SSurrender your future to God

“Even if God takes my life, I will still trust Him” Job 13:15

Will you either worship or worry

Remember at the beginning of my story, I mentioned my dad and him battling cancer? During the early stages of being diagnosed, I thought about him and how I was 2 when he was first diagnosed. My Lily was 2 at my diagnosis. Fear tried to set in that I wouldn’t see my children grown, I wouldn’t be with them during all the milestones, that I wouldn’t see my future grandbabies, that I wouldn’t grow old with my best friend. 

But the preacher’s question kept ringing in my ear……Will you either worship or worry?!

TTrust Jesus for a comeback

This journey has not been easy. I learned so much about people, myself and the Lord. I learned to enjoy every single moment of every day and not get bogged down in the junk of life. We are not promised tomorrow. You never know when a phone call may come that changes everything. Eat the cake, take the trip, live life and love hard.   But most importantly, I learned that God is forever faithful. I am now living out many of the scriptures I had read and heard in church for years. Psalm 37:25 – I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken. 

After 6 rounds of chemo, 17 infusions of Herception/Perjeta, 30 rounds of radiation, 3 surgeries, and a year of oral treatment, I am cancer free! Many times when people give their testimonies, they end it with a fairy tale ending, “And they all lived together, happily ever after.”  Yes, my cancer is gone but that does not mean I don’t struggle daily with the side effects left from the medicines and procedures done to me. HOWEVER, I have to remember to T.R.U.S.T

Thankful for her family

Heather and her husband, Nathan Overstreet, will be married this June for 20 years. She is beyond blessed and thankful God put them together. Nathan, in his caregiver role, has supported her through thick and thin, good and bad and even when she wasn’t the most lovable person.

Their daughter Claire is now 9 and in 3rd grade taking theater classes and daughter Lily is 6, in 1st grade and loving gymnastics.

“Every time I look at them, I see all the tears shed and all the prayers prayed for them. They are my miracles and proof that God hears us and gives us the desires of our hearts,” said Heather. “I truly believe now looking back, God took me down that long hard road of infertility to lean on him and trust in him because he was preparing me for a bigger battle ahead of me.”

Special thanks to First Baptist Church for hosting the dinner and to the events sponsors including Statesboro Service League as the presenting sponsor, Ricky Lane Dentistry, Southern Manor Assisted Living and Leaf Lenders.

Relay for Life April 22 Downtown

This dinner also sets the stage for the annual Relay for Life of Bulloch County and Georgia Southern University. The event is coming back in person this year and will be held on Friday, April 22, 2022 from 6 PM to 10 PM in Downtown Statesboro. This years fundraising goal is $50,000.

Click here to learn more about participating in the Relay for Life.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...