2008-07-24 / Front Page

Cancer was never part of the plan for Lyndsie

LYNDSIE BEGGS LYNDSIE BEGGS If attitude can heal, Lyndsie Beggs, 21, has won her battle against ovarian cancer.

"When I was 19, everything in my life was going just the way I had planned. I was going to attend cosmetology school and then marry the man of my dreams. We were going to have our perfect house and our perfect children and live happily ever after. Cancer was never a part of my perfect plan."

When Lyndsie started feeling tired all of the time and gaining weight, she knew something was not quite right. "What 19 year old thinks there is really something wrong with her body? I just pushed the symptoms to the back of my mind and continued on with my life."

That is until her mother, Melanie, saw her daughter's stomach.

An ultrasound revealed that Lyndsie had a huge mass in her abdomen, which made her look five months pregnant. Eventually, she was referred to Dr. Michael MacFee, an ob-gyn/oncologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

"He couldn't tell us what the mass was, but he knew it needed to come out," said Lyndsie. "Thankfully, the surgery was a success. They removed my left ovary, which had a tumor measuring 18 centimeters (approximately seven inches) on it.

The Beggs Family: (seated, l-r) Garrison, Ansley, Ellyn, Larry, Melanie, Jackson, (standing) Madison, Kendyl, Chandler, Lyndsie, and Braxton. The Beggs Family: (seated, l-r) Garrison, Ansley, Ellyn, Larry, Melanie, Jackson, (standing) Madison, Kendyl, Chandler, Lyndsie, and Braxton. "After surgery, I went back for a check-up, thinking the doctor would say everything went well, good-bye, have a nice life. When he told me I had cancer, I stood there in disbelief. 'There must be some mistake - I'm 19 years old!' The good news was he got it all, and no treatment was necessary."

Lyndsie put the surgery behind her and moved on with her life. She decided that the Lord had other plans for her that did not include cosmetology school. She was also ready to start talking marriage with her childhood sweetheart, Daniel Brooker of Sylvester, Georgia.

"I was a month shy of my twoyear anniversary of being cancer free when I started noticing some of the same symptoms I had with my first tumor. I was very concerned and went to see Dr. MacFee. He said everything felt OK but he wanted to do an ultrasound just to make sure.

"Soon after the ultrasound started, I knew something was wrong, very wrong. Two days later, Dr. MacFee said the cancer had returned and he was going to have to operate. After that, everything was a blur. This time, instead of the hard mass, the doctors found over 11 pounds of fluid in my abdomen and a 10-centimeter tumor (four inches) on my right ovary."

The surgery included a total hysterectomy, which shattered Lyndsie's dreams of one day becoming a mother. She would also have to undergo eight rounds of chemotherapy.

"I didn't know how much more I could take. But the Lord has been faithful - he gives me just enough grace to get through one day at a time. I know he will never forsake me."

Lyndsie is currently in the middle of her chemotherapy and has had her share of tiredness and nausea.

She has likewise had many good days, especially the day Daniel asked her to be his wife. The couple plans to be married April 25, 2009.

"Many would say this must be the worst time of my life, but to tell the truth, I couldn't be any happier than I am now," stated Lyndsie. "I am engaged to be married to the most amazing man, and I know without a doubt that I am just where the Lord wants me.

"I would not have planned things this way, but I am no longer living my dream - I am living out the Lord's plan for my life. I know He has something wonderful in store, and I can't wait to find out what it is."

She went on to say that her illness has taught her just how precious life is. "We are so blessed each and every day, and sometimes, we get so busy we don't even realize it. Take the time to thank the Lord for all of those special blessings in your life - good health, a wonderful family, great friends, or a beautiful day - none of us is promised tomorrow."

Lyndsie, who lives with her family on Double Branches Road, is especially grateful for her parents, Melanie and Larry Beggs, and her three sisters and five brothers. A deep love for God and each other gives the family a special closeness.

Lyndsie also has some very good friends, one of whom is Keller Perry. Perry is organizing a golf tournament, set for Saturday, August 2, at the Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, to help her friend with her medical bills. Af- ter graduating from high school, Lyndsie was dropped from her family's insurance policy.

The deadline to enter the tournament is Tuesday, July 29. The registration fee, which is $75 per player, includes green and cart fees, lunch, and great prizes. In addition, there will be a silent auction, a "Long Drive Contest," and a "Closest to the Pin Contest."

Individuals, churches, and businesses are encouraged to sponsor a hole for $125.

For more information or to register to play in the tournament, contact Keller Perry at 1-706-955-7088 or 1- 706-832-4845.

Hopefully, the tournament will help raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Since being diagnosed with the disease, one of Lyndsie's goals has been to educate the public about this form of cancer.

"Cancer does not have an age limit - cancer affects people of all ages," she said. "Don't ever think that it will never happen to you, because I was one of those people.

"Stay in tune with your body. Don't ignore symptoms or even just a feeling that something could be wrong. Many young women are not as lucky as I am - they don't catch ovarian cancer in the early stages, and in some cases, it is too late."

The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

.. A swollen or bloated abdomen.

.. Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back, or legs.

.. Feeling very tired all of the time.

.. Feeling the need to urinate frequently.

.. Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

.. Heavy or unusual periods. .. Feeling full all of the time.

.. A loss of appetite.

In closing, Lyndsie said, "I want more than anything to be completely healed of cancer and live a normal life, but more than that, I want to be content in every circumstance and in the midst of the storm, be a shining light for the Lord Jesus Christ."

Without a doubt, she has gotten the shining light part down pat.

To learn more about Lyndsie, her illness, her extraordinary faith, and of course, Daniel, visit the following website :www.danielandlyndsie. blogspot.com.

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