By: John Naish
Sharyn Mackay and John Pattison belong to an extraordinary club – people told they have terminal cancer only for their tumours to disappear inexplicably, to the astonishment of patient and doctor alike.
It’s tempting to see these stories as medical miracles. But drug companies are hard on the trail of a more rational answer – that the tumours were ‘killed off’ by the patient’s own immune system – and are developing new therapies to harness this power.
Sharyn knew there was something wrong when she began suffering pain in the right side of her stomach in April 2003. She was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour on her kidney, which proved so rare that the doctors at Craigavon Area Hospital in Northern Ireland sent samples of it for examination by specialists in London, Glasgow, and Harvard.
Sharyn Mackay with husband William and daughter Olivia.
‘I wasn’t going to let her grow up without a mummy,’ she says
‘They said it was spindle cell sarcoma, which is normally a bone cancer. I was one of only ten known cases where it had become a kidney tumour,’ says Sharyn, a 46-year-old mother of four from Newcastle, Co. Down. ‘The surgeon kept a watch on my kidney. But in April 2004, he told me the cancer had rattled through my kidneys and lungs and I was a terminal case.’
The cancer was inoperable and chemotherapy, even if it worked, would add only a few weeks to Sharyn’s life. ‘The hospital said the treatment was an option, but not a cure, and that I had a year to live, at best.’
Sharyn and her family were devastated. But she felt determined to beat the diagnosis and started to pray. Three months later, something astounding occurred.
‘Further scans to see how the cancer was progressing showed the cancer was gone. The doctors were astonished, and said it could not have been due to anything they’d done.’
Sharyn is convinced that what happened was a miracle. ‘When the doctors said my cancer was terminal, I put my faith into practice and attended a Christian healing ministry.’
Rather than try health regimes such as special diets, she says: ‘The situation was out of my hands and I just believed in the power of prayer. I was absolutely terrified.
‘But I was also convinced that this was not my time. I told my husband, William, I wasn’t going to let my youngest girl, Olivia, who was then eight, grow up without a mummy.
‘Four radiographers studied the scans and none of them could quite believe it. The tumours had gone and I was told to leave the hospital and live a full life. The cancer has never come back and I have never felt better.’
Source: Daily Mail