Kind deeds return 100-fold

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

MURFREESBORO – Anyone who has visited the Murfreesboro Department of Motor Vehicle office the past 21 years knows the sweet smiling face of Elaine Evans.

Known for speaking words of compassion and encouragement to others in need, Evans never imagined her kindness would so soon be reciprocated until she was diagnosed with cancer last year.

The following is her story:

&uot;One year ago this month, I was diagnosed with a complex cystic mass on my pancreas. When I heard the news, I was devastated.

&uot;All I could think about was my best friend and co-worker Gloria Roundy who died eight years ago, June 18, with pancreas cancer.

&uot;My heart fell to the ground with the thought that I would die and fail to be there for my daughter, Ashley, who I wanted to see finish college, get married one day and have my grandchildren.

&uot;The day I received the call from my doctor, a young man was in the office working on my computer printer. We had been talking and after the call he noticed I was very quiet.

&uot;He asked what was wrong, I said nothing. He asked a second time and I told him. He listened, as he knew I was very upset. I told him I couldn’t tell my daughter at the time because she was in the middle of exams at Chowan College and I didn’t want to tell my parents, until I was positive it was really cancer, due to their health.

&uot;When he got ready to leave, he asked to have a prayer with me. It was a very special prayer. Ironically, the next week, my printer messed up again and he had to come back. He said it was God’s way of keeping us in touch.

&uot;When he got ready to leave, he asked if he could have another prayer with me and proceeded to tell me he placed me on an international prayer list.

&uot;Despite his encouragement, I still had a heavy load on my shoulders and just felt I needed someone to talk to that wouldn’t tell Ashley or my family. I called one of my close friends, Pat Bryant and shared the news with her and asked her if she would go with me to meet with the surgeon.

&uot;In the meantime, I had a class reunion and one of my classmates Pam Carr, who had always been like a sister to me, asked me to meet her at her house so we could go together.

&uot;When I got to her house, she noticed I wasn’t myself and asked what was wrong. I proceeded to tell her. I also asked her to accompany me to the surgeon. I still had a few days before the appointment and the burden was heavy. I was a little bitter about what was happening to me, so I had a little talk with my maker. I asked him to please take the load off me and I would accept what he had in store for me.

&uot;After that day, my worries went away. I went to my appointment and the diagnosis was confirmed. I had a tumor in my pancreas. I returned to work that day and called my pastor. I just felt like I needed a lot of prayer. I still had to tell Ashley and my family.

&uot;On May 20, 2004, I went in for major surgery. Everything went well and the doctor told me I would be ok. She removed half of my pancreas, the tumor and my spleen.

&uot;The next seven weeks were very hard. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t eat. I had another CT scan and the doctor reassured me I would be alright without having to go through chemo or radiation.

&uot;The next week I found a swollen lymph node. The doctor said it was normal after what I had been thorough, since lymph nodes fight against infection, but kept an eye on it for about a month.

&uot;It didn’t seem to recede so she decided to do a biopsy. When I went back, she told me she had bad news. She said I would need a lymph node doctor and set me up with Dr. Friedman at Norfolk Oncology. That appointment yielded more information.

&uot;She told me I had follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a low grade cancer of the lymph nodes. Within the next few weeks, I started chemotherapy. The first chemo, called Ritoxan, required one day of therapy for four weeks straight at a cost of $36,000 and did nothing for me.

&uot;I am now on my second kind of treatment, called Fludarabine. I go five days in a row, skip three weeks and then return to five days. I am on my fifth treatment. I only have one more and hopefully the first week of May will be the last one. I will have another PET scan and I pray I will be in remission by God’s grace.

&uot;Through all of this, I have been put on many churches prayer lists. I have had countless beautiful cards sent to me. I have had so many people come into my office at the Murfreesboro license plate agency and tell me I am in their thoughts and prayers.

&uot;And due to the generosity of so many people, I have been able to remain current on my bills. Unlike the license tag agents in the Raleigh area, which are contracted, if our doors are closed, we do not get paid.

&uot;We get paid per transaction, therefore being out of work last year for about eight weeks set me back and now that I’m taking chemo, I have to go once a week to have my blood count checked in between the treatments.

&uot;The drugs I have are very expensive. I have some very good friends that came to me and asked if they could host a benefit dinner for me. We had a good turnout and the food was delicious.

&uot;I want to give thanks to all who were involved with the dinner, the cooks, servers, those who worked so hard selling the tickets, who donated the food and my daughter for the beautiful decorations.

&uot;I want to thank all the people who purchased the tickets and made donations as well as the Meherrin WOW members for the generosity of funds at the bake sale and youth barbeque April 3. I also want to thank the girls at the Ahoskie DMV for the donations that are being made in the office which help me to pay for my medication and put gas in my car so I can travel back and forth to the doctors’. I hope I haven’t left anyone out. I really appreciate my family for their support. Thank you all and I love you.&uot;

Evans encouraged the community to come out and support others facing similar situations in the upcoming Relay for Life event scheduled to take place April 15 and 16 in Squirrel Park on the Chowan College campus.

&uot;I have had several luminaries lit for me and it means a lot,&uot; she said. &uot;There is an awful lot of cancer in our area and we need a cure, so if you are ever asked for a donation, please give generously. Being diagnosed with cancer has changed my outlook on life. I am just thankful to be here.&uot;

The benefit dinner for Evans was held April 1 at the Murfreesboro Community Center.