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Worldly Success Fades in Light of Eternity

Cheryl Wilcox - 700 Club Producer

“I looked like I had it all. I had the Mercedes, the sports car, and you know, I had the nice house and I had all the St. John clothes and everything looked great.”

The oldest of five children, Vicki Brown spent most of her life believing acceptance came through perfection. “I had the perfect wedding, the perfect husband, the perfect family.  Everyone would say, ‘We want what you have.’ Everything was perfect, but something just – something happened.”

Vicki’s enviable life included running her own aerospace company and closing million-dollar deals. But slowly, Vicki started losing her grip on her perfect world. Her marriage was falling apart and she felt like a failure.

“I was so stressed out and seriously thinking about divorce and what a letdown that was to my family and, you know, this person that all my family looked up to, me, and … it was just awful.” With a heavy sigh, Vicki continued, “And I felt like I was drowning.  I couldn't breathe.”

Then in 1995, Vicki went to the emergency room with a persistent cough.  

“And a doctor finally came in and said, ‘You have a mass about the size of a grapefruit in your chest and you need to go see an oncologist right away,’ and I said, ‘what's an oncologist?’"

Cancer specialist, Dr. Douglas Blayney confirmed that it was cancerous. “Vicki had a mediastinal B-cell lymphoma. At that time all we had was chemotherapy and radiation. So the chances of her getting a long-term remission or long-term absence of cancer were about 50%.”

Vicki was shaken by the diagnosis. “I just couldn’t believe it! I didn’t accept it. I was so depressed, and it was just an awful, awful place to be and it was just like one more thing that I had no control over.”

Once a week, Vicki endured 5 hours of chemotherapy. “At first I tried to be positive. You know, the doctor said, ‘You have to fight this.’ But over time the chemo got the best of me. By December I really just wanted to end the treatment.”

Vicki couldn’t function at work and eventually dropped down to a hundred pounds. “It was just like, ‘Ahhh, what – you know, what did I do to get here?’”

Vicki grew up in church, but never turned to God for help. She didn’t see how even He could fix someone so broken or love someone so imperfect. Then, just before Christmas, she was hospitalized with spinal meningitis and double pneumonia.   

“I was done with life.  There wasn't anything I had to offer. I was so depressed. Maybe things would be better if I just wasn’t here. All the problems; they would all go away and maybe I was the problem.”

The only thing she wanted was to spend one last Christmas with her son. “I think my biggest hope was ‘Can I make it to Christmas? Can I see my son at Christmas time? I was thinking about him.’”

One night, Vickie dreamed that she was on a plane about to crash, when she heard a voice she believed was God’s.

“God said, ‘Sit down and fly the airplane.’ And I said, ‘I have no idea how to land an airplane. I have no idea how to do this!’ And God said to me, ‘Just sit down. I know you don’t know how to fly, but I’ll show you how.’”

Vicki says in her dream after God helped her land the plane, He spoke again. And that’s when God told me, ‘You can come right now, I’ll take you.’  And I said, ‘You'll take me?  The sinner that I am? All the mistakes and all the disappointments and the way I’ve left things; You would – You would take me?’”

Starting to cry, Vicki continued, “’You'd take me?’ And He said, ‘Yes.’  It was so amazing that He would love me where I was, with all the mistakes and the real me underneath trying to look good for everybody and be perfect for everyone.”

Soon after Vicki woke up, her doctor walked in with results from a recent CAT scan. “Dr. Blayney came in my room the next morning and he was all bubbly and all excited and he had some paper or report in his hand and he said, ‘Your mass is gone!  Your mass is gone!’ I didn’t really get the importance that my cancer was gone.”

For the first time in her life, Vicki accepted that God could love her, and was ready to start her new life with Jesus.   

“But to really accept His love, to really, not hope or maybe, but that He really would take me right then; that He would accept me and was so happy to do so. It was just unbelievable.”

By Christmas, Vicki was well enough to home. “The [Christmas] gift was that I came home, and it was just full of joy!”

The pneumonia and spinal meningitis ran their course, and Vicki completed the chemo.  This Christmas, she celebrates twenty years’ cancer free.  But most importantly, she’s traded in her perfect life for a perfect love.  

“The biggest change in me after cancer was that I knew I was loved. I knew that I was forgiven. I wanted to live. I wanted to learn. I wanted to love. Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it brought me back to God. And there's no words or joy or contract or – there's nothing that compares to that.”

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