The meditations in the Way of the Cross book and the Spiritual Guide for College Students are inspired by and presented from the perspective of a cancer survivor in the Shreveport community. This individual wishes to remain relatively anonymous and to be known only as “Bettye.” Bettye believes it is important for her to remain in simplicity – without drawing attention to herself. As she always says, “It’s not about me…It’s about God’s goodness and mercy.”
On February 22, 2012, Bettye was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. The diagnosis came about only as Bettye began to explore the pain in her hip and the swelling in her right breast. At that time, she was 69 years of age and had never visited a physician’s office or a hospital. Bettye had struggled for weeks as she hobbled about on what we now know was a fractured hip – her bones weakened by cancer cells. My mom and I were able to convince Bettye to go to an acute care facility to check out her symptoms. The nurse practitioner who saw Bettye on that visit knew Bettye more than likely had advanced breast cancer. That nurse practitioner arranged for Bettye to meet with a surgeon the following day. Bettye’s journey began from there. Her treatment has followed the full range of chemotherapy, radiation, radical right mastectomy, and hip surgery to include the placement of a large rod in her thigh. In other words, Bettye has walked the walk and taken no shortcuts on her journey with cancer. At this time, Bettye’s cancer is in remission, but she continues to participate in maintenance chemotherapy every three weeks.
In spite of all the difficulties Bettye faces, she remains consistently prayerful, positive, and optimistic. I have the honor of accompanying Bettye to her treatments and appointments with her various physicians. This gives us the opportunity to spend time together and to discuss Bettye’s faith-filled philosophy and approach to life. I am continually amazed at the deep and profound level of Bettye’s spirituality. I write down her sayings and her words of wisdom whenever I have the opportunity. I also ask Bettye to write down her thoughts when she is at home and in prayer. It became clear to both of us and to all who know Bettye, that she has important words of wisdom for others – to include individuals facing a trial or students who are trying to discern their way in life. That is how Bettye and I began this journey of self-publishing these meditational prayer guides. We do not know how the journey will ultimately end, but we continue to move forward on the path, knowing God is directing our steps.