Manila mother celebrates every day

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Joyce Haggard of Manila, a cancer survivor, is looking forward to Mother's Day 2008. She is quick to tell her family and friends how much she appreciates every day of life. Haggard was diagnosed with colon cancer on Oct. 12, 2006. It was found during a routine colonoscopy.

"I had no idea anything was wrong," she said. "It is important for people to follow through with tests regularly."

Haggard had surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation and has been cancer free since October.

"I got a good report on my last scan. I have PET scans every six months," she said. "At one point the doctors told me there was no hope. I didn't give up because I know there is always hope through the Lord. I started praying and underwent more chemotherapy. I went back in March for a CT Scan. There was no sign of cancer. The Lord gets all of the glory. My doctor advised me to go through six more treatments. I will have another PET scan in September but I am confident things will go well. I feel wonderful. I have had a few down days due to the treatments, but overall I am able to go about my every day life."

Joyce Haggard

Haggard has had great family support.

"I have a wonderful family and church family," she said. "They have all been there for me."

She and Bobby Haggard have been married for 38 years. They have two children, Tonya Thomas, and her husband, Steve, of Manila, and Chris Haggard, and his wife, Shannon, also of Manila. They have five grandchildren, Dustin Thomas, 18; Landon Thomas, 12; Trenton Thomas, 7; Taylor Haggard, 12; and Tyler Haggard, 14.

They are members of Bethel Church of the Lord Jesus Christ Church is Osceola.

"One of my goals in 2006 was to be here for Dustin's high school graduation," Haggard said. "Thanks to the Lord I am still here and come May 16 it will come to pass. Hopefully, if it's the Lord's will, I will be around to see all of my grandchildren grow up and graduate."

The family recently got another valley to climb when her daughter, Tonya, had to undergo surgery. She has undergone biopsies and tests and they are waiting on results.

"It is harder to watch your child go through illness than it is to be there yourself," Haggard said. "She is doing good and we are both looking forward to Mother's Day and spending time with our family. We are not going to think about surgeries, chemotherapy or doctors' appointments. We are just going to enjoy the day."

Mrs. Haggard has worked in health care and was a home-health aide for many years before she was diagnosed with cancer.

She had to leave her job but she still has a care and compassion for others. She put her time to writing a book, "My Journey through Cancer with God."

"I've never been a writer, but the Lord gave me the words and I have hopes maybe it will help others going through what we have," Haggard said. "Tonya is writing her notes of what the family goes through and they will be added to the book. It is almost ready to send to the publisher. It will be in paperback and we are hoping to have it out by this fall. Even with our faith we don't know one hundred percent what tomorrow holds as far as our cancer, but we can know it is in God's hands and He will be with us through it all."

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