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Cancer victim has a lot to be thankful for

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Friends, family and faith helped Elizabeth Goins defeat the negative feelings of cancer. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

“You are not alone.”

After winning her battle with cancer, Elizabeth Goins of Urbanna knows the power of her faith. Trusting a Higher Power helped Goins through the low points this year, including the loss of her mother.

“When you’ve got a situation that you can’t control, let God control it,” she said last week. “There is nothing you can do but trust Him, and believe that He is going to bring you out of it.

“I thank God he gave me faith and lifted me off my sick bed,” said Goins, who is an ordained minister.

It was Goins’ energy that revived the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and helped it grow to 76 members before she got sick last winter. She is still president of the organization, which will start its third year in January. Goins is a Water View native who pursued a career in Washington, D.C., before returning to Middlesex.

This bout with breast cancer was not Goins’ first. About 17 years ago, at the age of 38, she lost a breast to surgery.

In February 2008, a routine mammogram revealed an abnormality. “I was in denial when they first told me,” said Goins.

Even after a specialist confirmed there were two spots of a very serious cancer, she refused the surgery and opted to have four chemotherapy treatments. “It was a nightmare. I had to take the stronger dose and it took all my hair out,” she said.

During this time, Goins’ mother, Katherine Goins Green, “went to glory.”

The loss of her mother put Goins in another state of mind. “All of it made me feel like I was in a never-ending tornado,” she said.

Doctors did not think the chemotherapy would work against Goins’ tough strain of cancer, and surgery was the best option. Today, eight months after surgery, she feels stronger than before.

During the depression that cancer brings, Goins drew strength, not only from her faith, but family and friends and others with the disease.

She was self-conscious when all her hair fell out, and she didn’t believe it when people told her she looked good. “They never knew how I felt on the inside,” said Goins. “I felt like I was less of a woman. My breast was gone, my hair was gone, I just had a hard time feeling like I was beautiful.

“Well, thanks be to God there were people around me that kept telling me that until I would eventually believe it myself,” she said.

The Power of Faith

It was at the cancer counseling center that Goins sorted things out in her mind. “Everybody there was the same as me . . . trying to get better,” she said.

Some people didn’t make it and their absence from the meetings put things in perspective, Goins said. “I’m just thankful I’m still alive. I tell my kids, ‘I’m just going to enjoy my life and be happy with what I have.’ ”

Much of the literature at the counseling center referred to faith and the power of positive thought. Goins plans to write about her experiences battling cancer. “I would tell others to ‘stay positive and stay around positive people.’ ”

During trying times, Goins got lots of encouragement. “People told me, ‘Keep the faith. God told me you’re going to live.’ All kinds of people prayed for me and that was a blessing,” she said.
“I really want people to know my story because if there is someone out there going through something similar, I want them to know they are not alone and that they can fight it and make it through with God’s help.”

Goins can be contacted at

posted 11.26.2008

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