by Wendi Cooper as told to Elise Ballard
“Celebrate every day.”—Wendi Cooper
To make a long story short, in the past I went through domestic abuse and divorce, and for some time was the single mother of two boys from two different fathers. But for the past thirteen years I’ve been married to a wonderful man, and I have had a thriving, successful direct response production company since 1994.
Five years ago I thought I had an inguinal hernia and went in for the operation to fix it. When I woke up from the operation, the doctor stood over me saying that I did not have a hernia but ovarian cancer—stage III-C ovarian cancer, as it turned out, which had oddly enough surrounded a lymph node located in the groin, and to this day no doctor has been able to understand it. They had to give me a complete hysterectomy—I mean complete, I have only a bladder—and I had to undergo major chemotherapy.
They gave me my first chemo treatment of Taxol and carboplatin, which is extremely strong and incredibly toxic. I didn’t really know what to expect. Chemo doesn’t affect you at first—then several days later you start feeling sick. So the first time you go through the session you’re kind of waiting for it to happen. Gradually I started to feel gross, and every day it got a little bit worse, until one night I was lying in bed thinking, praying, “Oh God, I’m not going to be able to do this. I can’t do it.” I was thinking about my mother, whom I’d been watching battle cancer for years, and now I had cancer. “I can’t do this.” And I meant it with every fiber of my being. I was desperate and terrified.
I was lying there thinking this, praying this, and suddenly I heard this voice say to me, “You’re going to be okay. Everything will be fine.” That’s what I heard. It wasn’t my inner voice or a voice in my head, but a man’s voice outside of me to my left. I can’t describe it really, but it was soothing, very soothing, and I wasn’t scared at all. It was what you would think a Higher Being’s voice would sound like. It might sound crazy, but I know I heard it, and I know it was real.
So when I heard it, I sat up and looked around. My husband was still sleeping next to me. I noticed I felt better. I got up and walked into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I felt fine. It was so strange, but I felt perfectly fine, and was not sick the next day. In fact, I never got sick at all from that first chemo treatment after that night.
I believed the voice, and I still believe the voice to this day.
It still helps me and carries me. I almost died from chemotherapy eventually—it literally almost killed me—but I always had hope. Ovarian cancer is not one of those cancers that most people survive. They’d told me I had a twenty percent chance to hang on five years. When I heard that, I freaked out. I started worrying about my kids, that I wasn’t going to get to see my son graduate from high school—things like that.
As soon as I heard that voice, I didn’t think about such things anymore. I knew that I was going to be okay. People couldn’t believe how strong I was, how spirited, how no matter what was happening to me, I always had the strength to work and go on. Hearing that voice gave me the strength, the confidence, the courage to face it all. I knew I was going to get through it. I knew it wasn’t going to kill me. Even when it almost did, I knew it wouldn’t. And it didn’t.
While I was going through my chemo and was suffering all the horrible side effects—like losing all your hair from your entire body, the skin coming off the lining in your mouth, bloating, nausea—I watched my mother die. While I was fighting cancer, I was sitting there with her as she died of it. It was a surreal dynamic. But the beautiful thing was, we ended up forging this incredible bond through our struggle to survive.
The last time I saw my mother, I had taken my wig off. She was lying in her bed. She was bald. I was bald. I was in her bathroom. And I looked at her and said, “Okay, Mom. I’m going to try on your wigs.” Now, when someone’s dying of cancer, at that point, they’re totally out of it. They’re coming in and out of reality. So I was trying on her wigs, which looked absolutely ridiculous on me, and I remember looking over, my mom looking at me, telling me how beautiful I was, and laughing.
That is my last memory of my mom. She died the next day.
But even as I watched my mother lose her battle, I always knew I was going to survive. I knew it because I found such strength in the memory of that voice that I’d heard.
For me, that voice was God’s. He was talking to me. It comforted me, and I feel honored and humbled to have had that experience. It gave me the feeling that He/She/It sees me, and that I have purpose and that I’m recognized by this Higher Being, this Higher Power.
It will be seven years in May that I had my diagnosis, and I am still completely cancer-free. My doctor is surprised. He says I haven’t just survived but I’m cured, and when he first saw me he told me that there was no cure for my cancer. Now he believes that I’m cured. But I’m not surprised. I don’t really worry about my cancer coming back. I know that I will live to be old, because that voice came to me. I know that I’m going to be okay.
That voice shifted my soul and made me realize I have to celebrate every day I’m on this earth. I always tell my sons it’s important for us all to try every day to do something great for ourselves and something great for someone else, and it doesn’t matter how big or how small—just something great, every day. It’s important. We all deserve it.
Wendi Cooper is the owner and creative director of C Spot Run Productions, an award-winning direct response television production company in the United States. She is the mother of two sons, ages twenty-nine and nineteen, and lives with her beautiful Italian husband in Los Angeles, California.
About the Epiphany Series:
This is an excerpt from the MIRACLES section of my book, Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage, and Transform, a heartfelt journey full of amazing stories of fascinating people, from world-renowned figures, thought leaders, and performers—such as Maya Angelou, Dr. Oz, Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra and Barry Manilow—to former inmates, leading psychologists, teachers, homemakers, and many more. We’ve found these stories contain wisdom and insight that will inspire—or cause you to remember—your own epiphanies so we wanted to share pieces of them every week with you here on Positively Positive. You can also visit my website, EpiphanyChannel.com,