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Serenity of the mind: After a bout with cancer, Katie Spivey becomes an artist

Editor’s note: Katie Spivey and her brother, Jimmy Alston, will have an exhibition of their work at Railwalk Studios & Gallery, beginning Friday, Jan. 9. A reception is set for noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10.
This is Katie’s story.
By Katie Spivey
For The Salisbury Post
I am a living testimony.
I became sick in late 1997. Doctors had a hard time diagnosing my illness. After many tests, I was diagnosed in 1998 with acute myeloid leukemia, which is cancer of the bone marrow. Over a period of one year, I was hospitalized 18 times.
I thank God for a devoted and praying husband who stayed right there by my side. Over the entire 18 hospital stays, he didn’t miss a night staying with me and one stay alone was a total of 43 days.
Doctors had said that I needed a bone marrow transplant to save my life. Without it, I had only a 0 to 3 percent chance of survival. The transplant was to take place in Seattle. I had eight siblings that were tested and none of them matched. Usually, one out of four would match.
I was then placed on the bone marrow registry with about 3.5 million people, and still no match was found.
But I had prayed to God that a match not be found if the transplant would take my life.
God already had a work in progress that was unknown to man. We had a local bone marrow drive, and still no match was found.
Let me go back and tell you about my hospital stay.
One time, I was in the intensive care unit. This was one of my darkest times. I lay flat on my back, I couldn’t turn myself over. I was on 100 percent oxygen. I literally saw death and hell grabbing at me. It was so dark. It was like being in a horror movie with no chance of escape. I saw creatures of the deep snarling and grabbing at me. I was in so much pain, I was afraid to close my eyes and relax. I was in torment.
But still, God was working on my behalf. This minister said that he was on his job and God told him to go to the hospital. When he came into my room, he said he could see fear and death all around. He laid hands on me and he began to minister to my spirit. Tongues and prophesy came forth.
Then he said, “Do not be afraid to close your eyes, for you will open them again on this side.”
A calmness came over me and before he left, I was asleep.
Once, I saw angels in my room watching over me all night long. Those 18 hospital stays were dark times. I was constantly in pain. I could hardly remember what it felt like not to be in pain. I thank the Lord for prayer and a husband who stood by my side.
I was on chemotherapy for over a year and it was weakening my body so much that we asked the doctors to take me off it. I was sent home. My husband had to take care of me. He had to cook, clean and give me my bath.
He was constantly petitioning God on my behalf. He would rise up early in the morning and call on God for my deliverance. Day in and day out as I lay on my bed, I could hear him calling on God for my healing.
One morning, I decided to join him. I got up out of my bed and I dragged myself to the prayer room where he was praying. I began to remind God of his word. Lord, you said with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. You said that by your stripes I am healed.
I began to rise each morning while my husband was in prayer. Seeking God. I was reminded of the woman with the issue of blood who spent all her earnings on doctors. She heard that Jesus was passing by and she began to get in the press. She told herself that if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she would be made whole. She pushed her way through the crowd, falling down, and she made her way to Jesus. She touched the hem of his garment and Jesus said, somebody touched me. The disciples said, Lord with all these that flocked around you, you felt a single touch?
This was a special touch, Jesus said. For I felt the virtue go out of me. The woman said fearfully, “Lord it was I.” Jesus said to her, “Woman your faith has made you whole.”
It takes two positives to receive your healing. People were praying for me, but I had to do something, too. I used my faith to touch Jesus. One day, I realized the pain was totally gone. I was healed. Jesus had healed me.
What he has done for me, he will do for you. He has no respect of person. Today, I can truly say that I am a living testimony, I could have been dead and gone, but the Lord let me live on.
Since my illness, I began to pursue my artistic skills. It is a God-given gift. I can escape all my troubles and relax in the serenity of the mind overtaking matter and express it on canvas.
I have learned, and this is my motto: “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”

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