A young woman's inspiring fight with lung cancer
Patient: I wont let anyone tell me how much time I have left
SAN ANTONIO – During Thanksgiving we all take a moment to consider what we are thankful for. Is it family? Is it health? Is it friends?
For Channel Williams, it's this very moment in time.
Channel is battling stage four lung cancer. She was diagnosed last year, two months after marrying the man of her dreams, San Antonio Firefighter Tommy Williams. He is her rock and her strength.
"He is my very best friend. I can't imagine being on this journey without him," Channel Williams said.
Channel is 41 years old, she has never smoked a day in her life and she is a fitness fanatic. She started A'MAZEN Bootcamp and her husband owns Iron Antler Crossfit of Bulverde.
Working out is part of their daily lives, so when she started feeling ill, no one ever suspected cancer.
"The doctors thought I contracted some type of fungus in my lungs from my recent trip to Costa Rica," Channel said. It wasn't until she passed out, two months after their wedding, and was rushed to the hospital, the mass in her lung was biopsied. She was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma stage 2B lung cancer.
"It's not that I'm upset or angry at God. I'm angry about the position that we are in," Tommy Williams said.
But they decided together to fight it. Channel had half her lung removed and underwent chemotherapy. Her first scans after treatment came back clear. But six months later, the cancer returned in her lungs and her brain. She was devastated.
"I was really sad. The first battle we did with this we were headed for a cure. This battle, that's not what it looks like. So it was sad and it was overwhelming," Channel said. She has been told this cancer is not curable, but she will not let anyone give her a time limit to her life.
"I don't believe you can put a number on my life. I refused to allow the doctors to tell me how much time I might have left." Channel said.
Channel recently underwent brain surgery to remove some of the tumors, had Gamma Knife radiation, and is again starting chemo.
"It isn't to cure the cancer, I know it's beyond that, but it can give me more time with my family," She said.
"I just don't want her to be in pain. I want her to enjoy the time we have left, and appreciate what we do have," Tommy said.
Channel and Tommy are currently moving into their dream home. Between them, they have four children, ranging in age from seven to 24. Together, this blended family of six is unpacking boxes and settling in to their new house. That in itself is a reason to be thankful.
"I was so sick after brain surgery, I didn't think there was a possibility I would see this house. But I am!" Channel said.
Despite all the chaos going on right now, Channel has an inner peace. She says she has many reasons to give thanks.
"This diagnosis has allowed me to just sit down and appreciate these relationships that God has placed in my life," Channel said.
"Every day is a day to be thankful for," Tommy said.
"Don't let it pass you by. It's not all the stuff, it's not all the food, it's the people. It's your family, your friends, that's what really matters. And no one should wait until Thanksgiving to appreciate it. We should appreciate this gift of life every day. It is precious and it is fragile, so embrace it," Channel said.
A brave and remarkable family that should remind us all to give thanks every day.
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