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Ann's Making Her Mark...

Written by: Bill Sparks Posted on: September 11, 2015 Blog: Warriors

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Through one of the most difficult times in their marriage, Ann and Steven Tisdale discovered some other things - God's love and an even greater sense of family and what that really means.

A smoker until her diagnosis, Ann had oral cancer. After two surgeries, six chemotherapy treatments and 37 radiation treatments, Ann now considers herself a cancer survivor.

"Cancer brought our family closer together with all we went through," said Ann, who will always bear the scars of her cancer.

The couple admits their faith wasn't strong before Ann's diagnosis, but it is evident in them now.

"Through this trial we changed and for the better," Steven said. "When cancer came calling I knew God had come into our lives. In cancer, we found a whole new life."

On Sept. 5, the Marion couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two children and, since 1991, have lived in the house that Ann grew up in. He works at Hartson-Kennedy. Before her illness, Ann worked at Regions Bank.

When they talked about how they met, they take turns telling the story.

"Me and my buddies were watching football at Goodtime Charlie's," he said.

"It was a Sunday afternoon," she said.

"I kept looking at her but was to shy to do anything," he said. "She came over and asked me if I wanted to play darts."

They started dating and were married three years later.

It was in 2009, around Christmas, that Ann began having trouble with her mouth. She remembers having trouble chewing and swallowing pizza. She thought perhaps it was a cavity or infected tooth, especially after antibiotics helped some.

In May, 2010, she had a panic attack and was losing weight. Ann thought she was dying, but didn't say anything at first.

"I thought it was so bad I was just going to die. I had a tumor on my tongue. The more that grew, I couldn't eat, couldn't talk."

In May/June, 2011, she finally said something to Steven, but at first they thought it might just be a dental issue and some of the initial diagnoses indicated that as well.

Eventually, Ann was referred to a specialist who did a biopsy and discovered the cancer.

Steven remembers getting the call from the doctor telling him his wife had cancer. He was at work, during his lunch. When he heard the news, he broke down and cried. His brother-in-law also works at Hartson-Kennedy. They talked and then Steven left to tell Ann. His two sisters and Ann's sister came to the house with him.

"When my sister came in I said 'I have cancer,'"Ann remembers.

Sitting in a chair, there are times that Ann wipes tears from her eyes as she recalls all they went through. Their faith remains strong for both of them.

"After I was diagnosed, I felt that God had a plan," Ann said.

Steven echoes those feelings. "The whole beauty was God had a plan."

That doesn't mean this trial was easy for the couple. They were told Ann would not talk or eat normally again.

"The hardest part was seeing her in so much pain," Steven said. "It was heartbreaking. And I thought I might lose my wife, my best friend."

Ann said her husband was her rock. She also got strength for God. Both said they have seen miracles in this journey.

With enormous medical bills, the Tisdale have only have about $70 left to pay on Ann's medical expenses.

"God made a way for everything to be paid," Steven said.

Ann recalls a night when she didn't think she could take the intense pain. Steven was at church, where he and others were praying for Ann. At home, she sensed the presence of angels and, through that, the pain eased.

They are returning to a more normal life again. The house both looks like, and smells like, fall.

Ann is beating the odds. Although her speech is sometimes slurred because of her surgeries, Ann is talking. Told she would never eat steak again, she has gone out for a steak dinner. They have gone to the movies and enjoyed popcorn.

"The small things people take for granted we celebrate," Steven said.

"I know there are people that I can talk to that I can help," Ann said.


Jill Parker said:

on September 11, 2015 at 4:41pm

I go to church with Ann and Steve. I personally have seen Ann's courage and tenacity! She has gone through some horrendous things but continues to trust God and press on. She is a greeter ( and they told her she wouldn't talk!) and a tremendous source of inspiration to myself and countless others. This couple has inspired, uplifted and prayed for so many who have dealt or are dealing with situations that seem hopeless; they are sharing God's love and restoration with whoever will listen. She is a true testament to faith in God.

Cassa said:

on September 11, 2015 at 6:19pm

I met Ann when she sent me a message on messager I live in Irvine Ayrshire Scotland UK - Ann left me a lovely message and we have been friends every since we are both there for each other and send messages most days - I have had cancer twice got my voicebox took away and got to tube feed 6 times a day I am in remission 3 years now - I am so happy Ann and I talk most days and we are both there 24/7 for each other so big thankYou Ann for been there for me stay strong as always you are one in a Million and my dream is we both meet up one day / God bless love you lots xxx

Vickie Nelson said:

on September 11, 2015 at 8:36pm

I am constantly amazed by this couple. They walked this journey of faith praising God through the process. I've witnessed God's miracles in their lives and give thanks for his faithfulness.

cassa port said:

on September 12, 2015 at 3:34pm

I first got to know Ann through messenger last year Ann has been trough so much and sent me a lovely message - I have had cancer twice once in neck and then back of my tongue I had to get part of my tongue took away and got my Voice box took away also. I have got to tube feed 6 times a day what I miss so much is my voice -Ann helps me so much when I am having a bad day and I also hope I help her we talk most days and it's good to have each other as cancer is very very hard to deal with - I live in Irvine Ayrshire Scotland UK my Dream is for Ann and I meet meet one day -Ann what can I say you are one in a million love you lots ❤️

Anna travis said:

on September 14, 2015 at 8:40pm

You are amazing !!! You received a mirical your life the greatest thing you could have received.God is great

Jason Stepp said:

on October 20, 2015 at 2:46pm

Simply amazing, Ann! You are not only a strong survivor, but are witnessing God's movement in your life. Keep your heart fixed on His words and trust in His promises - He will continue to amaze you with new and wonderful things you'd have never witnessed or been part of before. I love that Steven is getting the opportunity to witness these miracles of healing first hand - and that you're actually growing closer to God because of it. Remember: as we draw closer in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we'll grow closer in our relationships with one another. Every day we have is a gift - and although I can't imagine what you've been through, just hearing about your progress gives me joy and makes me aspire to be steadfast in my everyday, mundane battles. Bless you, Ann - I'll say it again: you're amazing... thanks for sharing your story with me.

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