Learn how Lucia Ellis had found faith as a driving force helping her to beat breast cancer.
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Jill Eikenberry: When a woman hears those words “Its breast cancer.” the first reaction is often fear, but not always. In Lucia’s case it was annoyance. She didn’t know she needed strength and courage, but she did and she found it. Its spring time in Atlanta, Georgia and Lucia Ellis can feel it all around her. Today she is returning to St. Jude’s Recovery Center where she worked as a counselor until breast cancer intruded on her life. She’s conducting a staff training exercise on positive energy. Lucia quit working at the Addiction Treatment Center when she felt the stirring of spring in her life. After winter of introspection and resolved to try new things, cancer brought her to these seasons and it began with a phone call. Lucia Ellis: I was standing at work and I was holding the phone and she said, “Sweetie you have a small malignancy.” And I looked at the phone and really want to whack the phone down because I'm not Sweetie and I don’t have a small malignancy and I don’t do cancer and I don’t know what you're talking about. Jill Eikenberry: Lucia has spent a lot of time writing about what happened to her since that first diagnosis. There were more surgeries and more dreadful phone calls as lab results confirm they had not gotten all the cancer. Lucia Ellis: And it was like one horrible phone call after another. It was just never ending. Jill Eikenberry: Lucia and her husband Garvis had faced challenges before in their lives. She thought breast cancer would be a blip on the screen. It wasn’t. Lucia Ellis: Going through chemo was like going through winter through a long, hard, cold winter. I don’t necessarily think that winter is such a bad season because seeds are buried and hibernating and things are happening in the soil, things are happening in the Earth, things are happening inside. Jill Eikenberry: But what happened first during winter shook the foundations of her soul. Lucia Ellis: I didn’t practice at specific religion, but I was—I leaned very strongly into God and to a higher power. Jill Eikenberry: She tried to lean when the effects of chemotherapy took over her body. Lucia Ellis: It felt breathe of comfort. My mind cracked open and my God flew out. And that is what it felt like. I just felt like I lost everything that I had believed in. Every single thing just seems to fly away and it was devastating really. Jill Eikenberry: Lucia has a saying, “Fake it ‘till you make it.” So she started to ask angels for help then tentatively God. Lucia Ellis: I started to notice that people in my life were angels. I started to turn my life in well-over. I started to say use me as your instrument. And my faith started to come back and my higher power never left. They say if God seems far away who moved. And I just—God never left I just walked back into the zonal height. Jill Eikenberry: Now it was time to face her bedroom where she had spent so many hours sick from chemo. She had avoided this room for many months now, sleeping in her home office instead, but why? In one dramatic movement she pulled everything off bedspread, jams and curtains. Lucia Ellis: And I stood there with my arms full of fabric, I heard cancer. And I realized that it was holding all of that energy, and I put it in a gigantic garbage bag and I put it in my car and I took it to a dumpster and I dumped it. And ever since we've been living in this bald room. Jill Eikenberry: This room had to change to reflect the person she was becoming. Lucia Ellis: I've been waiting for inspiration. Jill Eikenberry: Perhaps the home improvement store would nudge her creativity. She had the beginning of an idea, where it would go she wasn’t sure. The painters arrived. A buttery yellow was the base coat for her budding idea. While the painters painted she waited in her home office working on a script for a one-woman show hoping to bring her life, her lessons to the theater someday soon. She checked in on the progress with her husband Garvis. Her whole house was decorated wi