Lichty shares F.A.I.T.H. story at Da Ladies Nite Out

A man once said you can’t appreciate the view from a mountaintop unless you’ve been at the bottom of a valley.
O’Neill’s Jolene Lichty came to Elgin Wednesday night and shared her journey of faith as part of the 22nd annual “Da Ladies Nite Out”.
Approximately 200 women attended the event held at the K.C. Hall and sponsored by the Elgin chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
For close to an hour, women of all ages listened intently to Lichty tell her story of faith.
There was laughter, there were tears as well as time for reflection as she recounted how her life changed in May 2016 when, after being taken to the hospital she was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Pancreatic Cancer.
A mental health counselor happily married with two daughters, Lichty came to realize in the coming weeks and months that her life would never be the same again.
Doctors found a softball-sized tumor pushing against her stomach which was causing her to have multiple ulcers.
What ensued was chemotherapy which dealt a severe blow to her immune system. A person who loves the outdoors, she would spend most of the summer and fall indoors.
While the medication took a toll on her physical health (insomnia, nausea as well as mental clarity issues), she also battled bouts of depression. Those bouts of depression she endured were, for lack of better words, some of the darkest moments of her life.
A woman who had spent the majority of her life providing assistance to others, Lichty found herself facing issues she had never faced before.
She said her sense of humor, her faith in God, and the strength she received from the love of family and friends helped her to face cancer, to fight for everything she held dear in her life.
Five months after being admitted to the hospital, one month after completing chemotherapy, doctors took her to surgery and removed the tumor. As part of the surgery, doctors also took her pancreas, gallbladder and spleen.
Nearly two years have passed since being diagnosed with cancer. Lichty still goes in for checkups. So far all the checkups have been positive and she’s resumed much of her life the way it once way, yet it’s not the same.
Lichty offered her audience some insight on how to help family, friends or others who are struggling. She said it’s hard for people who are suffering to answer simple questions like “How are things going?” Instead, she suggested they simply say something like, “It’s good to see you!”
Most importantly, Lichty said her faith helped her to persevere throughout her long ordeal.
Before closing her remarks, LIchty shared acronyms she came up with for faith. They are:
FAITH — Believing in something you can’t see, trusting your heart instead of your head or your eyes.
She then told the story of a housekeeper who, one day came into her room at the hospital. She learned the lady’s name was Mariah. As Mariah cleaned her room, they began a conversation where the housekeeper asked, “How come you’re here?” Lichty’s answer, as tears formed, was “I have cancer.”
The housekeeper replied, “You gotta believe in God. You gotta pray to God.” Then she left the room.
Lichty believes the woman was an angel sent down from Heaven because when she asked another housekeeper about Mariah, the housekeeper didn’t know anyone by that name at the hospital. The angel, she believes to this day, came to her to keep her faith strong and to pray to get through each day.
ATTITUDE — Saying it’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent reality, Lichty came up with a list of items which she would not allow cancer to ever take away from her. Among them were family, faith, wit, attitude, humor, friendships and, most importantly, herself.
INVENTORY — She said it became important to take stock in what was really important in her life. The clutter in her life, both mentally and physically, she chose to let go of and focus on what was important — her family and her health.
TRUST — Describing it as a peacefulness you can’t buy, she said trust stands for “taking risks until serenity triumphs.” She said God never intended for us to worry or fear. Instead, He wants us to live for the moment.
HUMOR — In simple words, remember to laugh and look for humor in everything.
In closing, she imparted one final note of wisdom, saying we can despair because rose bushes have thorns OR we can celebrate because thorn bushes have roses.
Life can be short, she said, so make every moment count.