August 31, 2005 at 8:16 PM CDT - Updated July 1 at 4:20 PM
A Lesson Everyone Can Learn By: Wendy Ray
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --It's easy to only see the bad when things aren't going well, especially when you're sick. You may change the way you look at things though, after you read Roberta Beech's story.
To say that Roberta has been through a lot is an understatement. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1985 after a lesion was found on her tongue. The cancer came back twice. Roberta's been through radiation and several surgeries. "At the time it was in my left jaw, so they took the bone, muscle, tissue and skin from my left leg to rebuild the left jaw," Roberta says. The left part of Roberta's face looks caved in due to loss of muscle and bone. She can no longer sing or swallow, everything she eats and drinks goes through a gastric tube directly to her stomach.
Roberta was a nurse through all her struggles. For the past two years she's been a nurse in the intensive care unit at Saint Francis Medical Center. She sees firsthand the struggles other people go through. Roberta says her health problems have caused her to be more empathetic to her patients. In fact, they're one source of what keeps her going. "The inspiration from my patients, my family, my faith says no, I'm not going to quit. I just keep doing it," she says.
Sure there are some days Roberta says she just wants to throw in the towel, but she doesn't and she won't. She thanks God that he challenged her in the way that he did. "I've got stuff to live for in life. I told my preacher I'm going to live to be 100," Roberta says with a laugh.
Roberta says she never smoked and she rarely drank before she found the lesion on her tongue which turned out to be cancerous. She says the cancer she had is fatal 50% of the time.