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  • Last modified 22 days ago (Oct. 30, 2019)

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Cancer survivor overcomes fear, grief with renewed faith

Staff writer

It’s been 17 years since Lisa Hanschu of Ramona was diagnosed with an advanced stage of leukemia. After a five-year battle, she was declared cancer-free in 2007. Two years later, in July 2009, she lost her 19-year-old son, James, in a car accident.

Both events threatened to ruin her psychologically. Even though she miraculously was cured of cancer, she still lived with the fear of it coming back. Moreover, her only son’s death filled her with inconsolable grief and depression.

“I felt like I didn’t have a future,” she said. “I have been on a journey of learning to live without Jim and without cancer.”

The 51-year-old woman said she experienced a turning point when her aunt took her to Disney World in September 2018 for a 10-day adventure. She came home with a new outlook on life and a determination to overcome her heartache and fear.

“I stay proactive,” she said. “You have to be in control of your own health.”

She has turned her life over to God and has found renewed emotional strength.

For more than a year, she has been taking a twice-monthly strength training class. Her strength has gradually improved, and she now is able to lift 190 pounds.

“I’ve made new friends who give each other support,” she said. “We sweat quite a bit, and it reminds me that my physical strength has been renewed.”

A daughter, Anna, is her pride and joy. Anna is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She works in the surgical intensive care unit at St. Francis Trauma Center in Wichita.

Anna had planned to go into sports medicine, Hanschu said, but when her brother was killed, she decided to go into trauma medicine, where she sees people every day who have gone through what her brother experienced.

“I live for Anna,” Hanschu said. “It’s been a good year to remember that I am living. God still has a purpose for me.

“I can miss James every second of my life but I can honor him by living.”

Hanschu’s husband, Ronnie, is a custom farmer, and she works from home for several online companies involved in selling industrial equipment.

“I love my work,” she said. “Whether it’s too cold or too hot or whether it’s late at night, I can sit down at my computer and work,” she said.

Last modified Oct. 30, 2019

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