In July 2007, at the same time that our 41-year old colleague Beth Bello learned that the baby she was carrying had died in the womb, she discovered that she had Stage 4 breast cancer. She told her circle of family & friends about this turn of fate in an email, “We are certainly facing challenges all of a sudden. But we are walking through them together, growing closer to each other and closer to the Lord.”
After this initial report, Beth continued to keep her circle of “Prayer Warriors” informed with periodic updates. The updates were sequentially numbered and spanned almost two years. Along the way, there were periods of hope that the cancer had been arrested. In less than a year, for example, after extensive chemo treatment, Beth’s scans were clear – “there was no evidence of the residual disease at this point” – and she was officially classified in remission.
Unfortunately, this condition did not last, and the cancer returned even more aggressive than before. By the time it came for Beth to send “Update 21,” her decline had been precipitous, and her sad earthly conclusion was foreshadowed in the symptoms that Beth presented at that time: dizzy spells that expanded into severe headaches, then “my knees started buckling and I fell to the ground a couple of times … and I wasn’t able to keep anything down.” She developed a significant cavity in her lungs and deep lesions in her brain. With all of this, Beth slipped into a deep sleep on April 22, 2009, and passed away the next day, quietly and at peace.
Update 21: A Journal of Spiritual Victory is the story of an amazing woman told her own words, as she literally walked through the shadow of death to the other side, confronting progressively challenging conditions with abiding love and unfailing faith and emerging with claim to an astonishing spiritual victory.
Wordsmith Associates compiled Update 21 in real time, but it was done secretly at first, without Beth’s knowledge. We were on Beth’s email distribution list, captured the messages, and independently created a professional format for presenting Beth’s unraveling personal saga. In the month-long period after Beth’s last update (Update 21) but before her final decline, we completed the compilation, created a simple cover, and informally bound Beth’s updates into a simple but beautiful publication. We then presented the completed work to Beth, who was surprised and thrilled by the book that she had written without even knowing it. Before her death, she had the comforting knowledge that her story of spiritual victory had been recorded for all time.
After Beth passed away, we worked with Beth’s “soul sister” – Angela Scaperlanda Buján – to build out the book (pictured here) with photographs, appropriate biblical passages, and comments from Beth’s host of Prayer Warriors who were so inspired by her example.
Paperback – ISBN 978‐0‐9908547‐8-4 – 5.25″ wide x 8″ tall – 144 pages – List Price $9.99