Diana Hawkins said she went through a challenging time during the Fall Semester 2019 due to health complications. Hawkins said despite the issues with her health, she found peace and learned perseverance by having trust in Heavenly Father with the reality of her challenges.
Hawkins, a sophomore from Colorado majoring in molecular and cellular biology, is enrolled for the Winter Semester 2020, and said she continues to pursue her education at BYUH. She did not get an official diagnosis from professionals regarding her health condition. Physicians could not find a specific cause to her discomfort as the results of all her testing came out negative.
“I was grateful all the prayers [for my health] worked and what was being tested for was not the problem. The tests came back normal.”
Hawkins said she was going about her daily life as a student until she noticed a sharp pain in her stomach that caused her a little discomfort.
According to Hawkins, she had started feeling the pain inside of her stomach at the beginning of October 2019. She expressed how it was not too bad at first, so she just avoided eating.
“After the pain started to happen more frequently, I realized it probably wasn’t normal because it wasn't going away and was only getting worse. It became a concern to me as the pain became more constant.”
Hawkins said she went to the doctor several times to figure out what the cause was. She went to get herself checked about seven to 10 times between the end of October and the beginning of November. Hawkins received word from her physician that she potentially had something wrong with her gallbladder.
The physicians had her do some blood work, she said, and an ultrasound to find out what the cause of her pain was. She also had to undergo a colonoscopy at Castle Medical Center.
She explained how the experience gave her the mindset to work around her problems and still live her daily schedule as a college student. She was even able to go home over Winter Break to spend time with her family for Christmas.
Hawkins expressed how she has grown stronger from the experience. She said she feels more capable of taking care of herself and understanding the importance of asking for help.
“I realize how good of a family I have out here. I learned how much the people really mean to me, and I realized how much I really love them. Life is going to give you challenges, but it’s only to make you better and a stronger person.”
She added how the experience was similar to an experience she had on her mission where she found herself in a worst-case scenario.
In 2017, she began serving as a full-time missionary in San Fernando and Los Angeles, California. As a missionary, Hawkins described herself as having anxious feelings but hopeful in doing her best to fulfill her calling.
She explained how she had to take on the role of seniority in her companionship in the area where she was assigned, after finding out her trainer had been experiencing severe anxiety. She expressed how she was scared and did not expect the situation to come her way especially at the beginning of her mission.
Hawkins explained how the experience taught her to truly trust in God. She described how she had obtained inner peace from learning and eventually overcoming the challenges with her health.
“I know Heavenly Father has blessed me in so many ways I can't even understand and so being able to truly depend on Him is what gets me through everything.”
Hawkins’ mother, Janene Hawkins, is a licensed practical nurse. She shared her experience regarding her daughter’s health challenge. “I reacted like most moms would, except I am a nurse so I know more about health issues than some others would. I also know about family-inherited problems, so I was quite concerned. Yet, I did not want Diana to be aware of all the possibilities of what it could be and therefore become overly frightened.
“What I did, spiritually, was first put her name on the temple prayer role. Second, ask family to pray for her. I prayed for her myself. I had her pray and ask her friends to pray for her.
I prepared for the worst, prayed for the best, then made plans to go be with her.”
Jimmie Westergard, a sophomore majoring in marine biology from Texas, shared how he empathized with Hawkins. “Diana has always been an inspiration to me from the start.
“She’s getting to this point where things are working out and things are looking better and brighter. She receives so many miracles and it is just an inspiration. It shows how in your darkest moments, God is still there. You can always find help no matter where you’re at.”