Elly Brown started singing at six years old after a production of “The King and I” ignited what would become her life’s passion.
As she grew up, Elly kept singing and found her voice as a professional singer, actress, and model.
But all that seemed like it would come crashing to a halt when Elly was diagnosed with cancer and doctors told her they would have to remove her tongue.
Now this video of her singing praise to the Lord after her surgery has gone viral.
Elly had known since high school that there were suspicious spots on her tongue, but she wasn’t worried. Dentists and doctors alike told her there was no cause for concern.
Elly moved to Las Vegas in hopes of furthering her musical career, picking up jobs as a model, singer, and an on-camera host as opportunities were presented.
Periodically, she would have her tongue checked for problems, but biopsies revealed no major trouble. The singer forged ahead, relishing the chance to do what she loved, with no idea what lay ahead.
Finally, after Elly had established a successful career, an oral surgeon delivered heartbreaking news: the spots on the singer’s tongue had, in fact, become a lump.
It was cancer.
Two surgeries later, Elly had lost half of her tongue. Doctors removed the cancerous tumor and did their best to replace the missing pieces with tissue from her right leg.
The surgeries saved her life, but Elly faced many challenges in her recovery.
“At the end of that surgical procedure, I couldn’t really breathe on my own, I couldn’t walk on my own and I couldn’t eat on my own,” the singer admitted.
Recovering from such life-changing operations required a lot of help: feeding tubes, measures to prevent infection, and the unshakeable love of her Savior.
“It was a lot,” Elly remembered. “But there was never a question in my mind that I would recover. I just knew I would.”
Throughout the long road of healing, Elly kept her faith and fixed her eyes on God.
“I had the Holy Spirit in my ear every single day saying, ‘Look, I know today is tough but just wait. Wait and see.’”
So Elly waited and trusted God, and she now knows that the difficult seasons of her cancer diagnosis, surgeries, and recovery helped grow her faith in incredible ways.
“I’m grateful for that period of time…because that’s when you put yourself firmly in the palm of the Lord.”
Whatever the outcome, she chose to believe that God was good—even if she never got to sing the way she loved to again. She was just grateful to be alive.
The mouth surgeries had limited her ability to speak and sing properly, and the radiation treatments that followed affected the tonal quality of her music.
Many people would have said she would never sing again.
“I will never operate at the level that I did before,” Elly realized. But she wanted to celebrate God’s goodness in preserving her life, so she started working to get her voice back.
“What I’ve been left with I’m so grateful for and I will try to make the most of it because some people get nothing.”
It took a long time and an incredible amount of practice and hard work, but Elly finally felt that she could share her singing again. As she started recording and posting videos of her songs, she realized that she could use music to reach a growing community of cancer survivors.
“I had been given this niche of a very small community of people who also are very lonely and have had trouble finding others like themselves,” she said. Her own experience with cancer had taught her about the struggles of recovery and healing.
“In a very weird way, I’m so thankful because I never could’ve predicted it at the time, but it was really a blessing to be given this particular cancer and this particular problem because of the way that we’ve been able to find each other and reach each other.”
Elly’s perspective is inspirational. She views her cancer as a gift from God rather than a punishment or even a trial, and she embraces her scars from surgery and recovery as a reminder of His faithfulness and goodness.
“It’s not to ruin your life,” she reminds those who might question why God has given them a particular trial or struggle. “It’s given so lovingly and so tenderly.”
Elly is still in recovery, and doctors have discovered more cancer cells throughout her body, but she keeps singing and praising God for His work in her life.
Pray for her witness to the community of cancer survivors!