It had started out as an ordinary day. The night before, family and friends had gathered to celebrate my 47th birthday which had been a few days before. As we laughed together, I remember thinking about what a wonderful life I had. Of course there were the normal challenges but surrounded by people who loved me, sitting warm and safe by the fire despite the cold and all the snow outside and most of all, being a Child of God, life was good. Very good.
I was a second grade teacher and before I left for school that day, I checked my email. I noticed that I'd received a message saying that the results of a routine mammogram I'd had were now available for viewing. I hesitated for a moment thinking that I'd check the results later because I knew what it would say. It would tell me everything was normal. That's what it always said.
I had been having mammorgrams since I was 30 years old as well as colonoscopies. Generally in the US they do not begin to do mammograms until you are 40 due to the density of breast tissue and colonoscopies until you are 50 but my paternal grandmother had been diagnosed with breast cancer in her late 30's and her son, my father, had been diagnosed with colon cancer when he was 40. While inherited breast cancer is believed to be passed down through the mother and there was no history of it in my mother's family other than one of my cousins, the fact that I had two direct ancestors who had early-onset cancer made them want to keep a closer eye on me. Cancer screenings had been a part of my life for sixteen years and everything was always fine. As I moved into my late 40's, I breathed a sigh of relief. It appeared I had dodged the cancer bullet... or so I thought.
I decided I had time to quickly click on the link in the email and I was taken to a website where I logged in to see my test results and these were the words that greeted me:
There is evidence of a spiculated mass in the upper central portion of the left breast with possible satellite lesion. We will evaluate the area with focal compression views and ultrasound. Radiology will schedule additional views of the left breast and left breast ultrasound.
As I write these words, I am glancing at the clock and realizing that I literally first read those words almost exactly seven years ago...
Words cannot adequately describe the feelings I am having right now as I recall the events of the past seven years. I would not just battle cancer. I would also face a ruptured brain aneurysm and stroke, residual side-effects of both, the loss of my career as a result of the latter, the job loss of my spouse for 13 months and now the disintegration of the marriage of my only child and these are just the highlights!
As I wrote those words, I suddenly realized those are not the highlights. The highlights are and continue to be the amazing love, mercy, grace and faithfulness of God who has been beside me every step of the way. No matter where you go, no matter what you face, God is with you and He will never let you go. Never.
On that day, when I wanted to crumble to the floor and cry, God took me by the hand and was with me as I telephoned my husband. He was with me as I called the clinic to begin the long journey through cancer treatment. He sat beside me in the car as I drove through the rush hour traffic that morning, blinded by tears, not knowing what the future would hold.
As I drove, I heard this song which I would later frequently listen to and sing throughout cancer treatment.
Keep on singing... no matter what!
"As I drove, I heard this song which I would later frequently listen to and sing throughout cancer treatment"Wonder who made sure that song was playing on that station at that particular moment.
Our God is an awesome God. Praise Himb/B
Your testimony of God's faithfulness to you never ceases to bless me, K . It has been, and is, a wonderful testimony for all of us to review the faithfulness He has shown to each of us.
I want to take this opportunity to extend my love to you, and thank God for the privilege of having met you through this wonderful venue.
Nothing can stop you singing Gods love Princess.
It thrills me that we can go through so many things and yet continue to see the outpouring of God's love through all of it. In spite of the heartaches you have been through God has blessed you so much and I know that he will continue to do so as you continue to trust him.
You, just like me, are a true survivor. Blessed are those who withstand and having done all to stand. You have and I believe you will continue to allow what you have gone through to be a means of reaching out to others who are in pain. Thank you for "hanging in there"!
Thank K! I really really needed to read this!