My breast cancer journey continues. Since learning of my biopsy reports, I’ve been studying (a lot). There’s a lot of information out there … it gets overwhelming. Fortunately, yesterday my husband and I met with the surgeon to discuss treatment options. This is good, he’s an expert in the field, and I’ve always believed in wise counsel.
A twist to my treatment, however, is an immune deficiency I’ve had for several years. This immune deficiency (Common Variable Immune Deficiency) could prevent me from having breast reconstruction. So now we wait to consult with the plastic surgeon.
I am humbled and comforted with the notes, texts, cards, and phone calls from people all across the country. Some I don’t know, but saw my prayer request on a prayer list and wanted me to know they had a similar experience and I would be just fine. That outpouring of support gave me the peace that surpassed all understanding yesterday with the doctor. I still feel that same peace.
Thinking back I remember times in my life I felt I was going through something alone. Feelings of hopelessness engulfed me. One of those times was when I went through a divorce. I thought, “I can’t go to church (or to the movies). I’m the only one in the whole crowd that won’t have someone. I’m alone.” Yet, when I shared my deepest hurt of divorce, I discovered there were many others who had similar experiences. That gave me the courage to go on.
Another time was experiencing mental illness. Twenty years ago the social stigma of mental illness was devastating. However, reaching out for help, educating myself, I discovered just how many people in this country are affected. Today, increased awareness surrounding the illness and the help available has lessened that stigma. To this day I remain a mental health advocate. That wouldn’t have happened until I spoke up and asked for help.
This brings me to my own story of a past abortion. It took me decades to come to the point where I could admit I’d had an abortion and asked for help. All those years I suffered in silence believing that I would be outcast because of my abortion. However, through recovery, I found my voice and now share openly about the affects abortion has on individuals and society, and the cure that’s available through Jesus Christ. Sadly, the message is being hampered by the shroud of secrecy and shame surrounding the “silent sufferers” of a past abortion. The post-abortive community is the largest demographic in our society, with low estimates of 100 million in this country alone.
It takes courage to admit mistakes you’ve made. It takes courage to be transparent about your life. But that same courage gives hope to others to “keep on keeping on.” In 2 Corinthians 1:6, the Bible says: “But in our trouble God has comforted us—and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure.” I receive power and continued healing each time I speak up. You can, too.
Secrets kill and the wall of shame and secrecy surrounding what happens after abortion is coming to an end.