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I reached a milestone this week – four years cancer free!  I’m filled with incredible gratitude for the blessing of health, but I don’t want to forget that time four years ago when I found out I had breast cancer.

I have always kept my yearly physical appointments on schedule, like clockwork.  I take my medicine on time, and pretty much do everything the doctor tells me (save the exercise and eating right – won’t get into that).  In 2013 when I went in for my annual exam, I knew something wasn’t right.  The sonogram proved it.  The radiologist reported back within ten minutes to say, “we’re scheduling you for two biopsies this Friday.”  That was on Tuesday.

I must have been on autopilot — I just did what needed to be done.  My husband, poor thing, was taking it worse than me.  When we arrived for my biopsies, the sweetest woman on earth, a nurse with a face like an angel, told me, “You just hold my hand as tight as you want.  If it hurts, squeeze harder.”  Her arm will never be the same.

I was told it could take 3-4 days for the results to come back, but I was spared a long wait.  I got a call on Monday at work from the head nurse.  She told me the biopsies show early stage cancer.  She also said, “I want you to listen to me – we have caught this early.  We are scheduling an appointment for you to see a surgeon – he’s the best and one that I would go to in the same situation.”  The appointment was scheduled.  It’s funny … the only time I remember crying is when I told my co-worker I had cancer.  I guess it never hits home until you hear yourself say it.

Then I waited to see the surgeon … that was the hardest … waiting.  Once there he explained the biopsies showed the cancer was like a tree – broad at the top and deep roots at the bottom.  He recommended mastectomy, it was too big for a lumpectomy.  Surgery was scheduled.

The following months of rehab and reconstruction seem like a blur.  Throughout that time, though, I remember seeing other patients while at the oncologist whose diagnoses were far worse.  But the one thing we shared was gratitude for life that we had.

I have lost several friends over the past few years and have many currently battling cancer.  To each – I remember you and thank you for teaching me about dignity and courage.

Proverbs 31:25                       “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”

 

Tagged: breast cancer, future, God, gratitude, life

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