My Breast Cancer Scare: Because having people you love die isn’t enough drama for one year, you have to worry about dying of cancer yourself to make things interesting.
My latest newsletter focused on remembering the glitter moments of every day. Glitter moments are the distinctly wonderful moments in life that sparkle like glitter and separate themselves from the monotony of our daily routine.
They are rare like glitter. And they stick to our memories like glitter sticks to…well, everything. And aren’t we so glad they do? Only a few weeks ago, I resolved to count my blessings, take a mental inventory of my glitter moments (and there have been so many), when things get bad in my life.
And it all seemed like a good idea. Until once again, things got bad. (You’d think at some point I’d learn, right?)
When my father passed away in May, I felt keenly aware of my own mortality. And because of that and a few other reasons, I scheduled a physical for myself. Everything checked out well, but the doctor chided me for putting off my mammogram. I’m 46. I’ve put off getting my first mammogram for SIX YEARS!
I had a million excuses for why I’d put it off, but I pushed them out of my mind, pulled up the shining glitter moments in my head that always include my family, and considered them my reason for getting the test done.
After my appointment, I patted myself on the shoulder, treated myself to a Starbucks and went on my merry way.
Two days later, I received a call that the tests were not normal. The radiologist had detected a nodule, or something, I can’t remember the term, in one of my breasts. I’ll admit, after the first few words of the phone call, I don’t recall hearing much else. I was scheduled for more tests, and life went on as usual.
The kids got mad at me for disciplining them, and I was still afraid I had breast cancer.
Dinner had to be prepared, and I was still afraid I might have a prolonged battle for my own life.
My husband wondered why I was distant, and I wondered what he would do without me.
Everything continued to move forward, and I was stuck worrying that some evil character was slowly and methodically picking off every member of my family. First, my grandma, then my dad, then my dog (okay, some would say that’s a stretch, but Tolstoy was my family, and this is my blog and I get to make the rules), is it now my turn?
I didn’t tell anyone for days. Not a soul. Only God and I knew about my fear. And it grew in me like the breast cancer I was so afraid of. Pushing me away from the people I loved. Until one morning, while I prayed, God told me, “You have to tell your husband. Your body is HIS body.”
I didn’t want to share my fear and my weakness with my husband. Or anyone for that matter. I felt like if I said the words out loud, it would make them more real. I reasoned that I could make it through another few days and then I would have my follow up tests, and I could share the results when I found out everything was fine.
And in the back of my mind, I wondered, “What if I die?”
Fast forward to today. I don’t have breast cancer. That I know of.
But I still wonder, what if I die? Because if anything, the events of the last year have taught me that there are no guarantees.
And when I thought about having breast cancer and fighting for my life, I thought about my kids and my husband and my sweet mother, of course.
But the biggest weight on my heart were my books. These precious stories that God is pushing through me like coffee percolates through a pot in the morning. Have I been a good steward of this gift He has given me? Have I managed what little time I have on this earth wisely? Can I do better?
I sat in church on Sunday and I prayed, not knowing if I had cancer or not. And this is what God told me.
“You can do great things, or you can be mediocre. It’s your choice. (I wrote in parenthesis, “not really”) The opposition is not going to end. You don’t have time to hit pause on MY plan every time the enemy opposes you. Do not be distracted. I have MY hand over you. I will protect you. Do not let your attention diverge from MY plan for you.”
And it is because of these words, and this promise that I share my story with you. Out of embarrassment for my weakness. From a place of vulnerability. I hope that when you feel weak, and scared when life brings you to a place where you feel lonely and you reach out to the Heavens for answers, that you know you are not alone. God is with you. He has His hand upon you. You are strong because He is strong.
I am sharing a link to a video I recorded last week when I didn’t know who to talk to. I felt afraid and alone. I can see it in my eyes and hear it in my voice even when I watch it now. Praise God that I am cancer-free for now! Praise God that I am healthy today! And I pray that I am given one more day.
I will use every single one of them to glorify God.