Not Just My Story

I’m getting a lot of attention these days. I don’t like being the center of attention. I do appreciate all the caring and loving people surrounding me, for sure. I love that God is raising people up to encourage and support me.

Today, my son turns 15. I have one son and 7 daughters. As I think about his life and pray for him this morning, I’m very aware that this whole cancer deal isn’t just about me. It’s part of his story, too.

He’s turning 15 and learning and growing in life and just found out his mama’s got cancer. You know the bond between boys and mamas. . . and as far as he understands, his mama could die and leave him alone.

After he learned the news, he came into my room and asked if I wanted a hug. YES! I will always want a hug from this guy. He leaned down (He’s 6’5”) and held on tight while I sobbed. That was a moment that will likely never leave either of our memories.

The same is true of my daughters–my strong, lovely, amazing daughters. This is part of their story, as well. They are the ones who will fill my shoes for the next 6 months or so. We are all going in strong, but the day will come when we are all weary and tired and maybe angry.

And my husband. I can’t imagine getting the news that a spouse has cancer. I pray I never know the feeling, but I know Larry feels it deeply. It’s a major part of his story. I told him yesterday “I’m sorry, dear, but if I have cancer, you have cancer. That’s how it works. . . if you do it right.” And so we walk this part of the story together. And he’s been amazing. God blessed me beyond measure to give me this man.

When we go through something tough in life, we tend to think and wonder about what the purpose is. What’s God doing? Why is this happening? Some of us look inward for the lessons we think we are supposed to be learning and think our struggles are only about us. How often we miss the other pieces of the puzzle. Since our lives are all intertwined on one level or another, what is tough for me may be tough for someone else in my life, and maybe this difficult thing is actually me being a tool in the Maker’s hand so that someone else can learn and grow.

Regardless what will come of this situation I’m in, I know that it’s not about me. Not entirely, anyway. It’s about His higher purpose. And I am willing.

How it all started

I had a bruise. It had no color; it just felt like a bruise on my left breast. I couldn’t feel a lump or anything, but I figured since I had blown off the routine mammograms for the last 8 years (I’m 48, and they recommend starting at 40) I’d go ahead and get it checked out. I had no idea how providential that little bruise would be. Really.

By the time my appointment rolled around, the bruise was gone, but I figured I’d go in anyway. My nurse practitioner felt a lump in my right breast! She recommended mammogram and sonogram, which I had the following week. I went home feeling confident that all was well and I’d go back in a year to do my routine duty.

Not so. I was called back for a second set of tests, and then again for imaging and possible biopsy in Duluth. That was a tough appointment. When you are called to the Breast Center for tests, stuff gets real and fear sets in. I cried silently through much of the 3 hours I was there.

Then I went home to wait. As I waited and prayed and committed it to the Lord, He gave me the peace that I would indeed be found to have cancer, but that all would be well. I had no guarantee of what that meant, but I could rest in it.

The call came late in the day Friday, and was as I expected. Friday dragged into Saturday and then Sunday. . . finally on Monday I got a call with appointments. Finally, I had something I could DO. There was something on my calendar. It was a start.

That brings me to today. I met the surgeon and found some encouraging news–I can avoid radiation by having a more radical surgery, my lymph nodes are clear, and I really like my surgeon. I also found some discouraging news–as much as I want to avoid chemo, it’s not likely, as the type of cancer I have involves HER2, a protein that enables faster growth and greater recurrence. I’ve always thought if I ever got cancer I’d go a more natural route and skip the attack of chemo on my body. Turns out I did get cancer, and it’s an aggressive sort that will perhaps make it unwise to take the time to try other methods. This makes me deeply sad, and so I pray that if I am to have chemo, both my husband and I will feel a great peace about it.

My schedule is beginning to be crazy. . . days I don’t work, I have appointments. Oh, the appointments.

Here I am. . .

I’ve started several blogs over the years. I love to write and have always enjoyed the idea of keeping up with a blog, more for my own love of writing than anything.

Enter life. Exit blog.

Here I am, starting again. This time, it’s not for me. I am commissioned to write, and I will trust that He who commissioned me will enable me to keep up, for His glory. You see, this time it’s different. I’m going to have a story to tell, and maybe someone will find strength and encouragement in it.

Exactly 5 days ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. But you know what’s cool? I expected it. No, I never expected to get reproductive cancer of any sort. There is no history in my family, and it’s scientifically proven that the more time you spend lactating and the more children you bear, the less likely you are to get it. I have 6 biological children, y’all. I’ve done my time. And yet, here I am.

From the time of my biopsies last Wednesday, I had a deep and abiding peace that the results would be positive. I also knew that all will be well and very well. Does that guarantee that I will beat it and live a long and happy life, not remotely.

I could ask “why me?” But then, why not me? What makes me special, that I should be above this diagnosis? Absolutely nothing. And since I KNOW that The Lord my God has everything in His hand, I can trust Him with this. (I will likely need you all to remind me of this as the journey gets rockier–just please be gentle!)

So, that’s my intro. If you’re intrigued, keep reading. If you have other things to do, God’s blessings as you go.