A few months ago I shared a story about a close friend of mine who found out Cancer had invaded her life. After journeying with her and her family for the past few months I am excited for her to share her story. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month please read Kathy’s story and see the incredible way God is just beginning to use her story!
Peace Out Cancer
God I know I was created in your image but really “menopause”. I never liked the sound of that word and now I was being forced to experience the symptoms. My favorite symptoms are the hot flashes and night sweats. They started to disturb my sleep and seemed to be coming more frequently. I finally broke down and visited my doctor. He prescribed a small, delicate estrogen patch to be easily placed on your skin and changed twice a week. After the first night I was in heaven and the hot flashes were now under my control, or , that’s what I thought.
Fast forward a year and a half and I’m getting my other favorite procedure, a mammogram. That turned into a ultrasound which turned into a biopsy . I never concerned myself with the outcome because I thought I was safe since breast cancer wasn’t in my family tree. I didn’t know that one out of eight women over the age of 50 will have breast cancer. That’s a statistic I planned on being in the two through eight category. Is it just me or do you always think about how men have it so easy when we have to go through “girly” things.
My phone rings on April 19, 2016 and It will forever be etched in my mind as the day I received a new label. No, it wasn’t my desired designer label, as a matter of fact it was unattractive . I didn’t ask for it but I received it. My new label was called cancer , Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, the positive estrogen receptor type. The patch that soothed my hot flashes turned on me increasing my estrogen to a level that grew cancer cells and I never saw it coming. Isn’t that disease for the liars, cheaters , unworthy, selfish, unhealthy people BUT wait, I’ve been all those things at some point in my life .
I’m a mom, I’ve been a Sunday school teacher, on the PTA, girlscout mom, soccer mom, baseball mom, volunteered in food banks, read books to kids in school, ballet mom, bake sale mom, nurse mom , God fearing, “come to the rescue” kinda friend. I workout and Pure Barre at my age is hard, eat lots of vegetables and fruit, I’m 55 but still sometimes think I’m 30. Not a grandma yet but working on it. I’ve been known to borrow a child or two, especially one in particular, that makes my heart and anxiety melt to pieces. I highly recommend it. So how could this be?
Receiving this ugly news, where do I go with it from here God? I know this is a battle I can’t fight myself. I know this is one of my many paths I will need to walk on. It won’t be easy but I know He’ll be with me so will my family, friends and extended family. I look back at my life and realize how God was preparing me for just this fight but I didn’t know it. The writing was on the wall but I
never noticed. He was molding me into a stronger woman. He placed people in my life that I can draw strength from. He placed people in my life that I love like family. He changed my eating habits (except chocolate) he’s still working on that one. Weeks earlier I sent my daughter an encouraging song “Angel By Your Side”‘ by Francesca Battistelli not knowing then that I would be the one who needed this.
The woman inside told me to fight back with all my might. I trailed forward with tests and more tests, doctors visits I even entered a building that I never dreamed of, looking up I saw a sign that read Cancer Center and felt a warm peace run over me. Yes I was scared, after all I didn’t speak the language of cancer and never thought I would . I woke up every day put one foot in front of the other and said Lord lead me. And that’s just what He did. I scheduled all the necessary procedures and settled in on a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Yes, it wasn’t easy but it was in God’s control and that’s all I could ask for. I read this clever quote in the bookstore that read “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” How true is that. I did my best to live by those words and turn it all over to God. The Lord reminded me that this is just one of my seasons and I’ll never walk it alone regardless of the outcome.
How do I thank the village of people that so touched my heart and made this journey bearable. The endless amount of cards I received in the mail, the heartwarming texts the heartfelt emails, my favorite hairdresser washing and styling my hair ‘ just because’, balloon bouquets, gift baskets, flowers, the special meals and time carved out just for me made my pain disappear. Two of my favorite memories were (1) when my brother reluctantly agreed to help me straighten my hair as I couldn’t raise my arms to do it, the look on his face was priceless as I explained and handed him my flat iron, and (2) when my son and daughter in laws dog , Daisy, snuck in the room were I was napping and quietly left me her bone. I guess she thought I needed it more than her. These simple acts of kindness seemed to fill me with hope and strength. They reminded how easy it is to brightened someone’s day. I need to remember how this feels to pay it forward . In a world were there is a lot of hate God wants us to love, to show it, to give it, to embrace it. It’s really not hard to do. I can buy a stranger in line a cup of coffee, I can hold the door for someone, I can offer a warm smile or hug, I can bake cookies, I can babysit, I can thank a police officer or military person for their service, I can send a card for no reason to someone. Yes God I can do that. Yes God I will do it. Yes God I can be your reflection. I may have permanent scars on the outside but I have more beautiful scars on the inside. My life is always changing and revolving and I’m ok with that as long as God’s hand is the guidance .
I have a new label and it is called “survivor” and that’s a label I’m ready for.