Friday, July 2, 2010
Oh "me" of little faith!
I have a scar on my left breast. It is about an inch and a half long and it sits in an indented area of my skin. I smile when I see it. It is as though, God is staring back at me through it with a huge grin on His face. Almost as though, we have an inside joke that we just shared with one another. God is cool like that. It all began a few years ago when I found a small lump in my breast. I dismissed it right away and blamed it on..."that time of the month". I waited until the next month rolled around to see if it was still there. It was. It was bigger. I immediately made an appointment with the local imaging center to have a mammogram. My mammogram showed nothing, but the tech could also feel the lump. They sent the results to my doctor and he suggested I see a surgeon. (20 % of all breast cancer goes unseen by a mammogram) It was time to see the surgeon. My heart sank with fear and anxiety. I come from a three generational background of breast cancer "survivors". The most recent had been my sister, who battled breast cancer three times. She is 39 now. The odds were very much against me at this point. The surgeon decided that it would be best to wait thirty days to see if the lump grew or changed in consistency at all. This would begin a thirty day nightmare for me. If you have ever had to wait for anything, you can just about imagine how this was for me. I hate waiting. For the next month, I would allow the devil to take over all of my thoughts, all of my emotions, and all of my faith. I became weak in every sense of the word. My mind was consumed with my worst fear...cancer. Although I knew that my sister had survived hers with strength and stride...how could I? I thought of my children. I thought of my husband. I was scared more than I had ever been. My body and mind slowly began to wither. I did not recognize who I had become...I had lost my faith. The thirty days had passed and it was time to visit with the surgeon. I had my two adopted sisters come with me for support. (I love you Tiff and Ash!) There I sat...ready to receive the bad news. The surgeon's partner came in and examined me. The lump had grew. Not only grew, but had reached three times in size! It went from a pea size to a lima bean size in thirty days. She rushed out the door and got the doctor. The next few moments were like a dream. He examined me and came to the same conclusion. He feared the worst. He suspected that it was a fast growing cancer. With my family history being the way it was, he was almost certain. He said that we would do surgery the following Monday. He said the word Chemo. He talked about cancer therapy and other treatments. He talked about putting me on cancer prevention medicine after the surgery. I can't tell you exactly everything word for word, because it seemed as though I was sitting there in a fog. Drifting slowly...I was fading more and more by the minute. The doctor left the room to do my paperwork for the surgery, and I collapsed in tears. My worst fear was now becoming a reality. The next few days would be more excrutiating than those thirty days of waiting. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I would stay up for hours researching on the internet, about different breast cancers. I couldn't function. I barely strummed up enough strength, to take care of my family. I became cold towards them. I was angry because I felt that God was taking me from them. I was angry because I didn't want them to see me suffer through any form of treatments. I had always been the strong one. The one who held it all together...but I was falling apart at the seams. I felt like I was letting them down. My strength was gone. My faith continued to wither and I even found it hard to pray. In times like this, it is necessary to have a strong prayer warrior in your life. I had many people to lean on during this time. My sister was on speed dial and we probably talked a hundred times a day. She encouraged me not to worry, unless they say there is something to worry about. She lifted me up when I was down. I also had a very dear friend who had been a part of my spiritual growth...Louisa. I would go to her house, and as soon as I would see her, I would fall into her arms and sob, "I can't do this! I don't have the strength!" All I could do was cry. She wouldn't say a word in response. She would just begin praying out loud over me. If you have ever doubted the power of prayer, just come sit with me a while...I will convince you otherwise. Although I was weak in my mind, my body, my spirit and my faith...God was still working. I had changed...but God never did. The day of the surgery came and I was fading fast. I had diagnosed myself with cancer. In a sense, I had begun to dig my own grave, knowing the worst was upon me. Before going to the back for surgery, a group of my family and friends decided to gather in a circle to pray for me. I remember thinking, "This won't work. I already have cancer. But, I will stand here and smile." Even though, God had proven to me in the past, time and time again, that He was there for me, I still doubted. He had answered countless cries for help. But, I had given up. I gave up on Him and myself. I was full of doubt. I had even decided how I would handle the news. I was going to be strong and take it with stride. After surgery, there was more waiting for the results. The doctor had removed it all and more, just to make sure He took out all of the tissue in the surrounding area. I went home to get some well needed sleep. We waited. That night would seem like a dream. I slept, but all the while my mind never stopped. Thoughts of IV's and treatments ran through my mind. How would I do this and still be the mother and wife I needed to be? How would I get through this? My faith still...no where in sight. I received the call the next morning, that would completely change my life. It would change how I thought about myself, and how I felt about God. The answer on the other end of the phone was..."it's benign". Not cancer! It was a fatty tumor! They tend to grow very fast, normally in the thigh area, but this one grew in my breast. What!! Oh ye of little faith...all that worrying for nothing! I had closed myself off from God because of a fatty tumor. God had saved me from my worst fear, even though I was burying myself alive in my disbelief. I was ashamed. I rejoiced in the miracle, but I was ashamed of who I had become, while God was creating it. I had lost my way in disbelief. There are moments in life, that will be so overwhelming, that you feel the very life being sucked out of you. But, have faith in the One who gave you that life. Have faith that He will never leave you. Have faith in knowing, that when you change...He won't. Because when all is said and done...He is still God. In the midst my doubt...He was still God! Although I had lost all of my faith, He was still there for me...working when I couldn't even see Him. I have a scar on my left breast...it makes me smile. It is God smiling back at me. It is a reminder of the place where God brought me from. It is a reminder of what God brought me through, even though I had lost my faith. It is a reminder of where I never want to allow myself to go again. It is a reminder of the life that He wants me to live out in His name. It is a reminder of His love for me. Thank you God for saving me...once again. I owe you my life! Thank you for being faithful to me at times when I am not. Matthew 17:20, He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL LADIES! **If you are 40 years or older, you need to get a mammogram.** Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. Women 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. About 20 - 30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer. For more information: http://ww5.komen.org/ **Cancer is not a death sentence! If you are fearful of getting a mammogram, and need a "mammogram buddy", email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are diagnosed and need a prayer warrior...email me also and leave me your phone number. God is bigger than cancer!!