Juanita Darnell Evans
my love for HIM is what guided me through one of the most challenging times in my life. I also love to sing and worship God. Singing with my family and friends kept me anchored during this journey. I would pick a song each day and sing to lift my spirits to get through this time.
At a young age I began traveling in ministry proclaiming the Word of God. I also went on several missionary trips singing with Freda Battle and the Temple Worshipers.
September 12, 2008, marked the first day of my now almost six-year journey through many doctor appointments, a biopsy, ultra sound and decisionmaking with regard to surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy), when or if I would have the surgery, and the need for radiation, chemo or both! My life became a roller coaster of emotions.
I focused on the females in my family (my mother, godmother, sisters, my adorable nieces!) I had to make it for me as well as for them! Thank you for your undying love and support. I made it because of God and you.
My daily confessions were, “I shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord,” Psalms 118:17 and “This affliction shall not visit me a second time,” Nahum 1:9. Personally, I needed a healing miracle from God so that I would not have to go through the surgery.
For the days to come I would spend each moment talking to God in prayer and listening for HIS direction and guidance on how I would NOT need surgery, but that He would give me the miracle I desired to have. As time went on the Father began to assure me that I would be healed and He would give me that miracle.
Not long after, I began to experience peace about undergoing the surgery. I set up an appointment with Dr. Barbara Smith, head of Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Smith was one of the most peaceful, poised and elegant women doctors I have ever met. I instantly felt the peace that I asked God to provide. When Dr. Smith walked into the room and called my name, “Juanita,” in her still quiet voice, the peace I needed rested on my life (I will never forget that moment). It confirmed in my heart that I would go through with the surgery and trust God for my life and healing.
On December 2, 2008, in a whirlwind of emotions (scared, nervous and loving God) I closed my eyes, prayed to God and went through with the surgery. I awoke to my family gathered around my bed as I sang, “We exalt you!”
Subsequent to my surgery, there were more follow-up appointments that would lead me into the next phase of this process. In June 2009, I began radiation every day, Monday through Friday, for seven weeks.
During this time, I often found myself being very quiet and reflective in thanksgiving for this process.
One important stage that we fail to speak much about is what we experience emotionally and mentally. I have to speak to this because, as I went through this process, I recall some of the emotions I dealt with as well as the thoughts that flooded my mind. What will I look like to the world? Will my breast look different to the world? So many times we internalize our feelings
as we go through this journey, thinking no one will understand (and they probably don’t and won’t).
About two years post-surgery and treatment, I visited my doctor who informed me that I had begun the healing process (emotionally and mentally) a bit late. I attribute this to internalizing my feelings.
What propelled me into my emotional healing was something my pastor said one Sunday morning: “Go ahead and grieve now so that when God is ready to bless you, you will be ready to receive what HE has for you.”
I urge you to heal emotionally as well as physically. God wants us WHOLE IN EVERY AREA of our lives. “…I wish above all things that thou would prosper and be in health as thy soul prospers.” 3 John 1:2.
I do not consider myself a breast cancer survivor, but rather a breast cancer MIRACLE! This journey takes strength and tenacity but you can do it. Don’t let go. There is life after breast cancer.
Early detection is life expansion.