“God is the joy and the strength of my Life”
This gospel song has always had special meaning for me. On September 20, 2002, while taking a shower and doing my monthly self breast examination, I discovered a large lump in my right breast. I tried to say to myself that I imagining it. But, I knew in my heart of hearts that this “lump” was real and needed some attention.
My primary physician, Dr. Lee Jung, scheduled an appointment with Dr. Ellen Polokoff, breast cancer surgeon who performed a biopsy that revealed the evidence of a malignancy, just two days before the Thanksgiving holiday. Dr. Polokoff told me to go home and enjoy the holiday. She advised me that she would schedule me for a lumpectomy the first week in December, and not to worry and promised that she would take good care of me.
Telling my children and my family was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Having to tell them their “rock” was breaking up was frightening to them and to me. Up to this point I was one of the strong ones in the family, always making things right. Now, I felt powerless. So, returning to my song He moves all pain, misery and strife, I prayed to God for peace and joy for the journey. God answers prayer.
I had my surgery December 4, 2004 and, in two weeks, returned to my job as a nurse for the APT Foundation.
In January 2003, I met my oncologist Dr. Wahij Zaheer (a blessing), who suggested that I follow-up my surgery with chemotherapy and radiation treatment. After 12 weeks of chemo, I then embarked on to radiation therapy with Dr. Robert Sinha. He was wonderful and competent.
I won’t say that I wasn’t sick and tired much of the time throughout my treatment. But I will say this: I got through my ordeal because God gave me what I asked for – Joy and peace. He gave me wonderful children, Bruce and Terri who fawned over me and took care of me. He gave me the help of my late significant other Elvin, and family, friends and co-workers too numerous to name, to love, support and nurture me.
It is now three years later and I am cancer free. God promised to keep me, never to leave me. And he hasn’t!