Dear God, where does this fit in Your plan for me? That was my question. I never asked “Why me?” But, I wonder just how God was planning to use me on this journey.
It was October, 2000. I had just returned to work after a left total hip replacement and anticipating having to do the same with my right hip in the not to distant future, when after an abnormal mammogram and subsequent biopsy, I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.
For the past eighteen years, my profession had been in Clinical Cancer Research “I KNEW THE DEAL!” But, oh what a blessing it was to be surrounded by experts in the field. When I returned to work that October, I was assigned to a new director and was not particularly happy with the change. But, who knew? Within a week, I knew. Who better to have but a female oncologist, experienced in the treatment of breast cancer!
My new medical director was very supportive, giving me her home phone number to call if needed, time off to make arrangements, and discussing various treatment options with me. Within two days, I had an appointment to see a surgeon and I accepted my director’s offer to go with me. Having her accompany me during the first session was invaluable. We discussed everything from a lumpectomy to a bilateral mastectomy. My next steps toward making a treatment decision were to have consults with a radiologist specializing in breast cancer treatment, a plastic surgeon experienced in breast reconstruction, and an oncologist. These consults allowed me to gather facts and understand my options.
Again, I took someone with me on these visits and as before, it proved to be invaluable when it was time to weigh the pros and cons of my treatment options. As I reflect over the last three years, I still do not know that I am clear on God’s ultimate plan for me, but I do know it is in His hands. I do know that He has a plan for me. There is not enough space on this page to relate to you the numerous times someone has come into my life at the very moment that I needed them or at a time when they needed the support that I could give. These are not just coincidences; I prefer to call to call them “God Incidences.” I have met some of the most phenomenal women while on this journey. Breast cancer survivors are incredibly giving and supportive I appear in this calendar and tell my story for one reason only and that is to encourage women to pay attention to their bodies, get regular check ups, do monthly self breast exams. Early detection is very important in the fight against breast cancer. And if you are diagnosed with breast cancer: know that you have options; know that you do not have to take this journey alone; be open to support that is offered; make the best decision you can with the information you have gathered; and move forward. There is life after a diagnosis of breast cancer.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV