I call my experience of having breast cancer a hiccup because I was diagnosed early at Stage 1 in November 2015. I was experiencing pain in my left breast. However the cancer was found in my right breast, very close to my chest wall. My doctor stated that I would not have felt
anything through self-breast exams until it was too late. So I am now a huge advocate of telling women to get their yearly mammogram because this was how my cancer was discovered.
Being the daughter of a two-time breast cancer victim, I knew my risk was higher than normal. Though I went through genetic testing, the results revealed no genetic mutations. I have two daughters and four sisters, so this was important to know so they would have knowledge of their family’s history for future family members.
Following my lumpectomy and radiation recovery, I refused to embrace the label or fact that I am now a breast cancer survivor. I didn’t want anyone to ask how I was doing health-wise or mentally regarding my experience. I dreaded any survivor slogans or pink ribbon accessory gifts. In my mind I no longer had breast cancer, it was a thing of the past and I wanted to forget it like it never happened. I was really,
really struggling with this and wished that I had never told some of my friends and family as they constantly reminded me that I had cancer.
Then one day out of nowhere, in God’s loving way, He whispered, “So you want to forget about what I have done for you and how I brought you through? You don’t want to share with others your experience of trusting me so they too can have hope?” This was my “Aha!” moment of peace. I had been so strong through it all, needing to assure my husband and three children, two of whom were in college at the time, that
everything was still normal. After my hiccup was when I kind of lost myself. I didn’t want to attend counseling or events where I could share my fears or feelings. I certainly knew that I was blessed as many others have endured, and are enduring, a much worse experience. You’ve heard the statement, “don’t block your blessing?” Suppressing letting people really love on me was blocking the fullness of their and my
blessings. I learned sharing and being there for others who are going through whatever trial allows God to use me (us) because I (we) now understand and have compassion to meet people where they are, to share hope for the future.
I now can proudly say that I am a breast cancer survivor as of December 17, 2015. I didn’t ask to be a part of this group, but here I am. I have accepted my “club” initiation and I thank God for opening my eyes. I now proudly accept and wear Breast Cancer Survivor clothing and accessories.
My experience with breast cancer has taught me soul-searching lessons. I don’t sweat the small stuff (well, not as much – I’m still human) and I’m able to reach out to others with encouragement. I no longer dread when someone inquires about how I am doing, as I know it is an opportunity to share that there is hope and trusting in God and His support system of angels is what will get you through. God led me by
my right hand through my journey with Him to embrace the love and support of angels called family, friends, and my healthcare team. I have also met some incredible women along the way who have experienced breast cancer and they are thriving. God kept me strong. May He lead and keep you, no matter what the obstacle, as He has and continues to keep me.
I wish you peace.