In December 2008, my yearly mammogram revealed I had breast cancer. The diagnosis brought with it many questions and required me to make some immediate decisions about surgery and treatment. An overwhelming amount of new information was given to me and I found myself having to become familiar with new concepts and strange medical terminology.
I experienced strong emotions of anxiety and fear. It was difficult to think clearly while experiencing these emotions, but I soon realized that dealing with the cancer diagnosis required me to remain focused because education is empowerment.
My breast cancer was detected at an early stage of development so there were a number of treatment options available. After discussing the options with the physician, my husband and I chose the ones that seemed to be right for my situation. Things included in the decision were the location and extent of the cancer, my age and preferences, and the risks and benefits of each treatment.
Although the journey was difficult, it was not the worse thing that ever happened to me. I was instantly accepted into a “sisterhood” that was not of my choosing, but one that provided a tremendous outpouring of love and support. I often talk of my journey in a presentation “I Want What You Have” which offers a perspective of finding hope and strength in the midst of dealing with personal illness.
Today, I am cancer free and remain hopeful the cancer will not reoccur. Fighting breast cancer may be one of the toughest life challenges a woman will ever have to encounter, but because of the many resources available you do not have to face it alone. Tons of information can be found in books, on websites and from other cancer survivors and support groups. (Many resources can be found at the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website at www.nbcam.org.)
I was richly blessed with family and friends that stood by me; praying for me, bringing me meals and encouraging me with cards, emails and phone calls. Knowing I was not in control, there was comfort in being able to turn it over to God and trust that He would bring me through it.
I pray that none of you ever have to deal with breast cancer and as a precaution strongly encourage you to have a yearly mammogram. Mammogram screening, which is a simple x-ray of the breasts, remains the best available method to detect breast cancer in its early stages. If you are forty and have never had a mammogram, or haven’t had a mammogram recently, please call and schedule one today. Why not join me and plan to have a mammogram every year to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month? God bless you!
Ending on a Positive Note: Father God, thank you for always giving me the strength I need to face life’s obstacles. You give me comfort and peace and the faith to endure what I can’t understand. Help me to totally trust in You today and everyday. Amen.