I was first diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago at age 41. Since most of us view ourselves as healthy and active, the news of cancer comes as a shock. It takes a few days for the diagnosis to sink in, and as much as you try to focus on other things, it’s almost impossible. At first, I wanted to read everything I could to be as informed as possible. But after a while, I felt it was better to stop the research, as it seemed to make me too anxious. A difficult part of cancer treatment, in general, is waiting for test results. It feels like your life is being put on hold. I think a common feeling among cancer patients is the feeling of being alone, even in a large group of people.
My faith in Jesus Christ gave me the peace and comfort that I needed in my time of need. A precious group of ladies from my church laid their hands on me and prayed for healing and comfort. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and peace that was beyond human understanding. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I felt that I could handle all things on my own. But cancer humbled me and brought me into a closer relationship with my savior Jesus Christ. I am now a prayer warrior for others and pray for about 20 people every day. I have mentored several other women going through breast cancer treatment and desire to be encouraging to them on their journey. I loved that certain friends and church members would contact me periodically to find out how I was doing. If you know of someone going through cancer, don’t be afraid to call or text. Your care and concern may be just what that person needs at that very moment.
I was told that I had about a 40% chance of survival, rising to 48% by adding chemo and radiation. My cancer was aggressive so I needed six chemo treatments instead of the customary four. The chemo was tough and affected my heart by the last treatment. I then had six weeks of radiation, which was much easier for me. By the grace of God, I made it through treatment without needing to take time off of work.
After 15 years of being cancer free, I was again diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2017. I opted to have a double mastectomy this time and had to advocate having both sides removed. It ended up being worth the challenge because I had cancer on the left side too. This time I received a detailed analysis of the cancer tissue and chemo is not recommended.
My daughter and I have a motto that we try to live by, choose joy. Joy is different than happiness. Joy is to peace that comes with knowing that Jesus is with you every day and is sovereign in all things. I am still undergoing cancer treatment, but I am pleased to choose joy.