I have had a fear of cancer for a very long time now. I can’t identify what caused this fear to take root in me but I can recall, at the age of 17, sitting on the couch crying for hours waiting for my mom to get home because I felt a lump in my breast. She was concerned as well so she took me to see the doctor who told me it was just a cyst and I was too young to be concerned. The doctor’s words did not abate my fears.
I have been so gripped with fear throughout these years that I neglected my health. I was not performing the self breast exams and I would let several years lapse between mammograms. I didn’t want to know. I preferred not to know. I knew better but I did not do better.
All the while I felt like such a hypocrite when I would declare “I give myself away to you God!” The Holy Spirit continuously reminded me that I was not trusting God with every facet of my life. Instinctively, when I read the bible, I would cling to scripture that spoke to having a long and abundant life. The best way for me to remember things is to write them down so I would write scriptures in notebooks and diary’s. I wanted the scripture to become more than just words on a page. I wanted my being…my soul…to accept it as truth.
But I was caught off guard by what happened last month. It had been a couple of years since my last Women’s Wellness Check so I made an appointment with my doctor for an exam. She spent about five minutes reminding me how irresponsible it was for me to let the time lapse and that I should see her at least once a year for an exam. I agreed. I had nothing to say and accepted her rebuke. I appreciated her concern and had made up my mind that it would not happen again. I just felt foolish for being afraid.
We scheduled an appointment for my mammogram before I left her office. It was basically the same as my previous mammograms except now I had an option for 3D imaging. I accepted that option. I was in and out of the imaging center in less than 30 minutes. It took about a week for a nurse from my doctor’s office to call to let me know all test results were normal and she will see me again next year.
Much to my surprise I received a call from the radiologist at the imaging center nearly two weeks from my exam date telling me I needed to return because my exam showed an abnormality. I couldn’t comprehend a word she was telling me because my mind was trying to recall the phone call from the nurse at my doctor’s office telling me everything was okay. I spoke my full name to the radiologist and asked her is it me she wanted to talk to. She responded, “Yes.” I told her I didn’t understand so she began to explain that I was in their office 2 weeks ago for an exam and the result shows an abnormality so I needed to schedule an appointment immediately for a magnified mammogram and ultrasound. The radiologist call was interrupted by my doctor’s office calling but I allowed her to finish, scheduled a return visit and then returned the call to my doctor.
I had mixed emotions running through me as I spoke to my doctor’s nurse. I was angry because I was certain they gave me the “all clear” just a week prior. I was in denial thinking that this was just an insurance scam….just another reason to bill my insurance and I was afraid that I may have breast cancer. Nevertheless, I quietly listened to the nurse give me the results of the exam.
I received the call from the radiologist and my doctor’s office on a Tuesday and my return appointment was on a Thursday. As I sat there in my robe waiting for my exam, I was unbelievably calm. All the scriptures that I had meditated on came to my mind…”many are the afflictions of the righteous but God delivers them out of them all (Psalm 34:19),” and “consider it pure joy when you face trials (James 1:2-4). I kept saying to myself, you can bank on God’s promises so don’t worry. I prayed that if this trial/tribulation was part of His plan that he would give me the strength to endure. I reminded God that His child…yeah me…was a “punk” and I would require supernatural strength! I was at peace in that moment…I began to cry because I felt overwhelmed by God’s love and affirmation that I was His!
The ladies in the room began to glance my way. Soon one of the nurses approached me and tried to comfort me by reminding me that we don’t know the outcome yet. I told her I was crying because regardless, benign or malignant, I will be okay. I was confident that I would see the other side of this. Come what may….I will be okay.
I wish I could express in words how liberating this revelation was to me. To trust God and His plan through trials and tribulations is a lot different than trusting God through the good times. To completely have faith in Him meant that I needed to trust Him when things are difficult, painful (emotionally and physically), and disappointing! I needed to truly believe that whatever happened God will work things out for my good. God has made us promises and I am learning everyday how to stand firmly on those promises in full expectations of seeing them come to pass in my life.
By living in the fullness of what God has for me I will experience many good days and some bad days but EVERY day He is here with me! And on those bad days, I will call on Him to give me strength to make it another day and to give me wisdom to understand and appreciate His plan for me.
After the magnified imaging and ultrasound, the radiologist confirmed that there was a solid mass there and I needed a biopsy performed. The biopsy was scheduled and I went home. The first call I made after my husband was my mother. I just needed to confirm that I truly honored her over the years. We both laughed and my mom reassured me that everything would be okay.
The biopsy wasn’t the most pleasant procedure but it needed to be done. And less than 48 hours later, I received the call that the pathologist indicated that it was benign; however, I now need mammograms every 6 months. And, ladies and gentlemen, I will be sure to get them every 6 months.
I have known many people who suffered through cancer. Some have seen the other side to better health and some are resting in peace but both are loved by God! In sickness and in health, through good days and on bad days, His strength is available to us all to endure the journey…we only need to trust Him. Below are some scriptures that have helped me overcome my fear.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. (Proverbs 3: 1-2)
Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”(Ephesians 6:2-3)
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all (Psalm 34:19)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)