whatever you possess
“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others...
none can say why some fields will blossom
while others lay brown beneath the August sun.
Care for those around you.
Look past your differences.
Their dreams are no less than yours,
their choices no more easily made.
And give, give in any way you can,
of whatever you possess.
To give is to love.
To withhold is to wither.
Care less for your harvest
than for how it is shared
and your life will have meaning
and your heart will have peace.”
- Kent Nerburn
In March, 2011 at four months pregnant, I lost a baby boy. The heartache from losing this child was intense for me and my husband, but in order to allow our hearts to heal, we set our eyes on the future and trying again for a sibling for our son. I had been praying for another child since my son was born in 2008, but had had another miscarriage right before Christmas in 2009 as well.
Two months after the miscarriage, I saw a specialist regarding the lump I had developed during the pregnancy. I had previously had an ultrasound and was told it was a cyst and no cause for alarm. However when I visited a specialist some 5 months later, at 34 years old, I was informed that it was breast cancer. That was a horrible day. The date was May 23, 2011, and like most people who are diagnosed with cancer, the day you receive that diagnosis is clearly burned on your memory. My surgeon informed me that I would most likely receive chemotherapy, radiation and surgery as treatment methods. The nurse then went over the fact that I would probably have a chemo port surgically installed in the next couple of weeks. She confirmed that I would have to receive the chemo cocktail that would make my hair fall out, but most terrifying for me, I would be sterilized by the drugs and probably never able to have more children. Egg harvesting was discussed, but at 34 years old, the chances were not high for more children. My surgeon continued to tell me repeatedly that more children were not important, I should be thankful for the child I had, and I needed to focus on treatment and my life.
Let me just say that I am pretty stubborn, just like my father was. Stubborn in the sense that I don’t give up easily without a fight. When I left the doctor’s office that day, I knew that God could change things and I wasn’t willing to accept the fate that the doctor had laid out for me. I immediately called my 85 year old grandfather who is a retired Baptist minister, and told him and my grandmother to start praying before I left the doctor’s parking lot.
Two days later, my Mama offered to take me to her church for Wednesday night service. (I was attending a Baptist church as well at the time, but they didn’t lay hands on the sick.) She said they would pray for me. She didn’t say anything further. All I could think of was the verse in Matthew, Matthew 18:19 that says, “Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” I had seen my grandfather lay hands on sick church members only a few times when I was growing up as a country, Southern Baptist girl, but each of those times, the sick recovered. I felt like if I was given that opportunity, everything would be ok.
That night was an amazing service. I think I cried the entire time. It seemed that everything the pastor said pertained to me. When the service was drawing to a close, the pastor called for everyone to gather in a circle and hold hands, and brought me forward for prayer. The church members all gathered around me and prayed so fervently that many of them were crying as they prayed. Many touched me on the shoulder or head as they confessed God’s word which says in Isaiah 53:5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” One church member, a retired Baptist minister in his 80’s, told me to focus on James 4:7 when I went home. He told me to read it, pray it, and walk around my house saying it. They told me to have confidence in the Lord from that night on that I would be healed and focus on the awesome testimony that I would soon have.
CONTINUED IN NEXT POST-
As I had the tests (MRI, x-rays and MUGA Scan) in the following days, I wrote this scripture on my tumor site (James 4:7). I felt that if I had to remove my cross, I could still have his word with me to give me comfort and strength during those terrifying days. I continued to write scriptures on my tumor site. Then I added more and included Isaiah 53:5 and Psalms 91. I used a sharpie pen and as soon as it wore off, I wrote it back on. It gave me a sense of power to do this in a very dark time in my life. So many friends and family members prayed for me. Even strangers held church services for me and put me on their prayer lists.
That Saturday, May 28, 2011, my little brother came over to offer me encouragement since I was particularly down and upset that day. He talked and prayed with me on my front porch steps for what must have been four hours. My husband and son went on to bed to give us some quiet time to pray. As we sat there in the dark, my little brother reminded me of just how much God loves us. We are his little children no matter how old we get, and he wants to take care of us. My brother prayed that God would heal me and take me in His loving arms and keep me and my family safe. He asked God to send his angels to stand guard over us. We talked and prayed until 2:00 am. When I told him goodbye and went into my house, I remember looking at the clock on the stove in the dim light from one kitchen light, since the rest of the house was quiet and dark. As I stood there, I felt my tumor site and it was vibrating strongly. It vibrated like a back massager would vibrate your skin. It hummed in a rough shape of a silver dollar over my tumor, but was so strong that night it actually scared me. I was unsure if something else was wrong with me, like my heart, and I hurried to bed and tried to fall asleep quickly like a child afraid of the dark. The next day, it started vibrating again and continued to vibrate all day Sunday and Monday which was Memorial Day.
The following day, my surgeon scheduled my surgery for a lumpectomy for the following week because my tests came out very good and showed that I wouldn’t have to start chemo before surgery, but I would probably still have to do the full course of treatment after surgery. Much to the dislike of my surgeon, I called the next day to cancel my surgery. I simply needed more time to pray about it. Until my surgery date was rescheduled two weeks later, I had more opportunities to go to church and another very important prayer session with my Bible study group who prayed for me again.
-POST CONTINUED ONCE MORE
FINAL PAGE TO MY POST
That night was two days before my surgery and before I left the prayer group, my tumor felt smaller to the touch. Since it was in my chest wall, five fingers below my collar bone, it was easily felt. I remarked to several people before I left that night, that my tumor had shrunk. I even called my surgeon’s office the next morning and requested a mammogram because my tumor had shrunk. They told me there wasn’t enough time and truly didn’t believe what I was saying. The morning of my surgery, I told the nurse again to make my surgeon aware that my tumor had shrunk.
When my husband and I went for the pathology report following surgery, my surgeon started the conversation by saying I wouldn’t have to have chemotherapy and I wouldn’t loose my hair and could have more children. He asked me that was what you wanted, wasn’t it? So I simply asked him about my tumor. I said please tell me more about the tumor, because I know it shrunk, didn’t it? He didn’t say anything. So, I asked again and he just smiled at me. Finally, he took off his glasses, looked at the floor and quietly said when he performed the surgery, the tumor wasn’t there there! The only thing left was the metal marker that he had placed in the tumor, with the assistance of an ultrasound, when the biopsy was done. A 6 mm mass clearly showed on my MRI and two chest x-rays performed less than three weeks earlier. When I had surgery, he removed the biopsy cavity (the hole where the tumor used to be) and two lymph nodes under my arm. Pathology reports revealed no cancer cells in any tissue samples. My surgeon says in all his years of his specialty, he’s never experienced a tumor disappear.
God still heals today! He healed me and that is one thing in my life that I am certain of. “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.
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