I know the headline is shocking, but I figured I’d cut to the chase so we can talk about this.
On Wednesday, October 23, I got the results from my breast biopsy and I could tell from the doctor’s voice that this was the voice she used when she was about to deliver a cancer diagnosis to one of her patients. Her tone was calm, steady and comforting. She told me the type of cancer it was (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) and scheduled two appointments with me before we hung up. I sat in my office staring at the wall.
I told some of my close friends and they were all in shock with similar sentiments: “Not you, Anne-Marie. Not your family. It’s too much. You’ve been through too much.”
We’ve been through a lot. Infertility. Adoption. Special Needs. Brain Surgery. An almost heart surgery. Breast Cancer. And in each and every circumstance God was there. He is here now. His fingerprints are all over our life and anyone who has been reading this blog or following our family’s story for the last six years can see God’s fingerprints too because they are unmistakeable.
I’m actually in pretty good spirits. I’ve had a lot of practice (years of practice) in the arena of receiving a hard diagnosis. I used to think how can people actually be content in really hard situations? Now I know, it’s learned through practice.
“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Phillipians 4:11-13
Being content in your circumstance is learned and it is acquired through practice. The secret is realizing that putting my faith in God no matter the circumstance is the best decision I can make. And it’s a continual decision because I have feelings. So when I feel like, this isn’t fair I need to remember what I know in my mind, God has me, I can trust him and so I will chose to be content because I have learned how to do this.
Thursday morning when I woke up, I picked up my Streams in the Desert devotional. The opening verse was so obscure that I rolled my eyes, what could a verse talking about a sharp piece of metal have anything to do with my current situation. Well, let me tell you…as I read, the writer talked about how a bar of steel might be worth five dollars, but if it’s a horseshoe it’s worth $10 and then on and on, and how the value is increased the more the metal is work with, so much so that if it’s a spring for a watch, it could be worth $250,000. The more steel is manipulated, the more it is hammered, passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value. Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us for his glory and the blessing of others.
After reading that, I felt like my stock value started skyrocketing. I’ve been hammered, put in the fire and beaten, given at what life has thrown at my family and me. But, I’m not a lemon; I still feel like a really valuable and shiny piece of jewelry. I know I am.
Obviously I’m not thrilled to have a breast cancer diagnosis at 38. However, I am very glad that it was caught early, so early that the Dr. said it was stage zero, meaning it has not gotten into the lymph nodes and is in the place it originally started. Breast cancer runs in my family on both sides, so I’ve gotten mammograms since my late 20s. Nothing made me suspicious to get a mammogram, I just went in because it’s #breastcancerawareness month and I hadn’t been in a couple years. Thank God I went because I can’t imagine if I went next year at this time. If cancer is in my card deck, I’m so incredibly thankful to be dealing with it right when it appeared.
I don’t know what the next step is, but I’ll learn about all my options in the coming weeks. I’m glad that God prompted me to get in and get tested; and if you’re under 40 and your doctor says you’re too young, find another doctor. There is no good reason to wait!
When I got my latest tattoo in NYC, I wondered what would be the next thing I’d have to trust God with. I just didn’t think that my next test would come within three weeks of my newest tattoo. It’s all good though because in all of it—Jesus, I will trust.
October 25th, 2019 at 2:57 pm
I will pray for you…for continued peace and trust and healing.
October 25th, 2019 at 5:13 pm
I read this and honestly all I can think is – you are freaking amazing! You’re a rockstar and your faith and trust is an inspiration!!!! Praying for wisdom, peace, and ultimately healing!!!
October 25th, 2019 at 7:23 pm
You continue to be one of the brightest stars in this world. Courageous doesn’t begin to describe you. You eloquently describe what it means to follow Jesus… in ways unimaginable to many. May His strength be yours and His victory be accomplished. Sincerely, your brother in Christ.
October 25th, 2019 at 8:10 pm
Blew my mind as I read this. My mom has this exact type of cancer 15 years ago. You have made it thru so much, and again, this will be another blip, another moment that you will successfully navigate in life.
October 25th, 2019 at 10:12 pm
Please review your options with a teaching hospital. In my case many had not even heard of proton therapy which focuses on tumors as has no side effects. Go to the top docs for what you have as there a new treatments all the time
October 25th, 2019 at 11:08 pm
We love you so much, you’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever known since the first day we met❤❤❤❤ I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it but you’re going to come out stronger. I couldn’t go a day without my faith We are behind you the whole way.❤
October 26th, 2019 at 12:55 am
Prayers for you and yours, at 21 I found a lump and the Dr was very concerned, I signed a paper for a double mastectomy but it turned it it was a fattty bleb and I had 5 more each with a biopsy and a wait as this was 40 years ago they were aggressive , I knew God was in control too I was a newly wed , now there are so many check up s not available 40 years ago , so glad they got you so early and all these new tests and treatments are available and much less trauma and drama , Gods got you ♥️
October 26th, 2019 at 7:11 pm
In our Jewish tradition, we believe that G-d does not give you more than you can handle – and certainly your journey has taken you through so many challenges. There is little doubt that you also will meet this new challenge with flying colors and you have a full support group praying for your well being and speedy recovery. Your attitude is everything and you seem like you have the positive attitude it takes to get you through this period also
October 27th, 2019 at 1:47 pm
Susan, I believe God always gives us more than we can handle because he wants us to rely on him for strength. I think we see that so often in the Old Testament with Moses, Abraham, Job, David, just to name a few. I’m certain Moses couldn’t handle parting the Red Sea alone and Abraham definitely didn’t want to sacrifice his son Isaac, who he had into his 90s. Job lost everything and David killed Goliath with a slingshot. In each of these circumstances it required more than human strength, it was their reliance on God’s supernatural strength that saw these biblical giants through. God gives us challenges that are more than we can handle so we learn to trust him. xoxo