WAYMAKER, MIRACLE WORKER, PROMISE KEEPER, LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS; MY GOD, THAT IS WHO YOU ARE! We thank God for being our healer and granting us peace during the storm.
In January 2017, I found a lump. I didn’t think it was serious. I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled a few weeks later so I figured if the lump was still there, I would tell my doctor about it. Weeks went by and the lump was still there. When I had my annual physical, I mentioned the lump to my doctor. She checked and confirmed that there was indeed a lump.
Per the hospital’s protocol for suspicious lumps, they would not allow me to leave until I had an appointment for a sonogram scheduled. I went to the appointment for the sonogram. They gave you the results right away so I wasn’t too concerned when I was called to the radiologist’s office. When I entered, she asked if I brought anyone with me. I said no. It was just a sonogram so why would I need someone to come with me. She sat me down and told me that the imaging revealed that the lump was not a cyst and they recommended a biopsy to confirm. The biopsy was scheduled for Valentine’s day. They don’t put you to sleep for biopsies, so I was wide awake while they cut, dissected and maneuvered me to get the sample. Not fun.
The biopsy revealed that I had stage 2 breast cancer. I’ve had the same doctor since I was 18 years old and I had never seen her so nervous as when she told me the results. You would have thought that she was telling me that she had breast cancer! I don’t remember anything she said to me. But I remember asking God if I was going to die. He didn’t answer me but I felt a sense of peace in that exam room that stayed with me over the next six months of appointments and treatment.
Where’s the testimony in this?
I’m alive to tell the tale. Black women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer. But when we do get it, we’re more likely to die from it. God placed me at Johns Hopkins where my doctors understood this and arranged my treatment to beat the odds by giving me the highest recommended chemo sessions to make sure I had better outcomes and having me do chemo before surgery to shrink the lump so there would be less to cut out.
A lot of people who survive cancer are in debt from treatment. God allowed me to remain well enough to continue working the entire time I was being treated. He blessed me with good health insurance that covered everything except an $8000 procedure and the meds I needed for it. Livestrong paid for half of the procedure up front. I made payments on the rest for a year and then Hopkins canceled the rest of my bill. I have absolutely no debt from my treatment! Thank God!
Even after treatment was over, God continued to watch out for me. My doctors wanted me to get a shot every month for 10 years to increase my odds of survival. I refused. I went to a support group meeting that night and learned that two other women in the group who also refused the shot had a recurrence, meaning their breast cancer came back. I left a voicemail for my doctor that night and told her I changed my mind.
This was a horrible ordeal that I would not wish on my worst enemy. But I give God all the glory for bringing me through and continually healing me.
For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the LORD... Jeremiah 30:17 (NRSV)
Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NRSV)