Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blessed Assurance

After having some time to process and spend time as a family over the weekend, I decided that I really needed to be in church on Sunday. During the service, Blake and I were surrounded by a few of our closest friends which provided tremendous support.  The sermon was about marriage but it was also the perfect reminder of what Christ suffered on the cross for me.  And if you have ever attended Bay Area Community Church, you know that worship doesn't usually include hymns. The final song we sang was the wonderful hymn, Blessed Assurance by Frances Crosby.  For those of you that have never heard it, I am including the lyrics below:

"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! 
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! 
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain:This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love."

Between the support of our friends, the teaching, and the time to worship, I left church feeling completely filled and focused on God's unfailing love. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Day to Grieve

I am thankful to say that there are only a few times I feel like I have truly grieved in my life.  My most recent recollection of grieving occurred 2 years ago to the day when I walked with a dear friend through the loss of her baby boy when she was 36 weeks pregnant.  If there is one thing I know beyond all else in walking this journey so far, I know that our God is in control of all things and nothing occurs that is not by His design.  Just as July 29th holds great significance for my dear friend, it now holds great significance for me as the day I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Just as I watched my friend choose to be refined by the trial, I will choose to be refined by this trial.  

This day is also significant in that it is a Friday, the day that Jesus went to the cross. There is no question that this day is the hardest day of my life so far.  But after walking through this day, I am better able to identify with how Jesus himself felt that Friday and His suffering means that much more. Fortunately, the story doesn't end on Friday. The fact that He was resurrected and conquered death 3 days later is what allows me to have the HOPE that I have. 

Proverbs 23:18 NIV "There is surely a future HOPE for you, and your HOPE will not be cut off."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Prayer Answered

The following is an e-mail that I sent out to friends/family on the day of my biopsy. 

Hey Faithful Friends,
I just wanted to write a quick e-mail to give you an update about today's procedure and to let you know that we are so incredibly grateful for your friendship.  The last two days have been a lot easier than one would anticipate given the circumstances and that is because of you all!  From the texts/phone calls/emails to the offers to help with our kids to the spontaneous prayer gathering last night, I feel overwhelmed by your love and God's love through you.  And all the scripture you have been sending have been showers of encouragement-that is the best way I can describe it.  

The biopsy procedure this morning went really well.  I was with the ultrasound tech, Jennifer and the Radiologist, Dr. Sarina for most of the time, both of whom were great! Everyone at the Breast Center is awesome but Dr. Sarina was different than the radiologist I had on Tuesday.  Her warmth toward my mom and me was what I needed for today.  She is also the one that will call with results if she receives them prior to our appt with the Breast Surgeon tomorrow at 1:30 pm.  As far as the procedure itself, they intended to take samples from three different locations (2 of the nodules and one lymph node that they thought was questionable); however, it ended up that they had difficulty isolating the lymph node enough to take a safe sampling.  I felt like it was a prayer answered since they seemed to have difficulty even locating the one they wanted to test with the ultrasound. So now we wait for results and for the next step.  Of course, I would ask for continued prayer for us as we meet Dr. Tafra tomorrow.  We are praying for clarity in the plan of treatment that will allow my parents to easily decide about whether or not to go on their long-awaited trip to El Salvador. 

Thanks again for walking through this with us!  The Body of Christ is an amazing thing to be a part of in times such as these.    
Kara (and Blake)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Body of Christ

As the news began to sink in, I realized that I wanted my closest girlfriends to know so that they too could begin to pray.  Not only did they start faithfully praying but the e-mails and texts filled with scripture came pouring in. (By the way, I cherish each and every verse/poem/excerpt that is sent my way.)  Then our friends showed up at our house that night and prayed for us. We prayed that "there would be nothing to put a needle into". We prayed for the doctors that would be providing my treatment. We prayed that this trial would deepen our marriage. We prayed that the kids would be protected from the emotion of it all. We prayed for clarity for Mom and Dad to know if they should go to El Salvador. And these are just a few of the things we prayed for.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Divine Appointment

My mammogram/sonogram was scheduled for 8:30 am and I left the house with plenty of time to get to AAMC.  Blake would be leaving the house shortly after me for work so my mom was coming to watch the kids. But of course when living in Arnold and dealing with the Severn River Bridge, you can never leave enough time.  So I was a few minutes late for my appointment.  I was called back by a sweet lady named, Pamela (you will likely see that I am big on names) who did the mammogram. When she was finished, she took me back out to the area where I would wait for my Sonogram. While I was waiting I ran into one of my mom's dear friends, Trish and we started catching up. 

Our conversation was cut short when the sonogram techs, Jennifer and Amy came to get me. Between the extent of the sonogram and the faces of the techs and Dr. Pack (the radiologist that was there that day), I had a feeling I was about to hear some bad news.  They told me there are 3 nodules (the lump that I can feel as well as 2 others that I cannot feel) and one lymph node that is borderline abnormal.  I would need a Needle Biopsy to 3 areas as soon as possible and they fully expected the biopsy results would be abnormal.  

I went by myself to this appointment thinking I had a little cyst in my breast because I had been drinking too much coffee lately (I had heard caffeine can contribute to cysts of the breast).  The ladies that told me the news realized that I was by myself and asked what I needed in that moment.  There was a lot going through my mind but I knew I needed a hug and I needed to pray.  And then I thought of Trish. By this time I had been in the sonogram room for quite a while and didn't think there would be any way she was still there.  But of course, God knows what we need when we need it.  Trish volunteers at the Breast Center every Tuesday morning and she was still there!  They brought me into a room where she stood with her arms wide open. She prayed for me and helped me get in touch with Blake. She also had the very special purpose of driving me home to tell my mom the news.