“To Know God and to be known by Him-this is an indescribable blessing” – David Jeremiah from When Your World Falls Apart
I read this statement the morning after my last surgery, the final big step in my ten-month journey through breast cancer. I try to imagine walking the journey without the truth of this statement and I shudder. In the agonizing moments of lying on a table waiting to hear the results of a sonogram, I became acutely aware of what Jesus meant when he told us “in this world, you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) In the gut-wrenching ten months that followed, I became even more aware of what He meant when he said “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Is 41:13) In every step of the journey, in every encounter with a medical professional, and in every loving deed done to care for our family, His Presence and His knowledge of me were undeniable.
Although it is not a journey I would have chosen for myself, I understand that it was part of God’s marching orders so that I would never forget a few precious truths. When your path brings you to a bend in the road, it is crucial to have “your people” in place. As we like to say, these are the people with whom you do life. The ones that are ready and willing to drop whatever they are doing to text, email, call, pray, care for your kids, cook you a meal or rub your back when you are overwhelmed with nausea. One thing is certain; we would never have made it through the last ten months without some amazing friends and family that know how to love us well. Another important lesson that cancer teaches is that as much as we strive to maintain control of our lives, we are always subject to what might be waiting at that next bend. I have come to realize that the only preparation I can make is to believe that God and His Word are sufficient and we cannot be consumed. Lastly, cancer has the power to make us stare death in the face; but it also has the power to give us a longing for heaven like we have never known before. I pray there is never a day that I don’t thank the Lord for His healing and the ability to be with my family on this earth. However, I am more aware that the best is yet to come.
Today was my two-week follow-up with the plastic surgeon. He is pleased with how the grafted tissue at the areola/nipples is healing. I was able to have some more stitches removed, and my daily dressing changes are slightly less involved. Although I had been noticing some accumulating fluid above the incision along my lower abdomen, I didn't expect that today's visit would include a rather large needle being used to drain it. I am due back to see him again in another week with the expectation that it will most likely need to be drained again. I was also told to lay low for the next week because the greater the activity, the greater the fluid accumulation. I am struggling with feeling a bit discouraged that I have taken a few steps backward since I really had felt almost normal again prior to this surgery. It helps to see noticeable healing of the tissue every day and to be amazed that all this reconstruction can even be done.