So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
B2: Before Christ and Before Cancer
I fondly refer to my journey as B squared… Before Christ and Before Cancer. I had neither before 2011.
I was, a 40 year old perceivably “young” woman. I was facing many challenges. During that year, I quit my steady job at the hospital to pursue riches in the private sector, separated from my husband, and bought my own townhome. I thought I could be independent, yet I had no real direction. I didn’t have a true spiritual relationship. I had long since abandoned my Buddhist up-bringing and honestly only prayed to God when I was gambling.
Due to my new job, I was eligible for health benefits open enrollment options in November 2010. My physical exam was scheduled in December 2010. At that time, I mentioned to my doctor that I had sharp pains in both of my breasts. My doctor recommended a mammogram, which was scheduled in late December, but “questionable photographs” had me returning for a second mammogram on January 3, 2011. I had “multi-focal calcifications”. The recommendation was to have a needle biopsy to test some of the questionable calcifications. On January 6th, I had the biopsy done. I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). The recommendation was to have a mastectomy.
All the new terms and treatment options were a blur to me. My husband, George, thankfully held my hand through it all. But I knew I needed more support. I called my friend at the hospital’s cancer support group. I told her that I wanted to specifically talk to someone that had gone through a mastectomy; she contacted a friend that connected me to Helain Steele.
I vividly recall the day I called Helain. On that afternoon, Helain was headed to Panera to meet with her support group, the B&B Club. Helain invited me to lunch. Remarkably it was a holiday for my company, so I hesitantly accepted the lunch invitation. Unknowingly to me, God had planned and planted my membership to B&B on Monday, January 17.
I was welcomed so lovingly and warmly by these wonderful Christian ladies! They listened to me as I cried about my diagnosis. More importantly, they prayed for my healing. I left the lunch “meeting” with a sense of overwhelming peace. I developed quick friendships with these ladies. They all radiated warmth that drew me to them.
I had scheduled a bilateral mastectomy and staged reconstruction on February 8, 2011. On the day before the surgeries, I was very nervous. Vonnie, another dear member and friend from B&B Club, had been visiting with me . At the end of our prayers, I asked her if I could invite Christ in my life. I wanted to have the peace and joy that all my other Sisters felt. I feel like my journey really began on that day, February 7, 2011.
The mastectomies went very well. Unfortunately, I did have many issues with recurring infections. My infections caused me to become very weak and shiver uncontrollably. In total, I have had: seven drains, an intravenous line dropped in to pump antibiotics near my heart, a second surgery to remove and sterilize my expander, and colitis from being on antibiotics for an extended period (which caused an eight hour visit to the Emergency Room).
No matter the challenges I face, I know that my God is with me. I can lean onto Him. He has been faithful to me. I call Him my Savior, my Redeemer, and my Prince of Peace.
I was Baptized on December 11, 2011. There are just some dates that you treasure for life!