In August of 2014, I went in for my annual mammogram, which I was nine months late for. I went into the exam expecting excruciating pain due to the mammogram. Although the pain was surprisingly less than in previous exams, I left the office with a feeling of foreboding. I felt as though something was wrong. I tried to dismiss those feelings as paranoia because I was past due for the exam.
Three days later, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office. They stated that my results were abnormal and they wanted me to see the breast specialist. I called to make the appointment and they scheduled me right away. Within days I saw the specialist. She explained that my mammogram results showed pin pricked calcium deposits all over my left breast. She stated that calcium is a sign of cell degradation and that it could be a sign of cancer. She told me she wanted to do an ultrasound right away.
Within a few days, I was scheduled for the ultrasound. I wasn’t sure what to tell my husband, but I was sure he would panic, and he did! I tried to reassure him that everything was fine, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. After the ultrasound, the radiologist read the scans and found a strange mass. The breast specialist ordered an M.R.I., which also confirmed the mass.
A few days later she scheduled a biopsy. During the biopsy I laid there with a few tears running down my face. Not because of any pain, but because I was in disbelief that I was in this situation. They took several samples from the mass. Days later my husband and I went in to see the specialist. She confirmed my biggest fear! It was Cancer! Although she was giving us bad news, she was very positive because she believed the cancer was only in the milk ducts and classified me with stage 0 cancer.
Initially I felt like I would cry, but then I became overwhelmed by the good news that the cancer hadn’t spread throughout my body! But my husband, on the other hand, was torn up by the diagnosis. His older sister had died from cancer a few months earlier after a second bout with breast cancer that had become bone cancer. I’m sure he was scared of what could happen. I felt I needed to remain calm for both of our sakes. But even with the news growing worse, I felt like God was in control!
The specialist explained to us our options. I had a choice between a lumpectomy, which would leave me deformed or a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. She also said I had the option of doing a double mastectomy as a preventative measure.
I spoke with my mom, my cousin, and then again with my husband and decided to do the double mastectomy with reconstruction. I notified the specialist of my decision and they scheduled my surgery for October 2, 2014. My mom came to town to take care of me as I recovered.
A week or so after the surgery I went in to see the specialist to get the results, and once again she had more bad news. The left breast had eight clusters of cancer cells and they had gotten out of the milk ducts. During the surgery, they removed the Sentinel node under my left arm to make sure the cancer hadn’t reached my lymph nodes. Thank the Lord the cancer hadn’t reached my lymph nodes. She elevated my stage 0 cancer to stage 2A and informed me that the Oncologist would probably want me to have chemotherapy treatments. The news saddened me because of my fear of what chemotherapy would do to me. I hate to admit that my main concern was about losing my hair and possibly losing too much weight. A few weeks later I saw the Oncologist and he verified that he wanted me to have six chemotherapy treatments.
At this point I felt sad and a little fearful that I wouldn’t be able to survive six treatments of chemotherapy. I had heard so many horror stories of the side effects and since I have always been very thin I was scared that I would lose too much weight.
In November I had my first chemotherapy treatment. I had a violent allergic reaction! After they treated me with Benedryl, we continued the treatment and all went well. Around the 2nd or 3rd day I started feeling very lethargic and I could barely move. But Praise the Lord, I had no nausea or vomiting.
Two weeks after the first treatment, I visited my hair stylist and my hair began to fall out. I wasn’t ready for that to happen, I had prayed I wouldn’t lose my hair, but God had other plans. I cried.
Before my 2nd treatment, I began to run a fever of 104. I was hospitalized for several days while they looked for a possible infection. After several days the fever broke and I was released to go home.
During this whole test I had a hunger for the word of God. I began to read every verse and listened to sermons on healing. My verse of promise was Psalms 118:17, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” I wouldn’t completely understand this verse until my chemotherapy was almost finished.
With each treatment, different family members took turns sitting with me during the three hour chemotherapy treatments. I felt so blessed that I had so much support. Meanwhile, my church was heavily in prayer on my behalf. I could feel their payers as I went through each chemotherapy treatment. I kept expecting to become sick, but that never happened! Not only did I not lose weight I gained weight.
At the end of November, I was able to return to work part time. My chemotherapy treatments were scheduled for every three weeks. And with each treatment, Psalms 118:17 became more and more real to me. I continued to search the scripture and listen to sermons on healing. Any time I got the opportunity to declare the works of the Lord, I did!
At the end of my 5th treatment the Oncologist cancelled the 6th treatment because he feared that the numbing of my fingers and toes might become permanent. My last treatment was February 3, 2015. God had been with me, protected me, and guided me through five chemotherapy treatments without one day of nausea. I had also gained 20 lbs. The nurses said I would lose the extra weight but that hasn’t happened. The Oncologist said it was normal for breast cancer patients to gain weight, but that the weight shouldn’t remain. So I’m here today to declare the works of my Lord, Jesus Christ, and to testify of His faithfulness.