It’s easy to say you trust God until they find a tumor in your breast. I mean, I’ve been through a lot of health issues but y’alllllll. Whew. This one really shook me. Not only did it come out of no where, but it was the cherry on top of one of the most stressful seasons of our lives. Probably more like the bomb on top, truth be told.
Early Friday afternoon on August 17th I walked into the cold radiology room for my very first EVER mammogram. Fueled by curiosity and first timer nerves, I was equally interested in all the hype and ready to get it over with. The first call I got the following Monday morning was from the Radiologist that indicated they found an abnormality and that further tests were needed. I had been cautioned by experienced women in my life that it was very common for them to question things they see in your first mammo, so don’t freak out if you get a call like this one. When I received the second call that morning, from my GYN things got more serious.
My GYN is a ‘new to me’ doctor but I could tell by the tone of her voice that I needed to take this very seriously. She explained they found a mass, significant in size, and next steps. Within the week I went in for an ultrasound to determine if the mass was a cyst (best case scenario) or if a biopsy was needed. I’ll never forget the kind radiology tech that did my ultrasound. She worked so hard trying to find a cyst, but alas it was a tumor of some kind and I was off to get a biopsy a few days later.
At this point I was feeling ALLLLL the feelings and I made a conscious choice. I had to make the choice to day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute…to Hold onto HIM. This verse catapulted off the page to me, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26. Quite literally my flesh and heart were failing me but I knew that God was my strength. I knew that by holding onto Him, He would see me through regardless of the outcome. I knew that He would not fail me, abandon me, turn away from me, or let me fall. I pictured myself clinging to Him like the climber in this picture. Making the choice to hold onto Him rather than fear, discouragement, confusion, and doubt. So what does holding onto Him look like? Let’s get practical for a minute, let me share what worked for me. My emotions & energy levels were running high, I found it hard to focus on reading for any significant length of time. But I wanted to be intentional and even strategic with how I fed my soul, now more than ever. I listened to tons of sermons on YouTube (up to 4 per day), read short devotionals that I could manage, and spent a lot of time daily memorizing scripture. A few verses over and over and over again that I could hold onto during difficult moments. I listened to worship and watched worship videos. At this point I rallied a few close friends that I knew would intercede with us and prayed hard. Anything I could do to hold onto Him.
I was referred to a Breast Surgeon, had my initial appointment, and scheduled the biopsy. Once completed, my biopsy results seemed to take foreverrrrrr to return. Literally 10 days we waited, trying to function like normal and not telling everyone in our lives what was going on yet. What we didn’t know is that the hospital pathologists had to send my biopsy to Cornell for further investigation. Results came back that was a Spindle Cell Lesion or Tumor and would need to be removed immediately. This is a complicated type of tumor because it can be completely benign in one section and the other side cancer, so the whole tumor had to be removed. BTW I don’t recommend googling it, the results are nothing but scary…trust me. My surgery to remove this tumor was scheduled for September 26th and we began to prepare.
At this point we needed all the prayer possible and decided to go public with what was going on. We shared with our church family, close friends, and eventually on social media. Our family and friends have been incredible! People scheduled to bring us meals for the entire week after my surgery, sent us fruit & flowers, more cards than I can even count, but most of all the prayers. We felt those prayers coming in from around the world and they gave us the strength to hold onto Him. Prayers that anchored us to Him in this storm.
Oh the emotions that lead up to a surgery like this. I felt angry that this tumor was growing in my body. I felt worried that they would find more than expected in there. I felt sad that my body would be permanently marked by this experience. I felt grieved that I may not look the same afterward. I felt shocked that something I’ve heard and read with others was happening to me. Sooooo many feelings y’all. Each day I would process how I was feeling with my husband or in my journal, then I would intentionally fill my soul with truth. When you are feeling intense emotions they must have a healthy outlet. Those feelings have to go somewhere. Throughout this time I developed a way of processing that I’m going to share with you in a future blog…so stay tuned.
Surgery day arrive, and all went well. My Mom flew in for a few days to help us immediately after surgery and thank God she did. I could spend a whole blog on just the hilarious moments Adrian and I had while he helped me shower, wash my hair, and get dressed daily. Whew, like Pina funnies home videos over here!! Then we waited & prayed & held onto Him hoping for the best possible outcome. Pathology was again sent off to Cornell with such a complex type of tumor this is very common and I’m told Cornell are some of the best pathologists in the world for this type of breast tumor. After two of possibly the longest weeks of our lives, the results were in…
My tumor was NOT cancer. Thank you Jesus!!
It was an extremely rare type of tumor called an infiltrative myofibroblastoma, usually found in men over the age of 65. What, isn’t that so crazy? It’s technically not benign either but has been fully removed and I’ll have regular followups for awhile. You would think a shower of gratitude or joy would’ve flooded my heart. But it honestly didn’t. I was so exhausted, shocked, and numb that it took a few days to sink in.
I don’t want to portray here that I in any way am special or unique. I certainly didn’t handle this experience perfectly, who does? But I definitely learned a lot through this experience and tried my best to make some intentional choices to hold onto Him.
I believe God is sovereign, meaning He is in control and in charge. I am challenged to trust His will and hold onto Him in the good and bad times in my life. Regardless of the outcome. I am challenged to anchor myself in Christ and continue to be intentional & strategic, filling my soul with truth. I have learned to hold onto Him in a way that I have never known before in my life. That is something I hope to never give up.
Friends I pray that no matter what you are going through in life right now that you would hold onto Him. Push into Him, not away. Hold onto His truth that will give you strength and learn to surrender your anger, fears, and worries to Him. Even when your flesh and your heart fail, God desires to be the strength of your life and your portion forever. Share with me in the comments how I can pray for you this week. Let’s hold onto Him together!