Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
There. I said it. Breast. Cancer.
Even though it’s getting easier to say those words, the diagnosis still seems very surreal. Even though I’ve gone through several tests: mammogram, ultrasound, needle biopsy, genetic testing, and an MRI, the diagnosis still seems very surreal.
In order to wrap my head around this, I came up with this statement: I’m very sick, but I don’t feel sick at all. But, I’m going to get very sick in order to get well.
So far, the hardest step of this journey has been to walk through the doors of the Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital ProHealth Care Cancer Center by myself. My husband wanted to come with me to my first appointment with my nurse care coordinator, but I said thanks, but no thanks. I really needed to do this one thing by myself. I needed to overcome my fear of entering this building because it was the first step of my new journey.
On a beautiful, sunny, Wednesday morning, I cowered before the cancer center’s entrance with a dark, ominous cloud circling above me. How I longed to escape the coming storm, to just turn around, get in my car, and drive down a quiet country road where I could be surrounded by sunshine and the green growth of life.
But I didn’t give in to that temptation. Rather, with my chest pounding louder and faster than the Amtrak when it plows it’s way through town, I opened the center’s door and entered the building.
I ascended the stairs to my right and then did a u-turn to the left to walk down the hall to the reception desk. I was quaking internally, experiencing a never ending earthquake that was stealing my breath to fuel it’s shaking and rolling. I was so tense and uptight during this short walk. You would have thought I was walking blinded in front of a firing squad whose rifles were focused intently on me. (Hmmm, a firing squad. That might be a good description of cancer!)
But I wasn’t walking to my death. I was walking to hope, to life, to healing.
I croaked my name out to the receptionist and was directed to sit in the waiting room. While sitting, I continued praying for God’s peace, the peace that passes all understanding, to flood my mind and my heart.
And He gave me that peace. Not instantaneously, because my fear had locked the gates and wouldn’t allow that peace to enter my mind. But within five minutes of sitting and talking with my nurse care coordinator, I began to feel my shoulders relaxing. I could finally take a deep breath.. And I could finally speak without croaking.
I imagined that Jesus was standing behind me, massaging my shoulders, reminding me that He will be with me every step of the way in this unexpected journey.
So here we go. I invite you to walk with me and Jesus on my journey. I hope you will share your encouraging thoughts because it’s easier to walk up a steep mountain path when you have people pushing you up it with their support.
Either way, welcome to one woman’s journey.