December 4, 2020

Sideswiped by Breast Cancer

Originally written June, 2017

Photo by Comfreak on

Just weeks after starting to write this blog on machine embroidery, I got sideswiped by breast cancer.  To say it knock me to my knees doesn’t even begin to describe it.  It was more like being shoved face down on the concrete and repeatedly jumped on by a yeti.

Last week I had a lumpectomy and 18 lymph nodes removed.  One of those lymph nodes had a mass and we are waiting to see if it is benign or cancer. My life has screeched to a halt. I had to take off work from my main job because of the pain of recuperating from surgery.  Taking off wasn’t hard, I was already scheduled for vacation time to help with VBS (Vacation Bible School) at church. I don’t mind missing work a bit. Missing VBS hurts. I look forward to it every year, and this year is the last time my youngest can participate.

I haven’t questioned much why I developed cancer since there is a strong family history, even though genetic testing came back negative for all known hereditary cancers. What I question is the timing.  Not only was I trying to launch an embroidery business (however slowly), a close family member is recovering from major surgery, and my disabled son just got his first job….with all the disability paperwork that involves. I feel overwhelmed, inadequate, depressed, lost, swamped, confused, terrified, alone.

Embroidered Cross "I Am With You Always"

I am not alone.  I have Jesus right here all the time.  Most of the time I’m so overwhelmed I have no words at all. But I know He is there.  I have my wonderful husband who is my physical rock. He goes with me to every appointment because he knows I cannot cope alone. Afterwards he corrects what I thought I heard the doctor tell me, because I am so overwhelmed that I confuse what the doctor says into the worst scenario. He asks questions I cannot think of. I cannot imagine life right now without my spiritual rock Jesus, or without my physical rock of a husband Jesus gave specifically to be my physical help.

God has also surrounded me with wonderful friends. People who don’t just ask how I’m doing, but greet me with a hug and a sincere offer to help.  I don’t know how they can help, but I know if I think of something, they will be there for me. Both my church family and friends are praying and taking turns providing meals. They are also stepping in to tell me when I shouldn’t  do something I want to do (like Vacation Bible School) because I need to rest and heal. Not only are they loving me, they are honest.

Soon we will know what horrors of treatment I face.  We started with a plan of surgery (lumpectomy) and 4-6 weeks of radiation.  The surgery is done, may I never go through that again! Now we face an unknown regimen of unknown chemo because what was thought to be a contained, slow-growing tumor spread to a lymph node.  And I hurt.  My body hurts. My soul hurts.  My emotions and spirit are devastated.

I want to get back to digitizing embroidery designs. Yet every time I open the program I cry.  It takes planning, patience, and diligence to digitize correctly. It also takes a spirit that is not crushed to produce appealing designs that make people smile…or at least give some encouragement.  One day I will be able to design again.  The first ones will likely be somber reminders of the gifts God has given us. But gradually my heart will revive and I will be able to digitize fun designs again.

While I was typing this sad, self-centered blog, a friend from Sunday School brought by supper and a huge spiritual basket of encouragement.  She’s going through health issues far more serious than I am, yet has such an encouraging spirit. And wonder of wonders—she’s encouraging while talking about going through panic attacks over difficult medical procedures! Thank you, Jesus for loving me enough to send this specific blessing today.

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