Well it is has been exactly 2 months since my surgery and I feel great! There are so many people who I would like to say thank you, but one person that has inspired me the most was my sister. She was so gracious to have someone come to my house a week before my surgery and do my hair and make-up just to take pictures of me and my old self. You see my sister is a photographer, and she knew how important that it was going to be that I have pictures of me an my girls before my surgery. Of course I was completely covered, but both her and I knew that I would never look that way again. I had asked her some time before if she wouldn’t mind helping me document my journey. She and I have been through some of the most difficult times in our lives in the last two years. She knows what it is like just to make it by the skin of her teeth and she also knows what it is like to have to trust God fully without any thing getting in the way of that process. I have to say she is what just made me want to smile even more, knowing that instead of getting down, we stand firmly on the promises of the Lord, and if we have to walk this way that we are going to run right through it all the way.
On July 3rd at 5:30 am my husband quietly walks in the bedroom to wake me up to get me ready to go to the hospital. I was up making sure I had a shower and my hair combed and clothes ready, no make-up, my hair in a bun, and me in my sweat pants and jacket on. You see just a month and a half earlier, I had to have a lumpectomy, so I already knew the process of the morning.
We hopped in the car, not saying too much.. my husband Mike was so tired, he did not say much and I did not ask him much. I knew that he was worried and I knew that he had not gotten a lot of sleep the night before, but I was just ready for it to be over.
You see, when they told me that they would have to remove all of my left breast with no options for nipple sparing, I just said to myself, well Lord, you are going to have to heal me in whatever way you want to use, but I know that you are with me. I did not question the Lord at all. I decided right then I wanted to take no chances and have both breasts removed with the option of reconstruction.
I remember in the room the first day that I found out that it was cancerous, my daughter begged me to come with me. I did not really want her to come, but I just figured that we trained her to be a smart, God-loving, praying, anointed teenager that knows her stuff when it comes to someone needing healing, that I was not going to say no, or allow her to miss her chance to do something for the Lord. But as a Mom you never want your child to have to hear that you have cancer.
Here is one the key things that were said in that meeting my doctor, and then I knew that I was in the Lord’s hands. My doctor turned to my daughter and said to her, “You Mom is not going to die from this, she is going to LIVE and NOT die.” WOW, even though at that point my doctor was just talking over things with us, the Lord used her to speak life into my situation. God is so good!
What do you say at that point? So after, my daughter and I got into the car, and we were just stunned, and my daughter says to me.. “Mom, God is going to heal you, and you have to be positive, and not think about what could happen, only what IS going to happen, and that is healing all the way.” Sometimes as a Mother, you have to be quite and allow your children the opportunity to speak into your life… because you never know when it could be the only time you will have LIFE spoken over you to break the enemy’s back in whatever situation that you are in. My daughter is the most amazing person to me in the world.
I am so blessed to have the most amazing, wonderful husband ever. He is very quite, but very prayerful and mindful of the Lord.. He is very sensitive and caring and has always been, and the most important and influential person in my life. We have been through so much together, and this year on our anniversary, we have been together half of my life. Together we have fought infertility, loss of our precious son at birth, and cancer, not once but twice. I do not know about you, but having a husband who prays, and gets mad if he can not get his word on his IPOD for the day is pretty amazing to me, he is so dedicated to our family and a great father, who could ask for more.
I am sure by now you are wondering where were my emotions in all of this? Well, on the third day, when I had to have an MRI, my world came crashing down all at once. Finding out when you are in the MRI machine that was hardly big enough to get my butt through, pardon the pun, being face down with your head in a whole with your breasts firmly smashed and secure between two paddles, while laying face down only being supported by one narrow cushion down the center of your chest is not what I call comfort, and then finally realizing that you are claustrophobic, then you realize at that point, we are in big trouble, I then melted down after 2 minuets of a 20 minute procedure. If you ask any of my friends or my parents, I am not the one that gets hysterical or cries, I am usually the calm one in a crisis, but at that moment that I thought, what the heck I deserve a good cry.
Now by this time one of my two best friends was waiting for me in the lobby as I came out, and asked me what happened and I just said to her “I have to get out of here” then we got out the door and I bursted into tears, hysterically crying and sobbing uncontrollably. Then we walked to the car, got in and left, and then I get a call from my husband and he asked me where I was and I told him that I left, then started to cry and say to him, “I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it” and he proceeded to tell me to go back to the parking lot and meet him there. Well it was all I could do to drive back there and get out and walk to him across the parking lot. I just melted into his chest sobbing and hysterically crying, and I can imagine what he was saying to himself. He then told me, it is ok, as I kept crying saying I am so sorry and he then said to me “We will find another way, but no wonder you couldn’t do it, you are always so fidgety”, and then I just told him I had to come back next time and they were going to give me drugs…lol He just hugged me. So as the day went on, my friend told me, it is time to go on a shopping trip to the nursery just to get me to relax a bit and that helped a lot..
One of the most profound moments was later that day, when one of my favorite pastors saw me at the store with my husband, and I called to him to say hi, and I remember saying to myself, if he hears me and turns around I am just going to burst into tears, and of course I did, he saw me and knew something was wrong and just hugged me as I burst into tears.. my wonderful pastor to my husband and I for our first 12 years here in the Northwest. He knew exactly what I was going through having gone through many MRI’s himself.. and began to tell me about those stupid machines… I just laughed and cried at the same time having to tell him that I was just told I had breast cancer.
You know every day I think to myself, I have survived so many things in my life, what next? I have just taken this as a challenge. God has given me such a fighting spirit. I love a good brawl. I remember one time, my husband grabbing my shirt holding me in the car, when some teenagers were giving us the bird at a traffic light one day… I was ready to pound someone or give them some really good advise like get a real car or a real life, just stupid things that you want to say when you are mad.. but this time, I was fighting but with a different type of heart.
In 2003, our son was born at 23 1/2 weeks and later passed away from being born too early, I told my husband at the time, I do not know what to ask for, I do not know what to do. I told him that I did not know whether to command his little body back to life or trust that God knew what he was doing and just let him go. My faith just rose up in me to know that he was in the hands of the Lord and there was no better place for him to be, even though it was hard to let him go.
Did you ever ask yourself why do these things keep happening. I mean for me, if I do not have a body that works right, almost lost my first baby that is now almost 17, and I have already had cervical cancer, and I lost my second child, and now I am menopause caused by the cancer and now I have no breast then who am I? Have you ever just went down the list like that? I mean, have you just laid it all out on the table and just said to the Lord, enough is a enough? I am sure that many of us have, it is being human. I am sure that God is just sitting there waiting for my questions or statements of the day, like, “Ok God, you have bills to pay!” “I need new breaks for the car, you need to figure out that one!” , or “Hello GOD!, are you are vacation? Because I am not getting one over here, and I need a break too!” . They may seem like funny questions, but I am sure that all of us have had our share of them.
Ok, let’s talk about this one, most of you who have had major illnesses, have had prayer right? Well, here was my experience. I was for one year up at a church about 65 miles every week twice a week as the worship pastor, and after I came home to my church home, everyone wanted to know how I was. I did not feel sick, I did not feel depressed, I just felt like I wanted it to be over, and I already knew God was on my side and when people started praying for me, it felt weird, like they were praying for something that God had already took care of. It was the most ironic feeling ever. I can not explain it. I love my friends, family and church family .. but it just seemed to me that God had already healed me, even though they said that the cancer was still there. Now I do not know how to explain that, but what I think that it was, that God had already healed my mind and had given me a peace that passes all understanding, and He was going to direct me and as long as I trusted Him in every way, that He would set my feet upon the rock of His safety. WOW!
So many people have said to me “Brenda you are so strong, and courageous!” I don’t know about that, but one thing that I do know is “My GOD can do ANYTHING!” He had given me so much joy, and so much peace through everything. My God is so good.