October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are seeing the campaign symbols everywhere. The iconic pink ribbons. The “early detection is the best cure” slogans. The pink cleats and gloves on NFL players. The reminders are ever before us. During this month, the awareness of breast cancer is being promoted. Survivors are being honored; the deceased are being memorialized; and all women are being encouraged to insure their optimal breast health.
So, on October 2, I felt as if I was doing my part in observing this nationally-declared breast health awareness month. I drove to Nashville for my yearly screening mammogram. As Mom and I got closer to the clinic, I told her that it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I was likely to get either a pink long-stemmed rose or a chocolate from the technician. (Imaging centers do things like that during emphases months; ya know.)
A mammogram … really? What are they thinking? A sweet, mildly-spoken gal cranks down two boards of Plexiglas® on a once-rounded breast. Then, when the “tissue” is flattened to about a ½ inch in thickness, she walks over to her radiation-free-zone and says, “Don’t breathe.” Really? Don’t breathe? I wonder … what is she trying to do? Do these technicians want us to stop breathing? Pass out from a lack of oxygen? Fall unconscious and hang limply backward while a squished breast is clamped in an imaging machine? Really?
I got the mammogram, but there were no roses or chocolates.
Three days later I got a call from the imaging center. There was a small nodularity that needed further testing, and so the next morning, I was back on the road again (this time with Rusty) to have a 3-D mammogram and ultrasound. After a new set of pictures, a radiologist explained that this mysterious asymmetry merits me another trip to Nashville. This time for an ultrasound-guided core biopsy. She used the words “low suspicion,” but, of course, I was apprehensive. The next few days would be a journey down a medical path that I had never traveled.
Within six days of my annual screening mammogram, I was scheduled for a breast biopsy. I couldn’t believe this was happening. For years, I had heard prayer requests like this …
“Pray for ‘Suzie.’ She had a questionable mammogram and now they are wanting to do an ultrasound. Pray it all comes back good.”
“Oh, pray for my aunt. She’s had a bad mammogram and a bad ultrasound, and now they are having to do a biopsy. Pray it’s not cancer. Please!”
And each time I would hear requests like this, I would cringe in fear. Yes, I would pray for these women, but praying would be the extent of how far I’d mentally ponder such situations. Just the fragment of a thought relating to a scary mammogram, a suspicious ultrasound, and then a biopsy – the horror of it all – was more than I could allow my mind to consider. And then there was the “I-cannot-image-that” scenario … a woman having a breast biopsy and then having to wait through the weekend for the results. That, my friend, was a mortifying prospect for me!
However, on Thursday, October 8, I had the biopsy, and I didn’t get the results until five days later at 5:02 pm on Monday, October 12. I found myself living the reality of an imagined situation that had once traumatized me. Awaiting the results of breast-related pathology … over a long weekend.
I asked Rusty once during the wait if had he wondered why God was doing all of this. He said he had wondered, but he hadn’t figured out the reasoning yet. I, too, have been somewhat bewildered. But more and more each day, God is showing me His plan for my health scare. A part of His plan is the content of this post.
You see, my friend, I am burdened like never before. There are approximately 410,000 women who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. On the day that I received the glorious and gracious news that I was cancer-free and pathology revealed only fibrocystic changes, there were 614 American women who were informed of cancerous findings. These women are warriors. They have been called into an unforeseen battle that will alter every moment of their existence.
These women are worthy of every act of support that we can offer them! They need our friendship, our thoughtfulness, and our encouragement. They are deserving of every act of love that you and I can bestow upon them. Yes, a home-baked chocolate pie is certainly in order, but what these dear women need more than anything is our faith-filled and consistent prayers!
So with this post, I’m asking God for an uprising –
A mighty uprising of prayer commitment for, not just women, but all people struggling with cancer.
I bet you’re like me in that you’ve spent much of your times in prayer petitioning God on behalf of folks with cancer. It seems our prayer lists grow daily with reports of more and more people being diagnosed with cancer. But we aren’t praying enough, and we surely can pray more!
Here’s the deal: I’m calling the Enough Grace Ministries family to passionate, consistent prayer for our friends and family members who are facing cancer. The plan is simple yet amazingly impacting. I ask you to please continue praying as you always have for those struggling with cancer, but in addition to those times of prayer, I ask you to please implement this two-part plan:
1.) Upon seeing any symbol or reminder that represents cancer awareness, let us all bow and offer a prayer for those within the cancer community. Can we do that? Can we stop our mental frenzy every time we see a pink ribbon or a cancer awareness billboard and say a heart-felt prayer for someone with cancer? Whatever the symbol may be, please join me in letting that icon remind us to stop and pray. Pray then, at the moment. Pray for those with cancer; and then
2.) Please join me in utilizing this blog spot as a place of prayer support. The bottom line is … this blog spot is community! It is a forum in which dialogue and prayer support are welcomed. So, please, will you be willing to share your requests, your comments, and your commitment to pray? The commenting form is open, and if ever the Lord prompts you to ask for prayer, please feel free to submit that request. How wonderful it would be for this blog spot to be God’s catalyst that ignites a powerful movement of prayer, especially for our friends and family members who have cancer.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
My friend, won’t you join me in praying? Praying like never before for the men and women, the boys and girls who are living with cancer? The greatest thing we can do for these dear folks is to intercede on their behalf to our Heavenly Father!
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I have been overwhelmed with the amazing grace of God that held me through my recent breast biopsy. I am overcome by the miraculous mercy of the Lord that has granted me good health.
Jesus, I’m in awe of You!
Sources: cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics and seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html