Grate-Full! Hope-Full!

Lord, I’m trying very hard right now to be still and listen. I believe as humans this is one of our never-ending struggles in life on this earth. Ever heard the saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason”? I feel like for the most part, I am a good listener. But still, I struggle greatly with the listening part when it comes to me listening to your voice. Well, God, you certainly got my attention this time! I’m waiting, I’m listening, and I’m really anxious to see what’s on the other side of all this for me! I have faith that you have big plans for me to accomplish through all this!

I started this journey in November with a mammogram. The waiting between one test and the next until the official cancer diagnosis was maddening. Once I met with the surgeon and oncologist, it was fast-forward to a cure!

Dr. Marissa Howard-McNatt (surgeon oncologist) was my first appointment, and she advised that since cancer was found in my lymph nodes, chemotherapy would be our first course of action. With the hope that it reduces the mass and lymph nodes. She explained, if she did surgery first that she would have to remove all the lymph nodes, which would greatly increase my chances of developing Lymphedema. My next appointment with Dr. Alexandra Thomas (medical oncologist) was most encouraging. I have an estrogen-based cancer with Her2 receptors. She really had a way of making me feel like all things were possible. We are so blessed to have such stellar health care right in our backyard. Not only one, but two choices. My health journey has been on the Wake Forest Baptist Health track, but I have no doubt that the Novant system would provide equally wonderful care.

I know I am just one of many fighting a battle with cancer. I have two dear friends from church that are fighting their own battles. Julie found out very close to when I did, and David back in the summer. Cancer has a way of making you see life in a much different way. Every moment, even the little things are so much sweeter. Things you took for granted are now meaningful, and the things you thought were so important aren’t such a big deal after all.

I have had more “God” moments through all this than I can even recall at this point. But one that will be imprinted on my brain and memory bank forever will be a gathering of women, mostly from my Sunrise church family. It included many others outside Sunrise as well, but this amazing group of ladies came together to pray for Julie and me. They gave us each a lap quilt they had made to comfort us during our journeys. The love and spirit in that house that night was beyond description!

No one would in a million years ever wish to go through this, but I have never felt more loved and cared for. Is it possible to say you’re living through the best and worst of times at the same time? The incredible outpouring of love and support is humbling beyond words. The kindnesses of family, friends and sometimes mere acquaintances have been beyond anything I could have imagined or expected. One of my most special gifts is a pair of pink gloves that Grant Dawson, our very own Demon Deacon #50, gave me from his October breast cancer awareness game. What a way to start chemo, wearing a pair of pink football gloves! I’m up for the fight and invite you to share in my journey!

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