grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day TwentyThree

on July 23, 2015

Today’s the day!
It’s here!
It’s arrived!
I want to shout it from the mountaintops…and throw all kinds of confetti…and release hundreds of pink balloons…and hug everyone I see…and sing at the top of my lungs…and happy dance for hours…and fall to my knees in all kinds of gratitude…and…and…and…

It’s been FIVE YEARS since the cancer that rocked my world was found!!!
FIVE WHOLE YEARS!!!
In case you didn’t realize it, this is a Real Big Deal to me. *grin

I was diagnosed with aggressive, hard-to-treat Stage 3 breast cancer that was detected in a routine mammogram on July 23, 2010.
At the time, I chose to not know the actual stage at first because I knew myself.
I knew I would look up survival rates and have those numbers rattling around my brain every day during those intense days of surgeries, recoveries, chemo treatments.
That would not have been helpful.
Not for me, at least.

But, in honor of this day – today – I got brave and googled the statistics.
To have a clearer picture of the battle from this further-down-the-path vantage point.
Oh, man.
I’m SO glad I didn’t look it up back then.
I’m SO glad I didn’t know.
I’m SO glad I decided instead to trust in the whisper from God…’You’re going to be okay.’
Hanging on to that, not numbers and data, helped me hang on to peace.
Even if that hanging on sometimes felt tenuous and shaky and weak.
(If you’re curious, the survival rate for the type of cancer I had is somewhere between 50 and 70%. Yikes!)

Somehow, knowing those numbers now makes today even sweeter.

For the rest of my life, I’ll be a cancer survivor.
I’ll always have memories of being bald and lashless.
I’ll always have scars that tell the story of a battle hard-fought.

But, even more important than all that, I’ll always be beloved of God.
(And, friend, no matter what battles you’ve fought, no matter what scars you have, you’ll always be His beloved, too.)

**Thanks for joining me as I looked back over the last five years. It’s meant a lot to me to have you here.**

~~~~~

July 23, 2014 (from my CaringBridge journal)
Four years ago today, July 23rd took on a whole new significance in my life.

Four years ago today, July 23rd became a Line of Demarcation on my timeline.

Four years ago today, July 23rd changed everything…forever.

You see, four years ago today, I had a routine mammogram.

Only it wasn’t so routine.

That mammogram discovered aggressive Stage 3 breast cancer.

That mammogram started a ball rolling that, like snowballs from mountaintops in cartoons, consumed so much in its crazy, high-speed, bouncy path…arms and legs and other body parts (and hearts and relationships and Life As I Knew It Things) sticking out all wacky and nonsensical.

That mammogram saved my life.

Four years ago today, July 23rd unleashed a torrent of trials and triumphs that I am still wading through…some days waist-deep…some days thigh-deep…some days ankle-deep.

Four years ago today, July 23rd began the revealing of so much True and so much False.

Four years ago today, July 23rd God whispered ‘You’re going to be okay.’

Four years ago today, July 23rd I chose to believe Him.

And, every day since that day, four years ago, I am grateful.

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