Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Monday, June 20, 2011

One Year Later...

It has been a year since my OB/GYN found the lump in my breast during a routine breast exam while I was in for my annual gynecological exam. Actually, it was a year on June 16th, but I went back for this year's exam today, June 20th. I don't mind saying that I was kinda holding my breath while she did my breast exam. I mean, I check myself regularly now. I didn't before the diagnosis, which leads me to see this as just one more time in my life (among countless others) when God showed me grace and protected me from my own idiocy.

Ladies,
DO MONTHLY BREAST SELF-EXAMS!!!!!

Anyway, despite the fact that I do my own exams regularly these days, I was still a bit concerned that she might find something I hadn't. I mean, she's the one who found the last lump. It was an irrational fear, I know, but I felt it none-the-less. I should let you know how much I love my OB/GYN. I've been going to her for years and years now. When I first found her, I lived quite a bit closer to where her office is located. These days it takes me closer to an hour to get there, since we've moved in the intervening years. But I don't mind the trip. Not for her. She is a master at making you feel comfortable and at ease in spite of what's going on. We always chat like we're sitting at a cafe table instead of with me naked as the day I was born with my legs up in stirrups. LOL  So while she was doing my breast exam we just chatted as usual. She was very thorough this time and I appreciated that. Not that she isn't always thorough, but she took a bit of extra time today. And praise God, she didn't find anything at all out of the ordinary. There was one funny moment when she felt my port beneath my skin and got a worried look on her face for just an instant before she realized what it was. We were both laughing about that.

We spent some time talking about my treatment, how it had gone and what I still had left to do. We talked about my not being able to take birth control pills ever again. This is an issue that has kind of confused both Mark and me since I was first told it by my Oncologist last year some time. My cancer was not hormone receptive. Most breast cancers are. So we kept trying to figure out why I had to avoid taking hormones of any kind since my cancer was negative for progesterone and estrogen. She said she'd heard it explained thus: If you think of breast cancer as a weed, then the hormones act kind of like a fertilizer. Since I have shown the ability to grow cancer, the last thing we'd want to do is "feed" my cells something that the cancer likes to eat. What a simple explanation!

Needless to say, I walked out of the office feeling a lot better this year than I did last year. The next big date will be my mammogram. That's coming up next month. It'll be my first since shortly before I got my official diagnosis last year. I've been x-rayed and scanned half to death plenty of times in the past year, but the mammogram is a big deal. One of my favorite sayings I've seen since I started my treatment is, "One more MRI and I'll stick to the fridge." I also like, "Any more radiation and I'll glow in the dark." There's also, "My oncologist does my hair." I put all these on t-shirts in my Zazzle store. There's a lot more than that, but these are some of the ones that still crack me up when I see them today.

So, what's happening a year later? What have I learned? Honestly, I don't know that I necessarily learned anything, other than the obvious experience of having gone through all the treatment. I went into it knowing I was going to need God to get me through it. And I have to say that He did. By His grace, I came through it all with flying colors. I don't know that I learned anything, per se, but I do know that I recognized a lot of things. I have spent this entire journey marveling at how much God has blessed me. Every step of the way, He supplied my needs, as He has promised us He would. But He went further and gave me so much more than just what I needed.

He didn't merely provide Mark with a job that would supply us with insurance. He gave Mark a job with the best insurance we have ever had, bar none. And this job also started out as a day shift job, working a schedule that allowed Mark to be off 2-3 days each week so that he'd be able to not only take me to my treatments, but be home on the first day or so afterward to take care of me. God didn't just supply me with treatment options, He blessed me with the option to get all my care at a location that was less than half an hour from home. He didn't just allow the medications I took to fight my cancer, He allowed me to take those medicines without enduring anything close to the worst of their possible side effects. God didn't just give me a husband who does his responsibility of providing for my physical needs, but He gave me a husband who loves me more than any other person on earth. One who made incredible sacrifices without complaint or reluctance. The list could go on and on and on.

I've recently taken part in an online conversation with a young man who in an atheist. He, like so many others, wanted us to explain to him, intellectually, how we came to believe in God. How we know God is real despite the fact that we have no proof. I wasn't the only one who responded that we do have proof. Aside from the fact that the Bible says that Creation itself is evidence of God's existence, I know God is real because I have seen the evidence of His hand touching my life. Oh, I know that atheists would call it coincidence or good luck or fate or a whole host of other things. But I know God is there. I have felt His touch on my life, heard His whisper in my ear, and witnessed His grace more times than I can count. There's a song that has been sung by many artists. I learned it courtesy of The Florida Boys. It's called, "My God Is Real."
There are some things I may not know, there are some places I can't go, but I am sure of this one thing, my God is real for I can feel Him in my soul.

My God is real, He's real in my soul, my God is real for He has washed and made me whole, His love for me is like pure gold. My God is real for I can feel Him in my soul.

I cannot tell just how I felt when Jesus washed my sins away, but since that day yes since that hour, God has been real for I can feel His holy power.

My God is real, He's real in my soul, my God is real for He has washed and made me whole, His love for me, is like pure gold. My God is real for I can feel Him in my soul.
Here's a video of them singing it, if you're interested:
As I recently told the young atheist, we can't provide him with scientific proof of God. For us, we believe God is real by faith, but countless experiences every day of our lives also confirm our faith. We see God everywhere, in everything. I know I certainly do.

And so, a year into living life as a woman with breast cancer, what I can say I have learned is that God is still real. He is still on the throne. Nothing happens by chance or luck or fate. Everything is part of His grand plan and He is never, ever far from our sides. I am so grateful for what He has given me. For His infinite love and patience and blessing, even when I don't deserve it. My God is real. And He's indescribably great!

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