Four days ago, August 5, 2021, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news came out of nowhere like a hard punch to the face, leaving me shocked and nauseous all at once. As the doctor was diligently explaining my diagnosis over the phone to myself and my husband, I began to zone out. I handed the phone to my husband, stared into space, and shuffled through the mixed thoughts coming to my mind: “Is this really happening? Carrie, you have cancer inside of you. Carrie, stop the negative thinking right now, it is going to be ok. I am healthy, I am fit, I am young (38), and I am a strong woman of faith – nothing is going to bring me down, right?” Wrong. We hung up the phone and I had a hard melt down. I curled into a ball into my husband’s arms and wept until I almost couldn’t breathe. Cancer? Why God? Why do I have cancer? I don’t want to die now…I am not scared of dying because I will be with You in Heaven, but there is so much more I still want to do for You here on earth.
Those were the thoughts circulating in my mind like rapid fire, and the number one thought that made me sob the hardest was the idea of leaving my husband behind. I don’t want to be apart from him…ever. I want to live a long healthy life with him, growing God’s Kingdom in powerful new ways. I wasn’t ready for this, at least not yet.
As the short, quick breaths gradually began to slow and my eyes had no more tears left to cry, my husband and I started to do what we do best, put a plan into action. We reached out to a dear friend in New Jersey who is well connected in the medical field. He immediately made a phone call and got me an appointment the following day with the head of breast surgery. Even though Brian and I were in Florida, that didn’t stop us from getting on the first flight out the next morning to be at the appointment by 12pm.
After meeting with the surgeon, it was clear that surgery would be the next step, and for my situation, a double mastectomy would be the best option. Since I have two small masses and one is a more aggressive form of cancer, the return rate for breast cancer in the future would be higher for me. There was no question in my mind, I wanted to eliminate that possibility from ever happening again.
As I am writing these words and continuing down the path of selecting a surgery date and determining if I will need chemo or not, I can’t help but reflect on how God’s hand has been instrumental in this journey from the beginning. In fact, without his divine appointment setting, I never would have know about my cancer.
About ten days ago, I randomly received a call from my health insurance company saying that they had the authorization code for my upcoming breast MRI. However, the odd thing was that I didn’t have an appointment scheduled. I immediately called my doctor and she explained how she submitted the test request to my insurance company because I was due for a checkup. In that moment God was scheduling this appointment for me, because there was something He wanted me to address.
Since the MRI showed two small masses, I needed to complete further testing and a breast biopsy. It seemed like God cleared the calendars of these doctors, as all my testing was expedited and completed within a few days.
It is all still very overwhelming, but at the same time, it is calming to know He is in the storm with me and directing my steps.
I know this may seem like a lot for some of you, it is a lot for me too! Maybe some of you are questioning the amount of details I have included, but I share my story for three main reasons: (1) the hope that my story is helping someone else, (2) writing is therapeutic for me, and (3) to encourage you to share your story (whatever you may be facing in life) and know you are not alone.
In fact, if there is something you’re going through right now and that “why” question is probing the forefront of your mind, I want to share something from my morning devotional reading by Oswald Chambers that has brought me tremendous peace in these days: “you must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him.”
This statement does not mean we reluctantly give ourselves up to God, throwing our hands up and saying “I give up. Do what you want. I don’t care anymore.” Rather, it challenges us to assess how close we really are with God. Are we continually talking to Him, drenching ourselves in His Word, and confidently trusting in His goodness, so that when unforeseen circumstances strike, we willingly find ourselves saying “have your way with my God, I am Yours and I trust Your ways are always good.”
When we are in perfect oneness with God, and unsurmountable peace will overtake our hearts and drive out the panic, fear, and doubt lurking within us. We will have peace that our Lord Jesus, Light of the World, will see us through the darkness even when we can’t see for ourselves.