Friday, October 21, 2011
In the fall of 2003, the Athens Banner Herald newspaper asked for submissions for a section they were running for Breast Cancer Awareness Month called “Stories of Inspiration.” Specifically, they wanted people to write about the best thing that came out of their breast cancer. I had written the piece below in 2001 and shared it with a few friends. Several of them encouraged me to submit it. I was humbled when it was chosen to be featured in the section among so many moving stories. The picture below from the wedding of Jeff and Mary Crane Krutoy is used by permission of Wingate Downs Photography.
Just days before my scheduled mastectomy in June of 2000, our family decided to go ahead with an already planned short vacation to an island off the coast of South Carolina. Frankly, I didn’t even know if I could enjoy it with the surgery facing me the morning after we returned.
One evening while we were there, our young children, my husband Jerry and I were walking along a boardwalk on an inland waterway. There was a nearby band playing familiar music. Jerry and I found ourselves beginning to dance along the boardwalk under the stars while our children played at our feet. It seemed we were dancing right in the face of cancer.
This has become one of the sweetest memories of our lives together.
Our anniversary fell just a week after my mastectomy. How could we make the best of this situation? In answer to that question my husband went out to a local steak restaurant and picked up take-out dinners. As our children were entertained at a local pizza restaurant courtesy of a dear friend, we ate our take-out dinners on the good china in the dining room by candlelight.
After dinner we took out a CD we had purchased of the band we heard on our pre-surgery vacation. Somehow, I secured the two drainage tubes I had, and we danced unhindered by bandages. As we danced, we remembered the stars and the water from the week before, and God’s faithfulness to us in these days. It’s strange how God enables us to re-frame the difficulties of our lives.
When I think of mastectomy, I think of being held in my precious husband’s arms, and I think of dancing.
To this day, those sweet memories of dancing more than outweigh the memories of the difficulties I faced. God taught me during that time He truly does give us “…beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3