That photo above taken a couple of days before I had the big surgery to deal with my breast cancer diagnosis captures a moment frozen in time for me. That day, so many questions hung in the air. Would the surgery deal with the problem? Would there be a reoccurrence? Was this a hereditary cancer? There were many more riddles, but the one that loomed largest in my mind was would I live to see those children reach adulthood?
And here I am. Twenty years later and counting. The answers to those questions are yes, no, no, and a great big YES.
Every year, I try to write at least one post in gratitude for all God has done and as an encouragement to those just being diagnosed.
As I wrote last year in my Relay for Life post, when I was first diagnosed, I needed to see someone who had made it awhile. I searched for survivor sashes at Relay with multiple pins. Today, my sash is heavy with pins. I want that to be an encouragement to those of you who are living with many questions as I was the night that photo was taken.
It is for sure because of the grace of God I am here, but I must give a shout out to incredibly skilled doctors who set me on this course―doctors whom God is continuing to use to save lives. I also salute researchers who are in the labs day after day, year after year doing work that no one sees at the time but has the potential to change everything. I was one of the first in this area to benefit from sentinel node mapping which has saved many women from dealing with lifelong issues surrounding lymph node removal. Research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute led to this remarkable discovery.
The actual twenty-year anniversary was back in May but at that time we were dealing with many issues, it seemed the wrong time to write a post like this. But, now, even though we are still dealing with much, I felt that I would be remiss in not posting during breast cancer awareness month. In my area, because of Covid, preventive mammograms were suspended for a time, but now they are up and running again. I’ve just scheduled mine. Early detection gave me such a good prognosis, so if you women haven’t had yours this year, please do so.
One of the verses God gave me at the time of my diagnosis which brought me much hope was, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters” (Psalm 18:16). We know people at this moment who are in those deep waters. Our continuing prayer for those of you in that circumstance is that you would sense God’s hand on you and that He would indeed draw you out. With him, nothing is impossible.
For the rest of us, let’s put on our pink shirts, schedule our mammograms, and encourage those who might be dealing with a diagnosis. Due to the pandemic, many of the research related fund raising events were canceled this year, so you might consider donating to one of them.
So, thank you Jesus, for these twenty years. Glory be to God!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for me. The release date for my new Christmas novella, A Season for Everything, has been changed to November 6―a month earlier than originally planned. I am so thrilled for this, but the time to prepare is short. I’m looking for a team of people who will help me promote the book. If you like writing book reviews, are on social media, and would like an advance free digital copy of the book, please contact me through my website HERE, private message me on my author page HERE, or contact me through Instagram @BeverlyVarnado. Spots are limited, so thank you for responding quickly.
The Cover Reveal of A Season for Everything is coming October 26.