Why I'm a 34 Used-to-B!
In early December, I was diagnosed with "atypical ductal hyperplasia" (ADH). ADH is an abnormal appearing growth of cells within the breast ducts that is associated with an increased risk of subsequent breast cancer. A mammogram found it in November, and another mammogram confirmed it in December. I then had to have a needle biopsy in both breasts a week before Christmas. Based on the biopsy results, I was scheduled for a lumpectomy on January 5. Whew!
The lumpectomy was performed to see if there was worse abnormality present in the breasts. The surgery went well. I was sore, but Phil was such an attentive helper and two weeks later I felt like myself again-just a little lighter and a bit achy! I am now a 34 used-to-B, thanks to the two golf ball-sized lumps the doc removed!
But, here's an observation I gleaned from this brush with cancer. My burden wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be. I expected to be plagued with fear and "what if." I expected anxiety to overwhelm me and make for many sleepless nights. But, none of that happened. I actually became concerned that I was in denial because I was so peaceful about all this! I really prayed and thought long about my response. "Can a person take sovereignty too seriously, Lord?" I prayed. "Do I just really trust You or am I a shallow, non-thinking, woman dizzy with denial?"
Now, I will tell you that when the doctor told Phil and me I would need surgery, a wave of dread did wash over me. I didn't want to face surgery and the results that may have followed. I just wanted to enjoy Christmas, finish my manuscript, help plan Clayton and Caroline's wedding and read dead authors! I did taste fear and trepidation. But, once that wave washed over me, it somehow cleansed me from fear and left me with resolve. I had an "it is what it is" attitude and decided God knew and was far more in charge than I. So, I felt peace, with the occasional tinge of "oh my gosh, this is really happening," popping up to remind me I wasn't in denial!
A few days after surgery, Phil and I sat in the surgeon's office where he announced the results of the pathology. It was all benign! I was in the grateful 70% of women who leave with a cancer-free result. I was so thankful and felt the kindness of God. Many women leave with far more difficult news. I couldn't imagine having endured the series of biopsies and surgery just to find myself facing more surgery or radiation like many women do. Oh, how my heart extends to them!
When Phil sent out the news, that's when I realized why my burden hadn't felt so heavy. The responses that came back from friends and family were clearly deep, grateful relief. Many wrote of tears and cheers. I was told how some wept before God in gratefulness just as they had wept in petition during this whole ordeal. My burden was lighter, because they all carried it for me. Sure, I trusted God and I really do rely on sovereignty, but, my peace wasn't because of my spiritual depth. It was because of my friends' and family's burden-bearing.
Because He is sovereign and trustworthy, we give our burden to God, and sometimes He mercifully lends it to those who love us so they can carry it, too. And, when others bear our burdens, they share in the joy of our burden being lifted.
So, why was my burden bearable? Because, Katharyn, Lori, Tammer, Lisa, Angela, Karen, Mom, Dad, Lawson, Jill, David, Carrie, Judy, Tracie, Pat, Aunt Carol, Val, Marci, Gil, Cliff, Julie, Joan, Paula, Tony, Dale, Pam, Amy...and countless others bore it for me.
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)
Well, that's what's been percolating in me lately.