It’s the end of September. It’s been a year since I experienced my last major health scare. I’m not a worry wart. I get panicked and stressed at times but I don’t think I’m the type who obsesses about the what-ifs and the oh-nos. It might be my personality, yes, but it’s also because I have God to talk to and depend on, upon whom I can cast my cares. He dispenses me with the peace and calm that I need.
So when I felt a lump in my breast around the time of my birthday last year, I did not really panic. I got surprised to suddenly find it, like from not noticing anything to feeling how hard and big it was, of course I was surprised. But there were no water works. I prayed, looked it up (on the net hehehe), hoped for a non-scary explanation. I also asked certain people for advice. I set an appointment with my OB-GYN.
However, it took a while before I was able to see my doctor because of conflicts of schedules — hers and mine. I was able to see her over a month later. She told me that I had a tumor that needed to be checked. Mammogram and ultrasound. Ugh. I have always feared the mammogram because I heard it was painful. I tried to get it off the table but I obeyed anyway because she insisted. I trust her judgment. She has gotten me through 2 pregnancies, 2 births, and 1 case of pre-eclampsia severe.
So by early September, King and I headed to the hospital to get my tests done. I was super nervous because I hate pain. I have, in my expert opinion about myself 😂, very low tolerance for pain. I was preparing for the worst squeezing of my life, but a part of me was also hopeful that new mammogram tech would not be as painful anymore.
God’s grace was so evident that day. All the nurses were nice and friendly and gentle. The facility was excellent and comfortable (only women were allowed inside the area where I had to change into a pink gown). And to my surprise, the mammogram was not painful!!!!! A tad uncomfortable because of positioning and holding still, but painless and quite quick. I was overjoyed! The ultrasound was okay too, until the sonologist said she would recommend a biopsy.
Okay. Biopsy. This was when the questions started rolling in because we had decisions to make. Is there reason to rush? Should I have it done now, when King is scheduled to leave the country in two weeks? Can I wait til after he gets back, which is the last day of October? If I get it done now and the biopsy says it’s malignant, can I endure surgery and recovery without my husband? Or can I get surgery after he gets back? What about the kids and their daily school schedules — 3 kids, 2 different schools, 1 driver/yaya/P.A./tutor (AKA me)? My mind was on surgery, not even on chemo or other treatments. And I wanted King to take his trip. I knew that if he really needed to stay, he would absolutely give it up, but there was no desire for me to keep him from the God-given opportunity to attend his conference in the U.S. and visit his sister whom he hadn’t seen for a decade or so. The struggle was immense. We asked God for wisdom.
We were kind of okay already with the idea of waiting til November, but after talking to a doctor friend, my aunt who’s a pedia, and finally my cousin who’s an oncologist, we decided to have the biopsy done asap. They said with urgency, to not wait. We saw a breast surgeon.
What I kept asking God at that time was for Him to enable me to endure what I needed to go through. I would cry at times but I buckled up for the possibilities. Not so I could look or feel strong, but because I needed my mind prepared, so that I could deal with it already and get on with life. I used my head, and my emotions weren’t overwhelming me……yet. King was kind of quiet that week. I was the one reassuring him, and I was the one thinking of the game plan. Then at one point, I got upset with him for not helping me think and plan. His response made me stop in my tracks: “I don’t want to plan because I want to wait on the Lord.”
There I was, planning, because I unwittingly just accepted what was said to me about my lump — that there is a very high possibility it is malignant. I was operating on the assumption that I would be needing that, let me say more complicated lumpectomy, and so I would need to get my clearances in order, and we would have to move quickly so that King would still be around while I was in the operating room, and he could be around for the first 2 days of my recovery. I thought the faith part was relying on God to align the schedules of my clearances, the schedule of the surgeon, the availability of a hospital room, and the provision. It wasn’t.
The biopsy went really well. I was also very nervous, but the nurses explained it clearly to me. It prepared me for what to expect, so much so that when I felt a small pinch right before the doctor started extracting the tissue samples, I knew to sound the alarm. She stopped and injected me with more anesthesia. She did the biopsy excellently. No pain, just a little bit loud. It was ultrasound-guided, and I only took one peek while she was enthusiastically showing me what she was doing. I closed my eyes the rest of the time 😂. Though there was pain afterwards, I only had to take 1 arcoxia that day and I think the next day. I was in the hospital and diagnostics center by Wednesday to secure my clearance for possible surgery.
But the few days leading up to the biopsy and also immediately after, were when my emotions started surfacing. There was so much fear. I was not (am not) afraid to die because I am sure that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I was afraid, however, of what I, and my family, might have to endure while I am still alive. And I was so sad for my husband and kids, imagining how sad or angry they would be if they had lost me too soon. I cried out to God. For me. For my family. My mom should not have to bury me. My kids should be able to enjoy and rely on their mother while they are young. My husband and I want to grow old together. I asked close family and friends to pray.
There was a shift at that time too. A wonderful thing that happens in marriage. While I was the one feeling down, King was the one who had his faith way up. He said he did not want to accept it and he was claiming, declaring my healing. He constantly encouraged me, you know with his happy, excited face. I so wanted to believe him. I believed that God is able to heal, but there was a part of me that was afraid to wholeheartedly claim my own healing. Like yes, God heals, but will He heal me? He is sovereign and I submit to His will. And whatever He does or allows to happen to me, I will receive, by His grace. Which is why there was a struggle in my heart. I didn’t know what His will was for me. You’d think this would be easy-peasy for me since God has saved me once before. But no, it was still easier to believe God for His enabling power than to believe Him for my healing.
That 5-day wait for my results was emotionally tough for me. But it was also within those 5 days that God spoke to me. He revealed a sin that I needed to repent of. He reminded me of my own words to myself. There had been times I had said that I will die early. Why? That might be for another blog. 😬 I believe that the tongue has the power of life and death. I know this so well. I teach it to my kids all the time. And God showed me that I had been speaking death to myself. It was such a revelation to me! I repented and somehow God enabled me to speak life and claim, with conviction, healing for myself. This was the faith God wanted me to exercise.
And not a moment too soon. If I remember correctly, it was Friday, the day before I got my results. I so needed the courage to declare, out loud, that my tumor is benign! Then my friend and leader sent me these verses on Saturday morning. Nehemiah 8:10-12.
10 And Nehemiah[b] continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
11 And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” 12 So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.
I was praying/crying, so encouraged by this! God was telling me not to worry! Hush, don’t weep!!!! This is a sacred day! As an act of faith, I asked my girls what they wanted us to bring home from the hospital. I told them that we would celebrate!!!! I asked them to pray for me. Noelle told me with such assurance that I was going to be okay. I thanked the Lord my children were in faith for me as well.
We got to the hospital, all nervous and in a rush because I misunderstood our appointment and King had a teaching in church. Thank God we got there on time. And whaddaya know….. the doctor told us that my tumor is indeed BENNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!! She said some other things too, but we wanted to rejoice in this win!!! When we got to the car, I could not help but bawl like a baby. I kept telling King that God saved me. He saved me!!! When we regained our composure, we ate some Japanese to celebrate! We had a feast!!!
That afternoon, I asked God for a specific Word. His specific, personal Word for me. He gave me Isaiah 46. I was iffy with the first few verses, but my eyes started welling up as I reached verse 3.
Wow. I hold on to God’s promise of a long life, His promise of caring for me, carrying me, and saving me. It’s been a year. God is faithful. I am still here and I will grow old with King. We will serve the Lord together for many years to come. I will enjoy my family. I will live through this pandemic and beyond. I will go back to Japan. I will travel to Switzerland and other awesome places. I will see the Northern Lights in Norway. I will walk where Jesus walked in Israel. I will see my girls thrive and live their lives honoring and serving God through their talents and their profession. I will see my girls get married to godly, honorable men, and I will enjoy my lovely, God-fearing grandchildren. In Jesus’ holy and mighty name. Say a big amen for me, friends. ❤