Years ago, I had my second lump removed from my breast. I scheduled my follow-up surgery on the same day my insurance expired. My doctor ran the test and told me I had a 65% chance of getting the most aggressive form of breast cancer within five years and suggested I go on a low-dose cancer drug. I told her my insurance ended that day, and she said, “Well, you better hurry up then and make a decision,” assuring me she could give me an extended prescription to cover me for a while. I was barely 40 years old, a single mom, and had four little babies at home under five. Flashbacks of losing my mom to breast cancer poured out of my eyes as I wept, sitting in my car in the parking lot. My ability to think and make rational decisions became paralyzed in fear. I was gambling with my life, and it was not something to take flippantly. I called some friends who had their journey with cancer and strongly suggested I take the drug. I cried out to God (literally), telling Him how scared I was (not just for me, but how this would affect my children), and asked what I should do. Suddenly, I got this overwhelming thought, “Why would I treat a cancer I do not have?” The doctor said I had a higher percentage that I COULD get it, but I currently did not have cancer. The tornado of chaos and emotions gave way to deep peace. I attempted to clean up the streaks of black mascara that stained my face and, with bold confidence, went back up to my doctor’s office to tell her, “Thank you, but no thank you.” I was fully aware that fear would knock, wanting me to play the What-If game.
I made an agreement with God that day. I reminded Him that He is my great Physician (years earlier, I was scheduled for a double transplant – until God stepped in). I already had faith in what He can do through my body, so I turned the issue over to Him and told Him, “I am not going to pay attention to this report. This one is on You, and You can alert me if something is wrong, but I will not let fear talk to me.” Over the years, I have had to remind myself of that agreement on a few occasions, and when fear knocks, I answer by blessing my body and cursing cancer.
Fast forward to one summer. We have always spent our summers on the road doing family ministry. That summer, we had our trip all planned down to the details, but the more things came together, the louder my lack of peace became. I finally laid it all down as I no longer wanted to fight for peace. A week later, I found a mass in my breast. Between swinging from one doctor appointment to the next and waiting for appointment day to arrive, we spent our summer walking out the reality that a tumor was found. I got the call while standing in the swimsuit section of Target and would be lying if I said the room didn’t spin a bit when I hung up the phone. But I asked God, “Is this my time?” and clearly, I heard, “NO!” My mind never played the What-If game, and I kept my peace all summer.
It doesn’t make it true just because someone speaks a word over you. Just because the odds are against you doesn’t mean you have lost. Just because a doctor says so doesn’t mean you have to partner with it. Just because fear speaks to you doesn’t mean you have to listen. I am happy to report that I am okay, and we are on the other side of this journey.