October Breast Cancer Awareness Month
ywcaencore Stories of Inspiration & Hope
Hmmm, a lump. “Feel it,” I say to my husband, my sister. My heart starts to pound through my body. “Was it there before? How long was it there? Thoughts run wild?” It’s checked – it doesn’t seem suspicious – relief – well, somewhat. Hmm “keep an eye on it”. Months later – still there – no real difference. “Oh a mammogram, change work schedule for it”, oh no, heart pounds…insidious fear sets in again. Sitting in the chair “we are going to get another image” my heart pounds louder – prayer is the only thing that keeps me breathing. “An ultrasound – now?” – I walk in disbelief to my husband – my heart almost stops. “Well, it has some features of a cyst but not sure” – needle biopsy recommended……. “Hello Anne Marie,” a pause, I wait, “It’s breast cancer”.
WHAT!!!!! I go into shock. My daughter, she’s only 9! My husband, my Mom, my sisters, my incredible family and friends – NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! We scream, we cry, we pray, we hold each other tight. Surgery – mastectomy, complications…more surgery then…lymph node surgery…and chemo shortly thereafter.
Our hearts, our aching hearts…and yet….. ”be still my soul” my God says to me and as we travel this “bend in the road” in our lives I am lifted beyond explanation from a God who cares, a husband who loves so sacrificially, a daughter who loves her mommy with no hair and one boobie, an incredible family that embraces me and loves me deeply and carries me through with gifts of time, meals, tattoos, shaved heads, end-of chemo parties, songs, fundraisers, words of encouragement, chemo gifts, visits, surprise trips and laughter. Yes, laughter in the storms! My friends and colleagues bless me with visits, food, flowers, cards and a blanket full of love. My church family surrounded us with prayers, visits and genuine care. How blessed was I!!!
AND so breast cancer…everyone has a story…and mine has lead me to one of the great purposes and PASSIONS of my life – ywcaencore. I knew God had a plan for my life and I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful incredible program at the YWCA that has helped so many women in so many significant ways! How blessed am I.