Brief Summary of Lessons Learned Through Cancer

For those of you clicking over from listening to the radio interview, thanks for stopping by. Here is a post that I shared earlier on my friend’s blog about a few lessons I learned while battling breast cancer.

Two years ago I finished the “marathon run” of battling breast cancer. In all I had three surgeries, six rounds of very aggressive chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments and 32 physical therapy appointments for a condition called lymphadema (my arm swells up from having all my lymph nodes removed under my arm). Also included, but too numerous to count, was multiple trips to get blood work, ultrasounds, x-rays, MRI’s, a PET scan, a cigar box full of prescriptions bottles, and lots of waiting in waiting rooms. Lots. I learned to knit scarves. Lots of scarves.

It’s hard to encapsulate into a brief post what God has taught me through battling breast
cancer. But looking back now,  a few themes stand out:

  • Community. I know this word gets thrown around a lot, but after an intentional decision to let people into my struggle and pain (very difficult because I like to be the “strong one” and don’t want to burden others or be needy), I found it made all the difference. God created us to live and exist in connection and as others helped bear the burden (Galatians 6:2) by bringing meals, helping with kid drop off and pickups, etc. it gave space for me to carry the load (Galatians 6:5) of what I alone had to do. Namely show up, not give up and finish the course. People really matter.
  • Prayer: I used to roll my eyes on the inside when people shared prayer requests about physical pain and healing. I used to think it was just a way to not have to be authentic with the real issues of the heart (and it sometimes can still be that way), but I judged out of what I didn’t know. I had been healthy. But when the tables turned, I understood first hand. Those long nights crying out to God in pain asking Him to wake people to pray for me and actually having God do just that has altered my understanding of how God works through prayer. Prayer really matters.
  • For me personally, I see myself through different lenses. Through battling cancer I am stronger than I know, but also more fragile than I thought. Life is precious. And even on my worst days as a wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, being here makes a difference. It matters that we are here.