This story starts with a bump. While it could be categorized as a metaphorical bump in the road, this bump is real — small, but real. And it is located in my right breast.
I found the bump on my own and visited my doctor. She believed it was benign, but suggested an ultrasound to be sure. Eventually, I was scheduled for a biopsy.
Facing the possibility of cancer was almost too far-fetched for me to believe. Oddly enough, cancer wasn’t what I was most concerned about. It was the more tangible concept of the upcoming needle biopsy, because I hate needles.
My mind raced with realistic and unrealistic thoughts and scenarios, even in my dreams. Above all, I tried my hardest to push away the sneaking fear and anxiety that threatened to seep into my thoughts. Like my dad said, I had done what was in my control, and worrying wouldn’t change anything.
And he was right. I trusted God, and I knew that He wouldn’t be surprised by the outcome of the biopsy. I might sound naive to some people, but I knew that whatever the diagnosis was, it would be part of my story and I would use it to glorify God.
The day of my biopsy came. My mom and sister drove me to the facility and sat with me in the outer waiting room, supporting me with their presence and prayers. My wonderful biopsy buddies meant more to me than they will ever know.
But they couldn’t go with me into the dimly lit room where I would be having the biopsy. I was on my own.
But I wasn’t alone. Yes, the doctor and nurse were there, and they were both so kind and supportive. More than that, I knew Jesus was with me, in the same beautiful way I had experienced during my ACL surgery years before.
As I lay down on the medical bed, I stared up at a skylight picture they had over one of the ceiling lights. Some might have deemed the image cheesy. To me, it was beautiful. It showed a bright blue sky with vibrant pink cherry blossom branches. And as I looked up at those blossoms, I felt God say to me, “Just like I’ve clothed those flowers, and just as I’ve taken care of the birds that live in the branches, I’ll take care of you.”
I already told you I hate needles. This was a big needle. The doctor walked me through each step as he injected the local anesthesia in three different places, and proceeded to extract four samples of my breast tissue, each extraction punctuated with a loud, forceful clicking sound of the needle. And I was completely at peace the entire time. It wasn’t false bravado. It was the peace of God that passes all understanding.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
A few days after the procedure, I received a phone call at work. “I have good news, if you can tell me your birth date.” Oh, I can do that. “It’s completely benign.”
I sighed, laughed and cried with relief, all at the same time, the fears I had repressed evaporating with the news.
I could joke around and say, if anything, this process helped me get over my fear of needles. But, in reality, it accomplished so much more than that. When I’m worried, afraid, doubtful or scared, I remember the moment when I stared at those pink cherry blossoms and felt saturated in God’s peaceful presence.
I am incredibly blessed and grateful, because I know not all stories end up like mine. It can be easy to minimize my situation because the bump turned out to be benign. But that doesn’t devalue the process I went through. It doesn’t negate the very real emotions I experienced. And it doesn’t take away the peace I had in those unsettling moments of waiting in the unknown, in the unspoken what if.
Regardless of what you’re going through, you can rest assured that God is with you. You might feel like your situation is inconsequential to what others are going through, or it might feel immensely overwhelming. Whatever you’re facing, know that you don’t have to be afraid, hopeless or anxious. You can be at peace.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
3 thoughts on “Peace in the storm”
I can completely understand your emotion, Jen. I have had more breast biopsies than I can count. In fact, I have had several lumps removed over the years. My doctors have changed course and no longer remove the lumps I get. We just monitor size and location rather than risk infection given my history. It gets easier but never totally comfortable psychologically. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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It’s certainly a vulnerable process in so many different ways. I can’t imagine it would ever be a totally comfortable situation, despite the familiarity. Thanks for reading and for sharing.
P.S. I diagrammed a sentence for my Pastor this last week and thought of you as I actually enjoyed it. 😊