• Sherry Kirk

    Survivor


    I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer on June 16, 2004, just nine days before my daughter was leaving for the Virgin Islands to get married. I had a sore lump in my left breast and went to my gynecologist for a mammogram. I really didn't think much about it because I'd had fibrocysts in the past that just went away.

    My doctor also thought the lump was just a fibrocyst, but I did have a mammogram. Three days later, my doctor called to tell me that the mammogram was inconclusive, and because my sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years earlier, he wanted me to see a surgeon for a second opinion. I immediately requested an appointment with the surgeon who treated my sister because she has done so well.

    The following week I saw the surgeon. He looked over my mammogram films and said, "I'm concerned about this lump here." He ordered a biopsy that day and my husband and I received the dreaded news before we left his office. My main concern was not telling my daughter until after she returned from her wedding. We are very close, but I did not want to sadden the most important day of her life. I had to act like everything was fine for nine days—I would deal with the cancer later.

    Of course, I was a basket case in private and cried for the first two days. On the third day, my daughter wanted us to have a mother and daughter day of shopping before her big day. I could not say no because she would want to know why. But I didn't know how I could spend the whole day with her and act like everything was fine. I just prayed that God would get me through this.

    That morning I drove from my house to her apartment with tears running down my face. I begged God to let me get through this day and not break down in front of my daughter. I stopped in a parking lot near her house to redo my makeup and I kept telling myself, "I have to do this."

    The minute I saw my daughter at the door, a peace came over me that I cannot explain. It had to be God's work because I'm not that strong. We had a great day together, and I did not shed a tear. Back at her apartment, I gave her a hug and drove off. But just a few miles away, reality hit me again—"I have cancer!"--and I cried all the way home.

    I am a Christian, but this is the first time I have experienced the real presence of God answering a prayer of desperation. My daughter had her beautiful wedding and I was able to spare her the news until the day she returned home. She understood why I did not tell her and she was with me the next day for my second chemo treatment.

    I have since finished my treatments and the lump has all but disappeared. I will meet with my surgeon next week to decide whether I'll have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. In the meantime, I continue to pray and know that God is with me all the way. I realize not all women with breast cancer have the support of a loving family and friends as I do, but you can have a higher support—GOD. He is there for all of you, if you just ask Him.

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