This is one of those days when I have some personal news to share; information I wanted you to know before we got too far down the road. Three weeks ago, right before Christmas, I got the unexpected news that I have breast cancer.
Let me tell you: Those were words I never expected to hear or to write!
Thankfully, it was caught early, and in an era marked by amazing advancements in treatment. But I still spent the first few days with a feeling of unreality (“I have breast cancer?!”) and the last few weeks realizing just how much of a new world I’ve been thrust into—and how much time it all takes! I started out completely clueless about pretty much everything related to breast cancer, and there is an instant sense of being thrust into a sort of club—a group that has its own language, subculture, intense time requirements, knowledge base, specialties and fairly emotional decisions that must be made. Definitely a club I never expected to join.
I know that many of you have gone before me on this journey (either as part of your own story or with a loved one), and many who have navigated a much more serious situation than mine. And you know how overwhelming it can be! That said, I’ve been surprised and grateful to learn just how much support there is; seemingly every doctor along the way has a “nurse navigator” whose job it is to guide and listen and answer dozens and dozens of questions. (You can tell this is a field set up to work with patients who are mostly women!)
But of course, it is not just me who needs the support. As you can imagine, it has been hard and emotional for Jeff and our kids to hear that scary “c-word” as well, and to watch some of the challenging parts of the process. So beyond the medical support, we are grateful for the care of our family, friends, and amazing team.
What are the next steps?
As it stands now, although we need to still get a few test results back, we are anticipating that I’ll have surgery in a few weeks, and radiation in March.
The very good news is that this was caught early on a mammogram. In fact, it is pretty much an advertisement for why we’re supposed to GET mammograms! (This is where I will be like my friends Lysa TerKeurst and Jill Savage who have also walked this path and say: if you are over age 45, go get a mammogram!). And although there are always twists and turns in a journey like this, for now, the doctors are all very optimistic. I’m truly at peace about the long-term situation.
The area in which I am fighting a teeeeny bit of stress is wondering how much short-term disruption I have to go through to get there. Not just due to the time, pain, emotional, and financial implications of all things medical, but because I don’t want any disruption to our ministry!
I’m super grateful for some of the projects that are well underway (especially our next research project and book, and the upcoming launch of new online courses!), and the return of a bunch of in-person speaking engagements (outside, in a tent!) after a year of shutdowns But adding this into the mix has presented some “interesting” challenges, so Jeff and I and our team are being very strategic about our project management. And so far so good . . . but let’s just say that we welcome your prayers that everything would keep rolling along!
What I have been reminding myself continuously for the last three weeks is that none of this—not the medical news, not the timing, not the needs that come along with it—is a surprise to our God. He is in control. And I’ve also felt God nudging me to look with fresh eyes at what I wrote in my latest devotional on finding joy in an uncertain world, especially about the wonder that comes from experiencing the closeness of our heavenly Father when all you can do is trust Him! (Um, yeah, I had no idea how much I would need that message myself in a whole new way.)
So we would appreciate your prayers.
And in case you are wondering: for the next few months, we fully intend to keep rolling as normal with blogs and updates on our research (and our new videos!). We will only add updates on this breast cancer journey when there is something important to report. But our standing prayer requests are these: For healing; for wisdom for the doctors; for peace and guidance for me, the family and our team; for continued provision and minimal disruption to the work of the ministry; and that we and others would trust God and see His goodness and care through all of it.
With appreciation for all of you,