Every once in a while, something happens in your life that makes you really count your blessings, and appreciate all of the miracles that we so often take for granted.
I am a breast cancer survivor. I am telling you this in the hope that you will pass my story on. I know that miracles are supposed to be something unexplained, but I believe that they are much more common than that. Miracles are things falling into place, because God put the tools there for us to use.
This summer I went for my mammogram. I hate them. I have always hated them, and quite frankly, I have not always been diligent about getting one every year. For some reason, maybe God was speaking to me, maybe my doctor's nagging finally got through, I made sure I didn't skip this one. That was the first miracle.
When I received the phone call telling me I had to return, that something wasn't right, I told myself it was no big deal. Then came the biopsy, and then the terrifying news that yes, it was a big deal.
That was the second miracle. Can you conceive of the technology that can detect cancer before there is any outward sign? Before a lump, or anything that would have caused concern? God knew what he was doing when he gave people the brains and the skills to invent the equipment to detect this terrible disease early, when the chances for survival are the greatest.
I believe that faith healing is having faith, that God gave us the intelligence, the technology and the steady hands of the surgeons to beat this horrible beast.
My doctor recommended Roswell Park, because "fighting cancer is what they do." Little did I know that he had put me in touch with the kindest, most caring medical people there could ever be. From the man who parked our car, to the people taking blood, to the nurses and the surgeons, the people at Roswell Park are the best. We are blessed here in Buffalo to have this facility at our doorstep.
To make a long story short, after hurrying and waiting, and a scare about an additional spot, we were finally able to schedule surgery. My tumor was difficult. The measured size was different on the MRI than it was on the mammogram, so how much should be taken out? We decided to try to remove it with a lumpectomy, because as my surgeon said, "Baby steps. We'll get it all, and if we can get it all and do it with less surgery, all the better."
Finally, my most recent miracle happened. My talented surgeon was able to completely remove all the cancer. She did it with plenty of margin around it, and amazingly, the cancer itself had not spread beyond its initial site. Considering the size of the growth area, this was remarkable.
I am well on my way to being "cured." Next comes radiation, and constant monitoring, probably for the rest of my life, but in the end, we will have beaten this beast.
I owe my life to the constant reminders about early detection. I am living proof that, if caught early, we can beat this disease. Catching it early is the key. We have the tools, we need to use them.
So please, tell your mothers, sisters, co-workers and friends my story. It will end happily, simply because I decided to pay attention and get that test -- you know the one, the one that I hate -- the one that I will never skip again. Not on your life.