Moment of Grace
April 2006. My husband and I sit in my surgeon’s office waiting for her return. She had removed a lump from my breast 30 minutes before, and was personally conveying it to the lab. Since my mom died 25 years ago from breast cancer, I’ve had several benign lumps removed from my breasts. This time, however, is different and I know it.
As my doctor returns, she sits down behind her desk and states the words I’ve feared all my adult life - ‘you have cancer’. As the words come from her mouth, I’m thrown into a tidal wave of grief, terror and doom. Upside down, sideways, I no longer know which way is up. I can’t catch my breath. There’s a roaring noise in my ears, blocking out her words as she proceeds to tell me the cellular breakdown of my particular cancer. For 10 long minutes, I’m tossed, turned, thrown about in an avalanche of fear. I struggle to find a way out of my panic and to a place where I can breathe. But I’m lost…helpless…hopeless. The nightmare I’ve dreaded for 25 long years has come to life.
Then, a single sentence forms in my mind. “Thank God I found it now”. And with this simple thought of gratitude, calm washes through my body, from head to toe, in an almost physical wave. I return to myself, as if awakening from a horrible dream. My body still sits in the chair in my doctor’s office and my feet solidly touch the floor. I’m back - determined and clear. I know that this feeling of peace, this moment of clarity, is a part of my deepest being now. In my darkest moments, I’ll be able to feel gratitude - for early detection, for this day and for these moments of grace.
And so, that day in my doctor’s office, I made the commitment to fight for my health and my life. Taking a deep breath, I asked “What do we do next?”