Chosen Challenged Changed

Chosen. That word makes you feel special, doesn’t it? Think about your grade school days when you were chosen to be on a certain team. Chosen to be the head cheerleader. Chosen means you were set apart. On April 4th, 2018 I was chosen. I was chosen to be 1 of 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember a time being with some of my closest girlfriends and talking about the reality that one of us would probably have this diagnosis at some point in our lives. Reality had set in. The diagnosis came about 3 minutes before I was supposed to speak at a women’s retreat. I am not sure anything or anyone can ever prepare you for that phone call. I pray you never get it. After the shock, the tears, and hugs from the ladies I was with, I got in my car and proceeded to make the 45-minute drive to my home. That was lonely. I was terrified. I am part of a community of businesswomen, and when I say community I mean thousands. As the news spread, many reached out. All of them prayed.

I am a woman of deep faith in God’s perfect plan for my life. Proverbs 16:9 is my life verse. This scripture reminds me that I can make all the plans I want but ultimately the Lord will direct my feet. I knew at that moment, that although I had not “planned to have cancer” that the Lord would direct my feet. I knew within 24 hours that I was chosen and He was not going to allow me to waste it. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Now I am not bragging, after all, I would have rather been chosen to have a tapeworm that lived in my stomach and eats all the carbs that I ingest. I would have rather been chosen to win a free trip to Tahiti and stay in one of those huts on the turquoise sea. Do those huts really exist? All great things to be chosen for. We all have access to the many promises that God makes in His Word. We are promised that we won’t always understand everything but if we acknowledge Him, He will make our path straight. We are promised that He will work all things for the good for those who believe. We are promised that no matter what we can accept His son and have eternal life with Him in heaven. Heaven is disease and pain-free! I have never counted but I once heard someone say that God has made over 365 promises in His word, one for every day of the year. He is pretty cool that way.

Spring 2018 was a busy time for our family. My daughter was graduating from college that May and getting married. I had to fit a surgery in there somewhere and learn more about my treatment options. Challenged. I am your friend who does not like to be inconvenienced! I am also your friend who is not patient! The challenges that came with my breast cancer diagnosis, in the beginning, were personality specific to me. As mentioned, I don’t like my plans to be disrupted and I get tired of waiting on results from test and doctors returning phone calls. I was disappointed that I had to cancel events that I was excited about being part of. The disease and the appointments became a drag on my calendar. As I type this I know the Lord was moving me in a new direction. He has a way of doing that, by putting up roadblocks where you place green lights. It doesn’t matter how green that light is, if the road is blocked you aren’t moving.

The graduation was amazing, the wedding was beautiful and on May 27 my daughter and her new husband drove off in their truck pulling their u-haul headed to make their life in Norfolk Virginia. I remember like yesterday walking back through my front door knowing the next challenge was just around the corner. It was time for treatment.

My breast cancer was caught early and my oncologist decided on 6 1/2 weeks of radiation followed by ChemoCare drug therapy. I am one of the lucky ladies wearing pink. Many who have gone before me have had a much tougher fight. Whole breast radiation affects everyone a little different but for me, the challenge came in the form of fatigue and blisters. I would go to Baylor Scott White hospital every day at about the same time. The appointment itself wasn’t any longer than about 20 minutes. The actual radiation was 11 minutes. As I write this I think back and remember. Tears well in my eyes. I could call it the lost summer. I felt bad almost every day. Maybe you know someone who has been through this type of radiation. I just remember telling myself that I had to get home before the fatigue hits me. It was truly challenging for me. Cancer changed me.

Take the trip, eat the cake, buy the shoes. I am sure you have heard this. I love it so much. This statement really is true. I know many of you have had things in your life that have changed you. Changed you to the core. As my faith increased through this journey my perspective on most everything shifted. It is much easier for me to slow down and take that trip. In fact, I am heading to CABO for a week with a friend and I have to tell you prior to this journey I would have declined because it didn’t seem practical. I want to be even more spontaneous and welcome every day like the gift it really is.

Make a list of what you love to do and make sure you spend time doing those things. Be a moment maker every chance you get. Let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter and cling with all your might to that which does. Create a life you love. I am so grateful I was chosen, challenged, and changed through this diagnosis. I won’t waste it.

In Style & Friendship,