I thank God every morning when I open my eyes, and as I open my curtains to get a better view of the only tree in front of my window. I love to hear the little sounds of nature in a big city. I enjoy listening to the birds singing from my bedroom window; for a year, that was one of the few things that would make my day. The blue skies and the sea are pure inspiration for me. I believe God is a creative artist; Jesus is the ultimate artist making a masterpiece of my life and yours, as one of my favorite Christian artists, Danny Gokey, sings in his song: "You're making a masterpiece, you're shaping my soul in me."
"Praise You in the Storm" by Natalie Grant, another favorite, speaks to my soul about gratitude in the middle of difficult times, singing: "As I raise my hands, I praise the God who gives and takes away, and I'll praise you in the storm, and I lift my hands, you are who you are, no matter where I am." I know He is my heavenly father, and he has always been with me.
2022 was a difficult year for my family and me. I had an appointment on January 28th for my scheduled biopsy after my mammogram. It was one of the worst days of my life. I had a panic attack during my biopsy; my doctor poked a blood vessel by accident, and I was bleeding for about 20 minutes. I was by myself at the appointment, and one thing I would suggest not doing is being alone if you ever find yourself in this situation. I was cold and filled with fear.
I cried to God for help. I couldn't imagine how tough this would get; I thought, 'I'm going to die. I need your peace, perfect peace that only comes from you. I don't want to say I'm okay when I'm not.' I was not sent home until about an hour later, and I'm so grateful for that nurse who took good care of me.
As you probably know, the results are sent to the doctor, and I was told to wait two weeks for my results. Somehow, because of the doctor's body language and some pictures at the time of my ultrasound, I thought I had cancer. When I left the building, I saw a lot of women coming by themselves. I got in my car crying, looked around to check if anyone had seen me, and saw this older lady crying inside her car just like me. I was reminded by my heavenly father, "You are not alone," while listening to Family Life Radio. I kept on crying all the way home (Kari Jobe's song called "I Am Not Alone").
Two days later, my doctor called me to come to his office and said, "You have breast cancer." By the next day, I was a different woman. I was referred to Dignity Health Cancer Institute, and in two more days, I was at the Cancer Institute in my first appointment. Dr. Herbert, my surgeon, asked if I understood the situation because I never cried again, not even at the appointment for my results.
The only time I cried during my whole treatment was when they did not find the tumor under my arm after a pastor prayed for me, and it had disappeared. My doctor called the psychology department, thinking I was in shock or in denial, but in my heart and inside my head, there was peace and gratitude towards my heavenly father. I was so thankful that Jesus Christ is my savior, and he is in control in every situation; he is never caught off guard.
When the psychologist asked me why my reaction was so unusual, I told her that I believed God was in control of my life, that cancer would be a short season in my life, and in my future, cancer would be in the past. She just made a comment, "I'm glad you see it that way; you're a strong woman. Hold on to your faith because that's gonna help you through it all." Not at all, I thought inside of me. She gave me advice to talk to my family about the results, and she was very helpful.
By my second chemo, I had been a crybaby all my life, thinking of myself as a victim, depressed since I was a little girl. I had PTSD because I was molested as a child; I had abandonment issues, angry with my parents, thinking no one cared about me. My whole life, I was a bitter person, hungry for love and attention. There was a point in my life when I realized I was even angry with God because of my painful and complicated life. I had family problems; I left my husband on three different occasions; and we have been separated.
What made me realize the importance of gratitude was God's love. He has given me so many opportunities in my life. I was diagnosed with HER-2 positive Carcinoma stage 111 Breast cancer on January 28th, 2022 (6 chemos, a mastectomy, they did not find any tumors or cancer on my surgery and after) Radiation for 6 weeks daily to a Cancer survivor (I had my last treatment on April 18, 2023).
I was told by my mother that she had a very difficult pregnancy with me, and the doctor wanted her to have an abortion because her life was at risk. Since the very beginning of my life, the enemy has been trying to take my life. As a baby, one of my older cousins beat me so badly that I almost died. I'm very thankful for God's love because I had suicidal thoughts when I was severely depressed but never hurt myself. In my recent fight with cancer, my Lord Jesus Christ won my battle; He has always been fighting for me. If you need help, ask Jesus to come to your heart, and he will help you. If he did it for me, he can do it for you as well. The Gratitude app is helping me stay focused; it helps me keep track and count my blessings daily.
I want to share with you some scripture verses that are very important to me. JEREMIAH 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you, for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope."
Also, chapter 1 of Jeremiah verses 5-12 - "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. 'Alas, Sovereign Lord,' I said, 'I do not know how to speak; I am too young.' But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, "I am too young." You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, 'I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.