My cancer journey brought me closer to the Lord

maryleekrieger_rally2 by Mary Lee Krieger, Jeweler, Florida

 

As the Mammogram Technician said, “Now don’t get dressed, the doctor will be right with you,” I knew in my heart what I had suspected for the past week. The doctor performed what is called a “targeted” ultrasound. I emphasize targeted because it makes all the difference. As the doctor glided the wand over the suspect area nothing showed, but when he firmly pressed down – there it was! There was no mistaking what we were seeing – a malignant tumor of substantial size! As I lay there with my eyes closed and the doctor’s voice in the background I ran to my Rock! “Dear Lord,” I prayed, “Please give me the strength to go through whatever lies ahead and fill me with Your Peace, the Peace that passes ALL understanding!”

A biopsy, MRI & PET scan later, it was confirmed that two malignant tumors were present on the right with a suspicious area on the left as well. Both Ductal & Lobular cancer were discovered and it had spread within the beast tissue to the chest wall. It was classified as Stage 3b locally advanced Hormone Receptive Breast Cancer.

I was the 6th in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer

I was the 6th maryleekrieger_daughtersin my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer, all on my maternal side. My grandmother and her sister, my mother and her sister, my youngest sister and now myself, and two of my sisters-in-law were also diagnosed with breast cancer. My sister, one of my sisters-in-law and myself are SURVIVORS!

Chemo was administered prior to surgery to shrink the larger tumor to be able to better remove it all during surgery. Remembering my prayers to my God and having faith that He would answer them, I went into my first day of chemo with hope and confidence. Do you want to know “How Great is My God?” I was able to attend church that Wednesday evening where I was a Youth Leader after sitting through six hours of chemo and felt fine! More so, I never once became ill or threw up! Now that’s a miracle if I do say so myself!

My hair though, was a different story. After only one week of chemo it started to come out big time, even when I combed it with my fingers. I went to my hairdresser to get it taken care of! As the clippers buzzed and the hair began to hit the floor a sudden wave of emotion swept over me, and the tears fell swiftly and heavily. You see I always had long thick auburn hair, which I had heavily identified with. Here I was, my life in the balance and I was at peace with that. What got to me? My vanity! Never mind that I had Stage 3b Breast Cancer and didn’t know whether or not I would survive it – my hair was on the floor! On the bright side, my straight hair came back in curly and I loved it while it lasted.

July 13, 2008 a Double Modified Radical Mastectomy was performed. Only one of 21 lymph nodes removed showed cancer in them! Another Praise to God! Unfortunately, maryleekrieger_premierfamilythe margins were not clear so I restarted chemo treatments.

Following my second round of chemo treatments, I continued on through 30 Radiation Treatments and was then placed on an aromatase inhibiter, which I will be on for 10 years.

I have never felt the Lord as close to me as I did on my journey through cancer!

I have never felt the Lord as close to me as I did on my journey through cancer! He answered all my prayers and so much more. I thought I had experienced His “Peace” before, but never like I did then. I guess I had never truly surrendered all to Him before. Thank You Lord for bringing me to the place that left me no choice, but like the song goes, to surrender all! Praise God I remain cancer FREE today!

 

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