Since I was the one delivering the news to my closest girlfriends, I never thought much about what it was like to be on the receiving end of hearing the news that a friend has breast cancer. Recently I asked one of my friends what it was like….
I’m not usually quick on returning messages. I’m not sure if it was the brief request to call her back soon, or if it was something strange in her voice, but my finger tapped the call back button right away. I had no idea the world our longtime friendship had known was about to be rocked.
I was sitting on my husband’s side of the bed, knees drawn up, my back resting on a pillow. I had just settled in after a full morning of chasing 2 kids under the age of 4. She answered right away. Her voice was a little higher and it cracked when she said my name, confirming something was definitely wrong.
Trials weren’t new to us. We’d faced hard times of miscarriages, job losses, and the loss of loved ones together, but there is something about the words, “found a lump”, “biopsy” and “doesn’t look good,” that suck every molecule of breath right out of your lungs in a very sobering way. My mind began to race through a fog of unanswerable questions and unknown outcomes, and I sat trying to process the threat of cancer within seconds. Seconds are all you really have before you must give some sort of response to the friend who just mustered up the courage to tell you she might have cancer.
The best word I can come up with for those deafening seconds is helpless. I had no magic words to make this better. I had no knowledge of what lie ahead or how we would tackle it. Most of all, while I knew how shocked I was in that moment, I had no way of really understanding or relating to how Kara must have been feeling.
I simply felt helpless.
I know it was only the grace of God that kept me peaceful and from dropping the phone, and falling into a puddle of sobs. Looking back I see it was His supernatural strength that carried me through the next moments of calmly crying with her, praying with her and then discussing the logistics of what she needed that day. I would spend the night at her house and be there to watch her 3 year old and 1 year old when they woke up. Kara would be spending the morning at the Breast Center undergoing biopsies, that would eventually confirm the doctor’s suspicions of breast cancer.
I got off the phone, and it was time to pack my overnight bag. But before I could move from that spot, I needed to cry just a bit more and pray a whole lot more… For you see I felt helpless, but I knew deep in my soul there was One who could and would help us.
He was with me as I sat there in shock, wondering what I could do and how I could possibly help?“
Unfortunately, the number of women and especially younger women being diagnosed with breast cancer seems to be growing. So I fear that many will also find themselves like my friend feeling helpless at receiving the news that someone they love is about to walk the frightening journey of breast cancer.
I am sure there are many around me that felt helpless but in actuality it was the care of my closest friends as well as of those I barely knew that gave me the courage to fight. This is the beauty of community and loving each other well. My hope is that this year’s 31 Days inspires you to step out even when it feels like you have no clue what to say and not an inkling what to do. My prayer is that some part of this month helps that Pink Warrior that you know and love to keep fighting as well.