• NUWAY Annual Picnic 2018

Living with no Ending

Artwork inspired by artist Jim Dine and created by Joy Blewett, an elementary art teacher and freelance artist from Rochester, MN.by Susan L.

The ending began in the fall of 2016. I went to an appointment and this ignited a series of steps.

After a second x-ray and an ultra sound, an indication of a mass in my breast was determined. Mass — what a mediocre word for the ugly word tumor. The radiologist in the small clinic wanted to do a biopsy. I wanted to think about it overnight.

The reason I wanted to think about it? I knew I would be moving back to the metro area within two weeks. At first I thought I’d have the biopsy and then get a second opinion from a cancer specialist in Minneapolis.

Then I reconsidered. The tumor was said to be smaller than my pinky fingernail. Would there be enough left to be cutting off a second slice of the very small tumor? I wanted to have enough to get a good-sized sample for the specialists. I waited.

Even though the medical x-ray was forwarded along with the records, the process needed to begin from the beginning – the first step again. They wanted to see if the tumor had grown in one month. And if so – how much? I waited.

Two weeks would pass before the results of the biopsy indicated a low grade of cancer, and surgery was scheduled. Another two weeks would have to pass before surgery. They would then know if it had spread, and if so, how much. I waited.

This was a difficult time. I believe endings and beginnings happen at the same time if I look for them. I turned to God and asked two things: 1) to please comfort me, and 2) to please guide the surgeon’s hands

As I thought about the three possibilities I was facing, I decided to linger on each of them. Would it be that the cancer was contained and the surgeon would remove it? This of course, was what I hoped.

Or would it have spread and my breast would need to be removed? This one was not difficult either as I thought of myself as being more than just my breasts.

Or the third possibility – would cancer have spread throughout my body, and the surgeon would just sew me back up?

This third one caused me to think deeper. With this dilemma I took a step back to look from a broader perspective. Life or death. Life would just continue on and death would mean it was time for me to return to God. I decided both concepts were good, and I found peace with the issue.

The day of the surgery arrived. As I sat in the pre-op room in the recliner chair, I couldn’t stay awake. I had had a good night’s sleep the night before, but I would doze off and wake myself over and over again. Finally I fell asleep. The next thing I knew the nurse walked into my room saying it was my turn. I realized God had been comforting me. That’s why I kept falling asleep. Just what I had asked him to do.

At the end of the surgery, the next step was to return to the same room and wait for my surgeon to recap what had occurred. Again, I felt comforted. I waited.

The doctor came and sat next to me , and the first words out of her mouth were that the surgery had gone exceptionally well. She said the “marker seed” and tumor came out together on her first try, and three lymph nodes had been removed from under my arm for safety. I thought again to myself – there’s God again, he was guiding her hand. That concluded the two things I’d asked God to do for me.

It was then that my eyes began to get misty. It was because God loves me that much to actually do exactly as I asked. It humbled me. That’s what I do, I just talk to God – no formal prayer.

The result of the surgery was that I am categorized the lowest level of reoccurring cancer, after I finish six weeks of daily radiation. Waiting through radiation.

My soul rests peacefully in this new place now. I don’t think about cancer returning. That’s because I feel God’s love for me is beyond measurement. I’ll be home whether I’m here on earth or whenever the time has come that I return to God. The threat of cancer might be never ending, but God’s love is a much greater never ending. Cancer and death have no power over me. I know God will take care of me wherever I am.

I am in a new place. The sun shines brighter, I have a bounce in my step, things are funnier, and I see things from a little different perspective.

People often ask me why I’m so happy all the time. They don’t even know I’ve had breast cancer surgery. I hasten to mention some days I feel suspended above the earth in some way. It’s as if I have wings of some sort. The infinite love from God is why you might find me this way. I know where I’m going, because I know where I’ve been.

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