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Breast Cancer …Mastectomy …3 Words a Young Mother Never Wants to Hear

…and yet, God is at work…

This is a continuation of Tarah’s fight with Breast Cancer …yep it will inspire you:

 Tomorrow is my mastectomy.  Just the right one.  (I figured you were wondering.) We’ve been working and working toward this day for over seven months.  It’s not going to be the end…but almost. 

Let’s review, shall we?  On November 19, 2010, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), the most aggressive, and most lethal form of breast cancer.  Tests were run, I got bad news all but one time, and then I started my chemo regimen on December 1, 2010.  Despite a lot of crud, God was smiling on me.  He knew that I was going to suffer more than most physically, so He did what He could to ease my emotional suffering, and He sent word through three completely separate people (in three different countries), that THIS WILL NOT KILL ME.  To a cancer patient, this is the best news you can receive.  Knowing I’m going to survive, I felt as if I could take on whatever was thrown my way.  Come to find out, that was quite a bit. 

But…..God made me quite a bit stronger. 

Once we moved my treatment to MD Anderson to have my chemo treatments, I was supposed to have four treatments.  I’ve had five.  They’ve worked great – my tumor is almost completely gone!! That was the main concern.  A minor concern was the cancer in the breast tissue, which did not respond quite as well to the treatment. 

My oncologist is one of the founders of the VERY FIRST Center for Inflammatory Breast Cancer, which is at MD Anderson.  So, we typically believe whatever he says.  =)  He said that the most recent chemo drug was the strongest available.  There is no other chemo to try; if this didn’t work, nothing would.  And it did work some, but not as much as we originally hoped.  So, the only remaining option is to remove all of the infected tissue with surgery.  So, I met with the surgeon on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011.

He was immediately concerned with the infected tissue, and knew that it was going to be a much more invasive surgery than normal.  He did his examinations and left the room to review his surgical schedule and see when a reconstructive surgeon would be available.  He is very picky about which reconstructive surgeons he will work with, as he will only work with the best, and their first availability is July 20th or later.  My oncologist is immediately concerned because, by then, this aggressive cancer would have fought its way back to a pretty dangerous size.  Another round of chemo would be ineffective on the cancer, and the side effects would be too strong on me.  This last chemo has come with some awful side effects.  The external ones include complete loss of feeling in my hands and toes, a rash that the sun causes to bubble up really gross-like, and my toenails falling off.  My nurse practitioner said, “It’s pointless to try to save your life by causing side effects that might take it.”  So another round of chemo was out of the question. 

My surgeon and his team work for almost two hours to try to get ahold of these great plastic surgeons.  They finally do, and, with my surgeon coming in on his day off, get it scheduled for tomorrow: Monday, June 27…five days after my initial consultation with my surgeon.  God hears your prayers.  He hears our prayers.  He hears the prayers that we forget to pray. 

I still have 5 or 6 weeks of twice-daily radiation, which start a month after my surgery, and some injections to continue with until December, but I already feel like a victory has been won in me!  God got me here and He’s holding my hand through this next step. 

My mom told someone today that I have never felt sorry for myself, or gotten angry at God, or even wondered “Why Me?”  I suppose I’m lucky because I don’t have to  ask “Why me?” – I already know….because God says so. 

There are only a few reasons why we would wonder “Why Me?”: 1 – If we’re annoyed because we have better things to do, in which case we need to get to church and check ourselves!  It’s the ultimate honor to be chosen by God to do anything…much less for something so wonderful as this.  2 – If we’re confused because we don’t believe we’re able.  Well….we’re not able.  I’m certainly not able, but God is completely able to do whatever He pleases THROUGH me.  3 – If we think that others are more “qualified”.  God knows what He’s doing.  He puts who He wants where He wants, when He wants to do WHAT He wants.  In each case, all we have to do is say “Okay, I’m in.”  We have to be willing to stand up and fight for Him!  I’m honored that He thinks that I can help, and I surrender my will to His.  I’ve learned SO much already through this, and I’m so excited to see what else God has in store.  I know He’s doing something awesome through me, and I can’t wait to figure it out. 

Thank you all for your prayers as my family and I go through this week – I imagine it’s going to be tough on everyone.  I also request you pray for a good friend of mine, Jennifer Dunn, who is also having a mastectomy on Wednesday of this week.  We’ve been walking together through this fight and I pray that she’s surrounded by His glorious angels, and she’s given the strength she needs to come through this week dancing!

Thank you all so much and I pray His blessings over you all!

Tarah

You may follow Tarah’s story here:

Read Part 1: A PINK CHRISTMAS here…

Read Part 2: Round 1 of Her Fight here…

Read Part 3: A Few Bad Days here…

Read Part 4: My Perfect Life here…

Read Part 5: My Life, The Sermon here…

Read Part 6: The End of Round 1 ….we hope. here…

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