In my mind I am writing this as letter to a friend, YOU! I thought long and hard about sharing something so personal and intimate with you but after consulting with my life coach (my little sister Carlene 😊) now is the time and I’m ready. Let me say straight away, as I’m not one of the ‘clickbait’ bloggers, that all glory be to God, I have received the all-clear 🙏🏾 Emotionally, I am still processing things.
It is important to share this with you because I want to testify of God’s greatness and if this post encourages any of you but I pray it pushes ALL of you to check yourself, then that is enough. All means, female, male, non-binary or however, you identify. In italics below is only a small part of my story.
I found a lump in my right breast last year. Casually, one Sunday morning, my hand happened upon this lump. I instantly froze. I said nothing, in fact, I was quiet for the whole day. I remember my immediate thought was Dace (my son), “I’m all he has”, I started to furiously recite inside, as if it were lines I desperately needed to rehearse for a show. I am not all he has but the enemy feeds on the vulnerability in your energy and will allow you to be consumed by it. I started to talk to God but I wasn’t making sense. Things became a blur. I didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t. I allowed myself to be consumed with negative emotions and thoughts- all of which I needed to let myself feel at that time. I thought of all the times I should have checked myself and didn’t. The posts or commercials I ignored stressing the importance of checking your breasts.
I couldn’t look in the mirror at myself. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I was distance from Dace, which I hated as I know he didn’t understand why. I sat through meetings with my supervisors pretending to be happy, went to work with the ‘life is perfect mask’ as I used to, helped everyone who asked me for help, even when I wanted to shout out… do you even want to know how I’m doing? I thought about friendships, who would be at my funeral, who would make sure Dace wouldn’t forget me. Now I questioned a lot of things. I made an intentional decision to keep it to myself for fear of being a burden or annoyance and for other reasons. Going to appointments alone made me more isolated and fearful, when deep down I knew what I truly needed to do was trust and believe God.
God was with me every step of the way. When I was distracted during my devotions or prayer, he was still with me. When I was angry, imagining the worst questioning, why me again Lord, he was still with me. He is still with me now, and always has been. My faith is still very much a work in progress. In the end, I shared my lump discovery with 3 people who were with me even when I went ghost on them and just couldn’t deal. After a series of all kinds of tests, I received the news that “I was all clear”. I instantly started crying, no, bawling. I could finally explain to my Daddy why I had not been acting like myself for a while because I just couldn’t bring myself to telling him about the lump before. I couldn’t shake the guilt, the feeling of judgement or sadness at those who we have lost to cancer and any illness. I couldn’t get back the time I had lost, the birthday, Christmas and other events and things I let the ‘lump’, but ultimately myself, ruin. I don’t want that for you.
When was the last time you checked yourself friend? Had a look at your body? In/ out of clothes? Touched your body? Felt your body? Missed that smear test again, Sis? Have you continued to disregard those flashing lights that cloud your vision? Ignoring those debilitating periods? What about that ankle that has been ‘playing up again’? Remember that lump you felt in your chest and bruising that appears over your body? That’s a lot of questions right? Well, I’m not sorry, I want you in this moment to stop and really think about yourself and your physical health.
I know what you’re saying, it’s what you and I always say, you’re “too busy”, “no time”, “I’m fine”. Well, use me as your I’m gonna make time alarm that won’t quit until you get checked, or get a second and third opinion. Break the conditioned pattern that tells you that you always gotta be strong or that pain is weakness. If something doesn’t feel/ look/ smell/ seem right then get checked and re-checked and triple-checked if necessary because there are way too many cases that are missed and misdiagnosed. Even start with going for a check-up, yes even if nothing specific stands out. Get checked!
I know this was a heavy letter, but like I said above, I won’t apologise for that. We all play the cards we are dealt differently, how I was above may be different to you, which is ok. There is no judgement here. I know you’re likely to ignore the plea to check yourself out but I hope that you won’t. It is often still easy to take life for granted or be nonchalant about our physical, mental, emotional health. Please… don’t!
Here are some links that you may find helpful:
How to check your breasts | Breast Cancer in Men | Balls to Cancer | Cervical Screening
Whatever the ailment, condition or feeling, check yourself. I know the above links are UK specific, but use them as a guide and search for information where you are. I also appreciate that the pandemic has made it harder to see your doctor, physician, gynecologist, therapist but do not be deterred. Keep challenging them to be seen and beyond anything trusting God. Our faith and religion may be different but I wouldn’t be in a position to share this testimony with you if not for God.
Thank you to my Carlene, Aaron, and Troy for being my 3 people, special people. I didn’t want to need you but I did. I am so very blessed and thankful for you. For my loved and close ones who I didn’t tell and are reading this here… please understand.
If you want to talk about anything shared in this letter (post), I’m here. Thinking of the loved ones we have all lost 🤍
Thanks for reading (and listening),
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