Five years ago, I went through one of the scariest experiences of my life. I found a lump in one of my breasts.
I made an appointment to see my doctor, truly thinking she’d squelch my fears with the words, “It’s nothing.”
Instead, she said, “We better get that checked out,” and scheduled me for an ultrasound.
The results of the ultrasound pointed to the need for a biopsy. This was it. The outcome of that test could change the course of my life and the lives of my husband and children.
The night before the biopsy, I cried quietly in my husband’s arms, thinking for the first time how badly I wanted to see my children grow up.
I shouldn’t have gone there in my mind. I should have waited for the test results before I started jumping to my own conclusions. I could have saved myself and my poor husband a lot of heartache because the test came back negative. Life would proceed as before except we would both walk forward with a new sense of gratitude.
My friend Cynthia Eggl went through those same exams. Unfortunately, her tests came back with different results. Cynthia has used her experience to prove that beauty and strength are internal qualities. She is reaching out to other women in her new book, “Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace – My Journey through Breast Cancer.”
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have asked Cynthia to share with you her thoughts on the importance of kindness for those who feel they are walking this path alone.
“When I was diagnosed with Stage 2b breast cancer on April 12, 2011, I placed a framed quote on my dresser in my bedroom. It says, ‘You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.’ Truer words could not be spoken or read – especially when you are battling for your life, and you are not certain how you will make it one more day.
“During my breast cancer journey, there were several instances that made me realize that God was working through me, even while I was going through this very challenging health ordeal.
“As I sat in the waiting room for my second radiation treatment, the woman sitting across from me and I compared notes, confirming we were both breast cancer survivors who had endured numerous chemotherapy treatments. This was going to be her first radiation treatments, and she was incredibly nervous. I explained in depth what I had experienced the evening before, and thank goodness, I was able to reassure her that it was not as bad as what her mind was envisioning.
“When my name was called, I paused to smile, reach out and squeeze her hand, and tell her not to be frightened. She thanked me, and I felt a calm, peaceful feeling come over me.
“About a week later, my new friend was sitting in a chair in the waiting room when I walked in. She said, ‘I’m so glad you are here. I wanted to give you this necklace to thank you for helping calm my fears, making me feel at ease, and leading by example.’ She placed the silver necklace, with a silver breast cancer ribbon and a separate pink stone around my neck. I started to cry and gave her a big hug, because she had helped me in the same way. Her gesture was breathtaking.
“For many people, you know that God does work in mysterious ways. About half the way through my radiation treatments in November 2011, I called my car dealership to schedule an oil change.
“When I arrived at the dealership, the gentleman who had walked me through the settings in my vehicle when I purchased it, waved me over to tell me he would give me a ride to work.
“At that time, I was wearing a pink fuzzy cap on my head – my hair was just starting to grow back following chemotherapy treatments. As I stood waiting for my ride, the receptionist looked up and asked if I was a breast cancer patient. I laughed, replied yes, and said my cap must have given it away.
“She asked how my battle had gone so far. She whispered to me that she hadn’t said anything to anyone else, but that she was waiting for test results to come back, and she was worried.
“I asked her name, and I said to her, ‘I will pray for you.’ She asked me my name and said she would pray for me, too.
“The next evening, my driver friend from the dealership called me. He said the receptionist had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had told him that she was encouraged by my positive attitude and asked him to call me to see if I would talk with her. I told him I would be honored to do so.
“There is little doubt that God was working in my life – through me making the service appointment for my car, the generous offer to drive me to work, which placed me in front of the receptionist’s desk for less than five minutes, and then my friend reaching out to me at the receptionist’s request. I am happy to report she is doing well, and I have been privileged to be a mentor, so to speak, as she walked the path back to health.
“When we are faced with life-threatening health situations, we realize that within each of us is a fighting spirit and hopefully a recognition that we are not in total control of our lives. We need to accept the difficulties we encounter with dignity, grace, and determination, knowing that God is constantly by our side.”
You can purchase Cynthia Eggl’s book at many Fargo-Moorhead locations or through her website at www.Boundless
Cynthia will be speaking and signing books at 10 a.m. on Sunday at Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo, and 1 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Barnes & Noble in Fargo.
Nicole J Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips.
Her columns run every Saturday.