I'm sorry to interrupt our scheduled programming and I'm also sorry for leaving you all at a moment of suspense in my little story. I've been caught in a bit of a whirlwind these past weeks, and nearly all my thoughts and energies have been consumed in its wake. I promise to resume the love story soon, but right now, I'm wide awake at 4 a.m. with a desperate need to tell you all about something else.
No surprises or cliff-hangers here, folks: just the overwhelming truth. Last Friday, I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my breast.
Roby was in Lyon with me. We'd arranged his first visit there over a month before, and somehow all I can think is that God knew I would need him desperately that day. I'd recently completed a cycle of antibiotics to treat what the doctor assumed was an unusual infection. But when the swelling didn't completely disappear, he ordered a biopsy. The results sent both me and Roby to the States within just a few days. He only had a week's worth of clothes and had to make special arrangements with a police officer friend to get his passport sent to him. Miraculously, everything still fell into place for us to be together--just as it always has. I have no doubt in my mind that I'm marrying the best man in this world. If you hadn't already guessed the end to my love story, I apologize for spoiling things a little...
We had an appointment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute yesterday--it's the premier location in the West for those needing treatment and all that goes with it. I arrived at 10:30 with a small entourage--Roby, my mom, one of my sisters--clutching a shiny, red folder filled with half-translated exams and images and results. Medical French is complicated...but I've learned a fair amount this past month. Six hours later, completely exhausted and in a bit of pain from having become a temporary pin-cushion, I left. All of our minds were spinning with the information that had bombarded us all day: starting chemo therapy treatments as soon as possible, getting surgery in a few months, undergoing genetic testing because 29 year-olds don't usually get breast cancer, learning that treatments could make me infertile. And then, for me, the real kicker: facing the reality of losing my hair. I think that last one deserves a post of its own. I'll go there another day.
I'm still struggling with jet lag right now, and can't believe I'm having to make decisions that I never even knew people had to make. I'm not even supposed to be here. I should be in France, missing my fiancé following his first visit to our future home. I should be teaching a math or a French or a history lesson. I should be sending messages to my mom about what kind of flowers I decided to have for my wedding. Nothing seems real. To be honest, I've been running away inside my mind. But I guess I can't run away forever when I suddenly have dozens of people telling me what I have to do and what's going to happen.
Apparently, only 5% of breast cancer patients are under the age of 40. I don't know how I won those odds. I've never won anything.
I am grateful for His timing.
Remember how I said my love story is all about faith and healing and learning to trust? It's all still true. I just didn't know that I had a new plot twist around the corner which would further try my faith, build my trust, and add a different layer to the idea of being healed.
Six years ago today, I met a brand new 25-year-old Italian missionary. Now, in two months and two days, we will be getting married. Everything else is just a wrinkle in our plans. We are going to make it. In the meantime, we would love your prayers.