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Breast Cancer Recurrence

Breast Cancer Recurrence

Here’s my story of breast cancer recurrence… Half way to that five-year cancer-free milestone, which is supposed to mean you are cured, the school district where I teach changed insurance plans and I had to change doctors. I decided to use this opportunity to go to the Hoag Cancer Center for treatment. At my last visit with my first oncologist, he said everything looked good. He thought I would be just fine, and to be sure and see my new oncologist in six months for a check up.

Four months later, at my annual physical exam with my new primary care provider, the doctor reviewed my old test results and asked, “What did your oncologist say about your last cancer marker blood test?” I replied that he said everything looked good. My new doctor revealed that the marker was actually elevated and, at the least, they should have repeated the test to see if it was a false result. She had me scheduled with a new oncologist within two days. The CEA cancer marker test measures the protein being given off by breast cancer cells. A reading of three is normal. It had been 45 four months earlier and was now up to 125. A biopsy and scans showed the breast cancer had spread through my lymph system to my spine. I now had lesions up and down my back.

I was once asked if I ever got angry during my battle with cancer. Yes, I was angry with my first oncologist. I called him as soon as I found out about the elevated blood test, but he was on vacation. He returned my call at 9:00 p.m. on Halloween, which I thought was fitting. He said he had instructed the office staff to call me in for a repeat test, but that they had mistakenly put my file in a drawer. He was very sorry about what happened, and he expressed concern over the extent of the metastasis. He called once to follow-up on my new test results, but a month and a half later, the HMO closed his oncology department and I was no longer able to contact him. The lessons I learned from my breast cancer recurrence were to ask for copies of all blood tests, to ask a lot more questions, and to take a more active role in my health care.

Forgive me…

Forgive me, Lord, for leaving my first love -- You. I’ve been taking You for granted, knowing You are always there for me. I guess I’m confused and angry about my battle with cancer. Do not forsake me. I need You beside me to hold me up when I stumble.

But you, O Lord,
are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
(Psalm 86:15)

Fill me…

Well, here I am again Lord. Please remove my anger, resentment, and feelings of inadequacy regarding my breast cancer recurrence. Please forgive me for being so angry about this entire situation. Help me. Come into my heart and fill me with the Holy Spirit.

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