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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Turning the Page





It has been 555 days since I’ve written a blog post. These 555 days have been stretching and exhausting and good and terrible and happy and confusing. They have been quiet and full of activity. There has been life and there has been death. There has been beauty and there has been pain.


Much has happened over the past 555 days. But for now I’ll just say, Hi! I am still alive! And I am still walking out this journey of life as a breast cancer survivor.


In the past three months, I have been faced with two cancer scares. In December, I went for my annual mammogram and ultrasound. Calcifications were found that required additional screening. Then, at the beginning of this month, I felt a nodule near the scar of my sentinel node biopsy. But let me back up a bit for a minute.


In May 2021 I wrote about my morning quiet time. I have continued to have some variation of this since January 2021 but this January, I was just feeling empty and discouraged. So in February, I decided to focus on journaling regularly and I felt like I was supposed to focus on a specific word as I wrote. As the month drew to a close, I realized I enjoyed this process. I even finished up a journal I had started years ago. When March was right around the corner, I wondered what my next word might be. The word “hope” came to mind. I went to go pick out a new journal (I have a collection of journals that people have given me over the years) and this beautiful blue and white journal stood out to me. It was facedown and when I turned it over I saw it had Jeremiah 29:11 written on it: ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” I knew I had picked the right word for the month.


Hope is a word, a theme, that has often come up in my life- especially over these past five and a half years. Cancer, gastroparesis, biopsies, surgeries, sarcoidosis … I’ve had to cling to hope most days. Hope for good news, hope for answers, hope for healing, hope for a miracle, hope that life will not always be so very difficult. And some days, I couldn’t even hope for those things; I felt like I was doing well if I could simply hope for hope. So taking a month to focus on hope felt like a wise decision.


I thought this study would consist of a nice, uplifting look at verses and jotting a few words down each day. It hasn’t been like that. It’s been tough. I’ve had to work through some difficult things and I’ve felt vulnerable through it all. I’ve been able to relate to how Eustace feels in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as Aslan rips away his dragon scales. The pain has been real but the results have been worth it. And through it all, I have felt more hopeful than I did before I started this journey.


Now back to those cancer scares … The calcifications from December were cleared as “probably benign.” My appointment for the new nodule was this Tuesday. I had just seen my surgeon, Dr. P, in February for my annual appointment and she confirmed that the nodule was a new finding, and therefore, required an ultrasound. Thankfully, I was already at the hospital and the Breast Center was able to fit me in that day. My results were given to me in a very confusing way but long story short, it has also been cleared as “probably benign.” For worriers out there, I do have additional tests and exams scheduled over the coming months. I am in good hands!


On Tuesday, as I was journaling about the results of my appointment with Dr. P, my pen died. I opened it and the ink was gone. This sounds silly and insignificant but I was sad about it. I liked the feel of that pen in my fingers and I liked the way it wrote. It was given to me at a lymphatic appointment- it was pink and said “Love, Hope, Strength,” with a breast cancer ribbon replacing the “o” in love.


I needed a new pen and I prefer black ink, which seems to be hard to find in my house. I remembered my sister-in-law had given me a set of pens that I thought might have black ink. There were three pens, all with words on them, but I knew which one to take - it simply said “WRITE.”


I truly did not think anything of this on Tuesday. But as I was sitting in my quiet time on Wednesday, I began to wonder if perhaps this was a turning of the page for me. I have been living with this weight of cancer on my back for five and a half years and I don’t think it will ever be fully removed. But I believe that weight can become lighter with each passing year, as I continue to focus on healing physically and emotionally and growing closer to my God.


I am so very hopeful that I am stepping out of a season of struggle into a season bursting with promise.


All my love,









Two resources that helped me through this month are the book Unclutter Your Soul: Overcome What Overwhelms You by Trina McNeilly and the album “Moments: Wait” by Bethel Music. I would love to give one of you your choice of these two items. Simply comment (on here, on Instagram or on Facebook), sign up for my mailing list or send me a quick note saying you'd like to be entered. I will randomly pick a winner on 4/4/24.


*Update 4/5/24: Congratulations, Lori! Thank you to everyone who responded. Please keep an eye out for more giveaways in the future.



6 Comments


Anna Marie Magyar
Anna Marie Magyar
Mar 29

Added the book to my list!

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Mar 30
Replying to

Awesome! It is truly a good one. We still need to talk about book club!

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pbrantley
Mar 29

Thank you for this beautiful, brave sharing. So glad and relieved there is continued good news. And wonderful to see you and the whole extended family back on Catherine’s 100th.


Sending lots of love,


Paul

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Mar 30
Replying to

Thank you, Paul! I so appreciate you taking the time to comment. It was wonderful to see you! I hope you are doing well.

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Lori Kitchen
Lori Kitchen
Mar 29

I have been thinking about you and when I do I say a prayer for your health! Glad to see you back blogging! 🤗

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Mar 30
Replying to

Thank you so much, Lori. I truly appreciate that! 🥰

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