I’ve never considered myself to be a strong person . Thursday,June 16, 2011 forever changed mine and my husband’s life. That was the day we sat in the surgeons office and was told I had Triple Negative breast cancer - stage 2-B, grade 3. It’s mind boggling how it seems that when this disease comes into your life you learn a new language. Triple negative is a very aggressive form of breast cancer. I never even knew there were so many different kinds of breast cancer. I was 48 1/2 years old at the time. I’m so thankful my husband and I have gone through this together as a team. He has always said , “ What happens to one of us, happens to the other. “ we fight together.
All I could think about was HOW this illness would effect my husband, my daughter, my grandchild and my mother.
When We got home, I went to the bedroom which we were in the middle of remodeling. My husband had a pistol at the time hidden between the mattresses. Something said,” take the gun , put it to your head, pull the trigger and it will all be over. “ It will hurt your family for a while but they will get over it quicker than they would if they have to watch you suffer. Your husband will spend every dime he’s ever saved for retirement for medical treatment and it’s still going to come back! My daughter, an only child, would have to take time away from her family to try to help take care of me. My mother had been diagnosed with Leukemia 4 years earlier; this would just be too much stress for her. The words, “ The Thief comes to steal, kill and destroy!” John 10:10 came to my mind. I knew Satan was trying to get me to kill myself. I’m a Christian. I know the shepherd’s voice! Out loud I said, “ Satan, I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!”
I went and sat on the deck and tried to comprehend everything that had just happened. I’m a Christian and had NEVER thought about suicide. Through all of this I learned to NEVER say what you would NEVER do. You really don’t know WHAT you will do until you are faced with a situation. Satan came after me at my lowest point and used what I loved most, my family, to try to accomplish his goal.
Sitting on the deck, my phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize. You get a lot of those when you are first diagnosed. I answered and it was a voice with a Caribbean accent! Pastor Luke Adhin, a minister from Trinidad and Tobago, a friend of my brothers. My brother had called him asking for prayer for me.
Pastor Luke said, Rissa, God told me to call and tell you that , what Satan is going to use to TRY to destroy you, God is going to use to abundantly bless you. He prayed for me and hung up. I didn’t tell him that I had thought about suicide a few minutes earlier before his phone call until two years later when he was sitting in my living room visiting our country.
God impressed a scripture on my heart, the first of many, Psalm 118:17- “I shall not die but LIVE to declare what the Lord has done for me. “ I have tried to LIVE by this for almost 10 1/2 years now that we have been fighting the cancer.
God spoke another verse of scripture to me, Romans 8:28 ,” And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. “ ALL things Lord! Really- you’re telling me to be thankful for the cancer?? So I started praying, Father , I thank you for the cancer in my life and how you are going to use it for my good and Your Glory. But I also had to say, God, I’m praying this and you know in my heart I DON’T mean this BUT I want to mean it! Help me Father to be thankful.
A few days later I had a visit from a woman who had a coworker , a 34 year old mother of a 6 week old baby , who had been diagnosed with Triple Negative and needed someone to talk to. THIS is where God started my ministry! Proverbs 3:5-6 was another verse God impressed on my heart . “ Trust the Lord, with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. “ I became friends with this young lady . She became like my own daughter. She, her mother and I would go to her chemo appointments, go out to eat— we became family. For two years she and I shared treatments, good days, bad days, tears of sadness and of joy. Her precious little boy turned 2 at the end of August and we were told she was being sent to hospice at 36 years old. I had shared the love of Jesus, who is my ONLY HOPE, with her for two years; I had seen the changes in her life through that time. Three days before she passed away, on my knees and her in her bed in the Baptist hospital, I lead her to ask Jesus into her heart. YES FATHER, I am so grateful for the cancer. ALL things truly do work together for good if you will allow God to do what He wants to do in your life. One of my favorite verses is
2 Corinthians 12: 9-11 “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
God allowed me to have cancer.
Has it brought pain and suffering? You bet it has. It has gone from the breast to lymph nodes, to sternum and ribs, chest wall, lungs, brain and liver. Would I change anything if I could? No, I would not. I want my life to be a testimony of the goodness of God. He has given me so many opportunities to minister to other breast cancer survivors and i an so grateful that my journey has had a purpose.
“ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, hardships, and difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”