This one time, I was told I might have cancer…

This week marks a fairly significant anniversary in my life.

Last year, after I arrived home from StormCo Nyngan, I found a lump on my breast. My first thought was “Oh crap. I have breast cancer. I better get that checked out.”

Accompanying that suspicious lump,  I also found a weird lump at the base of my neck on my shoulder. These lumps were swollen lymph nodes and the doctor found more of them under my underarms.

So this all led to many blood tests, ultrasounds, specialist appointments and finally a biopsy (day-surgery fun and games) of 3 samples – my swollen lymph node on my breast and neck, and a sample of my bruise on my arm.

Richie and I kept all this on the down low because we didn’t want to create a stir if it all came to nothing.

The following are my unedited journal entries from April 27 through to May 17, plus some funny instagram photos. Truthfully, I’m no Anne Frank – I don’t keep a journal normally, but at the time I felt a strong sense that I needed to write stuff down as a way of processing what I was going through. Also, I sensed I needed to do it just in case my journey was going to end that year. Maybe someone who was to read it would find some strength and encouragement.

27 April /2012
I feel I’m at a crossroads ready to hear a prognosis I won’t receive for about 3 weeks. I’m ready to throw on my “I’m gonna to punch Lymphoma in the face” sign. But I’m also ready to start dancing around the room punching the air and giving people high-fives for a bit of hoo-haa over nothing.

I’m so at peace it’s a little scary. “What ever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul”. Whatever you do, don’t be mistaken, it’s not denial. I read somewhere on Twitter today, the greatest asset I hold is my faith. I can’t believe how much I have packed into only 31 years of life. As I sat in the Oncologists waiting room yesterday afternoon I thought “Stuff! If I was to die, there is really only 2 things that I wouldn’t have done in my life time: 1) Have a baby 2) Own a property… that’s it!!! People die not having done a quarter of the things that I’ve squeezed into 31 years.

I’m extremely grateful that Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, could ever pluck me from his hand. For I am his, and He is mine, here in the power of Christ I stand.

Sign, sealed and delivered – Praise the Lord, I’m saved.

1 May 2012
Talk about an amazing network of family and friends I’ve got. 4 precious individuals who prayed for me today. Besides my Mum, sister and my Dad praying for me last night at the office, today it was fantastic to be covered in prayer.

After our Directors meeting this morning, Rob held one of my hands and laid his other hand on my shoulder and prayed for healing. Jacqs called me from Perth after Richie called Dan to tell them what was going on. She prayed for continued strength in my faith no matter what I face. Tonight Cheonneth stepped out of his Re:Framed meeting to call and check in on Richie, and pray with me over the phone. Then while I was writing this, Richie came round to my side of the bed and knelt down, and prayed. I definitely feel that I surrounded with prayer warriors.

Then there was a beautiful email from Auntie Shirley and a Facebook message from Aleks filled with hope based scripture and promises of prayer. Then there was the simple statement from Delmai – Keep your eyes on the Lord.

Wow. I’m totally in awe and totally blessed.

9 May 2012

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All dressed up nowhere to go. Also refuses to turn when I say “Look at me! I want to remember your smile!” – taken in the reception of Day Surgery at the SAN

Finally the day is here. My first operation in 31 years of being alive. Last night and this morning I’ve been inundated with calls and SMS’ of promises of prayers and well wishes. This morning I really just want to go to Bunnings and get my Anti-mould hangings for the cupboard because my stupid return voucher ends in a few days. Stupid Bunnings. I feel positive and confident until Richie opens his mouth, plus this morning when I got an SMS from Zan. I think I got teary because she has been through it all a few years ago. Painting the Soul Sisters painting with her and the other girls had much more significance than what she will ever realise. Her testimony touched me in a very raw way. Especially when she was explaining why she started painting… She said “You know when I had my operation to have my Lymph nodes taken out…” HELLO! So close to home. VP was the only other person in the room who knew why I was crying while we listened so intently to her.

Right now, I feel strong when I’m alone – one with my thoughts and one with My God. I’m comfortable. I’m at peace. I’m at rest. As Lumpy said to Nathan on the day he had his operation, “I’ll either wake up and see you, or I’ll wake up and see Jesus.”

I almost want to ban Richie from pre-Op. Last night he told me that he was going to go sit in the Chapel while I was in surgery. Do you blame me? I’m going to tell him to go and see a movie and trust that God has this in the bag.

Now I’ve got to go shave my legs, my underarms and wash my hair. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to that again.

Just got a SMS from Dan saying “Google task of the morning look up Heidelberg Catechism focussing on Qu 27 & 28. Dooooo it” He is so funny.

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High Five for God! Rocking and rolling :) – Taken in post-Op

10 May 2012
Went to bed filled with thankfulness and woke up overflowing with thankfulness to God. I totally felt amazing yesterday when I came out into Post-Op. That is because God was totally carrying me right through the whole thing.

Downsides of the whole thing:
Can’t wear a bra
These drugs make me so woosey that I can’t think straight – at all.

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Recuperating in the sun – love winter sun at Ferndale

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Stupid drugs.

17 May 2012 – Morning:
I feel like its Christmas. I’m getting a present today and I don’t know what it is. I’m a little excited and a little anxious… more excited though. You know how you get sometimes when you get a present, and you don’t like it or it doesn’t fit and you hope that there is a return/exchange voucher in that box so you can take the present back?!?

Anyway, I have a funny feeling the results are going to come out inconclusive.

Through the journey so far I have had three pictures in my mind:
1. The underarm of Jesus – this is the picture I had ready to “take me to my happy place” when they gave me the anesthetic last week. The sneaky buggers gave it to me without any warning. I think it was because I was so relaxed and happy. The underarm of Jesus is where you find warmth, protection, strength, security, rest.

2. I heard God clearly say to me in Dr Duffy’s surgery: “You’re in My boat.” When Dr Duffy mentioned the words specialist and lymphoma my immediate thought was God I need you in my boat – I need you. When I heard His words it was like he came down face to face, between Dr Duffy and myself and pointed to me lovingly and reassured me that He has got this. “You’re in My boat.”

3. In the shadow of His wings. Since those incredible images, I’ve felt it has been quiet on the “Bec & God” front. I read this week a quote that went something like “It’s extremely quiet when you are tucked under the wings of the Father.” This is exactly how I feel. It’s deathly quiet. But I’m protected, I’m secure and God is battling this “whatever” for me.

17 May 2012 – Night:
I’m a walking miracle. It’s nothing but a miracle when your Oncologist says to you “Well it’s good news. I’m really stoked actually, because I was 90% convinced that you had Lymphoma.” Out of the mouth of an Associate Professor who is top of his field. “If I was a betting man…”

What an amazing day. I laid in bed with the electric blanket on and secretly planned not to get up – it was too warm and cozy.

But I gritted my teeth and went to work for a couple of hours and then got picked up by Gret and Cade and taken to Sam’s to hang out for a few hours together with Lysh and Auntie Betty.

There were tears and laughing and an enormous amount of relief when we (just Richie and I) sat just outside the doctor’s surgery and started to make the calls. First Mum and Dad who were at home at #2, then Vanessa who was at work, then Rod and Derna and then we sent text messages to everyone else to let them know.

“NO LYMPHOMA Praise God, completely benign. But something is up with my immune system. My Oncologist said “I’m pretty stoked really! I was 90% convinced you were going to have some kind of Lymphoma.” He said that he only got the final results this morning. Total miracle. Thank you for your prayers and support, Bec & Richie.”

All glory to God – He hasn’t finished with me yet.

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Girlfriend photo post-Oncologist appointment

StormCo – Fashions in Field, Part 3

So here you have it… this is my last StormCo post for 2012.

If you ever have a chance to go on StormCo, you should go. It was an amazing experience and a fantastic opportunity to serve others in a community less fortunate than ours.

My absolute favourite part of the trip was getting know the awesome teens and my local church family better.

Also how can I forget washing up duties singing and dancing to “Footloose” and hearing “Call me, maybe?” on constant repeat.

Below are some of the sweet t-shirts the kids were wearing during the week. I particularly love the “Caution Extreme Awesomeness” shirt.

Enjoy your weekend!

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StormCo – Old Timers Dancing

I love to dance. Have loved it ever since I was a kid.

I was jumping for joy when I found out we were going to have a “Bush dance” night PLUS an “Old Timers dance” night down at the local RSL on our StormCo trip.

Here are some of the funny photos I took on one of the nights. You can tell we all had a lot of fun.

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Happy B’day Lyndelle

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It’s our Pastors birthday today – her Sweet 16 actually. The poor girl has to spend the day with us on StormCo. So the girls threw her a little soirée to celebrate. Plus she got a Latte from me this morning. Good times!

Happy Birthday Lyndelle!!!

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StormCo – Fashions in Field, Part 2

How cool are these shoes?

It seemed like all the cool kids were wearing them. Even Wayne Marsden got given a pair by his well wishing “Secret Friend”.

They came in about 5 or 6 colors and could be bought from one of the local clothing stores on the main drag of Nyngan. They are all fluro colors and would really suit the road-works guys who do the graveyard shift. But the kids love them!

The coolest of the cool kids, mix and match their colors like my little mate Kayne from Kids Club. He will feature in my final Nyngan “Fashion in the Fields” post due in the next few days. :)

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StormCo Funny

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Funny of the day: Steve Jack racing 13 year old local Nyganite around the field on a skateboard. Not surprisingly, she whipped him. But, he was pretty good for an old fella from the big smoke who drives a Range Rover.

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Oh, and then we came home to this…

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These are our lovely cooks breaking the “No Girls” rule sitting in Nath, Zac and Mick’s “lounge room”.

StormCo – Nyngan 2012 Easter Sunday

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After attending St Mark’s Anglican Church this Easter Sunday morning, we came out to Hermidale Gymkhana to mix it up with the locals.

It was on the cards from the start that our guys were going to bid on a goat to enter the goat race. For about $170, they won lucky Goat #13. Thankfully they didn’t convince Olivia, one of our youngest and smallest girls, to jump on. Fact is, #13, if it hadn’t tried to jump the fence, it could have won…. and if it had have shot off at the start of the race like the others. Next year boys don’t listen to Mick and choose the goat you want to.

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Out the front of Bourke – Currawah Adventist Aboriginal College

The main attraction for us to do this roadie was so we could be at the official opening of Currawah Adventist Aboriginal College which was held on Monday afternoon. The boarding school is located half-way between Coolabah and Brewarrina in North Western NSW.

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I’m lost for words to describe our time in the bush with these beautiful kids, and their carers and teachers. Each one of them are an absolute treasure and we can’t wait for each one of them to grow into amazing young men and women. They will be able to show their family and friends that the cycle can be broken and the gap can be closed.

At the moment there are 16 Indigenous 12-13 year olds who currently attend this new boarding school and they are all in Year 7. Some kids have arrived at the beginning of the year not being able to write their own name. The level of ability currently sits between Kindergarten to Year 5 – this won’t be for long! The teachers have already seen massive progress in the 6 months that the school has been operating.

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The setting is stunning with the emus, brown snakes, wild pigs, amazing bird-life and kangaroos. It sits on the Bogan River and has a constant water supply.

 

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This is our mate Tommy. He did a brilliant job of playing the didgeridoo in the opening ceremony. Nice Bunnies shorts Tommy.

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The kids have StormCo T-shirts as their uniform for the moment until the kids design their new uniform with Uncle Leo’s help, the Indigenous chaplain, for next year.

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The picture above is the kids and their teachers singing “Shine Jesus Shine” which got me all teary.

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The Holy Spirit is moving and there is big vision for this school.

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This is Teak (I think!) and he is exactly the same mix as our Rusty (Jack Russell x Maltese). He loves chasing pigs and playing fetch with anyone who wants to play with him. The kids love him to bits.

So there you have it, that was our adventure to Currawah. I’ll jump at the next opportunity to dash up the Mitchell Highway. In fact if you ever get an opportunity to go up there, you need to take it and  go.

P.S. We didn’t end up sleeping in the back of the car as there was a free room in the green fibro. LUCKY!