Reaching to turn on a lamp, I bumped my chest against the armrest of the divan and a sharp pain caused me to briefly see stars. Feeling my breast, I found a lump under my right nipple. I said nothing to my wife Linda and thought nothing more about it until my morning shower.
In the morning, the lump was still there, and I knew Linda should know. Without further hesitation, we were off to the doctor, who examined me and scheduled a mammogram and ultrasound for the next day. Linda asked the doctor if it was true that a cancer tumor doesn’t hurt. The doctor agreed that this was generally the case. This information gave us hope that perhaps this was a cyst, which could be aspirated.
Unfortunately, the forms for a mammogram are sexist. Breast cancer is considered a women’s disease. There are no ‘male only’ questions, but plenty of ‘women only’ questions. The results of my mammogram and ultrasound were forwarded to both my family doctor and surgeon. I learned that a tumor is hard, but a cyst is soft and spongy. My surgeon told me that it was a tumor and a needle biopsy was taken to determine if it was malignant.
The biopsy confirmed cancer—male breast cancer. Although a cancer tumor usually does not hurt, mine was over a nerve. When I bumped my breast, the tumor pushed on the nerve, causing the pain. What a blessing! If I had not felt the pain the tumor would have continued to grow and may not have been discovered until it was too late.
I prayed, knowing that I could be healed by faith but also believing that God works through modern medicine as well. Mastectomy surgery was scheduled, and I met with the oncologist to plan the follow-up treatment. I knew that cancer was not a death sentence, but simply the mention of cancer strikes fear into almost everyone. I began to search for a word to replace the ugly and terrifying word cancer. I prayed and meditated to find a positive replacement.
The surgery went well. My right breast was removed along with 15 lymph nodes. The PET/CT scan afterward showed me to be cancer-free. The oncologist said that if we did nothing more, the probability of reoccurrence of cancer was 56 percent. Taking chemotherapy treatments lowers that percentage dramatically. I agreed with his recommendation of a round of chemotherapy—four treatments.
As I healed from surgery and waited for chemotherapy, I increased my prayer and meditation time searching for the replacement word or words for cancer. My answer came: Cancer is an abbreviation, a contraction. The complete phrase is “CAN CERTAINLY!”
I can certainly be the child of God I am meant to be. With God’s help, I can certainly overcome any health challenge. I can certainly experience absolute good!
Now, whenever I hear the word cancer, I know that it means “can certainly.”
While sitting in the chemotherapy room for treatments, I saw many people going through challenges greater than mine. I sent them healing energy and silently affirmed the truth, that they are well and whole. I affirmed that they can certainly overcome this experience.
The treatment has many side effects and none of them are pleasant. A minor one is loss of hair, which for a balding man isn’t too traumatic, but it left me with great empathy for women who go throughtreatment.
Side effects are temporary but spirit endures. This was not an experience I wanted, but it is of great value to me. Perhaps the greatest blessing is sharing my experience with others. I can certainly say my prognosis is absolute good. I may not be the man I used to be, but I am more of the spiritual self I am meant to be.