it's a word which polite people whisper about behind guarded hands. 

 it is that thing which wakes the deep sleeping, sweat-soaked and terror-filled. 

it is that diagnosis which is handed out to others, but never meant for ourselves.  

except on a sky-blue, spring day, it was given to me.  

on april 19, 2011, in a phone call,  i was handed the words breast cancer. there was no whisper and this was no nightmare. it was real and it was malignant and it was mine. 

i was 42.

a mother of five.

just home from china with our adopted daughter, bella, this wasn't part of our plan. 

my world crashed grey, but the sky stayed blue. a promise, that april sky. there would be blue skies again. but first, we had a lot of grey matter to make our way through.  

one month later, may 21st, i had a bilateral mastectomy. because of incredible science and God's grace, i was able to skip out on chemotherapy with a low risk oncotype dx number of 15. 

it has been an arduous road to recovery. hard days. sad nights. my blogposts from april to august of 2011 tell how a mother of five battles through cancer. it tells the story. my story. God's story. 

my hope is that i have been nothing but honest. i didn't easily embrace God's plan for my health. it has been a journey of surrender. it is always a journey of surrender, friends.

but God is in the business of bringing beauty to the broken parts of our living. He redeems all things. He redeems our sinful bodies and our sick bodies. he redeems. he restores. he refines. God took the black, ugly ashes of my diagnosis and brought something beautiful. 

the summer of 2011 won't be easily forgotten.

i know blogs are sometimes hard to navigate when you are trying to follow a specific story. if you'd like to read my posts about cancer, i'd suggest starting with the april 20th, 2011 post, "reaching arms." 

"and [God will] provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."
                                                        ~ isaiah 61:3

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