October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I can’t help but reflect on my experience and how I felt facing my heartbreaking diagnosis. I’m so very grateful to be looking at it through the rear view mirror of my life. God Bless those who are facing it head on. I pray it gives you hope to know… I am a 27 year survivor!
The following was published a few years ago in Coping with Cancer magazine:
My mastectomy was less than a week away. So much was going on in the roller coaster of my mind. I felt overwhelming gratitude that I had found the Free TRAM Flap, an ingenious reconstruction that would not only leave me whole after the cruel amputation of my breast, but also console me with the very thing I had joked about since giving birth…a “tummy tuck.”
Even so, the dread I felt because of what was ahead became a heavy weight dragging my heart into despair. Three dear friends wanted to show me their love and encouragement by treating me to lunch, but I just wanted to stay home in my sweats, hair pulled back in a rubber band, with the blinds closed. I called the instigator of this lunch plan, and tried to make my excuses. She wouldn’t hear of it. Determination is Ronnie’s middle name and I knew it was futile to argue. I reluctantly drug myself to the mirror in an attempt to spiff myself up and summon a smile.
The ride downtown was a long one. Small talk, I barely smiled and barely listened.
We arrived at the restaurant and were escorted to our table; I was astounded to discover about a dozen of my friends. I stood there stunned as they pinned a corsage on my jacket and welcomed me to, “The God is Faithful Luncheon, in Honor of Sherry Lynn.”
Lynn, my partner in lunch and lunacy, arrived with a “hospital ensemble”, a truly ugly hot pink nightgown and a feather boa. She said, “Don’t panic, I know hot pink clashes with your red hair…hence my solution!” She pulled out a bouffant, long and trashy, platinum blonde wig. Finally, she presented me with a pair of stylish cow slippers, complete with their tongues hanging on the floor. An impressive ensemble! I knew the other patients would be green, err…hot pink with envy! Of course, if I had chosen to wear that lovely ensemble at the hospital, the staff might have insisted that I add one of their “captivating” white jackets. (You know…the one that wraps your arms snugly around your waist and ties in the back!) We laughed with glee as they placed the wig on top of my head, held up the nightie and wrapped me in the feather boa. I’m quite sure I was stunning.
The servers at the restaurant, as well as other diners, joined in by laughing and admiring my outfit. A group of businessmen stopped by our table as they left. One of them put his hand on my shoulder and said he had been watching our party and couldn’t decide if my friends really liked me or really hated me! He smiled, winked, patted my shoulder and said, “Nice outfit!”
Those around us, witnessing our luncheon, probably thought it was my birthday. I’m sure they would have been shocked to know that I had cancer, and my friends were loving me, lifting my spirits and showing their support.
Wonderful food, laughter, love and encouragement were the perfect therapy on this day that started out so dismal. The memory of it still touches me. What an incredible way to give joy to someone whose joy tank was seriously below empty…they filled it to overflowing. They would have loved to change my circumstances. Knowing they couldn’t they decided to enter them, gently lift my heart and make it dance in the warmth of their love.
When my husband, Jerry, came home from work, I greeted him wearing the entire ensemble. He commented, as he had many times before, that life with me is never boring (I choose to take that as a compliment.) He, too, was touched and very grateful for the gift of love and encouragement I received on that snowy afternoon.
I thanked the Lord that night for the way He turned a melancholy morning into a heartwarming afternoon of affection and affirmation. What a wonderful way to be reminded that we have the ability and the privilege to lift someone up, share their burden and plant a bit of joy into their heavy hearts. Even those in the restaurant were aware that there was something special about that luncheon and wanted to be a part of it. They never knew that on that afternoon the Lord used His people to lance the boil of fear and dread, extract some of the poison and replace it with the healing balm of joy. They never knew what they had witnessed was a “divine” lunch date…”The God Is Faithful Luncheon.
- I would be lovely to see God is Faithful Luncheons catching on for those you love who are facing something ominous in their lives. Let me in on how you blessed someone!
I’m Sherry Lynn and I’m Just Say’n…
Learn how to purchase I Don’t Remember Signing Up for Cancer!.