Cancerversary, God and Breast Cancer…

I am experiencing my Cancerversary.  As I write this, it is one year ago my family doctor called me and told me I had advanced breast cancer spread to the lymph nodes.  What do you do on a Cancerversary?  I’m not sure.  I thought it is time to share a God experience that happened to me one-year ago.

This experience  kept me going in the darkest of times, when I felt like dying, when I thought I was dying, and in my loneliest moments.  I said it many times when I felt like God had abandoned me.  This experience is  also what motivated me to write my Blog:

It was the afternoon of October 10, 2011.  In the midst of my shock and disbelief from the words my family doctor had spoken to me earlier in the day, I picked up my Bible and placed it on my lap.   I cried out to God and asked Him to give me hope as I had none.  Randomly, I opened my Bible.  My eyes landed on this verse:

Psalm 118:17:   “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

I couldn’t believe it.  Was God really speaking to me?  Would I live?  I didn’t know, but this verse brought me great comfort and the glimmer of hope that I needed.  And not to take any more chances, I closed the Bible!

That same night, I was feeling inconsolable again.  I couldn’t stop crying as terror gripped my heart, and I asked God for strength because I had no idea how I would make it through the unknowns that were ahead of me.

My thought was, “I need a positive preacher.”   Televangelist Joel Osteen popped into my head.  I watched Joel Osteen on television periodically. He is known for his positive spirit.   Sometimes I disagreed with Joel, but  I knew I needed his gift of being positive.

I went to on my laptop and searched “Joel Osteen” and over 20,000 results popped up!  Randomly, I chose a sermon.  “One out of 20,000 results, what are the chances this will help me?”  I thought.   I began to listen and was a little discouraged, because nothing seemed to be speaking to me.  Joel began talking about claiming scriptures, then suddenly this got my full attention:

 Joel Osteen speaking…In 1981, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Every voice said,  “It’s over. She’ll never make it. Start planning her funeral. ” But my family and I found another voice, a promise from God’s Word in Psalm 118:17. It says,  “I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. ”  We had to decide,  “Are we going to believe what God says about her and let His promise give us direction and hope and faith? Or are we going to go in the direction that we feel? ” Discouraged, depressed, and despaired? My mother had been in the hospital for 21 days, and the doctors finally released her because there was nothing else they could do. We gathered early that next morning in the den as a family. We made a decision that we were going to stand on God’s promises knowing that He is our helper, and He will never fail us or let us down. Day after day, we just kept moving in that direction, acting like God told us the truth.

In the natural, it didn’t look like it was working. The first several months, my mother never got any better. There were times we thought that if healing was going to happen, it would have already happened by now.  But we had to ignore those voices and keep pressing forward. God is faithful. One day, we began to see the shore come into sight. Though she didn’t get well overnight, little by little, month after month, she got better and better; and that was 29 years ago. Today, she’s perfectly healthy and strong as can be.  (At this point Joel has his beautiful mom stand up in the congregation now in her 70s and looking years younger!)

I felt overwhelmed that the very scripture I had read earlier that day was contained in this randomly- chosen sermon while Joel explained his mother’s cancer diagnosis and miraculous recovery.  At that moment, I did know I was being spoken to by God.

I knew I had a responsibility as there were two parts to  Psalm 118:17:   1) Living not dying  and  2) Declaring the works of the Lord.   I made the decision that night that I would do everything I could to help others who were diagnosed with breast cancer.    The only way I knew how to declare the works of the Lord was by writing to others.  The Blog idea came to mind and that is how this all began.

I must have repeated Psalm 118:17 hundreds and hundreds of times this past year.  Often times it was the only prayer I could pray.  I said it when I didn’t feel it, I prayed it when I didn’t want to pray it, and I spoke it out loud when I didn’t believe it.   I prayed it before going into surgery for the Mastectomy, over and over during Chemotherapy, under the Radiation machine, and before,during and after most doctor appointments.   I wrote it on a piece of paper that has sat on my fireplace mantle for one year.

I guess this is the best way  I could possibly celebrate my Cancerversary!   Being alive and cancer free, and writing my Blog while declaring the works of the Lord!   Thanks be to God!!



  1. I like you was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in July. I am starting chemo next week. I also like you looked to my Bible for comfort and that soft still voice said you will be ok. People have asked how are you so calm why are you not screaming and crying. I have a peace that passes all understanding and I can’t explain it. Don’t get me wrong, I cried but the strength is not just me. I pray now for the strength to get through chemo and radiation and I pray everyday for other people who are going through this. You are in my prayers also. I am much more aware of the suffering of others.

  2. What a beautiful post Denise.  I pray that I will someday have your faith and courage. Love, Auntie M


  3. Thanks Denise, for your beautiful post. CONGRATULATIONS on you Cancerversary and wishing you many, many more. You are amazing!
    Auntie M

  4. Congratulations! I too celebrate my 5 years this month! I’m blessed with my life so far! Keep up your faith. You’re amazing!

  5. The night I discovered 2 lumps in my breast that ultimately led to a stage IIa breast cancer diagnosis, I also had a “God experience.”

    It was around midnight on a Saturday night and my little boy (age 5) and husband were fast asleep. I tried to sleep, but laid in bed simply terrified and trembling. All I could think of was that I wanted to hold my little boy in my arms – that always makes everything else disappear for me.

    After tossing and turning until 2 AM, I went into the dining room and plopped down on the floor with my Grandpa’s old bible. I searched (in vain) for passages that would make me feel better, but I found none.

    I prayed repeatedly for the Lord to give me a sign, something – ANYTHING – to show me that everything was going to be okay. Suddenly, my litle boy appeared in the hallway and called out to me. “Mommy, I have an earache!” My son NEVER gets up in the middle of the night, so it came as quite a shock to see him standing there. I got him some Children’s Tylenol and we snuggled under a blanket in the recliner. After crying for about 10 minutes from the pain in his ear, he suddenly quieted and was out for the entire night.

    There I was – knowing deep down I’d just discovered cancer in my body – holding my little boy and suddenly feeling like everything was going to be okay. It was EXACTLY what I needed, and God delivered it (him) to me.

    After that night, my son NEVER complained of his ear aching – not once. That was my miracle and the faith-affirming light that shines as my beacon of hope through this dark journey I’m on.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I start chemo in 5 days, and blogs like yours have really been wonderful resources! God bless you in your recovery.

    • Dawn, thank you SO MUCH for sharing your experience! May your son continue to be the
      light for you that keeps you going. I will be thinking of you and praying for you as
      you begin chemo. PLEASE contact me if I can be of help to you – My best, Denise

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