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New Horizons

Breast Cancer Blues


Dear June,

Thanks so much for encouraging Kelly in her job hunt. She loves her new job and has enjoyed meeting folks at the OP church near Indianapolis.

As you continue to pray for Kelly, please remember Pam from our church. She had a mammogram this week. They found a suspicious lump, so they're planning a biopsy next week. She's in her thirties with a husband and three kids.

I've volunteered to drive her older kids to and from school on the day of her biopsy and babysit the youngest, but I'm not sure what else to do. How did friends help you when you had breast cancer?

Much love, Rose

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Dear Rose,

I'm glad all is going well with Kelly. You and Lincoln have done a great job parenting her.

Any news about Pam? She's young for breast cancer. The way you're planning to help will ease her mind and show your support—besides praying, of course!


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We just got word today that Pam has breast cancer—stage II. She'll probably need a mastectomy. I know it's all in God's providence, but I'm worried. Please pray.

Also, if you have ideas for how I can help her without getting in the way, please let me know. I don't want to say the wrong thing.

Thanks, Rose

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Dear Rose,

I'm so, so sorry about Pam's diagnosis. Yes, I'll be praying. It seems so easy to say those words—yet they are so powerful. We're going before the throne of glory to the Creator of the world and asking him to ease the pain of one of his sheep—a child he dearly loves.

I know Pam will have to juggle her kids' schooling, homework, and maybe sports activities; her husband's schedule; and her own home and work obligations. And then she will worry if she'll see her kids graduate from high school. In the midst of these worries, remind her to cast all her anxieties on him, because he cares for her (1 Pet. 5:7). From experience, let me say, she'll need reminding!

Having a mastectomy, especially at her age, changes you, but in another way it also relieves some of your worry. The surgeons will remove the deadly cancer from her body, offering some relief from her fears. This will give Pam a different perspective on her body. Our bodies, which were made in God's image, but marked by the Fall, are "jars of clay." Paul wrote of this in 2 Corinthians 4: 8, 10, 16: "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed ... always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.... So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."

Lord willing, Pam will grow closer to God during this trial. After cancer, I certainly took God and his Word more seriously than ever before. Heaven will be made more real and comforting for Pam as she shifts her perspective from her situation here to her eternal relief in glory. "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

I know you want to help Pam so much. Be patient. This is a marathon for her, not a sprint. You'll find things to do along the way, such as driving her to chemotherapy or breast reconstruction sessions; babysitting or driving the kids to school and sports; or carrying her laundry for her, bringing the family meals, or picking up groceries for her. Ask your deacons or your women's fellowship to look for ways to help out, but it may take some time for Pam to realize that others can lift her burdens. Just give her time to adjust to this change.

Love you Sis, June

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Just a quick note. Pam had her mastectomy and the start of reconstruction. Five hours of surgery! She's uncomfortable and has to do physical therapy just to move her arm, since they took out so many lymph nodes from under her armpit. I'm not sure when chemotherapy will start. We're looking for ways to help her.

Thanks for all your prayers, and please keep on praying—not only for Pam and her family, but also for our church, that we will effectively minister to her and her family and help to lift their burdens.


New Horizons, December 2011.

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