On January 16th, 2018, I found a lump in my breast while in the shower. I had never experienced this before, so naturally I freaked out. It was located really high, which now I’m extremely thankful for… The next day I saw my doctor, who was 90% sure it was nothing, but sent me on to have a mammogram and ultrasound which happened on January 24th. What I thought of as a lump was now classified as a hard cancerous-looking mass. Later that day I had a biopsy and then the waiting game began. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, January 26th. Early detection, stage 2 (I could give you the scientific name). We were sent into a whirlwind…MRI, surgery consultation, plastic surgery consultation, and more waiting. I had my sentinel lymph node (the ones that drain the breast) removed on February 22nd. Then more waiting. The cancer had spread to the lymph nodes and was found in 2 out of the 3 lymph nodes that were removed. I had a bi-lateral mastectomy on Friday, March 16th. 2-3 weeks for recovery. A port was put in for chemo treatments at the time of surgery. Chemotherapy started 4 weeks after surgery and continued every 3 weeks for 4 rounds. Radiation followed, 5 days a week for 5 weeks.
During the first part of my cancer journey, the diagnosis/waiting phase, I listened to many songs. One of those songs being a song about Diamonds by Hawk Nelson. If I’m to summarize the lyrics, it would go something like this, through the pressures and intense experiences in life, God is able to refine us and make us into diamonds. He’s making diamonds out of dust. As I decided to share my journey in a private facebook group, I named that group “He’s Making Diamonds”. I wanted the terrible horrible things I was about to go through to mean something.
Here and now I’m in the fire in above my head
Being held under the pressure don’t know what’ll be left
But it’s here in the ashesI’m finding treasure.
As I researched, this is what I found:
“Everyone knows what a diamond looks like: a clear, polished stone with smooth facets, full of flash and sparkle. But not everyone knows that diamonds don’t start out that way—it takes a series of special circumstances (and a couple billion years!) to turn a diamond in the rough into that brilliant gem. Diamonds are unique because of the special conditions that create them. They are formed in what’s known as “diamond stability zones.” These zones are found deep within the upper mantle, over 100 miles below the Earth’s surface, with temperatures reaching 2200 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 725,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. When carbon-bearing ore is exposed to these high pressures and temperatures, the carbon atoms are arranged into a crystal structure called a diamond lattice. As more and more carbon atoms are compressed, a diamond stone begins to form.” https://blog.brilliance.com/diamonds/how-are-diamonds-made
It’s easy to read or hear this and think it’s the intense pressure and extreme temperature that creates the diamond, but we must remember that the pressure and temperature alone do not create the diamond. It is the reaction the carbon-bearing ore has when withstanding the intense pressure and extreme temperature. The diamond is made when the ore reacts to the pressure and heat.
It became extremely clear to me at the beginning of my journey that I was being taken through the fire. Some people are taken around the fire. For some people, the fire is the vehicle that takes them home. My journey was through the fire. I could allow the heat and pressure to make me and refine in me good qualities, or I could resist the process and come out of the fire, smelling like smoke…bitter, angry, etc. I so wanted to be a diamond, but I couldn’t just sit and hope it happened. I had to choose to set my mind on the right things, choose to rise up, choose to smile, choose to fight.
I am creating this blog in the hopes that someone may read my words and be encouraged. I want a place for people to come and have their questions answered. No one fights this battle alone. Maybe by telling my story and the things that helped me during each stage will help someone else, and then my fight will have purpose.