My Cancer Journey

Linda Gilbert-Family
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December 3, 2015, is a day that I will never forget; it was the day I was told I had breast cancer. Now I am cancer free. When I reflect on this journey I can see the positives that came from fighting cancer and how God was with me every step of the way—God is so good! He showed me many times throughout the journey how He was with me and how He was in control. But I had to put my full trust in Him.

A Second Opinion

God’s presence was made very clear to me even before I received my diagnosis. You see I detected a lump and immediately went to the Doctor. I typically don’t go to the doctor but something made me go. I also don’t tend to ask for second opinions but when the first radiologist suggested I wait for six months and come back something made me say,” I’d like a second opinion and possibly a biopsy.” This was very out of character for me, so I know God was providing me with those thoughts and giving me the words to speak. I’m grateful the second radiologist did the biopsy and that I was so preoccupied with developing and delivering a national conference that I really didn’t have time to worry or stress about the results. Again God had all of this planned for me.

second-opinion
I really didn’t have time to worry or stress about the results. Again God had all of this planned for me. Click To Tweet

The Results

I knew the results would be shared over the phone while I was delivering the national conference downtown Toronto. I was also informed that if the receptionist was calling all would be good but if it was the doctor, the news would not be good. During the conference I kept my phone with me on silent. On Thursday I saw the Doctor’s number come up but I was evaluating presentations so was unable to leave. As soon as I could, I told the participants to take a break and I found a quiet space to listen to the message…..it was my Doctor asking me to call her back, I really didn’t need to, I knew I had cancer. But again, God planned this, He let me have a few minutes to prepare myself for the actual diagnosis so that I could clearly ask the right questions and understand what my doctor was saying. He continued to show His presence in those first hours because the only other colleague I was working with I’m very close to and she is a breast cancer survivor—such a great support in those early hours.

be still and know
He continued to show His presence in those first hours Click To Tweet

Be Still?

I drove home that evening and that is when the very real presence of the Lord fell over me, like it never has before. Traffic was ridiculous, the news on the radio was depressing and the reality of the past few hours was beginning to sink in. I was dreading telling Mike and my girls and I started to panic, my heart was racing, I was crying and I just wanted to get home but the traffic wasn’t moving so I switched my stereo to CD. The very first song to play was Be Still , sung by The Salvation Army’s Divisional Youth Chorus. As that song played I wept and held out my hand. God was right there with me. I felt an immediate sense of calm, a peace like I’ve never known before. My heart stopped racing and I knew I was going to get through this with Him. These lyrics were exactly what I needed to hear at that exact time!

“Be Still and know that He is God, Be Still and know that He is holy, Be still oh restless soul of mine, bow before the prince of peace, let the noise and clamor cease, Be still and know that He is God. Be still and know that He is faithful, Consider all that He has done, stand in awe and be amazed and know that He will never change, BE STILL”.

I’m in His Hands

Once I was still I asked for strength, one of the first verses that brought me comfort was Psalm 18:32. “He fills me with strength and protects me wherever I go.” And Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; he protects me from danger….” And Psalm 37:5 “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it and he will.”
There are so many ways that God not only showed His presence but he planned and allowed things to fall into place. Don’t get me wrong, everything didn’t always go as I had hoped but I always knew I was in His hands and He sent me little reminders all the time. For example:

  •  It just so happened that both of my girls were coming home from school for the weekend so that I could tell them in person.
  • Telling people was exhausting and after we had told our families we told our church pastors. I was dreading telling all of our friends at church and this too was taken care of for us. After we prayed with the Colonels they asked if we wanted to keep it private. My response was, “I believe in the power of prayer and the more people praying the better.”
  • I had a very uneasy feeling about the first surgeon and thought I should go to Sunnybrook only to find out that I would need to wait until mid February for surgery; I was devastated but God provided yet again. I called my nurse navigator, shared my concerns and requested a female surgeon. She booked me with a wonderful surgeon and the surgery was done December 30—so much sooner than Sunnybrook and all my treatments would be local
  • While on the surgery table I had that same sense of peace that I felt in the car on Dec. 3; I knew God was right there with me and I also knew I had so many people praying for me—I’m such a fortunate person and so grateful for the support from our church family.
God was right there with me. I felt an immediate sense of calm, a peace like I’ve never known before Click To Tweet

Positive Outcomes

God was so good throughout this journey. I’d like to share some of the positive outcomes.

  • First of all and most importantly, my relationship with the Lord and my knowledge of His word has deepened so incredibly and I am so grateful for that.
  • Secondly, our family was always close but as my daughter says, we are weird close now!
  • God has helped me to support two other people currently fighting cancer.
  • And lastly I’m very grateful for the very strong Christian friendships that have deepened and developed through this journey.

My prayer for you is that even in the dark times, the hard and challenging times, you will be able to see God’s hand at work―that you will feel His presence as I did and that you will be able to see positives come out of every situation.

“Jehovah himself is caring for you! He is your defender. He protects you day and night. He keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. He keeps his eye upon you as you come and go and always guards you”. Psalm 121: 5-8 TLB

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