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A Test of Faith

by Annie Franklin

annieI have so many friends who have gone through what I am going through now and they are my heroes. They have all shown me love and support. On December 1, 2008, I went into surgery and told Dr. Wesley Barry to do whatever was needed. I ended up with a lumpectomy of the right breast. The mass was removed and there was no lymph node involvement. I was sent to the cancer center thinking I was to have radiation only, but when I saw my oncologist, Dr. Davidson, it was determined that I also needed chemotherapy due to the grade and aggressiveness of the cancer. I became torn and my faith was put to the test again. I am thinking that if the cancer was small and if the doctor got it all, why chemo? I had to pray hard about what choice to make. I was going back and forth in my mind to have chemo or not, when I heard it again; "Where is your faith?" And God gave me the answer. I completed my chemotherapy on May 22, 2009, and completed my radiation therapy on August 7, 2009. Through it all my faith was tested but never lost. So I leave this thought with you: Have faith and take one day at a time...and just smile!

My journey into the world known as breast cancer began in October 2008. My family and I moved back to Montgomery earlier in the year to be closer to our aging parents. My husband is from Montgomery and I am from Jackson. His mom and my dad were both ill and I felt that God wanted us to return home. Shortly after the move, in early January 2008, my dad passed away and two weeks later my mother-in –law passed away. These were difficult times emotionally for all of us, but, as you know, life goes on and we began to heal and go about our daily lives getting ready to settle into our routine of work and the day to day business of living.

I was busy unpacking and putting in job applications when I realized I needed to find a doctor, especially a gynecologist. I have a history of fibrocystic breast disease and it was time for my yearly checkup. I was referred by another patient to see Dr. John Porter. During the month before my appointment to see the doctor I felt a pea size knot in my right breast. It felt a little different but I didn't give it much thought. The doctor sent me for a mammogram and I knew something was not right when they had to keep getting more and more views. I began to get a little nervous when they said that I needed an ultrasound. It showed a suspicious mass. I was then told that I needed a biopsy. I began to pray: "Lord, let it be alright. I have to take care of my family. What will they do without me?" I have always had a strong faith in God. He has kept me in His grace for 57 years and I knew in my heart that He would take care of me now. On November 4, 2008, I had the biopsy and on November 5, 2008 I was told that I had invasive ductal carcinoma. I was heartbroken and I cried. I mean gut wrenching sobs were coming from my very soul and just as quickly as the sobs began, they ended. I became very calm, as a voice said to me, "Where is your faith? Now is the time to let the world see what it means to have faith." From that point on I began to believe that everything would be alright.

The hardest thing was to tell my family. I am the strong one and everyone depends on me to get things done. I had to let go of being in charge and take care of me. I feel it was God telling me to slow down and enjoy life, smell the flowers and watch the birds.