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Marking my calendar for cancer

In The Breast I Can Be: Finding Purpose in Breast Cancer

Jo Lee Ferguson

By Jo Lee Ferguson
July 7, 2017 at 1:09 a.m.
Updated July 7, 2017 at 1:24 a.m.


I’ll admit I cried pretty hard the day I learned the small rock-like lump in my right breast was, indeed, Stage 1 breast cancer.

That quickly gave way to mild impatience once I learned that everything would likely be just fine…. in about a year. I’m a product of all the miracles we take for granted with modern medicine: I have cancer but I’ll be fine, and I complain about it taking too long.

But seriously - about a year to finish all the treatments. That realization was followed closely by the thought, “I don’t have time for breast cancer.”

Would you like to hear my reasons why I don’t have time? They’re very convincing.

Actually, I’ll skip the list and just borrow a phrase from a dear friend who says she “lives in the margins” - as in we fill the pages of our lives up, from one edge to the other, including the margins. I like it that way, frankly. My pages are filled with the good things God has given me.

That leads me to one of my prayers, though: God, how will I do all of this – and do it well - and have time for the trappings of cancer treatment? I don’t know yet exactly what all that will mean, but a few days off for a lumpectomy just about wrecked my carefully balanced, deadline-driven world.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, my phone buzzed in my pocket, giving off a familiar “ding” to alert me to a calendar reminder. I pulled the phone out of my pocket and looked down.

The reminder said simply, “Cancer.”

It made me laugh. I apparently had tried at some point to put some kind of appointment reminder in my phone and failed. Instead, it offered me only a random reminder that “Cancer” is now on my calendar.

Point taken.

Then, this past week, my 8-year-old Elijah, mentioned me in his bedtime prayers, asking God to help me remember to “take a break and laze around.”

Point taken again.

I’ve made some adjustments. I expect more will have to be made.

But hey. It’s just a year, right?

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