I was a counselor at kids’ camp. It was the middle of the night and I couldn’t sleep. The thin mattress was hard and pressed on my chest. There was a lump, so I moved.
But the lump followed wherever I went.
Sitting on the edge of the bed in the darkness, I pressed my fingers in my chest and it felt gumball sized. Not the tiny yellow and red and blue gumballs, but the large ones that cost a quarter in the machine.
Later, when I arrived home and went to the doctor, all the tests came in and the lump was bad.
It was cancer, and it had spread . . . and I was only 31.
I had lots of things on my mind up until that time.
Children. Three of them, nearly all the same age. Soccer practice. Basketball. Hard bleachers that left their mark on my behind. Lunches to make. Messes to clean. My husband of 12 years who I loved like crazy. Bills, ministry, friends, commuting, my job, whether I would ever get to write, stretch marks that hadn’t gone away, packing lunches, laundry, whether we could afford a new tire for my car, a bossy relative, that TV show I liked . . .
Everything faded as I dealt with surgery. Chemo. Radiation. Surgery again. For two years, my life revolved around getting better. It was a scary time, but finally I emerged.
And I was still me. Except when I looked around, my perspective had changed.1