Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Overcoming The Chaos of Cancer by Barbara M. Britton | Guest Post





If I knew as an author that my life would encompass the theme of my novel, I would have chosen something fun and lively instead of “God is in control even in the chaos of life.” Who wants chaos? Not me. I like a well-ordered life. A predictable life fitting nicely on a calendar with one inch squares.

In “Providence: Hannah’s Journey,” Hannah bat Zebula, daughter of the chief priest, desires to be healed of deformities. Her desire catapults her on an adventure where she encounters one threat after another. God is faithful to Hannah and never gives her more than she can overcome. As I wrote this story, I had no idea I would need healing from a cancer growing in my breast. Breast cancer affects 1 in 5 women, but I never expected to be the “one.” And boy did I pray for God to help me overcome the medical challenges in my life.

Chaos is defined as complete disorder. With my initial diagnosis of a small tumor, I thought I could manage the chaos. A lumpectomy only requires day surgery and radiation is a non-invasive procedure. Totally do-able. I had dodged the cancer bullet. Prayer chains were called. My mom came to pamper me. I could do this. After all, we had found this cancer early. Right?

Wrong.

At my follow-up appointment, chaos reigned. My cancer had tricked medical technology. 3D mammography had picked up a piece of the tumor, but not the surrounding invasion. A breast MRI was fooled. Doctors were fooled. I was fooled. I still had cancer. And with it, a genetic mutation called BRCA-1 which leaves me susceptible to more breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

God, how could this be? This is not what we prayed for. More surgery awaited me, but how much? Decisions had to be made on whether to take off one breast or two. Do I reconstruct during surgery? Leave the ovaries?

God is in control even in the chaos of life.

In December, among the festive lights and wrapped gifts, and before I celebrated my Savior’s birth, I ordered the chaos of cancer and had a bi-lateral mastectomy and an oophorectomy with no reconstruction. Today, I am breast free. In my story, my character Hannah is ultimately healed (spoiler alert), but I don’t look like the old me. And that’s okay because I am alive and healthy. God has granted me more days on His earth to enjoy my family and to write books. Plus, I know my glorified body is going to rock.

When you see me, I look like everyone else. I joke with my friends that my prosthetics are false advertising. Like Hannah, I am adjusting to being different. A smile crossed my face when my son remarked he forgot I don’t have any boobs. So, I guess a bit of cancer chaos remains. Enough to remind me that God is faithful. I have a renewed sense of praise for each day God grants me on this earth. I praise Him for my health. For the time I spend with my friends and family. For physicians and hospitals. For the power of prayer. For being able to relate to people going through chaos. I thank him for His providence in my life.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year is my first year as a survivor. Praise the Lord! Though, my heart is heavy for those I knew who didn’t make it through the chaos of cancer. So, make your life journey the best it can be. Don’t delay your yearly mammogram. Seek out 3D imaging. Don’t wait if a spot shows up, even if it can’t be found on an ultrasound. A biopsy gives you peace of mind, or motivates action. Rally your prayer warriors and meal makers. Don’t suffer in silence. Compare notes with others in the same struggle. And remember…God is in control even in the chaos of life.

4 things I hope readers will do after hearing my story:

1. Schedule a yearly mammogram with 3D technology (if 3D is available)
2. Do not wait to biopsy if something shows up on their mammogram
3. Advocate for yourself in your medical care
4. Do not suffer in silence

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Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes romantic adventures for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. You can follow Barbara on Facebook and Twitter.
Providence: Hannah's Journey
by Barbara M. Britton

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As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.

Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.

Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.

Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal and enemy commander.