This is the third in a series highlighting 42 year-old Jenny Stark’s story during Breast Cancer Awareness month. Jenny is not only a survivor of breast cancer, but one who still has the same class and faith as she did the first day I interviewed her three years ago. If you are not familiar with Jenny’s story, you will want to read This is Just a Season and Paying it Forward, the first and second installments respectively. The first covers the time period when she first learned of her cancer, what she went through, and how she handled it. The second was how she chose to use her disease to help others.
Previous stories about Jenny have been penned by me based on interviews with her. However, when I called Jenny for an up-date this year, it became evident to me that a sit-down interview with a list of questions was not needed. I sensed that Jenny could pen her story straight from her heart.
And so, in her own words that follow, Jenny shares her heart. No doubt, it is the heart of many who have walked this path.
Will there ever be a day that I’m not thinking about my cancer…
Early diagnosis, seems, as if to, occupy your every thought. You’re constantly making conscience decisions to take that next step.
Sometimes that next step may be to get up when what you want to do is lie in bed all day and have a pity party. So, you say out loud, “Thank you God for my life. I’m stepping out on faith today and I’m standing on Your word.” God will meet you where you are, but it requires action on your part. So put on your best smile, have a good attitude with plenty of gratitude and get going.
Enthusiasm is the result that others will see. When they see you and know your circumstances, what a privilege to have that kind of mission field, some that others will never experience. Your journey is a witness to the fact that in spite of what you’re walking through, there is life.
The key to retraining your thoughts is to stay busy (if possible) and continue doing normal activities, such as working, exercising, cooking or driving. Yes cooking. For those of you who like to cook, like I do, you know what I’m talking about. As you go about your business, you overcome a hurdle in your mind, where you realize by the end of the day, that you didn’t think about your condition as much. Over time, the more distance you put between your life now and your diagnosis, it will erase those fears and concerns that once stole your joy.
Cancer is like an amputation, you learn to live with it, but you’re never the same. Eventually you will be done with treatment and surgeries and you will be at a point in life that is summed up best as a “slow fade.” You will not feel 100% all at one time, but every day is a new day with new possibilities and it, too, is a choice. A choice to choose, that this uphill climb is behind you, and you are well on your way to the new you.
Your life may take you to another level with different goals, with different people, all for the Glory of God. What may have seemed important 5 yrs ago may not even be a thought today. Don’t worry about what may change. Don’t anticipate…Participate!
Mostly, find yourself in a win-win situation, where no matter what happens, you win. Those thoughts will cast out all fears and you will see clearly. In fact, your mind will wonder what it was so anxious about in the first place. That is God’s peace.
As the words of a song point out: “Let my life be the proof…The proof of Your Love” So others will see the proof of Christ’s Love [in you].
So, let Jesus run circles in your mind, so that He touches your every thought.
Fighting Like a Girl, Jenny Stark