By Janice Duyck-Welch
“It was quite obvious to me that my Heavenly Father had gone before me and hand-picked every doctor, every nurse, and aide that would be working with me. The peace of His Presence was evident. As I began this journey, I held onto God’s promise in 2Kings 20:5, “I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears; behold, I WILL HEAL YOU.” And He did!”
I visited my family doctor in January 1996 after I discovered a lump in my armpit. She found another lump in my breast but wanted to wait a couple of months to see if the lumps would shrink. (plus, insurance wouldn’t pay for a second breast exam). In March I received a mammogram and knew immediately things were not normal as they proceeded to do a sonogram at that same time. A biopsy was scheduled, and the “C” word was spoken. A very hard word to hear. My family heard the results before I did. It took time to grasp the reality and gravity of it all. Once I did, the battle was on!
After visiting with the surgeon, we determined that a mastectomy was the best decision. During surgery, the doctor also took lymph nodes to determine if chemo would be necessary. If more than 3 nodes showed cancerous, that would indicate the need for chemotherapy. I had 4. Other than the initial shock of the diagnosis, I would say finding out that I would need chemotherapy and radiation was the most devastating news.
Worst part of having cancer? My son, Justin, was a senior in high school so my prayer was that this would not interfere or hinder the joy and excitement of reaching this milestone. I also prayed that my family would be able to function as normally as possible. God strengthened me to be able to continue teaching. I had chemo every 3 weeks so I would go in on Friday and have the weekend to recover. It was usually Monday noon before I could gear up to get back in the classroom.
My friends and family helped tremendously by being my prayer warriors and summoning even more halfway around the world. Teachers had kids making cards in their classes. I had calls from college classmates I hadn’t heard from since graduation. We had so much food the entire time I was in treatment for which I was very grateful because teaching all day took most of the strength and energy I had. I remember one sweet lady from church sent me a card every week. My children kept things running smoothly just as I had hoped.