"You're Going to Be Okay"
Even though her diagnosis was frightening, holding on to hope and faith was her only option.
Michael and I had been trying to make good choices. And life was good. Years before, I’d put my own music career on hold to raise our kids and create a stable family. Michael was a committed father and husband.
Now we were reaping the fruits of those choices. Dylan and Scarlett were happy and healthy here at the farm. Michael was fully involved in our lives and as happy as I’d ever seen him.
The minute we got home from the hospital he called the studio to let them know he’d have to suspend recording. We had a rich circle of friends, who all called us that evening—I have no idea how they found out. Michael, probably. They were so comforting, so supportive.
But everyone I talked to felt like another potential loss, another reminder of cancer’s malicious timing.
The next morning doctors removed a tumor from my breast and 14 lymph nodes from my arm—they feared the cancer might have spread. Three days later I was back on the farm, recovering, when the phone rang. Michael was out on a tractor. It was the doctor.
“The news isn’t good,” he said. “Eleven of the fourteen nodes are cancerous. At this point we don’t know how far it has spread. You need to come in tomorrow for a full-body scan.”
I hung up and stared ahead. The news seemed impossibly bleak. I didn’t just have breast cancer. I had cancer—maybe everywhere. I looked down at myself. How much cancer was in there? I wondered. How much of me had it already eaten away?
I desperately wanted Michael to come in, to take me in his arms and tell me that everything was going to be all right. But the fear kept saying, It won’t be all right.
In the morning we again made the drive I’d gotten to know so well, past the green hills and picturesque farms outside Nashville. The rows of crops flashed by, cows grazing, horses with their sleek necks bent to the earth.
The early light was so pretty, making everything seem somehow deeper, more real. I kept my eyes fixed out the window, just taking it all in.
Suddenly I heard a voice. Not Michael’s, not any voice I recognized. You’re going to be okay. Just those five words, sounding simply and clearly inside me. Then silence.
The message was totally counterintuitive. I mean, I was on my way to find out whether my entire body was riddled with cancer! But somehow that didn’t matter. Comfort immediately flowed through me.
My fears, which had once seemed so overpowering, shrank until I could get my hands around them and shove them down. They didn’t go away. I just got stronger. I’d spent the past days feeling like a helpless victim. All at once I became a fighter.
I went through the scan and was stunned and relieved to hear the doctor say they had found no more cancer. Breast and lymph nodes—that was it. Still a lot, requiring extensive treatment. But suddenly I had a chance. I had hope.
And as the days, then weeks, then years of recovery unfolded, I began to see just how true those five words I’d heard on the highway really were. They weren’t just telling me I was going to be okay. They were reminding me I was already okay.
I’d cried out to God, Why now? Those words were the answer: Because now is when you can handle this. All those things I’d feared losing to cancer—the kids, a solid marriage to Michael, our new settled life, our beautiful home—they were precisely what gave me the strength I needed to beat cancer. Without them to rely on I might have died.
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