God has showed me His favor and has been with me in every step I take…
Hi, my name is Iracema Silva, I am originally from Brazil and have been living in the U.S.A. since 2007 and this is a piece of my life’s journey.
It was January 2009, I was 26 years old, married for a couple of years to the most wonderful man, my best friend, forever love of my life, and a true present to me from God. That was when I felt a lump on my left breast. Could a 26 year old, healthy girl have cancer? That was the question on my mind. After a visit with my gynecologist I was sent to get a mammogram and an ultrasound. I remember as the doctor told me, “I don’t think they will even get to the mammogram, just the ultrasound will be fine, you are too young.”
I arrived at the Breast Center at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, at the scheduled time. To my surprise they got me straight to the mammogram machine. The image was inconclusive, so the ultrasound nurse told me she would have to collect a biopsy sample. At this point I felt nervous inside, for my heart knew something was wrong. I prayed and asked God to help me and give me strength. After the biopsy I asked to talk to my husband, he was still in the waiting room wondering why the ultrasound was taking so much time. As he approached I rushed to hug him and apologized… “I am so sorry this is happening.” He hugged me back and told me everything was going to be fine. The doctors collected the biopsy sample needed and we went home. For three days I cried and prayed like never before. As a Christian I know that God makes all things to work for my good, but I had some serious talking to do with Him.
After three days the results were in, they called my husband with the news, “Your wife has Breast Cancer, you need to find an oncologist.” He took a deep breath and, as a great engineer, he prepared a plan. He researched the best doctors in the area and had an appointment already scheduled before even coming home to tell me about the results. He didn’t have to say anything when he walked in the house, he just hugged me and assured me he would be with me through it all; and trust me, he was with me, and still is, as we continue on this journey.
In march of 2009 I had a double mastectomy and was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 breast cancer. Which means the cancer cells had already spread to different parts of my body. The months to follow were filled with doctors appointments, six months of chemotherapy, fourty-five sessions of radiation therapy, injections, and a hormone therapy to put me in menopausal stage because the cancer was estrogen driven. In the midst of everything I still felt very blessed about the way things happened. People around the world were praying for me, for healing, strength, and peace. An abundance of love was being poured into my life everyday by my family, friends, doctors, nurses, and all people that somehow were becoming part of my life. People would stop me to pray for me or just say positive things. Nurses and doctors mentioned God’s Holy name many times, which was an amazing surprise and comfort to us. We knew God was using those people (sometimes strangers) to talk to us, to bring us peace and comfort, and a joy that was simply indescribable.
For the first year after all these treatments I was clean, but only until my next PET (positron emission tomography) Scan. Since then, I have been treated for multiple different forms of metastatic Breast Cancer. I’ve had multiple hormone treatments and different chemotherapy treatments, I had my hair fall out and grow back twice.
Although Stage 4 breast cancer is considered “incurable,” current advances in research and medical technology means that more and more women are living longer by treating the disease as a chronic condition. With excellent care and support, as well as personal motivation, Stage 4 breast cancer may respond to a number of treatment options that can extend patients lives for several years. Even so, I am going on a 7 year survive rate. At the present moment I am going through a new chemotherapy treatment hoping the new nodes on my chest wall will shrink or stabilize.
Some people may take this as a sad story but, I feel very blessed! God has showed me His favor and has been with me in every step I take. He has carried me through valleys and He has made me grow even more in very dry land. He has blessed my family and those around me in so many special ways. New friendships and new perspective of life was given to us. I know God is guiding every doctor, nurse, medical assistant and staff member on everything that concerns me. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, and family and friends who have helped me to grow my faith, who prayed with me when I felt weak, who filled my life with love and laughter when all I wanted was to cry. Yes, some days are better than others. Sometimes I wonder about my future, my family, and as a normal person I cry… But when I feel like falling, God reminds me of His promises of a future and Hope. As it says in Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”.
In the midst of it all, I found out life is not about what you have, but who you have. I learned the importance of every new day and how little things and fun times are so much more special when you can appreciate them with all your being and be grateful for it. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10” says. As I continue my journey, I pray that God may use my life in whatever ways He may like, that people may see hope through Christ who lives in me, for He is my light and my savior. I choose to believe in a God that still performs miracles, for I am one of them!
Thank you for reading. God bless you!