Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Laura V. Hilton
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and you will see PINK popping up everywhere.

From Walmart, where employees who pledge to breast cancer treatment are allowed to wear pink to Lands End who has a special pink line that donates to the cause.

Last month, headlines were made when an actress tweeted that she has breast cancer. She made headlines. But many women are diagnosed every day who don’t.

My Story

In July of 2008, I was doing my routine breast exam and I noticed a lump. Since I was nursing, I ignored it, thinking it was normal. But a month later, the lump was large enough to misshapen my breast.

I still ignored it, thinking it would return to normal. But by September, my husband was worried, so I made an appointment to see the nurse practitioner. “Yep, there’s a lump,” she agreed.

I requested a prescription for antibiotics thinking it was an infection. So when she suggested a mammogram, I argued.

She won, so I went to have a mammogram. My very first one.

When they saw the results, they ordered an ultrasound and I began to cry.

After that test, they referred me back to my doctor who performed a biopsy. He said it looked like an infected milk gland. YES. Point to me for correctly diagnosing myself. I thought. 

He still refused to prescribe antibiotics. “We’ll just wait and see,” he said.

When the results came back, I went to the office alone. As I prayed in the waiting room, God assured me that everything would be okay.

But It Wasn’t

“In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’” Isaiah 38:1

“You have cancer. I’m taking your breast.” The doctor’s words shocked me. Up until that point, I was still sure it was an infection.

Things went very fast after that. 
Whisk, bang, boom. I was back in the hospital where the same doctor performed my mastectomy. 

But the whole situation blindsided me. Young nursing moms don’t have a mastectomy. Mothers of five can’t get cancer.

Like Hezekiah, I cried out.

All In

“Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, ‘Remember Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” Isaiah 38:2-3

I promised God at that point that my life that my writing and everything else was totally and completely His. Now, I belong to a church that does not lay hands on its members, but they did lay hands on me. And they prayed. I felt God’s presence, I felt His touch.

When the oncologist said my lymph nodes were clear, he still recommended chemo and radiation. I didn’t understand it. It hadn’t spread, what is the point? As he patiently explained that it would kill any other cancer cells in my body, he reminded me that I wanted to see my sweet little girl grow up.

I saw his point. I wanted to be there for my husband and my four other children, as well.

A fellow author who had survived breast cancer encouraged me to fight cancer with everything I had. When I read her main character had donated her hair to locks of love as a token punch to the disease. I did it, too.

Another survivor said I should drink lots of water. A gallon a day. So I did. Whether it was the water or God, I didn’t get sick in that first round. My blood counts stayed normal and I was able to function. All good since I still had five children to care for.

But when I started chemo, my hair started falling out. I asked my husband to shave my head and he cried as he did it. He said it was the hardest thing he’d ever done in his life.

Stage Two

The oncologist ordered six weeks of radiation. Compared to chemo, this was a walk in the park. The hardest part was getting marked up for it. I was seriously getting seasick on that twirling “bed.”

Soon it was time for three more chemo treatments. The oncologist promised I wouldn’t lose my hair or get sick this time.

He lied.

All my hair fell off this time, even my eyebrows and lashes. I got so sick. 

I Thought I Was Going to Die

“Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.” Isaiah 38:4-5

But I didn’t. In fact, the oncologist thought I handled it well. So I shared my testimony and I told him it was all God. He wasn’t a believer, but perhaps I’d planted a seed.

Next Steps

If you are going through breast cancer, my prayers are with you. And if you aren’t, remember don’t let a little lump become big. And whenever you see pink, remember to get your mammogram!

About the Author
Award-winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and three of their children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom, and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Laura also has two adult children.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as a three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Bird House in September 2015.

See below for information on Laura's latest, The Christmas Admirer. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

Connect with Laura
visit her blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/ & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Laura_V_Hilton or @Laura_V_Hilton
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Laura-V-Hilton/161478847242512
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/

The Christmas Admirer

The Christmas Admirer
by Laura V. HIlton
by Laura V. Hilton

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but other than a lone summer filled with romantic buggy rides, marrying her remains an elusive dream. When his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, they left him as the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters and his grandparents. What woman wants to step into a ready-made family like his? Still, he leaves her monthly gifts from “A Secret Admirer,” hoping she’ll know that someone loves her, even though he isn’t free to step forward.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, and hopes he’s her secret admirer, but now the clock is ticking. Susanna’s father is remarrying in January and his wife-to-be doesn’t want to leave her Amish community and family in Iowa. So when Susanna’s daed sells his glass-blowing business to his right-hand man, Benaiah, she’s left with three options: 1) Go with Daed to his new home with a new frau and step-kinner, 2) Flush out her mysterious secret admirer, or 3) Resign herself to life as an old maid. She doesn’t want to follow Daed where his new frau is leading him. And number three isn’t happening. Marrying Benaiah is her greatest desire—but he broke her heart, and now he treats her like a pesky younger sister. Can she make him see her as a woman, one who could stand by his side as he cares for his family?

As Christmas approaches, Susanna and her friends start making gingerbread houses for select members of the community. Susanna plans for hers to go to Benaiah’s family. But while her gingerbread may find a home—will her heart?

For more posts by Laura V. Hilton, click here.