This past Sunday, December 2nd 2018 I turned 40. In November, I was stressed out with bad news, but it put life and turning 40 in perspective. A lump turned up on my mammogram. I have had mammograms every other year since I was in my twenties. My Mom had an aggressive form of breast cancer in her late 30’s. I was just weeks from turning 40 and for the first time a lump had shown up on my mammogram. A 3D mammogram no less. I was scheduled for an ultrasound the next week, which led to a biopsy of three samples the following week thereafter. In the time waiting for these results I think I became convinced it was cancer. I had already asked my mom to come and watch the kids if and when I needed surgery. We even talked about lumpectomy versus mastectomy. I am a planner. That’s how my mind works. I was hoping for the best, bet I am a realist. With my Mom being a cancer survivor at a younger age than I was now, I did not believe that the odds were in my favor. 

Then horrible thoughts started coming into my mind. Will my kids have to grow up without me? Do I have an aggressive cancer that is spreading as the days tick by? It was a bleak few weeks having these thoughts. I tried to suppress them, but they still often came up. That is the uncertainty of cancer. It is awful. I am empathetic toward those who suffer from cancer.

I am so thankful when my doctor called to say that the test results from the biopsy were negative. Thank you God! What a huge relief and weight off of my shoulders. 

Now turning 40 was a celebration! I am so thankful for another birthday and the possibility of many more to come. There are no guarantees, but the removal of cancer surgery and treatment from my current plans for the month of December was a huge blessing! I couldn’t even plan a party until I had word of my results. Once I got the call, just days before our family’s Thanksgiving cruise, I made plans for a birthday celebration. My husband also made plans for a birthday dinner party on our cruise. My family made it special. Both my sisters whispered separately to me at some point that night “I am so glad you don’t have cancer, what a huge relief”. Whispering, as though saying it too loudly may perhaps jinx the results. 

I will celebrate the years of getting older because it means I am still alive. It means that God has granted me more time with family and friends here on earth. It is a gift. Time alive is a gift. I don’t take it lightly. Be sure to celebrate your big milestones. Life should be celebrated!! 

I am thankful to my husband and my family for making my birthday dinner on the cruise so special. We celebrated a week before my actual birthday on the cruise. 

On my actual birthday this past Sunday we had an intimate dinner party with some of our dearest friends. Most of them are currently in our couple’s bible study group, and the others we hope will join us next semester. It is amazing how our friendships have deepened because of the bible study and our time together each week. I am thankful for all of the couples that came to my birthday dinner. It was a special evening. Justin cooked up a wonderful beef tenderloin. He did a great job! 

Thank you to my friend Elizabeth Perez for taking these three photos, shown below.