Lynnette’s Story of Grace, Forgiveness, Faith and Hope: Part Three

Lynnette familyLynnette has experienced devastating losses in her short 40-ish years of life. She has walked through those losses with grace and dignity and the Lord has been faithful to redeem.  However, she is now facing a battle that threatens her life. Why the Lord requires his children to face hardship may be one of the greatest conundrums of all time.  Lynnette has bravely and courageously faced each life challenge head on and has thrived.  But now, she not only must overcome a health challenge, but must defeat the enemy of fear and despair.

All in all life WAS wonderful.  As I have detailed, my life was full of ups AND downs but I always landed on my feet.  It seemed out of my despair, God kept giving me new hope.  Each time.  But cancer?  I just didn’t (and admittedly some days DON’T) see anything new or good coming from THAT.  The very things that gave life to my daughter were now trying to kill me.

“I can accomplish what I need to accomplish with a lumpectomy and radiation.  No need for a mastectomy,” my breast surgeon said.

“I can go back in and get the cancer left behind.  I don’t think there is any more hiding on the other side of that margin, but let’s go back and get that little bit to make sure,”  my breast surgeon said, two weeks after the first surgery.

“You’ll need a mastectomy,” my breast surgeon said two weeks after the second surgery.

“Make it two!” I said.

Lynnette emmyI had 3 surgeries in 6 weeks, resulting in a bilateral (or double) mastectomy.  Turns out each surgery revealed more cancer.  Even the final pathology report from the bilateral mastectomy revealed an additional tumor.  Remember that job I had for 14 years?  I made TV commercials for a local plastic surgeon during that time.  This surgeon was a good mixture of arrogance and compassion, and specialized in breast reconstruction.  He was a Christian and deeply cared for his patients.  I remember thinking, “I hope I never need his kind of skills, but if I do, I’m going to HIM.”  He remembered me and I got right in to see him.  After one particular consultation, he even prayed with me.

That job also led me to Pam.  She’s the wife of a former co-worker.  She sold me that first house I reluctantly left.  She was also a nurse.  Pam quite literally nursed me back to health after the final surgery.  She would drive across town to help me bathe, manage the surgical drains and change my dressings.  Pam gently spoke life into me when I couldn’t see anything but fear.  She did what I imagine my mother would have done if she were still alive.

Those new neighbors, Bob and Carmen, stepped in and helped care for our daughter when I was unable to during my chemo treatments.  I had to switch chemo drugs because I suffered a severe allergic reaction.  So I had a ‘bonus’ round of chemo plus the four rounds of a chemo they call The Red Devil.  Lynnette post treatment

Michael continued to work full time and take on the added responsibilities at home.  He went to all my appointments (and when you have cancer there are a LOT of appointments), all my surgeries and all my chemo infusions.  He ceased his volunteer activity at church to help focus on me and he endured my frequent emotional break downs.  Did I mention he carries our health insurance?  Without his phenomenal insurance plan, we’d have lost everything!  The bill stands at $200,000 and climbs.

I’m halfway through radiation and will continue hormone therapy for at least 5 years.  The oncologist tells me my prognosis is good.  Estrogen was feeding the cancer, so as long as we shut down the estrogen (Hello, menopause!) and I maintain a healthy weight, diet and exercise, I *should* be good.  I HAVE to be.  I have a daughter to raise.  Do you hear me Lord?

Lynnette and G 2

My journey, perhaps, is a long winded story.  But I want you all to SEE what I see.  God often removes the very things we cling so tightly to.  Our relationships.  Our jobs.  Our possessions.  Our health.  We kick and scream and cry and resist these moments, these valleys.  If I were still married to my ex-husband, I’m convinced I would not be alive today.  I would not have had the emotional, financial, or physical support needed to survive.  How would I have managed my mother’s death AND cancer at the same time?  My old job would not have allowed me medical leave and the opportunity to return part-time.  Our old neighbor was a woman who would have delighted in our misfortune; not someone who would come alongside us.  Today, (hindsight is a gift, right?) I’m okay with all these losses.  Over the course of ten years, God removed everything toxic from my life and REPLACED it all so I would be in the best possible position to survive.  He truly is the Great Restorer.

As I read back through Lynnette’s story, it’s all I can do to not physically break down.  She is SUCH an awesome and amazing person FULL of wisdom that is divinely granted. I am beyond grateful the Lord chose to intertwine our journeys.  My life is so much fuller because of her. Her story doesn’t end here.  Our Lord is writing a glorious unfolding I believe will allow her to love and cherish her future grandchildren.  Please join me tomorrow for the last post in Lynnette’s story where I will share some key takeaways from her incredible journey.

 I love that Lynnette sees our Father as the Great Restorer!  He has PROVEN himself faithful to her as He has to me.  How has He proven to you He is the Great Restorer?  Please share in the comments below.  There may be someone reading who needs to hear the hope found on the other side of loss and devastation.

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  1. ROSELLEN says:

    My mom passed away in August of 1984. That September I found I had a lump in my breast. I was so raw from loosing my mom, and then this hit me. I can relate at being so overwhelmed with emotions. Fortunately, I only had to have a lumpectomy.
    Then in 2003, I lost my big brother to liver cancer.
    In 2008 my little sister died unexpectedlyl, all the while I kept thinking ok God now what???
    But he never left my side. As I look back at all the roads that I have traveled to get where I am today ( I am 69 years old) I know God was there to silently hold me hand to carry on. I would not be who I am today without my relationship with God and the Holy Family.

  2. I have been reading your blog since the beginning and love it. These last 3 posts have made me smile. Not because of her hardship but because I am reminded of so so so many restorations, truths and mercy. When our son was at his 2 yr. check up the dr. came in and said you need to go right now and get an EKG across the street at the hospital. That sentence was scary. He had developed Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome meaning his heart was beating double time. When the dr. told us what it was he said ” the crazy thing is we don’t know who it was who saw this. A man walked in the room, as all the dr’s were examining the results, and said he has WPW”. No one knew him and no one could find him. We know it was Will’s angel. So when he was 3 he had his first heart surgery and it didn’t work. The surgeon stopped saying he would have a pace-maker. We waited a year and the second surgery was successful. Lots of scary days in between but so many days of joy too. He is now 27 and able to do play sports and live life normally. I could go on and on but I’m afraid this comment box is going to cut me off! Thanks for sharing your stories along the way and Lynnette’s. What a blessing it’s been!

  3. Nita says:

    I’ve teared up at all three segments because of the goodness, faithfulness and Love that God shows His people when they truly trust Him. Who knows who is reading these and needed to hear all of the above from God. HE is good.

  4. Tricia Ann says:

    I heard a statement on the one of the C.S. Lewis movies talking about Asland (a lion who represents Jesus) from Mr and Mrs Beaver. Is Asland safe? No He’s not safe! But, He is good. He promised He would go through the trials with us. My husband had tongue cancer. Before his surgery, our church gathered around him and prayed. They had to cut out half of his tongue and rebuild him a new side of one with a place from his forearm. He is not whole like he was, but has a new and better wholeness, because his spiritual life is thriving. He can talk well, he can eat, ok, and he is truly blessed. God is the restorer!!

  5. Janet says:

    This is a beautiful story. These words “God often removes the very things we cling so tightly to.” spoke to me. Thank you for sharing your friend and her journey.

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