More Than A Conqueror!

POSTED BY: Dr. Summer L. Johnson

Sometimes when I share my email address, I receive an, “I love that” and occasionally inquiring minds want to know why-why “morethanaconqueror?” With a smile and a grateful heart, I respond with, “By God’s grace, I’m a breast cancer survivor!”

A routine physical conducted by a nurse practitioner that ended with, “you’re healthy and it’s probably nothing, but I want you to get it checked out,” led to a breast ultrasound, an appointment with a breast care specialist, followed by a breast MRI, a biopsy, and ultimately a diagnosis at age 29 (October of 2013). God gave me peace even as waited for the results of the procedures during the diagnostic phase. He comforted me, telling me that He would keep me here long enough to fulfill His purpose for my life and I believed Him.  Following the diagnosis, He gave me a theme Scripture for the fight-Romans 8:37, “We are more than conquerors through Christ Who loved us.”

– Brief side note: I did not share the diagnosis with everyone because I wanted faith “warriors” to stand and fight with me and not “worriers” whose attitudes I would have to battle in addition to breast cancer. 

As the breast care specialist was briefing me on my current situation-“it is breast cancer,” she told me that the most important thing was survival. In other words you need to be okay with doing (or losing) whatever it takes in order to live. When I heard those words, as a young single hoping to get married one day, I didn’t say it out loud but pondered in my heart, “what about my husband?” But God, who hears all of our spoken and unspoken thoughts and questions, heard me and answered with, “I got it.”

The treatment journey started off with a collapsed lung cause by a puncture during the surgical placement of my port. Chemotherapy did a number on my digestive system and also took a toll on my immune system. Remember I mentioned that God told me not to worry about my breast? Well He caused the mass to shrink to a size that the oncologist said was only 2% of what it was, which allowed me to opt for a lumpectomy-translation I didn’t have to lose a breast! During the surgery to remove the mass, the surgeon also removed some lymph nodes to check. I received a call informing me that cancer was found in 2 of the 4 lymph nodes and that it was absolutely necessary to remove the first two levels of lymph nodes. So about a week after the first surgery, I was back in the O.R.

The first surgery didn’t require pain meds but the surgery to remove those lymph nodes did. It also required a drain; some at home rehab to regain the range of motion in my right arm. More chemo followed and radiation was added, BUT GOD! In July of 2014, I received the results of my MRI, showing that I was all clear. TGBTG (To God Be the Glory) for giving me the faith to RISE and to overcome breast cancer.

Never once did He leave me to fend for myself. Now I know Him to be my Healer. He also blessed me to continue to work and to publish my first book in the midst of the battle.  I was also blessed with a faith-filled support system beginning with my father who was my biggest encourager in the Lord and my nurse too. He drove in from out of town just to be there to keep me company during my chemo treatments and to make sure I was ok afterwards. He also made many Bill Miller chicken runs-LOL (the chemo did a number on my digestive system and Bill Miller chicken was one of the few things that I could eat.) When we would go through the drive-through he would ask how many chickens he should order-yes I said chickens-plural LOL. The rest of that support system was made up of family and church family and friends who were/are like family. Shout out to Coach EB for prayers and encouragement as well.

Before the battle: zero books. During and after the battle: 3 books (Poetic Inspirations for the Child of God, Bloom-Conversations to Grow on, and RISE). I lost my hair and even resorted to a bald cut during the battle but God has blessed it to grow back. I’m spiritually and physically stronger. TGBTG for it all!!

Maybe your battle is not with cancer or any health ailment for that matter. Regardless of your current situation, know that you too can RISE and overcome. There are 4 simple principles I want to leave you with, utilizing the word RISE as an acrostic: 

Recognize you do have a choice. Your life will follow the path of your choices. You can choose to settle for the same or to do your part to change; to worry or to pray; your way or God’s way; death or life.

Identity. God created one you. Know the real you-who God says you are and the personality, passions, talents, gifts, and abilities He’s given you.

Stay true to and be you-not whom “they” say you are. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 KJV Stay focused on God and on your God-designed; God-given race.

Embrace your individuality. Embrace every experience: that which caused you great joy and put a smile on your face but also that which caused distress and great pain. “And we know that all things work together for the good of them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV

A word to the Ladies: Please do not neglect your annual physicals. We trust God but we must also do our part to take care of our health. 

God Bless & KTF!!

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