This month's Inspire Me testimony comes a fighter friend of mine -- Jessica Clark. Jessica and I met a few years back at my church. If you have ever met her before, she's this little short, hilarious ball of energy that has the most uplifting and encouraging spirit.
This year, Jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was in the season I was able to get to know another side of Jessica. Jessica's mindset, her grit, her tenacity to be victorious in her fight was something that resonated deep within me. Her willpower taught me the importance of not taking our health for granted along with total dependence and reliance upon Christ.
At no point, did I hear Jessica classify herself as a victim. She remained victorious in her faith, her journey and most importantly, in her healing.
In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would like to dedicate one of my October Inspire Me testimonies to Jessica.
Jessica, thank you for being willing and vulnerable enough to share your story and journey with others. We all praying for your complete healing and we know that God will continue to do just that.
I love you girl!!
In January of this year, I celebrated my 39th birthday and declared that 2019 would be the best year of my life. Surprisingly to me, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer on February 4th.
As a teenager in high school, I always dealt with cysts on my breasts. Therefore, I would conduct monthly self-breast exams as a precautionary method and this year (2019) was no different. However, during one of my at-home exams, I noticed a lump underneath my left breast. Immediately, it was something I kept my eye on as I noticed it would only show up during my menstrual cycles. After about a month or so, I noticed that the lump was still present and now becoming tender to the touch. I knew that it was something I needed to have checked and I decided to make an appointment with my OBGYN.
Initially, I was told that because I had larger breasts, the lump was nothing to worry about as it was just a cyst.
Although breast cancer did not run on either side of my family, I still was not fully comfortable with the doctor's opinion answer and opted to go to my primary care physician. Again, I was told the same thing but this time I insisted on getting a mammogram. After two exams and a biopsy, it was confirmed that I had stage 2 (IDC) grade 3 (very high) breast cancer.
I received the call of the diagnosis at work. Instead of panicking (like I wanted to do), I remained calm and begin to ask about the next steps. I immediately rushed home to my husband and mother and gave them the news. It was then that I broke down because I could not believe that something like this just happened to me. All I could think about was my husband and two young daughters. My mother looked me in my eyes and said: “We are not accepting this. Cancer you have to go!”
It was at that moment I went into my quiet time with God and said “Ok, God it’s me and you. What are we going to do now?" This was the moment I decided to prepare for this journey. I didn't want any influences in my ear but God. I did not want to go on the internet trying to figure out my diagnosis or side effects of treatment. I wanted to completely rely on God while following my doctor's orders. I began to meditate more in the Word. During my worship, God sent me detailed instructions on what He required of me. He instructed me to create a vision board with scriptures of healing. I decided to also include what I expected during this process.
As I prepared for chemotherapy (having a port placed in my chest), as one would expect, I became quite nervous and anxious. My oncologist was very informative and informed me that my treatment would take months to complete. I began my treatments in March nd they concluded in July. I was told to expect the worst but I would not allow myself to accept this notion. I would remind myself of what I placed on my vision board and would constantly say, "I would not experience the worst of this." God also reminded me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He confirmed within me that, "
“I will take you through this but I will not allow this treatment to touch you." I can attest that I felt only minor side effects such as nausea through the first treatment. I decided against the medication prescribed for me as I didn't want to put too much strain on my body. I decided to use natural products such as ginger and essential oils to treat as many side effects as possible. As I continued with my treatments, God continued to speak to me. On one occasion, I recall God saying, "I will confuse the doctors. It is time for me to bring healing to you”.
One Monday, while in worship, my sister from Pennsylvania called and told my mom to anoint me with frankincense. Later that week, I went to the doctor for my follow-up appointment and my doctor began to look confused. The doctor looked at me and asked, "Jessica I can’t find anything are you sure it was here?" I immediately looked at my mom as we both knew that God confirmed His Word to us.
I was scheduled the following Friday for more chemotherapy treatments. I wasn't sure if I should continue to take the treatment so I decided to seek God. I didn't get a response right away but when God replied, He said, "Do you trust me? If you do, why are you still taking chemo?" Any average person would think I was crazy by this point. However, I have learned to accept that I am not an average person. I asked God to confirm His Word within my blood levels through a good report from the doctor.
At my next appointment with my oncologist, I informed her of my decision to not continue treatment. As any doctor, she was concerned but supported my decision. As I was learning her office, I asked her, "How was my blood work for today?"
She looked at me, smiled and said, “They are very good today, everything is up!” It was at that moment, I knew that I was being led by God.
My last treatment was in April and on June 4 I had a bilateral mastectomy. The recovery process was brutal but I decided to not take strong, addictive medication. Instead, I decided to take Tylenol and by the fourth day, my pain level no longer required medication. I was also up and walking quicker than expected. I was tested to check my prognosis and the same test that diagnosed me with 94% of breast cancer now showed no signs of cancer!!!
This has truly been a journey for me and my family. I was able to experience another side of me I didn’t know existed. It was not easy, I had plenty of days that broke me, but the more God confirmed his word the stronger I became. It was all because I had something solid to stand on. I decided to tap into the benefits package God had promised me. My diagnosis did not mean the end for me but it meant life. I was only being used as a vessel for someone else and not for myself. The devil thought he was going to still my joy, but God knows I will worship Him through the good and the bad.
With all of the required treatment for my diagnosis, I was scheduled to have completed my treatment by September. However, I was done months before!!
Lastly, I did not do anything without consulting my doctor. I incorporated everything natural into my treatments with the use of essential oils, superfoods, vitamins (which gave me daily energy I needed), massages and plenty of exercises.
Every day, I rose purpose dressed and ready to go.
Just in case you are wondering, yes, this is still the best year of my life.