Cancer sucks, and social media can be a great tool to link us together.
My first statement needs no further explanation. But as for the second one, social media is just so interesting to me.
I started out on social media just wanting it to be a space where I could interact with people I know. Share pictures, thoughts, and experiences digitally.
But one day I opened up to the idea that I could meet some pretty awesome people there. People in many places, with all kinds of stories and experiences. Beyond my circle, and that is okay.
I love to have women share their stories so that they can encourage other women. Afterall, we are all in this thing together.
Today’s feature is proof of just that.
I can not tell you how I met this beautiful lady, but somehow we ended up as “Instagram friends”, and one day she posted a photo that sincerely touched my core.
She has a story about breast cancer that only she can tell, and so I asked her if she would share. Today she is sharing a part of her journey with us.
My name is Aretha Grant and I’m a breast cancer survivor.
I was diagnosed October 22, 2013. There was no history of the illness in my family and I was shocked the biopsy showed cancer.
Prior to my diagnosis, I was happily living my life. I was an elder and bible teacher in my church, wife, and mother to our youngest two children. I’d just become a grandmother on September 5th and was excitedly showing pictures of my grandbaby to any and everybody who gave me an audience. I worked full-time from home as a business analyst.
I was happy.
When I received the phone call from the doctor with the diagnosis, I was home alone eating an ice cream sandwich. I hung up the phone from him and called my husband’s job. He was in a meeting so I left a message for him to call home. I then said,
“Lord, I need to talk to someone.”
Immediately, my phone rang and it was my pastor.
The next month was a whirlwind of activity. Appointments with an oncologist and the breast cancer surgeon. Blood work to find out if I carried the breast cancer gene. Visits to the pharmacy to purchase my pre-meds. I learned more about breast cancer in that month than I knew my entire life.Cancer was one of the most devastating but most eye-opening experiences of my life. w/@reeinspired Click To Tweet
I started chemo treatment two days before Thanksgiving 2013.
The day before that first treatment, I went to the Lord in prayer AGAIN. I expressed my fear of the chemo.
I was more afraid of the chemo than I was of the cancer. The Lord promised me this illness would not result in my death. As a matter of fact, He gave me instructions to proceed with my life as normal as possible. This was not to be an “Awwww, poor Aretha” thing. And so I forbade people from showing any type of sympathy! I had to tell folks, “Don’t call me with all that crying and stuff!”My cancer diagnosis taught me to LIVE Greater. w/@reeinspired Click To Tweet
I underwent four rounds of AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan). Followed by 12 rounds of Taxol. I lost all my hair – everywhere.
I experienced nausea, black spots on my palms and fingers, my fingernails turned an ugly shade of brown, my eyes constantly watered, and my nose ran all the time. The 12 rounds of Taxol were a lot easier on me. I only experienced numbness in my feet with that drug.
But still, I sang on the praise team. I still preached the occasional sermon. I still worked altar call. Many people in my church didn’t know I had cancer. I still worked full time. As a matter of fact, I often brought my laptop to my chemo infusions, and listened in on conference calls.
People often ask me how I was able to do everything I was doing.
The Lord kept me.
That’s the only answer I have for how I was able to keep going because believe me there were days I wanted to give up. I received a strength that is simply inexplicable.
I will also share that my besties kept me in prayer. They committed to fasting for me on Tuesdays (the day of my infusions). They made meals for me. They made me laugh. They even offered to shave their heads for me to which I replied, “Absolutely not”. I never felt alone in my cancer journey because of my family, my church family, especially my pastor, and my besties.
People also ask me what my cancer diagnosis taught me.
That’s an easier answer.
My cancer diagnosis taught me to LIVE Greater.
See, before my diagnosis I simply existed. I had a safe job. I had safe responsibilities in church. Everything I did was safe. Now? I’m ready to quit my safe job and commit 100% to writing and publishing my books (that God had been telling me to publish since 1999), growing my life coaching business, and working the prophetic ministry I was hesitant to walk in. I’ve always ministered to, counseled, and encouraged women, but now God has given me a greater platform on which to do that. This article being one of those platforms.
And so my advice to other women,
Don’t be afraid to step out and try new things. Try that dish, launch that business, work that ministry.
Obey the Lord
Do what He’s called you to do. If He’s calling you to a particular ministry, go for it. Don’t be afraid. If He’s called you, He’ll also equip you.
Love Your Family
Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Take the time now to tell folks you love them. Spend time with your children. They grow up so fast.3 pieces of advice for other women from @reeinspired from her cancer diagnosis. Click To Tweet
Cancer was one of the most devastating but most eye-opening experiences of my life. It taught me a lot about my marriage, my dreams, and myself. And because of that, I can honestly say my diagnosis has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.
Aretha was born and raised in Maryland where she experienced many of the temptations facing today’s youth. Heartbreak and the resulting depression from the death of her 22-month-old son, Anthony, when she was 17 and her mother’s death 6 months later, led Aretha to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1989. Aretha has been teaching the Word of God since 1998 and is an ordained Elder.
Aretha initially launched ReeINSPIRED as a simple blog to share her writings. Since its inception, the Lord has used ReeINSPIRED as an extension of Aretha’s biblical counseling and bible study ministries and is now a platform for her Life Coaching business.
ReeINSPIRED exists simply to help women to bounce back from the challenges life throws at them. Aretha is a firm believer in Romans 8:28 and urges women to find the “good” in every hardship, obstacle, and trial they face.
I found Aretha on Instagram, so be sure to check her out there. But if you are also interested in finding and keeping up with here elsewhere, you can do so here:
I love to spotlight and feature real women with real struggles. Women who are being open and transparent about their struggles, how they are not letting those things define them. Instead they are defining their own “good”. To see more about why transparency is so important please Click here.
Interested in submitting your reflection?
Latest posts by Kenya Rae (see all)
- How Changing One Simple Thing Is Helping Me “Adult” Again - April 28, 2017
- Raising A Daughter To Be Happy and Confident - April 26, 2017
- 3 Unparalleled Reasons Chicken Gnocchi is The Best Chicken Soup Ever - April 24, 2017