I’ve thought a lot about my cancer and what it means for my future now that I’ve completed chemotherapy and radiation. The verse that resonated with me the most during this time was Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread … because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”
No matter your circumstance, these are powerful words of strength and companionship if you listen to them and allow God to take place in your heart. Giving up control and placing trust and faith in God is tough.
God allowed me to be strong and courageous, and my friends and family helped nourish that. Every day and in every way, silent or visible, friends were there giving me the boosts I needed. It takes great courage to face a life-changing medical diagnosis. It takes every ounce of strength to return to cancer treatment centers and find your space among those professionals who are finding the strength to be there for you.
I didn’t always like the professionals, but I learned to respect their compassion in performing their calling. When I loosened up, relaxed and gave myself to God—that was the turning point. I quit resisting, and became more compassionate to myself and others each time I entered the building. Strength, courage and trust: Try it!
Instead of being terrified, I thought of all those who survived before me. Medical advances are wondrous. Perhaps fear comes with lack of faith or a feeling of being alone.
I’ve felt so blessed throughout this time. It is beyond humbling. I am thankful for all who offered kind words, prayers, visits, personal gifts and unspoken thoughts.
The Lord our God goes with us. Lean on those comforting words in Deuteronomy. God might not take away the pain, but God will not fail or forsake us.
I don’t know what the future holds for me. I’m not sure about further diagnostic tests other than regular mammograms. I do know that God has given me the best network of support—my friends, my family, my Women of the ELCA sisters—and if I need it, I know that I can shout loud and clear, calling on my warriors.
Syd Brinkman of Allison, Iowa, served on the churchwide executive board from 2008-2014. She discovered she had breast cancer in December 2014 and finished chemo and radiation in August 2015.
Photo of Syd with her husband, Randy, by M. Photography used with permission