Although most of the world knows the importance of 9/11, the significance of 11/11 is a treasure that I furtively guard deep in my heart. The banks are closed, the mail is not delivered, and schoolchildren stay home for Veterans Day. But to me, 11/11 is so much more than a national holiday; it’s a day I remember with reverence and awe. I should be baking cupcakes and bringing them to work, or throwing a party for neighbors and friends. You see, 11/11/11 was a milestone in my life, and God told me so.
In 2011, I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. “Your type of cancer tends to recur within five years,” said Dr. Medeiros in February of that year.
My sister was with me at the doctor’s office, and I could see her flinch. Or was she blinking back tears?
“So if I live to sixty, I can throw a big birthday party and breathe a sigh of relief?” I asked.
“Something like that,” agreed the doctor.
Five years! The day before I had struggled with a ten-year survival statistic; the next day I was told that I might have but five years to live. Of course, it wasn’t stated quite so bluntly. The focus was on survival rate—but there are those who make up the statistic that no one wants to be a part of: those who don’t survive. I knew I should not focus on that, but I should be realistic, no?
Mastectomy, chemo, hair loss, feeling like living dead. I had some hard times in 2011. But by summer, I was feeling almost normal. God had challenged me to journal through my cancer, and I was questioning when my cancer journey—and journaling—was over. Although I was getting Herceptin through a medi-port every three weeks during the summer and into the fall, I didn’t feel all that bad.
When the Lord orchestrates something, only He can see the beginning and the end. I never could have guessed what He had planned for me.
11/11/11 had started out like many other days, humdrum and tinged with sadness. The trees had been stripped of their summer garb much earlier that autumn, and they stood uncomfortably bare against skies, skies that had assumed their winter colorlessness. Winter loomed ahead like a gray challenge.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
– Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)
A friend had told me that a preacher with the gift of prophecy was going to be in a local church that evening, so we’d arranged to go with our families. I had hoped and prayed that this man would have a word from God for me. I thought he might tell me something in private after the service was over—if I was fortunate. Most likely, I wouldn’t even get near him.
After an hour of worship music and another hour of preaching, the preacher walked off the stage and started down the center aisle towards the back of the church. He got closer and closer, and then stopped to talk to my husband.
“Wife down here somewhere?”
I raised my hand just a little bit. I was sitting two seats away from my husband. I was astounded that he picked me out of a crowd of six or eight hundred.
“Please come here, little lady.”
I stood up and went out into the aisle. My heart was pounding.
“I’m gonna tell you this: the Lord takes the death sentence off your life! He extends your life on the earth. Amen?”
I could hardly believe what was happening: he wasn’t privately telling me a message from God; he’d singled me out of the crowd right in front of everyone. I nodded my head and said, “Amen” as tears filled my eyes.
“You got a bad report, but God gives you a good report!”
“Thank you, praise God,” I said quietly.
“You believe it?”
“Yes, I do,” I nodded as everyone in the sanctuary watched.
“You receive it. Then everything changes from this night forward. Amen?”
And it did. I stopped all treatment. I had the medi-port removed. And I went on with my life.
Five years have passed since that day. And my cancer has not recurred—praise the Lord!! Cupcakes anyone?