Introspective Insights

Introspective - adj: Examining sensory and perceptual experiences. Insight - n: The capacity to discern the true nature of a situation.

Life and Joy in the Pain

In April 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. During those days, I wrote constantly. This post is a continuing series of the book I hope to one day publish. I survived cancer, which is a tremendous gift, but cancer continues to remain a shadow in my mind.

Journal entry 5/13/16: I haven’t talked about the MRI biopsy, the anxiety, the heart leaping dread when the phone rings, a gastro system confused and traumatized by constant stress. The uncertainty of now is this waiting. My body betrays my relatively calm mind in these moments.

Today it was when I was on the table for the MRI biopsy. I had taken the Valium but as we went further into the procedure I realized it was not enough. Over an hour with my arms and shoulders outstretched in the superman position, causing pain and numbness and stiffness. Four hours past breakfast and when they injected the numbing agent, they needed the maximum amount. But it was not enough, and I felt some of the movement, the needle, the burning.

I felt faint, sweat swelled up in every pore. I just wanted to move to relieve the tension and pain, but I couldn’t. They put cool cloths on me, took off the blankets. It seemed like an eternity, but maybe it was only a few minutes and I finally came out of it. The radiologist doing the biopsy said this was the body’s normal response to stress, that even if the mind is calm, this can happen. This was the most stressful test thus far.

I go home and collapse onto the couch. I’m sitting listening to For King and Country – Shoulders.

My help comes from You

You’re right here, pulling me through

You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders.

This song soothes my soul as I remember that God carries me through this.

My thoughts center on sister Rachel and all the trauma she has seen in recent days. A few short months ago she gave birth to sweet little Owen just one day shy of 28 weeks. While the circumstances around his birth were terrifying, his prognosis was good. Rachel and her husband Kal prepared themselves to be preemie parents and while Rachel recovered, they concentrated on adoring this little 1 lb. boy. Ten days later, he became sick and coded several times and died. They lost him forever on this earth. Their sweet little boy they had just begun to know, left them way too soon.

Just five months later and here I am in my mess and pain and she texts me daily even in the midst of her own horrible, personal, pain. Somehow, she is still willing to enter this pain with me. Overwhelming sobs roll out onto my shirt.

Beth, mom to five boys and dear friend texts me that same afternoon, “It’s a baby!” I perk up, sit up on the couch and text back, “What kind of baby?!?!?!” “A GIRL!” and sweet pictures start scrolling onto my phone. This beautiful family of five boys welcomed their sweet number six – a girl! I cry tears of joy and as I tell Jerry and the kids all five of us scream in delight. This pain and sorrow in life inexplicably linked to joy. Life continues, and we choose to engage and thrive or disconnect and die.

The catch in my throat, my tears, you see it all Jesus and I know you are doing a work, redeeming me always even during this terrible disease.


Hi! I'm Jennifer. I'm here in my little corner of southeastern Michigan observing relationships, family, and the world hoping to dig deeper and find the divine spark in it all. Thanks for visiting!

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