By definition, courage means the ability to do something that frightens one; or strength in the face of pain or grief.
This is a picture of courage!
After being diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, I had genetic testing done. I tested positive for the “cancer gene”, BRAC2. It was highly recommended my siblings be tested as well. My two younger sisters, Roni (pictured on left) and Tammy (pictured on right), also tested positive for the BRAC2 gene. This mutated gene upped their chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer tremendously. Because I was the 5th generation we know of to get breast cancer, their risk became nearly a guarantee. These two women decided to do more than just wish or hope or dream of preventing breast cancer. They (along with their families) made the decision to be courageous! They made the choice to STOP cancer before it could start. In doing so, they willingly have sacrificed their bodies. Both have already had total hysterectomies to prevent ovairian cancer. Tomorrow, Tammy will have a double mastectomy. Next Monday, Roni will follow in her footsteps and also have a double mastectomy. Statistically, this should keep them from ever getting breast cancer as well.
I’m thankful my sisters have a choice. I’m proud of them for having the courage to face pain, suffering and grief. We believe strongly in the power of prayer. We also believe in the gifts God has given all people. Therefore, we have faith God’s hands will be on the medical teams caring for my sisters and will be with them as they heal on every level. These are multi-step surgeries spanning many months and sometimes years. This isn’t the easy way out by any means. Some will argue against preventive surgeries, but much prayer and education has gone into these decisions. Eight children should never have to hear, “I have cancer.” For this is peace no one can understand unless you’ve been the parent who’s had to tell their children those three words. Two husbands won’t have to hold the hand of their wives as they fight through treatment praying God’s plan is in accordance with their own.
If you know a James, you know we don’t sit around waiting for someone else to pick up “their sword”. We don’t back down. We don’t give up!
Tammy & Roni – we love you! God loves you! FEAR NOT!