Jump directly to the content
Kay Warren: Another Mammogram, Another Chance to Surrender

Kay Warren: Another Mammogram, Another Chance to Surrender


Jun 28 2013
Once a year, I allow myself to worry about a recurrence of breast cancer.

Editor's note: Kay Warren shared the following stream-of-consciousness reflection on her Facebook page on Thursday. It is being reposted here with her permission.

Another day, another chance to surrender. Another anxiety-producing event, another opportunity to choose joy. This morning was my annual mammogram – the one day a year I allow myself to worry about a recurrence of breast cancer.

When I finished treatment for breast cancer nine years ago, I determined that I was not going to live the rest of my life looking over my shoulder to see if cancer was coming after me. I had done everything the doctors recommended – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and 5 years of an estrogen-blocking drug – there was nothing else medically I could do. Now it was completely up to God.

I've always been prone to hypochondria (embarrassing but true), and if I followed my natural bent towards anxiety and fear, I saw a long future ahead of me filled with sleepless nights, constant checking of any tiny abnormality in my body, and a complete and utter lack of joy as I anticipated cancer's possible return.

I gave myself a good talking to – and decided that while I cannot ultimately control the length of my life, I can certainly control the depth of my life; not the quantity of days on earth, but the quality of those days. Did I want fear and anxiety and worry to be my legacy? Or did I want to live passionately, freely, fully embracing every day as a gift from God to be used for his glory? I chose joy!


And that's how it has been. Except on the day I get a mammogram.

And on those days once a year, I remember not to use deodorant or lotion or perfume before the test. I remember to wear pants rather than a skirt or a dress because the ridiculous little cape they make me wear at the breast center only comes to my waist. Cape, I said. Which means it flops open at the slightest movement – and if it isn't bad enough to be going for a mammogram (it hurts!!), feeling anxious and nervous, you have to be concerned about exposing yourself to every other woman in the place as this flimsy, treacherous piece of fabric draped around your neck refuses to stay closed. (Side note: is there any reason they couldn't put more than one snap at the neck??)

The test is over in minutes. Most women get dressed and leave without knowing the results, but because I've had cancer before, my doctor graciously prescribes a diagnostic mammogram, which means I sit in the waiting room—holding a magazine and mindlessly turning the pages—until the radiologist reads my films.
 Waiting to hear results.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Why We Want to Return to Stars Hollow

Why We Want to Return to Stars Hollow

The weirdest part of the Gilmore Girls hometown? How they did community right.
My Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned

My Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned

7 things you should know, from a mom who’s been there
Don’t Just Pray Alone

Don’t Just Pray Alone

The world is desperate for people to pray with.
In Defense of Clutter

In Defense of Clutter

What to do about privilege, poverty, and piles of stuff.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything—Even Our Church

I came to see special needs families as an unreached people group.

Twitter

  • God and women's freedom are tied up together in Beyonc00e9's #LEMONADE d83cdf4b https://t.co/06owHPGAW2
  • RT @KatelynBeaty: Fascinating, discomfiting: Why 'The Biggest Loser' contestants regain the weight: @nytimes https://t.co/wMiuTZZY9q
  • RT @aliciacohn: 12 million coloring books sold in 2015: IS America2019s obsession with adult coloring a cry for help? "https://t.co/u8sc3Fj8by2026
  • RT @Atoes84: Messages from the Edge: Suicide Notes on Social Media via @CT_Women #SPSM #suicide https://t.co/L8XRAeUPL3
  • RT @amyjuliabecker: I loved working on a piece re the blessings of a small church for @CTmagazine. Will post a link when it's unlocked! htt2026


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Kay Warren: Another Mammogram, Another Chance to Surrender