435 days ago there were meteor showers over Cincinnati. My world was rocked that night, but it had nothing to do with the meteors that my teenage son, Mikey, and I were watching in the wee hours of a sleepy summer night.

Right before I joined Mikey for Perseus's fireworks, I had awakened to get a drink of water, and while being one of those things that go bump in the night, trying to find my way to the kitchen sink, I happened to find a bump. Or a lump, rather, on my breast.

I cannot explain the shock and awe I felt. It was like a meteor to the chest, literally. I remember the lump felt like a shooter marble right beneath the "milky way." I'm pretty sure it wasn't there the day before. My husband, Dave, is pretty sure it wasn't there the day before. I don't see how we could've missed a meteor like that.

When the meteor show was over, I had a hard time keeping my thoughts from spiraling out of control. A sensible part of me, that I had to dig deeply for, took all the other parts of me and put them to bed.

I lay there, not wanting to wake Dave, deciding to wait out the night, wait for him to wake, wait to see if it would just go away. Wait. And pray.

Since my thoughts like to play connect the dots, this would be where my inner Lady Macbeth started coming out, as "Out, damn'd spot" were the words that came out as I prayed. This seemed like a reasonable prayer, so I went with it.

I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to say to Dave when he woke. I had nothing by the time he woke up, and just had to wing it. Some words tumbled out into the air and then seemed to settle in a cloud over Dave, as he groaned and reached over to feel the spot. I won't ever forget that groan. Dave's middle name, Wayne, means wagon, and I could just feel him bearing the weight that was to come.

He felt the spot; I had not imagined it. He got out of bed, made a pot of coffee, began researching how "not bad" it could be, made an appointment with my doctor, and told me to go play tennis and try to keep my mind off it until then.

My doctor somehow squeezed me into the schedule of the best breast surgeon in Cincinnati. I felt like God orchestrated it. Even in the middle of the muddle, God gave us glimpses of his hand of mercy. I had never experienced "peace that passes understanding" that deeply. I feel like part of me might has been in shock, but most of me was in awe of his care for me in all the scary details. On Friday, the breast surgeon scheduled a lumpectomy and biopsy for Tuesday, and sent me home for the weekend, to think "benign" thoughts. On Wednesday we got the phone call. All three of my teenagers were huddled around me, listening. It was cancer. I needed a mastectomy and chemo so I could be here to keep being their mommy.

My first two weeks of cancer felt like they went as quickly as that last paragraph. Not in the "time flies when you're having fun" sense, but in a godspeed way. As soon as we heard the C-word, we began the battle with a prayer meeting at our home, filled with friends, setting the course to carry me through all that was to come.

What followed was a double-mastectomy (preceded by a bra-burning with my girlfriends) then bone scans, cat scans, muga scans, and finally, a happy report: The cancer was gone. As soon as we heard, we had a praise meeting, which also doubled as my 43rd birthday. What a birthday gift: the proverbial new lease!

Still, there was a year-and-a-half of chemotherapy to come, which I will "wrap up" for my Christmas present this year. In fact, I am writing this from my blue recliner in the chemo lounge, which I call my chemo cocktail chair. I think it is ironic that it is a recliner and yet it isn't an easy chair. It's the hardest chair I've ever sat in. There have been days I've gone home and said "No more." But then I look at my kids and there's no way I'm ready to count down my days.

In the midst of Jeremiah's lament, he wrote of God's tender mercies that were new every day. Doesn't that make every day a mercy? Not that you have to sit in a chemo cocktail chair to experience it before you start counting all over again, but here I sit in mine, and it is Day 435 and counting.

Julie Evans is a writer based in Cincinnati.