Grace was abused by her step-father and betrayed by her mother who watched silently nearby and did nothing. Her father and his family were the only "normal" she knew. Growing up, she often visited and stayed with her paternal grandparents where a Christian foundation existed and she was marked by God to be one of His children, though it took years for her to come to this realization.
The best days of her childhood were these visits but they were always short lived as she returned to the destructive, non-functional, abusive home where she lived. At age 14, her father plucked her from the abuse and gained custody of her. He pushed her during high school to succeed and learn. His priority was her education. The storm she was expelled from did not leave her spirit for a long time. She was bitter, angry and determined to be "successful" at all costs. Oftentimes this determination was a good thing but most of the time it was self-destructing.
After graduating college and marrying the love of her life, she settled in the coastal region of North Carolina and severed all ties to her past including any relationship with those who hurt her. She forgave them but could not forget. She is a type A personality and thrives on stress. She also has a bit of a compulsive control and "order" personality.
In 2003, at age 34, and with two babies, her life forever changed with the diagnosis of breast cancer. After finding a 7 mm lump (the size of a bb or pea) in her breast during a self-breast exam, her OB/GYN (God Bless her) decided to be cautious and ordered a mammogram and ultrasound and set up an appointment with a surgeon. The professionals all concurred that the lump was probably a Fibro adenoma (a clump of normal cells). They also all concurred that it was better to "be safe" and remove it and send it out to pathology for accuracy.
After the surgeon removed it she indicated that everything looked normal and she did not think it was consistent with cancer. Grace never gave it a second thought since the surgeon seemed so sure. The surgeon still sent it out to pathology "just in case" and because it was standard procedure in the hospital. The night before Grace got the cancer results she had a brief image of a dark shadow figure standing at her front door. She did not relate that image to what was going to happen the next day, she just thought it was odd. She even half jokingly asked the Lord was that the enemy or death at her front door, and she prayed over her family and fell back to sleep without worry. The next day she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was two kinds, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) which means it was contained in the ducts and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma which means it is on the move. A protein that cancer "feeds" off of called HER-2neu tested positive in Grace which meant it was moving aggressively. The HER-2 neu indicated the protein was being produced 3 times the amount necessary to "feed" the 7 mm cancer which was an indication that the tiny cancer was meant to be huge and fast or there was another area of cancer the protein was being produced to feed.
This was rare because most invasive forms are not aggressive. This was bad news because it does not respond well to treatment (chemo or radiation). It was also the most aggressive HER-2 neu score on the scale. The good news was Grace was Estrogen and Progesterone Receptor Positive which meant her cancer was likely caused from an over supply of Estrogen and Progesterone which is like a chemical overload in her body (STRESS and other factors). And the cancer will respond to cancer fighting drugs that target these receptors.
Read Grace's emotional story about her first year's journey through breast cancer. Discover how she, with the help of God, overcame it and was healed physically and spiritually and how she finally accepted God's calling to be one of His children through this crisis. Her story will have you laughing one moment and crying the next. It will transform your life and not only educate but expose the details of one's emotional journey through breast cancer.
Connie Hill (Author of From Lump to Laughter The Story of Grace) is a native of North Carolina who overcame breast cancer when she was diagnosed at age 34. Her two children, both boys, were 3 and 1 at the time of diagnoses. She is married to her “rock” and best friend, Flint. She has a brother, who is a policeman and lives in another state. Originally from Durham, NC she made Wilmington, NC her home after graduating at UNCW with a BS in Marine Biology and a minor in Education.