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Mary – 55 Years Old

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The Red Hot Society by Mary 55 years. Having battled breast cancer, I see myself as part of, what I'll term, the Red Hot Society. (Not Red Hat Society) Memberships are available for all those who have battled cancer and now are ready to live with new enthusiasm and give exuberantly to help others fight cancer. How does God bring personal restoration after such a great struggle? One outcome of having had cancer is a unique appreciation for life. After cancer, I was jolted into a heightened awareness of how truly precious life is. I noticed the beauty of nature more. Variegated flowers, luxuriating leaves, and a purple and pink sunset enveloped me as I walked around the block. Today I look at life with renewed awe and wonder as through the eyes of a child. My own child's awestruck point of view provided me with a spontaneous appreciation of life when he discovered at age three that his hero, Christopher Columbus, wasn't alive. He asked me if God meant to kill the famous explorer. "Honey, God gives all of us a time to live on this earth and then we die and go on to live with the Lord in heaven forever". His bottom lip began to quiver: "Even me?" Giving him a serious hug, I answered, "Yes, all of us." Just as serious he whispered, "Could I just see it snow one more time?" Suddenly, in the face of a seemingly premature death, one last day of snowman building became crucial. I had a similarly crucial desire to build relationships after being critically ill. God increased my hunger for a new depth with family and friends. I wanted to give grace, to be humble more often than not, and to easily forgive. When wisecracks from friends hurt, I challenged myself to brush over their faults with grace and forgiveness. Humbling myself wasn't any easier, but I did begin to ask for forgiveness more quickly. I saw my sin as another example of my humanity, instead of shamefully wanting to hide it. As I continue to give myself grace, as well as receive it from God and others, I become fully aware of how life-sustaining grace is. Both receiving and giving grace are inevitably bound together. When struggling against a critical illness, grace is essential for healing. The road to red-hot living is paved with patience. I needed to patiently wait as God brought healing. When I found the breast cancer recurrence, I had been sick for several years. By the sheer time in the battle, I was ground down to almost nothing. Supportive prayers brought me the stamina to fight. But I had to be the one to drag my body onto that cold, metal radiation table every day. I would envision myself crawling into the giant, strong hands of God, and instead of radiation rays, I would picture God pouring streams of light into my quivering body. My head told my heart: " [His] strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in your weakness." (II Cor. 12:10 Amp.) "Lean on God's strength", I told myself. But how this would happen was a mystery. Slowly, yet surely, I began to notice a calm, internal fortitude. Days became months, seasons dissolved into years. Perseverance became my armor. In time, healing came. This woman who crawled to radiation became a warrior. God was my strength and portion, then and now. My outcome is a rich and more purposeful life than I could have imagined. The wisdom I gained from my fight against cancer is what others need for their fight. I "can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort [I] have received from God." (II Cor. 1:4 Amp.) A type of miracle of the loaves and fishes is being realized. "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap." (Luke 6:38 NIV) What the enemy of our souls means for evil, our great God means for our perpetual good. He intends for us to cooperate with Him in this red-hot living. Go ahead, enjoy the simple details of each new day, give grace to anyone, anywhere, and pass on the lessons from your battlefront to all those in need. "Freely, freely it is given to you. Freely freely, give." (Matt. 10:8 NIV) That is red-hot living brought full circle.
Age at Diagnosis
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Year Initially Diagnosed
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How Cancer was Found
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Stage at Diagnosis
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Type of Breast Cancer
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Surgery
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Lymph Node Involvement
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Lymph Node Dissection Type
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Radiation Therapy
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Chemotherapy
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Hormone Therapy
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Oopherectomy
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Current Disease Status
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Clinical Trial Participation
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Treatment-Induced Menopause
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Breast Reconstruction
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Lymphodema
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Physical Therapy
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Her2 Status
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Hormone Status
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Genetic Counseling
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BRCA1/2
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