A Pinch of Love

So…todays self love was not fun…but necessary! Today I had my yearly mammogram. I am very serious about my yearly visits. You see, I have a long standing family history of cancer, on both sides of my family. So I have been getting yearly mammograms done since I was 35. It is no joke y’all. The most awkward, uncomfortable, and slightly painful exam ever!! Well other than your annual ob/gyn visits or getting on the scales in front of the nurse! If you haven’t had one, schedule it!!! As awful as they are, they save lives!!! I watched cancer take my grandmother, and my first husband. I do not want any of my family members to watch that kind of suffering if I can help it. I am not taking any chances and am being very proactive with my health! Daily healthy choices are a part of it where I haven’t done so well in the past few years. But doctors visits are crucial!

Part of self love and self care isn’t always pleasant, but it is what we call a necessary evil. I won’t lie, the thought of cancer terrifies me. I have lived through it with multiple family members. The word itself bubbles up a serious fear in me! Walking that journey with my Mimi in her 60’s was gut wrenching and I wasn’t even with her everyday. Traversing that with my husband of 32 years was my worst nightmare.Cancer was something that we had discussed together, but we always assumed it was going to be me. He knew all my plans of action (as does Matt!) if any type of cancer showed up in me. Uterus out and boobs off! Not playing!! Well, as of last June, my uterus came out, due to other issues, so one less thing to remove! We had no plan if we lost him! So our world pretty much imploded the moment they told me he had sinus cancer. When he died 9 months later, our world fell apart. So my job from that day forward was to take care of 3 young children and myself. I lost a lot of me over the next few years. Grief consumed all of us and my day to day goal was just to keep us all alive, food in our bellies and a roof over our heads! Thankfully we had a fantastic support system of family and friends who stepped in and helped when I fell short, which happened often. We wouldn’t have made it through without them.

I encourage you all to schedule your mammograms, ob/gyn visit, annual physicals. They become baselines so that when something does change, the doctors can catch it quickly and proceed swiftly. It can be the difference between stage 1 and stage 4! The later the stage the more severe and complicated the treatment, side effects, recovery and survival. There are so many improvement’s in cancer treatment. Be proactive. Don’t wait until something feels wrong. Your life matters! Your health matters! You matter!!!

Ephesians 5:29 “For no one has ever hated his own body, but nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as Christ does the church.”

By Laurel Austin Henson

Laurel spent 8 months caring for her first husband after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He passed away at 33, leaving behind a daughter of 7 and 5 year old twin boys. After sowing millions of tears, Laurel sought out God daily and began to plan for a life of being a single mother, but ready to raise their children in faith, hope and love. God gave her more than she could have ever imagined when she brought Matt into her life, along with his 2 children. He was recently divorced and the providence of God had been leading up to this life for more than 20 years! Now Laurel is reaping joy with Matt and their 5 beautiful children. Thanks be to God for all the beauty created from the ashes of death and divorce.

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