Thursday, August 21, 2014
I’ve always felt like in my life things for me have been challenging and trying. Even as a child. I’ve always tried to see the blessings in the trials or challenges but it hasn’t always been easy.
After getting married, I found myself in a deep depression because I endured 9 years of infertility and surgeries to try and conceive. After several failed attempts of invitro and extensive hormone shots I was finally blessed with a child. I look back at that experience and I learned so much from the 9 years of heart ache. I thought this really taught me patience and faith that I really never had. I took that experience and truly learned from it.
Years later without any medical help I conceived my daughter, Maya. During the pregency I never knew that there was anything to be concerned about. After having Maya I learned that she had a rare form of skeletal dysplasia which would involve extensive surgeries throughout her life. At that time I was angry and couldn’t accept it. I believe I was in denial for a long time. I really had a hard time holding on to faith and allowing the Lord to help me through this.
Also during this time I began to feel that something just wasn’t right with my body. I kept ignoring it. I finally listened to the spirit and went to my doctor. I expressed to him I felt a slight soreness in my right breast. He assured me it was probably nothing to be concerned about but just to be safe I found myself going to have a mammogram at age 36.
Four days later I was told 3 words no one wants to hear, “You have cancer.” Not only did I have cancer but it was Breast Cancer Stage 3b, the kind of cancer that requires 6 months of chemo therapy, 35 rounds of radiation, a mastectomy and lymph node removal. I thought to myself I’m not even over accepting what was to come with Maya and now I have to think about saving my own life!
At this time I believe the Lord helped me go into survival mode. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn’t have time to think that it was going to be a long journey. All I could do was try to survive so I could care for my family and help Maya with her future surgeries so she could walk and have a quality of life she deserved. The adversity in this experience tired my faith. There were days I did not want to live and days where I just couldn’t face anyone. It was years of recovery because of all the setbacks due to infections and surgeries not being a success! I just wanted to give up. I wanted to just say okay I’m done.
One day I was on my way to have another surgery due to infection and I thought “why again? Why do I have to be away from my small children and family and go through more pain.?” A small voice came to me and said, “Elizabeth this was what you accepted before you came to this earth. You knew this trial and adversity would be handed to you. Just like the trials other people have. It’s what was handed to us before we come to earth." I never questioned again why or how will I get through this. I knew then when you need to survive and continue to live you will do whatever it takes to do it.
Looking back at the previous trails and adversity in my life, I now know it prepared me for this long journey with breast cancer. It allowed me to handle it with a positive outlook without negativity. It has paved the way for my future trials that I will have. It has allowed me to understand more of the “whys”. In 2 Nephi 2:11 it says that adversity is part of Heavenly Father's plan for us. This was testified to me the day I questioned "why me?” I know that adversity comes with blessings and it’s easy to say and hard to accept, but you have to allow Him to test our faith and give us these experiences to make us stronger people. Adversity is for our good!
-Elizabeth Cluff, Breast Cancer Survivor.