Karen Shepherd Hill is a breast cancer survivor and I am thankful she is my friend, a Sister in Christ and she shares a sisterhood with many other women, including me--the Sisterhood of the Pink Robes. Thank you Karen for sharing your story.
In her own words...Her story
Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Scriptures that I uttered to myself over and over as I went through the diagnosis process. I laid on that table during the biopsy repeating over and over in my mind “I trust you Lord”
I knew it, in my mind and in my heart, what the results of the biopsy were going to be. I just knew. I knew the statistics. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history. I have no history. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the US developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer. It is most common in women over 50. I was 54 years old when I was diagnosed. Before my journey, I can remember seeing these statistics especially when I went for my yearly mammogram, and it would say 1 in 8 women would develop breast cancer and my mind would count 8 women that I was closest to in my life, thinking one of us is going to be the one. And on February 18, 2019, I became the 1 in 8. I was diagnosed with Invasive mammary carcinoma.
When you get that call and they utter the C word, your mind automatically takes off to the what if’s and the what now’s. I’m not going to lie, I was scared to death. But God kept bringing me back to those words again, I trust you Lord, I trust you Lord. And He asked me, do you really trust me Karen? I mean, I thought I did, but if I really did, why was I still so afraid? I mean, I’ve sang all of these songs with the praise team. Eye of the Storm, Fear Is a Liar, No longer a slave to fear, Waymaker, And then Trust in You. A song I’ve sung many times. Some of the words in the verses say I lay each down at your feet , I’ve tried to win this war I confess, My hands are weary I need your rest, No matter what I face, you’re by my side, Truth is you know what tomorrow brings, There’s not a day ahead you have not seen, You are my strength and comfort, you are my steady hand, You are my firm foundation, the rock on which I stand, There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already been. When you don’t move the mountains, I’m needing you to move, when you don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through, When you don’t give the answers, As I cry out to you, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you. There are those words again. Those are the words that continuously went through my mind. So what I wasn’t doing, was laying my burden down at the foot of the cross and at the feet of Jesus. And when I did that, I experienced the peace the He promises that passes all understanding.
Mark 11:23, In solemn truth I tell you that if any one shall say to this mountain, 'Remove, and hurl thyself into the sea,' and has no doubt about it in his heart, but stedfastly believes that what he says will happen, it shall be granted him.
I love the mountains and I love the ocean. I feel the most at peace when I am there. One of my favorite places in the world to go to is some property in the mountains that my family has owned for many years. You can stand on that mountain and it has a beautiful view of the valleys below. I was drawn to this place in the mountains a lot during my journey with cancer. I could feel God’s presence with me there. Reggie and I would ride up there and just sit and talk. And when the sun went down, and the lights came on in those valleys, It was a beautiful sight. I felt like God was telling me, Karen, you are in the valley right now, but my light stands with you. And I want that light to shine from you.
God has given me a wonderful husband and 2 sons who have been my side the whole time. My whole family have been my prayer warriors, cheering section, and have given me unconditional love and support. They’ve been my light in the valley. My First Light family. You’ve been my light in the valley. God put some wonderful ladies in my life here at First Light Church. Because he knew I would need them some day. Sherry Dancy, Peggy Winkler, Phyllis Smith, and Margie Caudill. All of these ladies had been in the valley that I was in at that time. Some of their words to me were, I’ve been there, You can do this, I’m a survivor and you will be too! I’m praying for you! Fight! They were being a light to me in the valley.
My journey has been much easier than a lot. My lumpectomy was on March 14, 2019 and I started a series of radiation on May 9 and ended radiation treatments on May 31, 2019. I will be on hormone inhibitor therapy for 5 years. A good friend of mine was diagnosed two weeks before me. Her fight has been so hard. She had a mastectomy and endured many chemotherapy treatments. Mine paled in comparison. And I really struggled with that. I don’t understand why I got out so much easier. She would call and check on me! I would tell her, I am fine, I will be fine, don’t worry about me, you need to take care of yourself. She was being a light to me in the valley.
I truly believe that I have been through this so that I can be a light to someone in the valley as well. And I’ve had the opportunity to share already with a few ladies that went on the breast cancer journey after me. I don’t know that I did any good. I just let them know I am here if they need me. And I was praying for them. And I want to continue to be someone else’s light. I have been told by my doctors I am cancer free. I stand here today as a cancer survivor of 18 months. God has a plan for my life. I just pray that I won’t let him down. Please pray that He will use me in the lives of others who may need me and I can be that light in the valley as well.
Karen Shepherd Hill
Karen's story is the first in the series of Her Story during the month of October on a beautiful grace.
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