Breast Cancer Take Two

Since finding a lump in my armpit on the eve of the 7th anniversary of my first breast cancer diagnosis, my life has been moving in both high speed and slow motion.  Appointments, ultrasounds, biopsies, tests, scans, x-rays. . . And in between all those things, the waiting and waiting for phone calls with answers to questions I don’t even want to be in a position to be asking.

The waiting is awful, so awful in so many ways. But there is a strange beauty in it too. The heaviness pushes me to my knees because I literally have no other place to go. How much more fervently do I pray when life is hard? How much more in tune am I to those little daily gifts of grace when I am at the end of myself? There is something about the constant ache and the midnight battles with fear that draw me closer to the Giver of life.

For that, though I would never in a million years choose a second bout with cancer, I choose to be thankful. Thankful for the God who is with me always. When I’m walking my crazy dog in the sunshine and when my tear-stained face is buried in Corey’s chest.  When I’m watching ISU stomp on Kansas with Owen and Caitlin and when I’m trying not to dissolve into a puddle of tears in a YA fiction stack at the library.  He is an ever-present source of comfort.

And this week he has answered prayers in two very big ways.

  1. The HER2 protein testing on my biopsy came back inconclusive, so it was sent in for additional testing. A positive result would have meant chemo before surgery. It came back negative, allowing us to breathe easier.
  2. My scans came back clear meaning (as my dear friend Alex puts it) those “little cancer shi^*%ads” are all residing in my armpit. Having late stage cancer taken off the table yesterday was pretty amazing.

So, though I have cancer again, and thought I have some unpleasant stuff in front of me, I have peace.

Surgery is tomorrow, followed several weeks later radiation, possibly followed by chemo (will know in a couple weeks), followed by a trip to the ocean. Because that is the deal. A cancer diagnosis earns you a trip to the ocean. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.


  1. You are in my prayers. Just know we don’t get to see God show up big unless we have big problem. Those of us that have had or have cancer get to see him in amazing ways. So sorry this is happening again to you! God is close to you and your family . He will never leave or forsake you all!

  2. So very sorry you’re going through this again, Kim. You are often on my mind and I’m praying all the good things for you.

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