October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in support, in honor of, and in memory of survivors, people wear pink.  Walks, galas, and other events are held to raise awareness and funds to support research to find a cure, but self-care, following-up with a primary care physician, and getting a yearly mammogram are essential for early detection. 

One spring morning in 2003 I woke up, brushed my teeth, got in the shower, and performed a self-breast check.  I felt an odd knot and I almost ignored it and brushed it off as a blocked milk duct, as I had recently stopped breastfeeding my youngest daughter. 

It kept nagging at me so I decided to make a same day appointment with my OB/GYN.  My regular doctor was not available and the man that performed my exam just happened to be the Chief of Breast Care and Surgery at Duke University Hospital. 

After only being in my exam for ten minutes, I was immediately whisk away for surgery prep. Everything moved so fast that other than calling my husband at that time, I didn’t have the opportunity to let any of my family know that I was going in for emergency breast surgery. 

I was scared and there was no one there to hold my hand while all that raced through my mind was what if I do have breast cancer, and what about my babies.  I remember laying on the cold operating room table and crying as I was counting backwards from 10, so unsure of what was next for me. 

When I woke up in recovery, my body was in total torment from the pain.  I remember the doctor telling me that I had to heal from the inside out, but nothing he said could have prepared me to view the hole that was left behind from the mass they removed from my right breast. 

My recovery was rough and the added pressure of waiting for my test results nagged at me constantly, but then I finally heard the one word I had been waiting for, BENIGN.

The fifty-cent size tumor that was removed was harmless and noncancerous.  The memories from that scare and the scar from my incision will always remind me of God’s goodness.  It too also reminds me to check myself and to get checked. 

Cancer moves silently and quickly, oftentimes without any signs of lumps or anything else, so I encourage you to get checked and spread the word to your loved ones.  Take your health seriously and hold the hand of a friend that may be in the fight of their lives.

Meet the Contributor

Deborah Woolard is a single mother of three from Raleigh, NC and she currently resides in Charlotte, NC.  She is an ordained & licensed minister and she serves as the Youth Director at R5 Church.  Her love for writing, especially poetry is one of the many ways God allows her to use her gifts for His glory. Her poetry can be viewed at


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