The Other Shoe


Until I had children, I was, for the most part, a by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal. Though I never put my life in danger, I would take a chance, take a risk, be spontaneous and let the chips fall where they may. I thought I'd escaped being one of those with the proverbial black cloud over my head. Bad things just didn't happen to me.

And then I got married and had a baby. And all the chance, risk and spontaneity went out the window. I was responsible for people and to people.

I had a family to think about, a household to take care of, people to feed and clothe and bathe and love.

And then the worry set in.... worry about something happening to my little boy, worry about losing my husband.... How would I ever go on if something like that happened?

In those early day of being a new mama I was so happy to have a healthy little baby. Just the other night Doug and I were talking about how much I held Adam when he was a baby. I just simply could not get enough of that sweet little child God had placed in our care.

But always, just below the giddy surface, dangled the proverbial Other Shoe.

Just dangling there....

Because how could I really be this happy and content for such a long time?
How could I really be blessed with this family and this life?
After waiting all these years to get married and have a baby, how could it all seemed to have worked out so well?


So it seemed very appropriate to receive a call from my OB/GYN office just as I was leaving Urgent Care a couple weeks ago.

In one hand I had a sheet diagnosing double ear infection and a prescription for a strong antibiotic and bed rest.

In the other hand I held my phone, listening to the nurse, "Mrs. Norwood, I am calling to let you know we just received the results of your mammogram and it seems there is a dark area in your left breast that needs further diagnosis."

She went on to explain how common it is for a second diagnostic mammogram to be ordered after a woman has her first screening mammogram. blah, blah, blah....

All I could hear was that shoe....

I immediately called the mammogram office and they told me I could come in two days later.

Bad sign...they want me in ASAP. This is bad.

But two days later I was laying in bed, nauseous and sick with the ear infection. And I had to reschedule for today, May 15th, then a whole week away.

As I laid in bed last week, ill with something I knew was only temporary, I tearfully thought about a cancer diagnosis and being ill with something that may not go away.

At times I felt strong and positive. That "nothing bad will happen to me" person I once was did at times climb the hill of doom and try to prevail. I tried to tell myself to not worry until I had been diagnosed. I tried to tell myself that, if I had cancer, I'd hit it head on like I do most anything. I would fight the good fight and do whatever it took.

And then I'd tuck my little boy into bed at night and he'd say, "Mom, please don't leave me." And the profoundness of those words would go straight through my heart.

I was back at work on Monday this week, but my mind was preoccupied with uncertainty and dread. Every day on the drive home, I'd cry and worry and pray to the Lord to let me be OK.

And today, at 9:45am when I walked into the doctor's office, my heart was in my throat.

As I slipped on the gown that buttons down the front, I wondered who before me had slipped on that gown and had her life changed forever.

As I sat in waiting room #2, the room where the diagnostic cases wait, I wondered who in that room would leave with bad news today. I heard biopsy, cystic breast cancer, and negative prognosis whispered in the hallway from passing nurses.

I had one set of three images taken and each time one would flash on the screen I would desperately search for any sign of something wrong.

And then I was sent to wait in room #2.

And then the doctor wanted another set of three, "getting more of the muscle this time".

That's not good. Has it already spread under my arm? Oh Lord, no!

Two hours later, the sweet, pregnant technician that had been so kind to me all morning called my name. She reached out for my hand when I got to the hall and said, "You're good to go. All's well."

And I just teared up. Right there in the hall outside room #2. Tears of joy instead of tears of fear and sadness.

I thought of my husband's face and my son's sweet little toes.

I thought about how thankful I am that our beach trip will be filled with talk of what to read and what to eat, instead of surgery, radiation and chemo schedules.

I always think of myself as Faithful..... Full of Faith. But when it's tested like this, it's hard.

No matter how much we lean into the Lord and rely on our Faith to carry us, it's hard. Those breath-taking few seconds/minutes/hours are lonely.

God is bigger than any Dangling Shoe.
I know that.

But to keep fighting the Enemy is a struggle sometimes, isn't it?

To stand firm in faith while faced with something we have not known before is hard.

To stand firm while thinking about leaving my family is hard.

"The results of today's examination DO NOT show any suspicious findings.
Come back in ONE YEAR."


Judi :

OMG! Jill! I am just catching up. What a traumatic while you have had. I can totally relate to your experience. Much love and BIG HUGS to you.

Boo and Hooties Mom :

I have been there with the waiting of the phone call (due to other health issues) and it is unbearable. I pray everyday that I will be here for my children and everyday I pray that I can be "Nana" to their kids!!!
I am happy for you that all went well.

Beth :

I went through that when my son was diagnosed with heart murmurs at his kindergarten physical, and again with a scary phone call from my dad's doctor. All I could say was, "God, you have to help me through this because I am just not strong enough." Thankfully, everything was fine in both instances. I'm so happy all is well for you, too!

The Mrs. :

I really relate to your post. Going through something really similar right now. I love your words, they are really helping me right now. God IS bigger than any shoe.

melissa :

Oh Jill, I am so happy all is well!! Thank God. I went through this exact same scene 2 years ago. Big hugs to you!


Knit-Wit :

I am so happy for you! Enjoy your trip to the beach. After this week you totally deserve it!

Just Mom :

Thanking the Lord for your good health.

Melissa @ Breath of Life :

Wow, Jill. What a scary experience! I can tell it had a profound impact on you.

Thanking the Lord that you're okay!

Momma Roar :

I'm so thankful that all is well! I cannot imagine how slowly that time probably passed while waiting!

You go and enjoy the beach!!

Leah in Iowa :

My, oh, my ~ what a time you've had! I'm sorry you had to go through all that. And then to be knocked flat for days with too much time to just lay and think, or let your mind run wild. I'm happy things turned out so well! Praising God with you,

kdwhorses :

Praise God! Man, I hear ya about the worrying part! Glad all is well, go lay in the sun on the beach! You deserve it!

Ang baylis :

God is SO much bigger, Jill! I so put myself in YOUR shoes as I read this! (I lost a sister to breast cancer.) I'm Praising God with you as I read this today!
Much love,
Angie xoxo

Steph :

So glad everything is okay!
I know what you mean about "the other shoe"! I feel like my life is so perfect and wonderful, what is just lurking around the corner to change all that?!

Pearls To Hide My Neck :

Hey, JIll,
What a horrible week for you. I hate that feeling of "life's to perfect and somethings has to happen." Glad everything is ok.

Susan :

First, praise God for the good report!!!!

Fighting the fight of faith is hard. It isn't called "fighting" for nothing!! We have to constantly keep our eyes on Him. After all the very next beat of our heart or breath in our lung is held in His hands. We just take those things forgranted, as we should!!!

Lisa writes... :

Well said! Our God is faithful, NO MATTER THE OUTCOME!

Melissa @ Breath of Life gave you a shout out in my comments today--I'm so glad she sent me your way!

justabeachkat :

Oh Jill! As you know I've been there and done that, but my report wasn't good. Praise God though that mine was caught so early and no lymph node involvement so I only had to do chemo. It's a scary time each and every time I go for a mammogram.

My stomach was in my throat as I read your post. My heart started racing and the fright set in for you. Thank you God for Jill's good report.

Have a wonderful weekend sweet friend!

Melissa in Mel's World :

Jill, I absolutely have chill bumps up and down my arms...I just went through that same thing about 4 months ago, and don't you know that the day I met with the Breast Surgeon (oh yeah, mine went that far) and got the ALL CLEAR is the same day I got a letter in the mail saying my PAP came back "abnormal". Now, I have to go every 6 months for a "procedure" to make sure I am not any more "abnormal" than I was before. HA! What a hoot!

I am overjoyed to hear that you were given the ALL CLEAR and consider yourself hugged from the deep south part of Florida.

annie :


Tammy :

I am completely and literally crying with you...first those tears of fear and now the tears of joy.

I have had several times when I had to go back when they found a mass...but each time it was due to "lumpy breast tissue"...yet, each time I was just as terrified as the last. I want to have faith and peace ...but I can so identify with your underlining fears always just under the surface.

What a powerful testimony, Jill.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) :

OH Jill! I am so so sorry you had to go through this. I went through some scares last year (I had a lumpectomy in November.) It was truly one of the scariest experiences I have been through. Bottom line is I am OK.

I'm so glad you are OK, too! Thank God!

Becky K. :

I have been there. It is frightening. I am thankful that you are ok. So was I.

Have a great week.

Becky K.

CR :

So glad everything is okay! Enjoy your time away!

Dionna :

Jill -
I can understand your feelings and fear. I've been there - only with cysts. And I still have a re-check on those in my future.
I am glad that all was okay with you. :)

jilly :

YAH YEAH YAH! Congratulations and I am SO happy for you. The feeling of euphoria must be over whelming! Congratulations!

Shawna :

I'm tearing up here! So scary! I am so glad everything is ok.

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit :

What a scary experience! Thanking God with you that all is well.

Lisa @ Take90West :

I am so relieved.
I live life always waiting for the other shoe to drop...I need to remember that God is bigger than that.
I am so glad that you are fine. Now have a great beach trip...where is your matching hat?

Jillian :

So glad to see all turned out well. I'd also like to say what a great writer you are and this is a talent God has given you for a reason!


Sonya :

How scary! But what wonderful news. I often wonder what would happen to our family if I were diagnosed with cancer. Several people in my family have had it and a few have died from it. It's scary to think about. I think it makes me hold onto my kids even tighter and tell them I love them for the bazillionth time.

I'm glad the news was good for you. I also hope we'll all remember to pray for those people you mentioned....the ones who slipped that gown on before you and received news that changed their lives forever.

Tickled Pink And Green :

My friends all tell me they always have to go in for second looks and it's never anything. So when I went in a few months ago, and they sent me a letter saying they wanted to see more, I haven't called back! Oops. I guess I better get to work on that.

It's so discouraging because I remember hearing Robin Roberts (ABC Good Morning America) admit that it wasn't the mammogram that caught the cancer, it was an MRI! And then my gynecologist told me her best friend went for her mammogram with extremely good doctors and they saw something but then told her it wasn't anything and she finally went in for a 2nd opinion and it was something like Stage 2 or 3 cancer. WTH???

Somehow it all feels so futile to me, but I guess I'll call and go in.

By the way, we share a first name! ;-)

Meredith :

Jill, so glad to hear the good news at the end of this post. Prayers are being sent your way.


Dianne :

Very powerful, Jill. I'm glad all is well.

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