February 15, 2016 11:38am Broken yet Beautiful


Breast shell
Breast shell

And here it is. The shell I’ve chosen for Valentine’s Day. Continuing the tradition of picking a special shell off the beach, I transport it to the house and place it on the glass shelves. You can tell it is so beautiful and yet so broken. So cracked, so imperfect.

This journey into cancer started here at the beach on Valentine’s Day. My husband and I noticed my red, hot breast and he stated, “You better have that checked, Julia.” But I thought it was an infection and so did both doctors I saw. Giving me one antibiotic after another that worked but didn’t eradicate, we stumbled our way into the oncology clinic after I read about Inflammatory Breast Cancer and emailed an oncologist. “Pretty sure this is not me but I think someone should take a look” and they did.

This cancer has robbed me of so many things, I didn’t want it to rob me of Valentine’s Day too. But it tried. I felt edgier and grumpier as I drove toward the beach. Angst filled the car and my head until I didn’t think I had much to celebrate on this beautiful holiday of love. Reaching out to many friends, I asked for prayers and blessings. Being a psychiatrist often allows you to recognize the problem but not always find the solution. Friends help.


“I will pray that God heals your memories around this most lovely romantic weekend. May God use this Valentine’s to remind you how He always brings forth life and light and love, makes beauty from ashes and rebukes the evil one who wants to kill, steal, and destroy. Praise God who has redeemed you!!”

And just like that, it departed. Yes, this is Valentine’s Day 2016 not 2014 and this is a day of celebration. There is no such thing as cancer and darkness  not on this day, this Valentine’s Day, this day of love. And it turned out to be spectacular with roses, candy, a red shawl, a beautiful card and candles. A day of love and not of death and curses. God healed memories so I could receive.


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