Here I was. Surrounded by pink. Pink posters. Pink furnishings. Pink signs. The Women’s Imaging Center in the Lexington Medical Center. I’ve never seen so much pink. I mean, I’ve always wanted to get in touch with my feminine side, but . . .
About a month ago I began to experience a tenderness in my right, uh, breast, which my family doctor described as a “mass.” I only use the word mass when I’m describing the Roman Catholic practice of communion. “We’ll schedule you for a mammogram,” he said.
I learned very quickly — thank you, Goggle! — that “the American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States for 2016 are:
About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed
About 440 men will die from breast cancer
Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been fairly stable over the last 30 years.”
Before I went for my test, I asked my friend to pray for me. Instead of just saying, “Of course, I’ll pray for you,” he said, “What should I pray for?” My obvious answer was that the diagnosis would be positive. Nothing to worry about. Just an anomaly. He said, “I’ll pray that God will show you what His purpose is now that He’s got your attention.” Great. Thanks.
“Got my attention?” I teach theology in an Evangelical seminary, for goodness’ sakes! But the next couple of days brought about a kind of self-examination that was healthy and vital. How can I best honor Him if the diagnosis is not positive?
The mammogram was taken (I’m much more sympathetic to what you ladies go through after my experience) and the doctor read it right away. As he came into the examining room, his first words were, “It’s not cancer.” That’s all I needed to hear. He said the technical name for it is gynecomastia, the development of breast tissue in men. It can be painful and some men get it so bad that they can no longer wear a seatbelt when they are driving.
I immediately called my wife — who has gone through a number of medical anxieties with me — and we both thanked the Lord for His mercy. As I got in my car, gratefully putting on my seatbelt, I said outloud, “Lord, you don’t owe me anything. Thank You for Your kindness and mercy in my life.”
I recently read an article by the theologian Wayne Grudem entitled “I Have Parkinson’s Disease and I Am At Peace” (found here). I deeply appreciate his godly attitude.
If you are in good health, thank the Lord for His mercies. If you are struggling with some issue, remember that He wants to use you and me, especially in our brokenness. Ask yourself some tough questions about His purposes for you. Praise Him for His sustaining grace. And, perhaps, even wear something pink today.