52: Divinely Choreographed

52: Divinely Choreographed

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Divinely Choreographed

All the seeming “coincidences” . . .were actually God catching me in his arms.

~Shirley Corder

I don’t know what made me go into the doctor’s office one afternoon when I noticed a dent and a bruise on my left breast. After all, I had just been to see him three weeks earlier and left with a clean bill of health. He had told me my mammograms were normal, he felt nothing suspicious, and he would see me again next year. I thanked him and went back to a temporary teaching assignment I had accepted just a few days earlier—an assignment I hesitated to accept at first until something deep down inside me said, “Do it.”

And now, here I was sitting on an exam table, facing a young surgeon I had never met before. He said that the bruise looked like the result of a sharp blow, that I must have hit myself very hard on something.

“But I don’t remember hitting myself anywhere,” I said, bewildered. “Am I to worry about this?”

“As the wall of the breast heals, it will go back to normal,” he replied. “However, I do feel a thickness in the breast.”

“A thickness?” I repeated, echoing his words. “It wasn’t there three weeks ago.”

He said he wanted to do a biopsy just to be sure it was nothing more than a bruise.

“Biopsy?” I felt chills run up and down my spine.

“To err on the side of caution,” he assured me.

I went home that afternoon confused and a little scared. Where could I have possibly bumped myself? And not remembered?

The next day I went shopping with my daughter. I was sitting outside the fitting room while she was trying on clothes when I suddenly recalled everything. Since this was Saturday, I had to wait until Monday to call my surgeon.

But before I called him I went back to the school I had been teaching at and retraced the route I had taken to the teacher’s room that morning. The playground. The gate. The pain.

“Yes!” I said, as soon as I heard his voice. “I did hit myself! I was hurrying onto the playground and hit myself on the steel handle of the entry gate.”

“Did you hit yourself in the spot of the bruise?” he asked.

“Yes. In the exact spot.”

A sense of relief washed over me, certain that I would not have to have a biopsy now. “So what do you think the thickness was?”

“It was probably the scar tissue that formed from the bruise where you hit yourself. But,” he continued, “I would still like to go ahead with the biopsy to be certain there’s nothing there.”

That following Thursday I had the biopsy. The surgeon found a lump in the scar tissue that had formed from the bruise. As I opened the gate, I had hit myself in the exact spot where a malignant tumor had been growing for about two years.

That night, I sat my children down on the couch and told them I had breast cancer. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces. Confusion. Fear. Concern. Their expressions are etched in my soul forever.

My surgery was scheduled for Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, the only day that the operating room had an opening. And it definitely turned out to be a good Friday. The surgery revealed that all my lymph nodes were clean, as well as the marginal tissue around the tumor. My cancer had not spread.

“What are the chances of that?” I asked myself over and over again, thinking about the gate hitting me in the exact spot of the tumor.

A sharp blow? A bruise? A thickness? These words kept haunting me. I was the only one on the playground that morning. I merely opened a gate. And collided with it — big time.

While all this was taking place, I wasn’t aware that I was walking through a miracle — until I reached the other side of it. And then I suddenly realized that God had divinely choreographed everything.

It had been only three weeks since that initial visit to the doctor for my yearly physical when I got that call from an elementary school needing a teacher for a class of thirty lively sixth-graders. I could have gone the entire year before my cancer was uncovered. Perhaps then it would have been too late.

And maybe if I had remembered hitting myself on the gate at the time it actually happened, I would have realized where the bruise had come from and not have gone into the doctor’s office at all.

As I write this piece, it has been nineteen years since that malignant tumor was removed from my breast. Looking back, I’m glad I went ahead and accepted that temporary teaching assignment, listening to the voice inside me that said, “Do it.”

I take each day and live it as best I can, making each morning a brand-new beginning — a personal promise of new life.

New beginnings. New life. Nineteen years and counting . . .

God had truly opened a gate to a miracle.

~Lola Di Giulio De Maci

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