October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and at WestBow Press, we are honored to have published a book by author and breast cancer survivor Amy Hauser. Amy was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2010, and she began blogging to share her health updates with friends and family. Last month, her book In His Grip … a Walk Through Breast Cancer, was published.
We talked with Amy about her book and her new ministry, Horses.Healing.Hope.
WBP: What was your immediate reaction upon finding out you had breast cancer?
AH: In the mammogram appointment, the doctors were very outwardly concerned. They sent me off with hugs and words of encouragement … needless to say, that is when I felt most concerned. Feeling a bit blindsided by their reaction to what they saw, my next five days were full of anxious thoughts and fears of the worst-case scenario. My husband and I did lots of praying.
Once I received the call confirming my five-day nightmare, my first reaction was, “Okay, it is time to prepare for battle. I know what we have to face now and it’s time to fight.”
WBP: Did you turn to God upon your diagnosis or did you go through a season of mourning? Anger? Fear?
AH: My ability to lean on God was immediate. While I turned to Him right from the start, I still had many moments of mourning. Anger and fear were also present in the beginning, but they certainly did not trump any of the good that God was showing me/us as we started down this path.
It took a lot of pain in my life and my marriage to get me to this point, but God finally got my attention! This is a big part of why I felt God needed me to share this journey. Cancer is really only one aspect of learning to remain in His grip, but it’s an important and large one. God taught me SO MUCH about myself: where I was lacking in trust and how I was seeing myself as a less-than-worthy child of the most amazing Father we could ever ask for.
Fear is an issue for cancer survivors and really comes into play for many AFTER treatments are over and the hair begins to grow back. The doctors release you from their regular care, and fear begins to creep in. This is the “new normal” that has to be worked. I have started a program that helps target this stage for breast cancer survivors. It is called Horses.Healing.Hope. and it’s an equine assisted therapy program. To learn more about this, visit our website.
WBP: Is there a Bible verse that stuck with you throughout your fight when diagnosed with breast cancer?
AH: Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 40:31
All these come to mind without having to look them up. They became daily, and sometimes hourly, breath prayers.
WBP: Why did you decide to publish your story?
AH: My story began when I was asked by family to consider setting up a blog on my health status. I figured this would save time on the phone and having to retell everything over and over and it would keep me from getting tired of talking. The blogging quickly became an outlet for sharing my heart. I would share my thoughts and before long, we keep hearing that the journaling was an inspiration for others. That was God.
WBP: As a survivor of breast cancer, have you been able to discern lessons learned through your journey?
AH: God doesn’t give us cancer but He may allow such things as cancer, death, job loss, or anything we see as a trials. What we do with these trials is up to us. Are we going to see His plan for using these for good or let Satan have the final word? I learned to lean on Christ in a way I never thought possible. The depth of God’s character that was revealed to me through this season of cancer was the best gift I could have ever received.
We need not let fear have the driver’s seat in our lives. God has a plan for each us and we are asked to boldly walk through what lies ahead and share what we find on the other side. If I can, so can you. The blessings will abound, even if the outcome isn’t exactly as you may originally perceive to be what is best.
WBP: What is the one thing that you want people to walk away with when they read your book?
AH: They are not alone in the midst of what might seem like a dark and lonely place. Fear can dominate when we suffer in solitude. Light shines in when we share our struggles.
WBP: What is the best piece of advice for someone living with a cancer diagnosis?
AH: Seek out the silver linings. Do not look back at any past struggles you may feel have been losses, only look this new challenge as a way God wants to show you HE is the way, the truth, and the light.