“The C Word” – by Brittany Peterson

April 6, 2022

In the weeks leading up to my diagnosis, amid numerous doctor visits, ultrasounds, and poking and prodding of biopsies, my husband, Casey, and I were puzzled about this mysterious lump on my breast. In conversations with my doctors and nurses, they kept throwing around this word which–at the time–seemed so vulgar. 

“Watch your language!” my heart screamed. 

Cancer. 

Each time the word was mentioned, it was a bullet to the gut, penetrating my armor of ignorant bliss. I was in the crosshairs of a life-threatening diagnosis, and I had nowhere to retreat. 

I’ll never forget the moment we got the call. My nurse, with all the gentleness of a mother, told us the biopsy results came back, and it was in fact cancer: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. My heart sank and I couldn’t put words together. I don’t remember anything else about the rest of our conversation with that nurse. We hung up the phone and Casey held me. We cried in silence for a while. The waves of heartbreak crashed down on us like a hurricane. We thought of our precious children and how our lives were now, forever changed. 

It took a couple of weeks to process our new reality. We were numb for some time and didn’t know what to feel. I couldn’t figure out how we could do this with three kids under 6, still so dependent on us. I knew I should be hopeful, but the diagnosis felt like a death sentence. 

With time, prayer, and resting on the promises of God, the “C” word lost its sting. 

Now, I use it every day. I even make cancer jokes. It has no power over me because I know a different “C” word who has waged a war on cancer itself. 

Christ.

When cancer brings chaos, Christ brings a peace that passes all understanding. 

When Cancer evokes fear, Christ reminds me of His unending faithfulness. 

When Cancer threatens death, Christ brings eternal life. 

Let’s be real–there are times when cancer gets me down. Some days I want to throw a full-on wet noodle-style tantrum and puddle myself on the floor. Cancer has taken things from me that I am still mourning. It has taken my health, my time, my energy, my fertility, and will have lasting effects on my life.  

I don’t know why this is happening to me, but I know who holds my soul eternally. His presence is with me every moment for the rest of all time. Cancer can take a lot of things, but it could never take that. Jesus Christ has the final say over sin and death, and I rest in knowing He has won the victory over it already. 

That is where I find my hope for tomorrow. Through this cancer journey so far, my mindset has been that I cannot bear the weight of it all. I can’t hold the pain, the fear, or the stress, but Jesus is strong enough to bear it for me. He invites me to place it on His shoulders. 

In return, He places His rest and peace on mine. 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,  and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

– Matthew 11:28-30


Brittany is married to the love of her life of 10 years, Casey, and a mother to her 3 children: JJ, Judah, and June. They live in St. Charles and love their community of friends there. Brittany is also a realtor servicing the St. Charles/ St. Louis area. Casey is the pastor of Main Street Church, where they minister alongside each other. Brittany was diagnosed with stage 2B, aggressive, triple-positive breast cancer in January 2022. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment and hopes to be cancer-free in 2023! 

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