A Case of Mistaken Identity

I’m known in the medical community as a cancer patient.  Yet, from the very beginning of this journey, I have balked at that label.  It isn’t that I doubted the diagnosis, or that I thought it should have been for someone else.  It really wasn’t the natural part of it at all.  It was the Spirit of Christ in me refusing to accept that identity.

At first, I didn’t understand it so clearly.  The well-meaning nurse called me from the waiting room with such an almost audible “Poor thing” in her expression as she ushered me back for the diagnosis.  I hadn’t anticipated the pity, nor my internal reaction.  I was repulsed by the pity, and determined I wanted no part of it during this journey.  It just didn’t belong to me.

Two days later, we were at the specialist’s office.  When I arrived and saw the big, bold letters proudly declaring Derrick Davis Cancer Center, it felt like a punch in my gut.  It was surreal to me, because it was so new to my thought processes.  But there was still that voice inside insisting I didn’t belong here.

A month later, I was recovering from a hysterectomy.  The nurse assigned to me explained the daily shots required, even at home, to reduce the chance of blood clots.  Some people only have them for a few days, she said, while others continue injections for a couple of weeks.  We decided we’d both like for me to be one of those few day types.  The doctor’s explanation, however, was that cancer patients have a greater possibility of developing clots following surgery.  He said more, but I didn’t really hear the rest, because the voice inside surprised me.  “I am not a cancer patient!  I had cancer, and I’ve had surgery to remove it, but I am not a cancer patient.”  Now I understood the battle more clearly.

Approximately six weeks later, on what I thought would be my final visit with the oncology doctor,  I found out that I will see him every three months for the next two years for a pap smear, with a chest x-ray every six months.  For the following three years, there will be a pap smear every six months, along with one x-ray per year.  This is required even though the lab results showed no trace of cancer in any of the 23 lymph nodes they removed, and none of the tests prior to surgery indicated anything else of concern.  You see, as I said in the beginning, I’m known as a cancer patient by the medical community, and probably always will be.  But cancer patient is not my identity.

Neither am I a cancer survivor.  Cancer was found in my body, but it could not become my identity, because I am in Christ and Christ is in me, the hope of glory.  Cancer has no place in my identity.  In Christ, I am not a survivor of anything.  I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loved me!  This is my identity.

Certainly, this time of my life has had quite a profound impact, and I will never forget it.  But my focus is on Jesus and what He did before, during, and after the crisis.  Jesus Christ, the Living Word, strengthened and encouraged me in my darkest times.  Jesus Christ, the living Word, went before me to bear even this cancer so I could walk in health.  No matter how the world identifies me, I know that the Greater One lives in me.  In Him, in Jesus Christ, I live and move and have my being.  My identity is in Christ alone!

Real Joy (chorus)

Joy, real joy, running all through me
And I’ve got hope, love, and life abundantly
And now I’m free to live in my identity
Well it’s not because of what I’ve done.  No.  No.
But what He’s done for me.

New Song Fellowship Celebration Choir – Portraits of Worship, Volume 2


8 thoughts on “A Case of Mistaken Identity

  1. Cindy

    Kay, I will share it with you one day when there’s time. What I’d like to share right now, though, is one of the greatest blessings to have come from the entire ordeal: one of the people who watched every step of the way as one prayer after another was answered (in the order they were prayed!) asked how this could be. I told her about the grace of God, the saving Grace of Jesus, and that they were the reason things were working the way they were. She asked how I wasn’t scared. I told her that sometimes I was, but that there was peace in knowing that my life was in God’s hands, and that if my life here ended I would be heading to my glorious eternal life. She would tell her husband and little boys about it. After watching me for months, and having a few more conversations where she would ask me how I could go through it all, and having me continue to give the thanks to God, she called me with WONDERFUL news….Raquel, her husband, and her two sons got on their knees, prayed, and are SAVED. Praise Jesus. I believe that as hard as the months of surgery, recovery, and chemo were, is was all worth it for Raquel’s story — and a few more. On a personal note, you’ll have low energy for awhile. It’s still something I deal with 14 months after the end of chemo. Just be sure to rest when you need to do so. Thank you for your blog, Kay. It’s a nice way for us to stay in touch, and somedays it is exactly what I need to hear.


    1. Cindy, this is so wonderful! Glory to God for His amazing ways of showing His love to others even while He shows us His love as He delivers us! In Christ alone!

      Thanks for the word of caution about the resting. I didn’t have chemo or radiation, so any tiredness I still have (and I do), is simply from my body recovering from the surgery. I’m probably about 90% recovered, so it frustrates me when I get tired after not doing as much walking or whatever as I usually do – mostly because I’m not aware every moment, as I was in the beginning, of the surgery and healing process. But it’s coming, all thanks to Jesus and His finished work on the cross for my healing, too!


  2. Cindy

    Amen, Kay. This is my story, too. I was so blessed during the entire process – diagnosis, surgery, chemo…and continue to be blessed today. This is a story I want to share with you one day, outlining for you the glory, mercy, and answered prayers that filled all those days. My health care teams were rather pleased with the way I handled everything (comments of positive attitude, great outlook, etc.) but it was faith, and the peace of God that they were seeing. There were some days that I felt scared and panic-filled, but just had to have a talk with my Father, and the peace would return. May I ask when this happened? Did I miss something? February 10 will be my 2-year anniversary since surgery, and later in the month will be another scan.


    1. Diagnosis was end of October, with surgery end of November last year. IE., I’m not quite 100% recovered in strength, but feeling sooooo much better than I did 2 months ago! All glory to God! I do want to hear your story, Cindy.


  3. This is the most powerful post you have written. Thank you for writing it. May I link it on my blog this week? (Especially since I’m focusing on identity in Christ.) Praise the Lord Kay! Praise the Lord!


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