October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thought it would be a great time to interview my beautiful niece, Nihlia Griffin who has a rare form of breast cancer. Be encouraged by her journey of ten-plus years.
1. Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.
I was diagnosed in April of 2007 with invasive ductal carcinoma. I had a mammogram in February everything was normal. Woke up in April with a knot on my right breast the size of a golf ball. I have always done my breast checks. I called my doctor and from that day my life forever changed.
2. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?
I have always had a strong faith. I learned to depend on God more than I ever have in my life. Cancer made me see life and death in a totally different way. My life slowed down, and I felt everyone’s life carried on as usual. I trust God more than I ever have in my life.
3. Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?
My turning point was after I woke up from having my breast removed. I knew my outward appearance would never be the same again. Losing my hair after my first round of chemo was nothing. But feeling my chest flat and seeing all the drain tubes coming out of my body. It took my breath.
You must take sponge baths until all the drain tubes are removed. I remember the day the nurse removed all the bandages I did not want to look. When I got home that afternoon I undressed and looked in the mirror nothing was there my check was sunk in and I had all these stitches. I sat in the tub and cried my eyes out. I felt like I was not a woman anymore it has taken me years to overcome losing my breast.
After many reconstruction surgeries, My body kept rejecting the implants. I had to make a choice in August 2018. Do I want to live and enjoy life with my family? Or is having breasts so important that I am willing to risk my life to have implants?
4. What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey? Why?
Psalm 42:1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
I have always loved this verse. If you watch an animal drink when they are thirsty. They try to drink the water so fast to get as much as they can. Same with us we should absorb everything about GOD. Soak it in. Hold His Word close to your heart.
5. How do you find comfort on especially painful days?
Comfort comes from within and the faith I have in my Lord.
I have a great support system my family is awesome just knowing I have them is comfort.
6. Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this.
I talk to a lot of women when they are diagnosed. Since I’ve been there, done that, I am able to connect with them and encourage them through the long process.
*Nihlia is also an advocate for a group fighting against environmental issues in her town that causes cancer.
7. Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.
I am a very happy person. I did my best to not allow cancer to steal my joy. If I found myself feeling down I would get up and do something like walking outside take a deep breath. I was out of work for a long time from 2007-2011.
Life is not about possessions
I learned a lot during that time. Life is not about possessions or having the biggest house, fancy car, or a lot of money. I learned to be satisfied where God had me. I kept telling myself there is a reason God is allowing this in my life. I saw how problems in life had beaten me down.
Even though I had cancer I feel like God used that time to put me back together and help me find myself again. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was coming out of a very abusive relationship. We do not understand why this is happening and why me Lord. But I have learned God is in control, not me. God always comes through for me. He has never let me down. I learned to trust in God more than I ever have in my life.Preachers often say God is always on time. I understand that even more today. #cancer #cancersurvivor Click To Tweet
Nihlia works as a customer service Rep at Global Partnership for Telehealth (GPT) is a nonprofit organization with a worldwide footprint that is based in Waycross, Georgia. GPT offers telehealth technology solutions and web-based platforms that bring much-needed healthcare resources to urban and rural communities with a focus on underserved areas. We work with school systems, hospitals, clinics, and health systems to connect people with health services.
Before cancer, she was a master cosmetologist. She has recently received the following certifications From Hometown Health University: Patient Access Specialist, Managed Care Professional Finance Counselor, and Certified Hospitality Specialist. She has also acquired several technical certifications and an associate degree in Bible Theology.
Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.