"Faith and Friendships"

by Kristy Hatter

 

My breast cancer journey began after having a diagnostic mammogram for a lump I had found a month earlier.  The radiologist was choosing her words carefully, but in my heart I knew something was wrong; she wanted to do the biopsy right away.  The ultrasound tech told me the radiologist was almost certain it was cancer and that she was even more concerned because the lump was positioned on my chest wall.  I left the office feeling like a dead man walking.

Three short days later, my fear was confirmed when the radiologist’s office called to say I had triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma: breast cancer.  Of course my family and I were devastated with this news.  I was only 40 and had no history of any cancer in my family.  I felt like I had won a lottery I hadn’t even been playing.

I have been a Christian and a very active member of my church for as long as I can remember. After my diagnosis, I would find myself asking the Lord why this was happening to me.  One day the Lord revealed to me that this diagnosis didn’t define the person I was or will be. This was just one chapter in my story; He is the author of my story. I felt God was allowing me to go through this so I might share my story, inspire others, and show firsthand what a miracle-worker He is! During my battle there were times when things didn’t look good and moments when it seemed the cancer may have spread. However, in the end, I beat it, and I am now in remission, praise the Lord!

There are many stories I could share about my journey; however, one I cherish is how I came to know about Compassion That Compels and Altar’d State.

It was a September day, and I was at the infusion center receiving my weekly Taxol treatment when a group of women approached me and told me they had a gift for me, a Compassion Bag. Kristianne Stewart, the founder of Compassion That Compels, was with them.  She shared with me the story of how Compassion That Compels began. I remember so vividly her undivided attention; she truly cares for people, especially women battling cancer.  The women were there giving out bags in honor of another OVERCOMER, Danielle Stepp, who was having her last treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that day.  All the Compassion Bags had been sponsored by Altar’d State as part of their Mission Monday program. I knew the Lord had a hand in my receiving my Compassion Bag. I call it a divine appointment, as I do not normally receive treatment at that center.

I had been praying that the Lord would open the doors for me to share my story, because  I was so eager to tell others what He had done for me.  The answer to that prayer came a few months later when my daughter and I were able to give Compassion Bags to women at the infusion center where I received mine.  I was able to be on the other side of the bag and share with the women the circumstances in which I received my bag.  What a life-changing event!

A few months later, I was surprised by  Danielle who showed up at my last treatment and brought bags for me to give to other women battling cancer.  The bags had been donated in honor of my last chemo.

I firmly believe the Lord has something more in store for me. The journey I have been on will be used for good.  I pray often that the Lord will open the doors that I may share my story. Since being diagnosed, I am different. When I see a woman who appears to be in treatment for cancer, I approach her and ask to pray with her.  This takes nerve as I always fear rejection; however, it often opens the door for me to share my story.

The Lord never fails to amaze me. He allowed my path to cross with two wonderful organizations–Compassion That Compels and Altar’d State–and through that divine appointment I have developed lifelong friendships.

Kristy Hatter is 41 years old and the mother of a 21-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son.  She has been married for 23 years and lives in a small town in Kentucky.  An accountant by trade, she has a servant’s heart, and loves to do for others. After being diagnosed with Stage IIA triple-negative breast cancer, she underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy and had a bi-lateral mastectomy. After completing treatment in February 2017, she was declared to be in remission, but she knows better. She knows she is healed!