by Danielle Stepp
People often ask me, “What do you think caused your cancer?”
I do not know why I get that question. Maybe because I look healthy or the fact that I have never been sick before in my life. But I hear it all the time.
I simply answer, “That’s easy; I prayed for it.”
My husband, Travis, and I had been married for almost 10 years. For several years, we had been desperately trying to extend our little family. Month after month, disappointment after disappointment, we were on the emotional roller coaster of infertility. I prayed and prayed for God to just let me get pregnant.
Finally, after years of trying to conceive, I got the double positive line. God had answered my prayers. I was pregnant! I felt like Hannah must have felt in 1 Samuel 1:27, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.”
We were beyond elated; we even had our names already picked out. Life was perfect.
Sadly, a week later, I lost my tiny angel at just 7 weeks. The doctor assured me it was nothing that I did wrong; it was probably just an unhealthy embryo. I was devastated.
When I returned home from the hospital after an emotional day, I hit the floor and asked God, why? Why was He not answering my prayer? I was trying to be patient and trust in Him, but my heart ached.
Then, it hit me. He did answer my prayer. I had become pregnant. In that second, I started praying a little differently:
God, please bless us with a healthy child and if anything is to ever happen to this baby, whether it is cancer, deformities, illness- God, please just give it to me instead.
Within weeks, I saw that same double positive line. This time, I reacted more cautiously. I was still guarding my heart, but I had a good feeling that this time was going to be different. I felt comforted that I had been praying for what truly mattered- a healthy baby.
Nine months later, we welcomed baby Macy into our lives. From the moment I saw her, I knew I would take any pain from her, do anything for her.
Three and a half months later, I was diagnosed with cancer. In the seconds after hearing those words for the first time, I felt agony. How could God give me this precious gift and then take me away so quickly. Would I even get to see her take her first steps or hear her call me, “Mommy”?
In a split second those thoughts filled my head before I had the chance to remind myself to pray. Then, it all seemed clear.
Instantly, a calm came over me and soothed the pain. The questions were sucked out of me like a giant straw in a milkshake. I knew what I had to do. I had to take this bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground, because in my heart I knew, I was fighting for my Macy.
Again, I could relate to Hannah. After praying fervently for a child, Hannah sacrificed her own feelings of comfort by giving the child back to God to be raised at the temple. I was sacrificing my own comfort to fight this beast of a disease for the sake of my child.
Since then, I have not looked back. I have taken on this beast head-first without batting an eye. I have to admit, it made cancer a whole lot easier with that perspective, so I thank God for those answered prayers.
Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains of Pikeville, Kentucky, Danielle Stepp was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in April 2016, at the age of 34. She and her husband, Travis, have one daughter, Macy, and a 15-year-old yorkie named Pooh. A former high school English teacher turned federal employee, Danielle loves shopping and hanging out with friends. Follow her on Facebook as well as on her blog.