It’s MY Turn to Fall Apart

I got a letter this week stating that something had been found on my recent mammogram that required further testing. And I know it could be nothing, or nothing serious, but I have some cause for concern because I’ve consistently felt pain for over five years. Not all the time, but if someone squeezes me tight, or if I lie on my stomach, it’s there. Previous mammograms showed nothing, so in my heart I’m thinking, “It’s finally grown big enough for them to see.”

Brad, my husband, has reacted in typical Brad fashion…which is to say he immediately starts imagining the worst case scenario. He threatens to sue every doctor and mammogram tech who missed it before. He worries, “What if it is something? What if you need surgery, or something?” (I think he really means, “How would we get by if you weren’t working?”) He tells me not to get any ideas about leaving him alone.

What he doesn’t do is put his arms around me. He doesn’t say, “I’ll be here. I’ll take care of you through anything that happens.” Don’t get me wrong—he’s a good guy, and he would take care of me, but it doesn’t occur to him that I need to hear it because from the minute we opened the letter, I went into protective mode. I’m protecting him from his worry and stress. I’m holding my fears inside, I’m being brave and strong, I’m putting on a face that says, “I’m fine! I’m sure it’s nothing!” because that’s my way of keeping him from going to pieces.

And I’ve decided I can’t do it anymore.


Dear Brad,

If I turn out to be seriously ill, I need you to step up. I’ve noticed in previous times of crisis that you react to what you see, and if I show you a brave face, you must think, “She’s fine, but I’m falling apart.” Whatever I’m going through becomes something terrible that’s happening to you.

But not this time. If this is bad, and I am in a fight for my life, I’m not going to have the energy and patience to baby you through it. I am not the person to talk you off the ledge every day as you stress over all the negative things that might happen and all the “what ifs” that you may have to deal with, if your wife is sick. You can pour all that out on your parents and your friends, because I know you need somebody to listen and support you. But this time, that person can’t be me.

It’s my turn to fall apart. It’s my turn to be the one who’s scared and looking to you for comfort. I need you to dig deep for empathy and compassion. Put yourself in my place and ask yourself what I need from you today. How can you comfort and encourage me, for a change? What worries can you remove from my shoulders, so I can concentrate on getting well? What can you sacrifice, to help me? What face can you put on, to make me less afraid?

This will be new to you. You are the worrier in the family; I’m the one who downplays everything and tells you it will all be fine. But not this time. I need you to be strong now, because if this is bad, it’s my turn.


13 thoughts on “It’s MY Turn to Fall Apart

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  1. I will be praying for both you and Brad! I’ve been where you are and it can be scary. But it looks like you’ve got a good perspective. Keep your focus on God and His love and provision for your entire family!


  2. I hope the problem is nothing and that it is resolved quickly. I understand the neediness at a time like this and the fear…. praying that God will comfort you w/ His comfort and strengthen both of you to walk through this close to each other and close to God.


  3. Two times in the last two years I was in your shoes. First time I felt lump, we talked through biopsy and surgery to remove it. Thankfully it was not cancer. One year later, I got the phone call “we found something on your recent mammogram, you need further testing. One more biopsy, again not cancer. Funny I should read your blog today, tomorrow is my mammogram for this year. I am not sure what to expect. I will be praying for you.


    1. Cathy, I’ll do the same for you. I couldn’t get an appointment for the diagnostic mammogram they want until 3 weeks out, so I’m hoping that’s a sign that my doctor didn’t say, “This looks really bad, get her in asap.” But who knows what goes on behind the scenes? It’s not much fun having to wait this long to know anything more. Hope all goes well for you today. Keep in touch!


  4. I think an epiphany has happened here…despite the grave concerns, they have been
    somewhat displaced by the realization that you have needs that have not always been
    met out of your deference to others and now is the time to call in the IOU’s. Now is the time to fortify yourself with the brand of caring and concern you have always provided for others. It is also an opportunity for others to come to grips with reality and to give of
    themselves to you in a way that will help them to grow and mature while being a comfort to you. Hope you gave that letter to Brad… hope he absorbs it with
    understanding and love. Surrounding you both in prayer and the hope that good news is forthcoming.


  5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”
    Proverbs 3:5‭-‬8 NLT

    I know that its hard, but it works. God knows best. We may not understand what He does, but all we have to do is understand who He is.


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