If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness~1 John 1:9
It was not my turn to do the needle localizations that day, but I came in to substitute for a colleague who had unexpectedly been called away. It was not too long before I knew the reason that I needed to be there. The young patient was diagnosed with breast cancer and was going to have lumpectomy surgery. Prior to surgery the cancer had to be localized by ultrasound imaging. Fortunately for the patient, the tumor was small, too small to be palpated by the operating surgeon. When the tumor is small it is the radiologist’s responsibility to image (ultrasound) the small mass and mark it with a needle, which guides the surgeon to the suspicious mass.
As I met with her that day and began to go through the consent procedure, she asked to speak to me privately. I sat down with her alone, sensing something was about to happen. Although I was a stranger to her, she began to pour out her heart. I listened as she told me about her inappropriate relationship with a co-worker at her school. She thought she deserved breast cancer. Cancer, she said, was the result of this infidelity. In addition she also felt that she had lost her salvation.
With a surgery time pending and others waiting, all came to a halt while the Holy Spirit divinely guided me through the plan of salvation: the fact that all have sinned, and that our God is a God of forgiveness and mercy.
First John 1:9 came easily out of my mouth, and I wrote it down for her. Tears of relief flowed from my patient.
As it turned out, everything went well with the procedure and all that followed. The most amazing part was that I was able to see her again years later, still doing well and reconciled with her husband!
I have never forgotten that “coincidence”; I know that God appointed the work arrangements that day. This experience taught me to be sensitive to opportunities in my life, both at work and at home, and to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We must not let our focus on a task blind us to a chance to stop and attend to the concerns and needs of others.
-Bonna Rogers-Neufeld, LLUSM class of 1980-A, practices diagnostic radiology in Fresno, California. She was the first female president of an LLUSM medical school class.