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Words of Encouragement
for Patients and Their Families

Dr.  Michael D. Grant, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Punky Tolson

Breast Cancer Survivor 

and Dr. Grant's Patient




Hi friend,

Welcome to Making the Most of Now! Each week I hope to share life with you through this weekly message, to remind you that Jesus has a profound purpose for your life, and to encourage you to make the most of your now. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you. God is writing your story, but you have to tell it. For the next 5 weeks I will be sharing part of my story and journey through breast cancer, and the beautiful way God used it in my life. Please feel free to share these messages with anyone who might need some encouragement! It’s an honor and a privilege to spend this time with you!


xo Punky 

week one


For Everything

There is a Season

posted by Punky Tolson   10.09.14



“You have breast cancer.”

Those are the four words that dramatically changed the trajectory of my life over the past 5 years. Never in my wildest nightmares had I ever imagined that I would be the recipient of such a phone call. And though I would have much preferred a call from Publishers Clearing House, that was not to be the case that spring morning in 2009. To say that my life has not been the same since is understandable. But to say that I am most humbly and deeply grateful to my God for having dealt me this hand may be quite difficult to understand, unless you’ve been where I’ve been.




week two


Anchor Deep

posted by Punky Tolson   10.016.14





You have cancer.”That’s a sentence that will strike fear in your heart. Cancer is one of those “Goliath” kinds of things- big, looming, loud, threatening. For anyone who hears the word cancer associated with his or her own name it’s flat out scary– even for the most faith-filled followers of Jesus. It doesn’t matter how many bible studies you’ve done, or how much scripture you’ve memorized, or how long you’ve been walking with Jesus; initially, the thought of cancer is daunting. For the next several hours my mind tried to grasp the reality: do I really have cancer? I prayed and listened. I begged God please don’t let this be so! I reminded Him that I am His dearly beloved, precious child. 




week three



or Thriving 

posted by Punky Tolson   10.23.14


At what point does one officially become a cancer survivor? I believe that anyone who has had cancer is a survivor from the very moment they receive the diagnosis. News like that could have literally scared me to death. But it didn’t. Then I began thinking about that word survive. The word actually means to “to remain alive, still breathing; to continue in existence or use.” To be honest, that definition didn’t thrill or comfort me. It’s sounded more like just barely getting through something by the skin of your teeth. I wanted to do so much more than just survive the thing. I wanted to have life and to flourish in that life. I wanted to thrive. As I sought God in His Word I learned that He not only wanted so much more for me out of this trial…but that He had even planned that there would be profound purpose to come from it.




week four


Making the

Most of Your Now! 

posted by Punky Tolson   10.30.14


In January 2006, Dr. John Piper was diagnosed with prostate cancer. On the eve of his surgery he wrote a powerful message entitled, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”.  Just a couple of months later his dear friend and colleague, Dr. David Pawlison, was also diagnosed with prostate cancer, and he later added his comments to Dr. Piper’s original message.   Their words inspired me three years before I was ever diagnosed. The message was a game-changer for me. It had never occurred to me to look at adversity of any kind as a great and rich “opportunity” to be maximized and not wasted. Even the opportunity of cancer. Because it’s not just about making it through cancer. It’s about making the most of cancer. It’s about making the most of the opportunity your have right now… whatever your “now” happens to be. 




week five




posted by Punky Tolson   11.06.14


Five. For cancer survivors that number is like the Mt. Everest of milestones. Statistics prove that reaching that mark without a recurrence represents so much more in terms continuing to survive and thrive after cancer. So, I’ve reached five…and that’s a good thing. Five is the number of grace; mentioned over 300 times in Scripture it symbolizes God’s grace, goodness and favor toward humans. Not many people would associate cancer with the “grace. goodness, and favor of God”…but I do. I’m grateful, indeed, and not just to have survived five years, but to have been graced. For these past five years have been nothing short of grace-filled: experiencing God’s grace, His goodness, and favor by teaching me things about Himself that no one else could have taught me. 



The Joy Challenge

     posted by Punky Tolson 09.18.14


Punky posted the following to her Facebook page:

I was challenged by my gal pal to take the JOY CHALLENGE for one week...7 days. Each day I am posting things that I am thankFULL for, that bring JOY to my heart/life, and I will challenge two different friends each day to do the same. Here goes…


1. BREAST CANCER. Yes, that's right. I'm thankFULL for breast cancer. 


Five years ago breast cancer tapped me into membership of a club I had no interest in joining. I'm not a club-joiner kind of girl. But sometimes you don't get the luxury of saying, "No thank you" to some things. Breast cancer wasn't taking "no" for an answer (blast it all). And so the big adventure began. I remember right after I got "the call" that I said to the Lord, "OK, if we're gonna do this thing then lets get it all done… not just the cancer, but let's get rid of anything else that's hiding there…in my heart." Oh, you know God jumped all over that offer! He did! I joked that I was getting a brand new "breastplate of righteousness". In reality, the breastplate covers your heart… and that's where the real work was gonna happen. My doctors worked on the cancer. God worked on my heart. 


Breast cancer taught me more about the amazing God that I love, the kindness of my Savior, the blessing of a loving husband, the importance of praying friends and family, and the great privilege of suffering. Breast cancer was the tool that God used to help me become more of the woman He'd always planned for me to be. Not that He caused it, but that He permitted it. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts will blow your finite mind, so don't even try to figure Him out. Just trust and believe. 


What I know for sure is that God is good, He is kind, and that He never allows anything painful to touch one of His beloved children without predetermining that there would be some profound purpose to come from it…for my own good, the good of those around me, and for His great glory. He has seen it all, and He will see to it all. Just trust and believe. 


What I know for sure is that some of God's greatest gifts come wrapped in some pretty ugly (and scary) paper. And honestly, breast cancer has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. Not a walk in the park… but a gift nonetheless. I didn't get the ending I was hoping for, but I was blessed with so much more than I ever imagined. I have met the most wonderful women along the way, some of the dearest friends I have today, all members of the same PINK club. I call them my "Bosom Buddies" and I love them dearly…too many to name, but they know who they are, and each on is "more than a conqueror" (Romans 8:37). I've been blessed with absolutely fabulous doctors… an amazing team of physicians and their incredible, caring staff: Dr. Michael Grant, Dr. William Carpenter and Dr. John Pippen. I will be eternally grateful for their brilliant gifts of healing, and their compassionate care. I'm nuts about them all. 


It's been five years. FIVE… it's a biblical number that represents "grace". And the last five years of my life have been full of God's amazing grace... with so much that I am thankFULL for… so much that I'd have missed out on, had breast cancer not come a knockin'. Don't kid yourself… I'm GLAD it's behind me, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. 


And now I would like to challenge SEVEN of my beautiful BOSOM BUDDIES to take this JOY CHALLENGE for the next seven days: including one remarkably strong, brave, courageous and beautiful young woman who is battling this stinking disease for the 3rd time… you are my hero! Trust and believe, dear girl. God's got you! You are MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!! TRUST AND BELIEVE!


I love each of you dearly! Now...let everyone know what you're thankFULL for! Let's keep this going and #spreadtheJOY!"

xo Punky 

You Are More Than a Conqueror

posted by Punky Tolson   10.22.15What are you battling today?



Fear?  Financial stress?  Family stress?  Forgiveness?  Jealously?  Comparison?  Insecurity?  A bad attitude? A dark secret?  Guilt and shame?  Illness?


Whatever your circumstances, whatever your battle this day, God’s encouragement and promise to you is this in Romans 8:37: YOU are more than a conqueror!


Not just a warrior.


Not just a winner.


Not just a survivor.


Much more than merely a conqueror who conquers.  You are “more than a conqueror!”  It means that YOU and I get the overwhelming and complete victory.  It means we do more than just survive the thing; WE TRIUMPH OVER IT.  It means that the thing that was formed against you becomes the thing that works for you (Romans 8:28).  Indeed, the very thing that was meant to take you down can be the very thing that sets you free. It means that there is more…so much MORE to this thing that you’re battling than meets your own eye.  


But you’ll never get the overwhelming, more-than-a-conqueror victory by trying to figure it all out from your own perspective or battling it in your own strength.


There’s only one way to become “more than a conqueror” and that’s the condition to the promise:


“through Christ Jesus who loved us!”


Truly, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).  It takes FAITH in the faithfulness of the One who has made the promise to do what He says He will do.  And He will do it! Believe Him!  Trust Him!  We will never trust whom we do not know.  So get to know God and believe Him through His Word.  If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus.  Follow Him.  Cling to Him.  Rely on Him.  He is the only One who can do anything about everything that concerns you… and He is more than able to accomplish it all.
Believe. Him.


It takes PATIENCE to let God work it out… to battle the thing for you and through you, in His time and in is way.  His affectionate and watchful care over you will bring you through as “more than a conqueror”.  And the spoils of the battle will be a very “great gain” of peace, joy, rest, healing in ways you’d never imagine, strength beyond your human ability, and a bone-deep knowledge of the Lover of your soul in ways you’d never have known Him had this battle not come your way.
Rest. in. Him.


It takes COURAGE, my friend; a holy courage to let go of and lose the things that are of no great loss in this life.  My heart may be broken, my body may be burned, bruised, cut, or even killed… but nothing can separate ME- my eternal life, soul, and spirit from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.  God’s command is to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9)- for the Lord your God goes before you and has already fought this battle… and won!  Power up your bravery because He’s got you covered. God is good, and He is very good at being God.
Let. Him.


It takes the DEVOTION of a daily relationship with Jesus.  Hanging in there with Him no matter what.  Daily choosing to walk with Him in His Truth.  Daily surrendering to His Leadership and Lordship over your life.  Daily saying, “no” to the stubbornness and fears of your flesh, and “yes” to the faithfulness and awesomeness of your God whose name is above all names- even the name of whatever you’re battling.
Stick. with. Him.


It takes LIVING LOVED.  Living in the knowledge of the love of Jesus, and living in the experience of the love of Jesus.  “But you, beloved…keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 20:21).  We’ve got to practice the mindset of being profusely loved by God by stating aloud His claims of unfailing love for us!  And it’s a very personal love.  He died for YOU- not just us.  Don’t doubt His love for you.  It’s real.  It’s a living and active love.
He. is. crazy. about. YOU!


Unwavering FAITH








YOU… are more than a conqueror, and the overwhelming victory is yours in Christ who loved you so much that He died for you! How can you be anything less, when you put your trust in the One who conquered the grave?  With Him all things are possible, for those who believe (Mark 9:23).


You are greatly and dearly loved by The King!

xo Punky 


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