On Wed. January 24, 2018 the doctor who performed surgery on my wife informed her she is cancer free! Two weeks and one day after her surgery he told her that no further treatment was needed.
I am not naïve enough to say I am an expert on cancer. If anything I am an expert on my love for my wife. This is a main reason I decided to write this series.
There is a phrase that has been going through my mind since Terry was informed of her cancer. “Let cancer fear us!” That phrase was my response to the fear cancer causes in the hearts of people. The news of cancer caused fear in me as well. I know of few people who reply, “It’s all good” when they hear cancer news. It isn’t all good! In my experience in coming alongside people who are ill or dying sometimes the “good” seems to be missing.
Let cancer fear us means if you, dear reader, know someone you love has cancer I encourage you to support that person. Don’t let her or him suffer alone or succumb to fear.
You may have heard another more familiar phrase related to cancer. Some people say, “Cancer can be beaten.” I say this too. It obviously doesn’t mean cancer is no big deal. It also doesn’t proclaim all cancer is beaten every time. It does, however, say that even in cancer there is hope. We don’t have to give in to our fears.
Not giving into fear was Terry’s attitude even though cancer was in her body. Before we knew the results of my darling’s lab tests I asked her to give me some of her thoughts regarding her cancer journey so far. Here is what she said.
- “It is an interesting experience”
- “It seems surreal—it doesn’t seem real”
- “Up to this point we don’t know if there will be more treatments”
- “We don’t know if it has invaded more of my body”
- “Why worry about it right now?”
Terry’s response was in no way an expression of denial or evading reality. We both knew she had cancer. She did not give in to fear. If anything she wanted cancer to fear her.
During the initial news of Terry’s cancer I realized it was time for cancer to fear us. As news spread people began to pray for her. Many sent us well wishes. Some wonderful people made meals for us for when Terry came home. Our daughter sat with me for hours during the day of surgery. Our sons and their families visited their mom while she was in hospital. Former colleagues also sat with us before and after Terry’s surgery. Our church helped us in prayer and practical gestures of love. A friend of our daughter gave us a gift certificate so we could go out for dinner.
In conclusion allow me to state again what I mean by let cancer fear us. It is the genuine and practical support of people who care for others especially in times of need like a cancer experience. This support can diminish the fear. This support can cause cancer to fear us! This support takes away or diminishes cancer’s control over our emotions.