Don’t Keep It To Yourself: Things That Matter In the Face of Cancer: Part Four

This is my final post in this series. Thank you to my readers who have followed along. Thank you also regarding the seriousness of what is said here. Cancer, of course, is no laughing matter. It can be beaten. It can also kill. I know it can also be scary.

Don’t keep it to yourself!

Here is the main point of this fourth part of my series. If your body seems to be acting out of character don’t ignore it. It may be telling you something is wrong and needs to be attended to. It may be warning you of a cancer of some kind. Please don’t say, “This couldn’t happen to me.” It can happen to you! I hate to remind you but you are human. Please don’t keep it to yourself!

I am currently reading Stephen Kings book, Stephen King: On Writing. Part of the book is autobiographical where readers are given a peek into Mr. King’s life. There is an account in the book that caused me to reflect on the importance of the early detection of cancer. His mother ignored signs that she was ill. She kept it to herself. She died of uterine cancer.

A Reflection On One Loved

Cancer is a brutal fiend. It does not discriminate between children or adults. Its job is to cause misery and pain as well as to kill. During my wife’s most recent bout with cancer I reflected on a young girl we knew a number of years ago.

Many people, including my family, loved her. She died from cancer at twelve years of age. A beautiful gentle soul who loved her family. She was only twelve at the time she died, the same age as one of my children. We all hoped and prayed she would live. We still think of her and miss her. At her memorial service there were a lot of tears shed. These many years after this young girl’s death we still remember her with great fondness.

Scars of Cancer

Terry has survived cancer without serious complications twice. I’m not saying my wife is indestructible. She bears physical scars of cancer on her body. If cancer cannot beat us it likes to leave scars as a reminder of its assault on us.

There are emotional scars as well. I shared with you in the first part of this series some of my personal response to the cancer news. Here is what I wrote.

… Although the cancer that has shown in her body is a non-aggressive type the initial shock of the news left its scars…Cancer can mess with one’s mind. Even a “non-aggressive” cancer may cause some fear. It can give your emotions a workout. These are the “scars” I am talking about (Things That Matter In the Face of Cancer: Part One, Dec. 13/17).

Survival Is Humbling

I am not a hero who laughs in the face of enemies like cancer. I do not run from such enemies either. One cannot forget or ignore the scars of cancer.

Terry dreaded the thought of having to experience chemotherapy or radiation therapy. She didn’t have to take either. She would have refused such treatments if the doctors had deemed them necessary.

Terry views her surviving from cancer as a new lease on life. She is aware that many people who experience cancer do not survive. She is one who takes life as it comes without being fatalistic. She embraces the things in life that matter in her life, her family, her faith in Jesus Christ and friends.

As her husband, the fact of Terry surviving cancer is humbling. It reminds me we are all vulnerable and fragile. Surviving cancer is a gift and not a certainty. It would have crushed me if Terry had not survived! Cancer is in reality a violator of the dreams and plans people have. To survive it is indeed humbling.

Please, if you suspect something is wrong in your body see your doctor. Don’t keep a health scare to yourself. Instead of allowing cancer to terrify you, fight it. Let cancer fear you!

NOTE: After reading this post, please comment if cancer has impacted your life.

Let Cancer Fear Us! Things That Matter In the Face of Cancer: Part Three

  

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.

It is time for cancer to fear us!

Happy ScarredJoy Easter!

Does the title of this post sound strange to you dear reader? You may not all agree with my views of belief and that’s okay with me. You don’t have to agree! This may be one of the few out and out posts where I offer the worldview I follow. As a Christian I see God as One who relates to what scarred joy is. At Easter I recognize the specialness of the story, the historical account, the mission of Jesus Christ. He was born to die for those who will believe in Him. At Easter His story is climaxed. On what many call “Good Friday” His death is remembered. On Easter Sunday the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated by His followers all over the world. This celebration has gone on for centuries. God sent His one and only Son to earth. Jesus died for us and came back to life. He now lives for ever. God relates wholeheartedly to what I call ScarredJoy!