Things That Matter In the Face of Cancer: Part Two

“He says, Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46; 10 New International Version).

Cancer is tough. It forces a person to face one’s mortality. None of us live forever, at least in this life. We all have a shelf date, so to speak. The very word “cancer” can strike fear into the most stoic of us. It can bring a big, strong man to his knees in a matter of seconds. Cancer can force people to reflect on their lives and take stock of what really matters to them.

For years, probably decades, I have heard and seen advertisements proclaiming, “Cancer can be beaten.” This is the hope Terry and I have for the cancer in her body. This is my hope. I reported in Part One that Terry’s gynecologist said he is confident and hopeful that surgery is the only treatment she will need. His statement in turn gives us hope as well.

I asked my darling to give me some of her thoughts regarding her cancer journey so far. In her own words here is what she said.

  • “I want it over”
  • “I don’t feel any different”
  • “I’m not even worried about it like I did with skin cancer” “My babies are all grown up.”
  • “I don’t have the same anxiety”
  • “I’m almost at peace with it.”
  • “I don’t think about it”
  • “It seems more people are worried about it than I am.”

At this time probably more than anything she would like the surgery to be over. I can’t say I blame her. It seems to us the reality of the soon coming surgery is looming over our heads. Some of her thoughts reflect on her experience with skin cancer thirty-three years ago. That was a scary time in our lives. Our children were very young and a fear was that this cancer might cause Terry’s death. She was afraid of dying young and not seeing our kids grow up. It was real fear. Our family matters to us.

I have mentioned to a number of people Terry feels no pain due to the cancer and is in good spirits. She has a good attitude about this part of our journey. This attitude is genuine and meant to inform caring people that it is well with her soul. People have been and still are also genuine in their concern for her. Someone said to us, “You have taken care of people for years, now we want to care for you.” That is precious to hear. People matter to us.

A few people have asked me how I am doing at this time as I walk alongside Terry. I’ll sum it up this way. If Terry’s okay then I’m okay. This is no simplistic answer. I mean it. We have been married going on to forty years. We know each other well. If she is feeling down I know it. She doesn’t have to say a word, I sense how she is feeling. I will add that she took the news of her cancer better than I did. The news shook me.

I must admit that I am one who fears cancer. When I worked in healthcare on the spiritual care team I sat at the bedside of a number of people dying of cancer. It can be fearful. I didn’t even tell Terry about some of my experiences due to the deep sadness I felt for the patients. This causes me to be thankful for healthcare staff that helps make a person’s final days as comfortable as possible. With an illness like cancer a person needs the support from other people right to the end.

On a personal note, I am thankful for people who take the time and ask how I am doing on the journey. It is wonderful to know I am not alone and neither is Terry.

We also know we are not alone due to our mutual faith in God. We make no apologies for saying our faith rests in Jesus Christ. We know God is alive and cares for us therefore we can be still and not be overcome by fear or worry.

God calls us to “be still” in spite of the calamities of life. Even when fearful enemies of the body like cancer violate us, we can be still. We lay aside that which would rob us of joy, of truly living our lives together. Our journey continues yet we do not fear.

As I post this message it is Christmas Eve 2017. Terry and I pray a Merry Christmas for all my readers. If cancer is part of your life I pray you will the comfort of God and people who love you.