Year of first diagnosis: 2011
Kind of cancer: stage 4 colon cancer
My initial reaction to hearing that “you have cancer” was, “Oh, this is a surprise! Jesus, please take my hand. I’m gonna need Your help. OK, let’s see where this journey goes.
During this time I think my greatest learning experience has been that there are times I need to ask for help and have to depend on others. This has been most difficult to do as I get much fulfillment from being able to assist others when they are in need of encouragement and support. But I am slowly learning to allow those who want to help, the blessing of being able to share their life and encouragement with me. And there are many who encouraged me, helped me laugh and even in tense and uncomfortable moments to see the “light on the other side of the tunnel.”
The most helpful in staying the course in the process of treatment and health has been the encouragement and care of my medical team and the sure confidence God is watching over the whole process, and has my growth and spiritual maturity as His concern and priority. I am growing in trust and reliance on His presence in all areas of these circumstances, as well in the “every day living of life.”
The resources I found to be of most support has first been my relationship with Jesus which comes through prayer and His Word. Then my family and friends who the Lord has so graciously surrounded me with. Those dear ones who I knew “before” the diagnosis, and those who were introduced to me “after” the diagnosis. I have been truly blessed with people who care and share without reservation. And without a doubt, the ability to look at some of the things happening and be able to laugh out loud – a good belly laugh is good for the soul.
My spirituality has definitely been enhanced and deepened. Jesus has made Himself known in such real and personal ways that there is deep joy, confidence and peace, regardless of the outcome of diagnosis and treatment. He DID take my hand when I asked. I win no matter what. This does not mean there are not times of sorrow for what is lost, questions of why or “I wonder ifs.” As the words from a hymn reminds me, “I have peace like a river.” I will live for today and be grateful for the richness that He brings to it.
What would I say to someone who was diagnosed with cancer today? Oh, my very first thing would be, “Run to Jesus!” Then I would suggest that we all live each day as a gift, accept from and give to others love, care, encouragement, grace, forgiveness and the hope that God has so graciously poured out on each of us.