Cancer Treatments

QUESTION: How can I cope during cancer treatments?

ANSWER:

Our response to cancer treatments will ultimately determine the quality of our recovery. Even the best radiation therapy, removal techniques, or replacement technology cannot nullify the numbing sensation upon hearing the physician declare, “mass . . . melanoma . . . malignant.” Suddenly fear of cancer’s impact begins to twist the events of our lives. Questions and concerns surround every decision (the cause, pain, disfigurement, expenses, life expectancy) while we restructure our priorities.

As we recover from the initial shock that reminds us that we are neither immortal nor infallible, we attempt to make the wisest decisions both on a physical and a mental level. At some point we may ask, “Why would God allow this to happen to me?” “Should I trust God for healing or place my hopes entirely on a prescribed cancer treatment?” We wrestle with a myriad of emotions -- courageously accepting the sympathy of others, maintaining a façade of confidence -- while facing the giants of helplessness and hopelessness.

No cancer treatment guarantees a total or a permanent cure. How distressing! In 1 Samuel 17, David was a boy of great faith and courage (remember Goliath?). Yet as a grown man he laments, “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed with anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak” (Psalm 31:9–10, NIV). Cancer treatment is first approached internally, with the success evident externally. Fear also must be dealt with in the same manner. Man’s fear is caused by the mind’s expectation and realization of danger. Then our body physically responds to that dire expectation. David thought his enemy had the upper hand and would be victorious. Anticipating cancer to be victorious inevitably weakens the quality of our recovery.

When Matt was diagnosed with Grade 4 brain cancer, the doctors gave him only a few months to live. With three small children, the prognosis was certainly grim. A stroke compounded Matt’s condition, giving him only days to live. Miraculously this young father recovered; however, doctors can’t guarantee that the disease has entirely left his brain. Yet Matt’s powerful battle was won years ago when he realized that God didn’t intend for him to “hang on” lifelessly to fear. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV).

What is our response if cancer treatment doesn’t work? What is our response when we allow God access to those fearful areas of our lives? In both cases, we will change by how we respond. We may resist change out of fear of the unknown. Cancer is still a mystery. Yet it’s the mystery of a process that can make any experience rewarding. The world sends a message of fear and trepidation when addressing cancer. God has a message that is distinct from the world’s message, far different in outcome and perspective. A man can burn a bush, but only God can keep a bush continually burning while not being consumed or destroyed (Exodus 3:1–3). How much more are we in His safe keeping?

Neither cancer nor fear will consume us when we rest in the confident assurance that God loves us and watches over all the events of our lives. God is wide awake and in control of everything that touches us. We are restored in body, mind, and spirit because “. . . We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. And all who live in love live in God, and God in him. . . .Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear” (1 John 4:15–18).

Learn More About Coping As A Cancer Patient

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