There was an initial reluctance in sharing with my church family (or anyone else) that I had cancer. I’m not entirely sure why I hesitated to be open about the diagnosis, perhaps it was a combination of fear and pride. I was fearful of how people would react and my pride hindered me from sharing too much of myself personally because that showed my vulnerability and weakness. However, the Lord led me to embrace my church family and allow them to minister to me, a reciprocal blessing of sorts, my being blessed by their ministrations and they being blessed in their service to me.
I think too there was an embarrassment involved in sharing I had breast cancer. Let’s face it, we’re talking breasts here! In fact, when I initially told people I had breast cancer, some people refused to look me in the face…their eyes seemed to travel down to my chest area all the time. I told a friend of mine (a male friend actually) after a particularly challenging conversation trying to maintain eye – contact… ”I wonder where you’d be looking if your friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer?”
Perhaps my greatest concern was how to tell my children of my condition. My oldest daughter, Laurelle was sixteen at the time, my son, Brett was eight and my youngest, Carmen was in kindergarten. Laurelle was home when I got the phone call from the doctor telling me I had cancer so we wept together and yet I was surprised by her optimism and strength. Little did I know that she was putting up a good outward front to the world, especially to me, but inside she was breaking up emotionally and absolutely terrified. It was Laurelle’s reaction to the news, even though I know now it was a great testament to her acting ability,that bolstered me to tell the little ones. We were open and honest with them and used the correct terminology and we were as calm and optimistic as we could be with them. As a result, the children were not afraid of the unknown, they joined us in the battle. It did not make the year any easier for them but we were unified in our resolve to stand together as a family and support each other through the good and bad times. An example of that was when my five year old daughter was asked by a helper Mom in her kindergarten class how I was doing, and Carmen matter-of-factly said, “Oh my Mom is doing fine, she just has breast cancer!”
One of many things God taught me through the experience was not to be afraid of cancer. I remember in my own home when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my Dad would not speak the word: he often referred to it as the “C” word, or he called it “Mom’s illness”. To me that just gives cancer a “power” over you that it does not deserve. A friend sent me this poem two weeks after my first surgery that puts cancer in the right perspective:
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot eat away peace,
It cannot destroy confidence,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot shut out memories,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot reduce eternal life,
It cannot quench the Spirit,
It cannot lessen the power
of the Resurrection.
Lynn, How are you doing now? Very lovely poem and sharing of your thought on cancer.
Holly, I am happy to say that I am cancer-free, I’ve just published my third book and I am hugging on my first grandbaby on a regular basis! Thanks for asking!
Yay! Thanks be to God! Can you give me a link to your books. I’d like to read and review at least one on my blog…I do have a list of books to get through though…would you like to do a guest blog on my blog?