We just celebrated Thanksgiving…that time of year when we purposely take the time to pause and give thanks for all the great things in our lives like jobs, homes, family, friends, food, and our good health. But wait. What if we don’t have “good” health? Can we still give thanks if our health includes cancer?
I am one of those people who likes to give thanks for almost everything every day of the year. I feel blessed and find it easy to look at the positive in most situations year round. Let me make it clear that I was not happy when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found it hard to find anything positive about being the one with the diagnosis. It was scary and after finding out about all that treating it would entail I was even less enthusiastic.
No woman enjoys a mammogram, especially repeated ones. Having a needle core biopsy is an even more unpleasant experience. Recuperating from surgery with drains is a few more notches down the scale. But nothing compares to going through chemo and dealing with all the side effects from poison being poured into your veins. Radiation is not painful but it is time consuming and has some side effects as well. Additional infusions for a year, medication for 5 years, numerous medical tests, doctor visits, and follow-ups for who knows how long. Don’t even mention the finances with co-pays, the phone calls and paperwork involved with billing. Then there is always the possibility that despite all the treatment and medication the cancer can reoccur. Is it possible to give thanks for all these things?
I know it’s not easy to give thanks for cancer and all that comes with it but you can give thanks in it! I am thankful that I was diagnosed with breast cancer during a time when there has been so much progress made with treatments available. As much as I hate medication I am thankful that there are drugs available to specifically do battle with my kind of cancer. I am thankful that they came out with anti-nausea meds that I could take while going through chemo. I am thankful I live in a country with a multitude of doctors and hospitals available to treat my cancer. Personally I am also thankful that my cancer was diagnosed in an early stage, especially because it is an aggressive form. I am also thankful that I had just obtained insurance.
Giving thanks for cancer comes after you’ve been in” the storm” awhile. As a result of being in the cancer storm, I have become a stronger person, have learned a lot more about myself, have felt freer and more focused in my goals (aside from “chemo brain”), and most importantly have relished the relationship I have with God. I have never felt closer to Him, enjoying His presence, being filled with the love, joy, and peace that only He can fill your life with. How can you not give thanks for something, even cancer, if it draws you into a closeness like that? That is why I can give thanks for my cancer. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].” (AMP) My favorite song for this time in my life, “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe, says exactly how I feel.
“ The more I seek you,
the more I find you.
The more I find you,
the more I love you.
I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming”