Today I'm recommending a website for cancer patients...a place where forum members ask questions, encourage one another, and share information. Whether one's cancer is ovarian (as is mine) or otherwise, you may find a helpful forum there. (click here and find a forum) P.S. there are forums at this website for other illnesses, too. So check it out.
One of the issues that cancer patients experience (and patients with other diseases as well) is the realization that this disease will, in much likelihood, eventually cause our death. A death that will come earlier than we once envisioned. So the topic of death was brought up this morning on the ovarian cancer forum....do we think about it?...how do we deal with it?...is it morbid to think about death?
In responding on the forum to that question, I included the following thoughts. I write them here to share with you. And if you wish to not think on death, please feel free to "pass" and read no further.
I had debulking surgery in January and spent 8 days in the hospital. Then a week later, another 5 days. Surgery hit me hard and I thought surely this was the end. I thought I might never walk out of that place and that surely death could be near.
But time and treatment have done their job and right now I feel really good...better than before diagnosis. That does not mean that I am through with cancer. I believe this disease will get me sooner or later. (I'm only being realistic.)
As a strong Christian I believe God holds all our days in His hands. In Psalm 139:16 David speaks to God about his own life and says this: "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. "
God knows all my days. He has my path set before me and I walk it. Sometimes He gives me good days, full of sunshine and goodness. Other days are hard. It's that way for all of us, cancer or no. We are all in this thing, this life, together. Every last one of us.
Some will never experience illness and will live long and happy lives till the moment they keel over of a quite painless and quick heart attack or whatever. Others experience difficulty every day of their life. More difficulty than any of us here has yet experienced. But we, we few (for we are few compared to some other cancers), walk the ovarian cancer path. That path is hard and scary and it beats us up as we walk.
I do not fear death itself. Not that I am in a hurry to get there...I like Life! and I had planned to live to be 90 as my parents and grandparents. (Silly me! I thought I was in control of that! ) What cancer brings to us is the fear of what we will have to endure in terms of treatments, pain, side-effects, complications. Death itself is not the fear. It is the time between now and then that is fearful. At least to me. Frankly, I have never enjoyed pain. Imagine that!
So this is how I have settled my thinking. I try to live "today". I know that "tomorrow" may change and not for the better. But I do not have to live "tomorrow" today. When "tomorrow" gets here, I hope that I will recognize it still as part of God's path for my life and that I will walk it well.
A friend who is a 5-year cancer survivor gave me this scripture when I first went into the hospital...Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."
While walking through cancer we are truly being overwhelmed by the flood of fear and we are truly walking through the fire. And yet God promises to be with us through all of it. He does not promise a rose garden. Not in this life. But He does promise to walk with us and bring us through the water and the fire of life. And into His presence when life here is done.