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Jan 11

Happy endings only, please!

 

 

 

 

 

If this hasn’t happened to you yet, I’m pretty sure it will.

Someone finds out you or your loved one has cancer–or some other serious diagnosis–and begins to tell you a story about a relative or friend of theirs who had a similar one. I’m sure it’s an attempt to try and identify with what you’re going through, but unfortunately as the story unfolds, it’s not what you really want to hear.

People used to come up and tell me gruesome stories about their neighbor who had the same kind of cancer I did and just “wasted away” or their grandmother who was “wracked with pain.” I hated hearing these stories, but at first I tried to be polite and listen.

Finally, I decided I could take it no longer and when people started a cancer story, I would interrupt them, smile, and say, “Does this story have a happy ending? Because if it ­doesn’t, I don’t want to hear it.”

That reply ­really stopped people in their tracks, and I ­didn’t have to listen to any more hopeless cancer stories.

You may want to adopt my approach as well. Many patients tell me they have and that surprisingly it worked quite well even though some folks’ mouths dropped open at the shock of being asked to stop talking midstream! Eventually, you may be fine to listen to any and all stories, but at first I think it’s best to stick with the happy endings.

All the patients in the office where I worked as a patient advocate for nearly two decades knew that when I started to tell them a story, they could relax because it was going to have a “happy ending.” Either the person got cured or went into remission or lived much longer than predicted. You also can trust that all my books are filled with endless hope and not hopeless endings. There are plenty of books with formulas which promise that if you do this or ­don’t do that, your prayers will be answered just the way you want them to be. I know such books exist because cancer patients and their families in our office often wanted to talk with me when such a prayer formula ­didn’t work for them.

The truth is that some people get cured of cancer–or other life-threatening illnesses–on this earth and some ­don’t. I join you in hoping and praying for your cure, but I want to remind you that no matter what does or doesn’t happen to your health, you do not have to be a victim.

I hate the term “cancer victim.” It somehow implies cancer is the victor. It wins; we lose. While we can do little to choose whether we get cancer (or most other serious diagnoses), I believe we can do a lot to choose whether we are its victims. I don’t just mean whether we live or die. I mean how the diagnosis affects us in the deepest parts of who we are.

I urge you today, whether you are the patient or the caregiver, not to choose to become a victim of cancer or any other illness/condition. Do not let this disease seem more powerful than it is. Do not let it fill your mind, steal your peace, invade your soul or destroy your hope. It has no power to do those things unless you allow it to.

As you take this unwanted journey, I believe you are going to discover two things:

You are a lot stronger than you think
and God is a lot greater than you think.

If you had told me prior to June 1990 that I was going to be diagnosed with cancer and have to endure major surgery and six months of weekly chemo, I would have said there’s no way I can face that. If you had a crystal ball and showed me the terrible side effects I would suffer because I was allergic to the main chemo drug and no other alternative existed at that time, I would have said: I can’t do it. If you told me I would have to live with the knowledge that if my cancer came back, there was no second chance at a cure and I would die very quickly, I would have told you there’s no way I can live like that.

But that’s because I didn’t have a true appreciation for how great God really is. Oh, I’d believed in Him and even served Him faithfully for many years, but until I suffered personally, I’d never experienced how powerful He really is. Now I’ve seen firsthand the amazing strength of the human spirit and the incomparable greatness of the Almighty God.

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust him. Nahum 1:7

If you ­don’t want to be defeated by this diagnosis—no matter what it does or has done to you or your loved one, you need a supernatural touch from God.

May I pray for you? Heavenly Father, this diagnosis feels very big right now. Please show Your power in my friend’s life and let him/her see that this disease/condition is very small and weak compared to Your amazing strength. Help him/her to choose not to be a victim. Amen

(If the music video doesn’t appear below, please copy and paste this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKLQ1td3MbE