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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dealing with the "R" Word ...

Hope Faith
Originally uploaded by sydaustin
Generally speaking, I have learned that a cancer survivor can usually expect this greeting when meeting someone they have not seen in awhile:

"Nice to see you!"

My usual response: "And you as well. Actually, it is nice to be seen!"

Other than these most pleasant encounters with friends, co-workers and acquaintances, our daily routine is very close to the pre-cancer days found before March 2006. We are most grateful for that reality.

But one of the significant elements of our encounters with friends and strangers who learn of our journey deals with questions about our recovery: How did this happen?

Frankly, I guess I know more about the "how?" than the "why?"

Yes, we went through more than 15 months of various chemotherapy treatments before referral to City of Hope which led to the stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.

By God's grace, I have just overcome a potentially life-ending bout with cancer. It is as if I was in the line to take the train to heaven, but the conductor refused to take my ticket. While Dee Dee and I prayed for remission and recovery (and that's what we were given), all that we could expect and what we deserved to receive in this line was repentance and redemption. The latter is the gift of eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ whom we accept as our personal savior. This point seems to confound scholars and skeptics alike, but it speaks best to our faith and our hope.

What seems to also confound many today is the current political scene. I meet people in church and in my daily walk who are keenly anxious about next week's election. My response:

For me, at least now, everything political pales by comparison to the victory I have gained; nothing political offers the solutions or the ideas that will bring salvation for mankind. Not now. Not ever. Political ideas and leaders come and go, but God is eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is able to work with, in, or around every political leader since the beginning of time, and He will have His way in this election and every affair of this world now and forever. And one day soon we will be at home in Heaven in God's presence where, if they too accept His gift, Barack Obama and John McCain dwell among us (and us with them) in perfect harmony without any thought of political ideology or persuasion.

I am not choosing to belittle the importance of next week's election. It is very important, but it is just an election. And it represents a free and open transfer of power in a democratic political system. Many parts of our world do not understand nor condone our political system, but it is probably the most just way for people to govern.

Ultimately, however, the winner next Tuesday will learn that his power is limited and he will have a moment then or later to pause in the presence of a Creator who is all-powerful and all-wonderful with a glory and majesty that far surpasses any earthly realm. Yes, it is hard to comprehend, but perhaps a bout with cancer is the medicine that can cure anxiety about the future.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lessons That Cancers Teach

My positive outcome to date with a 2.5-year battle with cancer and, then, full remission from mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) since August 22, 2007 prompts numerous questions about my personal emotional strength to deal with the life-threatening disease. For sure, my own experiences seem to mirror those written by the following author. One thing is certain: the inner strength that Dee Dee and I mustered for this battle did not appear overnight. We drew upon the reserve that had been built throughout our 37+ years of marriage and from the years that began very early in life. What is your experience? Please provide your comments below.
How you react in a crisis, how you make decisions, whom you turn to for support—these are part of the essence of who you are. The core values that were important to you before your diagnosis will be what helps you deal with it now. Some people are truly changed by the experience, but you may just find that when you resume your life, you’ll want to celebrate the person you always were, and still are.
@ltaLINK to This SOURCE
clipped from

The One Big Lesson

Cancer Doesn’t Change Who You Are, It Confirms Who You Are
clipped from
clipped from

Emotional well-being doesn't affect cancer outcome

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The results of a new study provide no evidence to support the notion that patients with cancer can influence the course or outcome of their cancer by making changes to improve their emotional well-being or, in particular, that psychotherapy can help them live longer.

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