10/13/2010

The Irony of Cancer


How can a man serve in the armed forces for years, drop behind enemy lines countless times in the dead of night with nothing but a small bag of provisions and a few other men beside him and not be caught? How can this man be shot at, wounded and yet come home alive to be with his family until called to duty again for another mission? Eventually, he was caught by the enemies, escaped and finished out his term of service, retired and within one year, he was diagnosed with cancer. He died year later, at home, in his bed surrounded by his family without his uniform on. An American hero, gone too soon.

A woman in Michigan longed for a child of her own but had been told for years she would never be able to conceive. Her husband and her had many years before gave up trying. She found out, quite accidentally, at the stage in her life when most women are going thru menopause, she was pregnant. Shocked, at 50, to find out her hot flashes were actually pregnancy symptoms at her doctors, she was also told she had breast cancer. Is there such a thing as good timing for a cancer diagnosis?

A friend recently celebrated her body scan that showed no cancer anywhere in her bones. She was elated and proudly shared her news with those that have been her cheering squad. When the noise died down, and her life went on as normal, it stopped again. Her young daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Thus the cycle continues for this family, just when they thought the all clear sign was here.

She finally hit the 5-year mark of being cancer free. With a genetic trait for cancer in her family, it was a God sent sign to hit this moment in time. She was not sure it would come. She rejoiced in it, cautiously though, because she knew the sky could drop at any time for her, or one of her loved ones, and she wanted to be prepared so, if it did, it would not hit her hard. But it did, hit her hard that is, deep down inside, because honestly, who can ever be prepared or ok in their heart to hear their sister they love has cancer that has metastasized to their bones?

I pray every day for those that have cancer and are in treatment. I pray for those that will be diagnosed today with the dreadful disease. I then add on a prayer for those, like me, that are survivors. I never ever forget those that have died before us from cancer that they will see that their life truly did make a difference and that the torch of finding a cure is being lit by others and carried on partly because of them. I do not leave out those that have been touched by cancer either, directly or indirectly. I suppose, in a sense, given this litany list, I pray for us all because who is not on this list?

Cancer makes no sense; it does not distinguish between the rich or the poor, the weak or the strong. It makes us all face mortality and in facing death, we appreciate life on this earth; we cherish the moments and understand the importance of deepening our faith in God and all that He holds dear NOW. Don't wait, the present is here, right now, grab it!
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