THEN I ASKED MYSELF, NOW WHAT?
So you get a cancer diagnosis. What happens next?
To be frank, I was too overwhelmed to think clearly immediately or to even react. I was totally numb for a few days, trying to get used to the idea that I had a life threatening disease. They say there are emotional stages that people go through when they are diagnosed. Most agree that there is the initial shock and disbelief. Fear, anger, devastation and yes, some may ask "why me?" Depression is a common emotion felt by newly diagnosed patients. Then you adjust somewhat and carry on as best as you can. I felt a little bit of all these emotions. I was especially resentful that I had to go through it after my husband had gone through it and died. Wasn't that ordeal enough? After the initial emotions wore off, I began to think, I am a single mother of two young children who cannot become orphans. There is so much I need to teach them to equip them to conquer the world and not only to survive but be successful and live a life of purpose. I had to fight this and not give in to melancholy. So I turned to God first. All I said to Him was" help me. Do not take me now, I need to be there for the kids. Spare me. Teach me how to fight this. Give me courage". Melodrama, you may say but desperate times call for such. Then my practical side took over. First thing I did was to get support from people who will be committed to helping me fight this. One of the first people I reached out to was my Pastor. I needed reassuring before I started this fight that God had my back and who else to reassure me but my Pastor. Boy, did he support me! He gave me the foundation and strength to go through the fight of my life. How? I spent a month in prayer with him before my surgery. We talked about scripture which gave assurance that God desired that I should not die but live and be healthy. I went into the fight believing that I had won. I was positive I would survive because God said so. He would use doctors, the surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and whatever treatment to manifest the healing that I already had because of Christ. Faith in God healed me. Most of all I had peace that God was in control no matter what.
The emotions we go through when we are diagnosed are normal. We should allow ourselves to feel these emotions without getting stuck in them. Seek help when you cannot get out of depression or when your mortality becomes an obsession. Seek help from whatever or whoever gives you confidence and lifts your Spirits. For me it is Christ alone and those he has chosen to help me like my Pastor, dear friends and family who supported me and also my doctors and health care providers. Do not try to fight alone. There are always people ready and willing to help. Scriptures like Isaiah 53:5, Psalm 107:20, Psalm 118:17 and many more became my daily medicine. I will talk a little bit more about supports in my next blog. Til then. Keep the faith. It isn't over until God says so.