My First Twelve Months with Cancer

 

A little over a year ago, Pam and I were sequestered in a small room awaiting the urologist’s diagnosis of my biopsy. In the months before this, we’d been through a tough time of pain, sleepless nights, and fear of the unknown that culminated with his words, “You have stage 4 prostate cancer, and it’s metastasized to a small spot on your hip.” We cried, clung to each other, and felt a sort of out-of-body experience as the doctor went on about Gleason scores and then treatment.

Now, twelve months after my first treatment, I can reflect on what we are learning from this experience and how God has enabled us to stand firm, turn away from fear, and move forward by taking (and holding tight to) His guiding hand.

Of course, I can’t go too far without writing about my beloved wife of now fifty years. We are a team, knit together with a third cord that binds us—Jesus. I realize the disease is often harder on the caregiver. Without question, Pam has always supported me and been a significant part of this journey. There were nights that she spent on her knees in prayer, times when she encouraged and brought to mind God’s promises of healing. Times when she simply held my hand and assured me. Her deep belief is infectious and deeply rooted in her love for God. She’s my rock, and besides God and His Word, I could not have been on this journey without her at my side.

Without question, our faith has been our tower of strength, encouragement, and learning. I know without a doubt that Jesus knew all about this and that He has it covered. I know He has a plan for me, that He will provide for us (I’m still working with clients every day), and that in the end, this will all work out to His glory and my best. His Word is a constant source for me as I seek His promises, His wisdom, and His strength.

Our kids gave us incredible support through prayer, texts, hugs, and wise counsel. It’s an incredible feeling to have kids who trust God, study His Word, and offer such sound advice.

Prayer has been significant in many ways—first, our prayers, but perhaps more importantly, our friends’ prayers. We feel them all the time, especially those low moments when you suddenly realize someone or some group is praying for you. I am fortunate to have a group of close friends who I kept in close contact via email. They are all prayer warriors; their friendship and encouragement were without question a sustaining force in our lives.

I can’t be in the publishing world and not mention the power of books. As I said, the Bible was my main focus as it’s God’s Word, and He has many answers. Two books, besides the Bible, were invaluable to this journey. Timothy Keller’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering is an incredible book, especially in the last eight chapters. Also, David Jeremiah’s personal story of his battle with cancer, A Bend in the Road, shares so much of his story, but also the comfort he gained from selected Psalms.

I am blessed to have two excellent doctors. My urologist and oncologist have been supportive, open to our many questions, and personally interested in my care.

I’ve personally learned so much on this journey:

The value and importance of every day—the trivial is ignored, and you tend to focus on the truly important.

The power of prayer—In my Christian walk, prayer has always been important, but nothing like now. Prayer serves as an intimate connection to my heavenly Father as well as a binding agent to friends and family.

The surprise of blessing. During this past year, we witnessed big and small blessings, including buying a new home and selling our former house one day before it went on the market. God continues to give me the blessing of clients with whom we share the same passion of helping people know Jesus.

The value of rest—Now I have a clearer understanding of the purpose of the Sabbath. Being a life-long type A now on medications that sap my strength has given me a new perspective on rest and taking time to recuperate.

I’m looking forward to the next twelve months and what God has planned for us on this journey.

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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