Comfort for those living with cancer

Archive for April, 2012

Helping Others, A Vital Part of Healing

I am learning that helping others is a vital part of my healing. The benefits that come back to me are far greater than what I give away!

Compassion Is The Result of a Thankful Spirit Image

I recently started participating in a Website endorsed by the American Cancer Society. The site, What Next, is made up of cancer patients and caregivers. Hopes and fears, concerns and questions, tips and encouragements are posted on the site for the benefit of all. By taking the time and effort to contribute their thoughts, and for many of these wonderful folks it is a huge effort, they minister love to others. This truly is a wonderful support for Judy and I!

The little bit of encouragement I have been able to share with others has brought many unexpected benefits into my life.  I am so thankful to those who make this blessing available.

As a Christian we know that faith without works is dead, but did you know that helping others has physical and psychological benefits as well as spiritual?

Allan Luks, author of The Healing Power of Doing Good, has researched a phenomenon he calls “Helper’s High” Luks’ studies suggest that volunteering and charitable giving help ease stress, improving physical and emotional health by:

· strengthening immune system activity

· decreasing intensity and awareness of physical pain

· activating positive emotions that support well-being

· reducing negative attitudes that deplete well-being

· enhancing functioning of various body systems

With all of the benefits of helping others it seems that we cheat ourselves of many blessings when we are self-centered and focused only on our own distress. God prepared situation to give us opportunity to help others!

Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Compassion is the motivator that moves us to help others. Compassion does not occur randomly, but is nurtured and cultivated in the believer’s life. The key to developing compassion in your life is to make it a daily practice.

Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own. Most of us have needed help with something at some point in our lives. The old adage “no man is an island” is most definitely true. And where would we be if someone hadn’t been there to help us through?

God has chosen His children to work through to bring comfort to those who need comfort…

2 Cor. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Who will you help today? It’s worth thinking about.

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The Roller Coaster of Living With Cancer

I am really confused! One day the doctors say, “No cancer.” Less than 24 hours later another doctor calls and says, “You need to be on chemo therapy.”  What a roller coaster ride!

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Yesterday Judy and I saw my cancer surgeon and he gave us the report from my extensive cat scan, knees to chin. “No new tumors, no spreading of cancer. We’ll just keep monitoring.” That certainly was a good report. He also didn’t have anything good to say about the chemo therapy drug Nexavar which is the only chemo drug for liver cancer.

Less than 24 hours later my GI doctor calls and says that I should be on Nexavar. She has been talking to the liver transplant specialist and he thinks I should be on Nexavar, even though he said I wasn’t qualified for a liver transplant. ??????

Now I have an appointment to go back to my Oncologist so that she can talk to me about starting chemo therapy, even thou two weeks ago she didn’t recommend it. ??????

Maybe I should get my dentist’s opinion or maybe the piano tuner guy that looked at Judy’s piano this morning. I really am confused!

Not having gone through this before leaves me at a bit of a loss as to weather others with cancer face similar ups and downs. It is one of the reasons I began this blog, to share with others Living With Cancer.

I really feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster.

The most difficult part is watching Judy. One minute she is dancing and praising God and the next she is looking for some way to encourage me. I wish I could give her some stability, but it seems that is one of the problems with cancer, lack of stability.

As a Christian however……………………. we have stability that is absolutely certain and unchangeable!

Psalm 18:1-3

1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

I am so thankful that my Jesus is there for Judy and I! I am persuaded that He is able to keep us…

2 Timothy 1:12

12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Even with all of the ups and downs, emotionally, of Living With Cancer, I have a peace that surpasses all understanding! Even as I share my thoughts here and look into the WORD I am blessed and I am reminded that:

Romans 8:37-39

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Judy and I pray that someone will be comforted with the same comfort we are comforted with. Would you please pray with us?

Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open

When I saw the picture of the flying dog I laughed so hard I cried. Oh how I wish I could “Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open”! I’m trying, I really am.

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Judy doesn’t seem to think that I’m living what I’m bloging. She is probably right, at least in part. It’s difficult to do what we want to do, no matter how much we want it. I have decided “To Live” with my cancer, but I must admit, it’s easier to say than do.

Why do you think it’s difficult to do what you want to do? The apostle Paul admitted to this struggle when he confessed to not always doing what he knew was right.

I know it’s important to exercise, eat right and so forth, but I often just find myself sitting in my easy chair and waiting for something to happen. Writing about my life with cancer is a good thing, but it doesn’t burn many calories.

Today I had a major cat scan from my thighs to my chin. Boy, I can hardly wait for the doctors report on this one, not! I’m starting to enjoy any day that doesn’t include a doctor appointment. I really think I would be doing better if I could avoid thinking about “IT”.

What do you do to keep your mind focused on worthwhile things?

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

This week I think I’ll work on being disciplined in my thought life, then maybe I can get my body to cooperate.

Oncologist Is Not A Dirty Word

Yesterday Judy and I met my Oncologist, Dr. Sarah Conte.

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I did not look forward to this appointment and even dreaded it a bit. I had visions of her telling us all of the horrible things that were coming and the hopelessness of the situation. Much to my surprise and delight she gave us hope. The greatest source of fear when living with cancer is a lack of knowledge and the uncertainty that brings. Dr. Conte helped remove some of that uncertainty.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

She spent nearly an hour talking with us, not at us as some other doctors have done. She answered questions that we were afraid to ask or too ignorant to understand. Rather than putting me on the chemo therapy I had feared, she explained that things were more hopeful than we had thought. Wait and see is actually the course of action at this point. That’s great because “wait and see” doesn’t have any nasty side effects.

She reviewed at length what has transpired to this point in my care. Labs, pathology reports and other doctors findings were all carefully considered by her. She spent a great deal of time making sure Judy and I had a right understanding of my condition and what to expect next. The knowledge she imparted and assuring demeanor went a long ways in allowing us to live today and not fret about tomorrow.

Some future cat scans, MRIs and lab work will determine future course corrections, but until then I can concentrate on getting the rest of my body as healthy as possible. Losing weight is my number one physical priority now. Eating right and exercise to regain my strength are also key to my future.

She did explain a drug called Nexavar that I will be on sometime in the future to slow down the growth of the tumors, but for now it wouldn’t be necessary. That was great news! We go back to review my scans and other tests in six weeks.

I am so thankful that God has provided such a knowledgeable and compassionate doctor! I no longer cringe at the title Oncologist.

I wish Old Doc Adams was here now!

Way Too Many Doctors!

When you have cancer the doctors seem to come out of the woodwork. Is there really a need for so many specialists?

Judy and I love to watch the old western, Gunsmoke. We have seen so many episodes that the characters seem like family. There’s Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty, Chester and others that came and went over the twenty year run of Gunsmoke. My favorite character was “Old Doc Adams.”

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Doc Adams reminds me of how doctors were when I was a kid. They all seemed much alike and they would examine you with a knowing look, but they said little. In their silence there was a degree of confidence that said, “This guy must know something important and too deep for my understanding. I better just trust whatever he says.” Not so today. Doctors want their patients “Informed.”

Doc Adams was an expert at removing bullets and delivering babies. How could you not trust a doctor who removed an average of fifteen bullets a season from Marshall Dillon? I wish Doc Adams was here now to “fix me up.” He would say, “Now don’t you worry a bit. I’ll have you fixed up in no time by golly.” He would say that even when you knew the cowboy he was working on was a gonner, but at least they died with confidence in their doctor.

I suppose being informed allows me to “Participate” in my treatment. To tell you the truth, I think I would rather just have a doctor that looks confident and isn’t counting on me for much. I have enough of a burden to carry already, I don’t need to be responsible for my treatment. Where is Good Old Doc when you need him?

Today we have our first appointment with the Oncologist. Oh how I’m looking forward to this! NOT!

I never knew there were so many different kinds of doctors. So far we have seen Primary Care doctors, gastroenterologist, surgical oncologists, hematologists, urologists, transplant specialists, radiologists, and the all important billingologists. Down the road I suppose I will meet a few more specialists, but none are going to tell me, “Now don’t you worry a bit. I’ll have you fixed up in no time by golly.”

Oh how I wish Old Doc Adams was here now!

Now what I do have is Old Doc Jesus.

1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

I can almost hear my Lord saying to me now, “Now don’t you worry a bit. I’ll have you fixed up in no time by golly.”