I Don’t Want to Be a Cancer Survivor

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

March 28 marked the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. The entire month of March was gloomy for me. I could contribute my funk to the weather as some suggested. But the weather usually doesn’t affect my moods so much. And I feel better since Easter even though the sky still displays a grey overcast most days. Therefore, it’s safe to say the weather had little to do with my downcast spirit.

Since I had gone through a depression several years ago due to my thyroid, and now chemo had messed up my thyroid again, my thoughts drifted toward another dark season on the horizon. That is one place I never want to return to. I consulted the doctor and, after blood tests, found out my numbers were all good, ruling out the thyroid theory.

What was causing my blues?

The memories of the past two years, last year more so, darkened my soul and mind, making my days dreary and arduous. I wanted to cry most of the time and had no desire to do anything other than read or sleep.

I had no choice but to ride out the emotional storm and pray it wouldn’t last long.

Throughout the month of March and the first week in April, my memory ran rampant. The doctor’s voice telling me my test came back positive for breast cancer and his statement, “It was a miracle we even found it” replayed in my mind. The oncologist’s encouraging words echoed in my ears as he prepared me for treatment. The vision of Gene almost collapsing when I told him the cancer had metastasized to my lung. The brain MRI, thankfully, showed a sinus infection and nothing else. Then treatment started.

At the time, everything flashed so quickly I had not time to think about what was happening. During the next six months of treatment and the following five months of recuperation, I concentrated on healing, getting my strength and my life back to a recognizable normal. I’m still not there, but it’s getting better. But now, the memories replayed in slow motion as I relived every detail.

Today I’m writing this post, thinking I don’t want to be a cancer survivor. That statement might sound odd to you. But I really don’t. I don’t want to have cancer at all. Yes, I’m grateful beyond words to be as healthy as I am. I have no regrets, not even after having going through chemo. I know it was the treatment God wanted me to have. He has taken care of me through it and because of it. But I still don’t want to be a cancer survivor.

Here’s why:

1. Cancer is for brave souls who can withstand a great deal of discomfort. I’m not one of them.
2. I want to be the prayer warrior who takes them to the throne room and kneels before the Lord and requests healing, peace, and comfort for them.
3. I want to be the arms that wrap around them, giving reassurance that they’re loved and not alone in this battle.
4. I want to be the mouth that speaks comforting words.
5. I want to be the hands that bring needed meals.
6. I want to be the feet that do the shopping when they can’t
7. I want to be the shoulder they cry on.

I don’t want to be the survivor in need, wondering when cancer will put me in that place again. I want to go back to health and no worries.

But we can’t go back, only forward.

I’ll be okay. The funk has past, enabling me to write this post.

God is awesome all ways, always. I love Him. I know He loves me too. He has carried me through. And I remember the peace that enveloped me for the past year. I am blessed and thankful for all He has done, and yes, I’m thankful to be a cancer survivor, even though I don’t like wearing that label.

How about you? What label do you wear that you’re not thrilled about, but thankful for all the same?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

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6 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Be a Cancer Survivor

  1. Praising God for the lessons He teaches through the trials. Thank you for your honesty. I’m so glad you are a cancer survivor. Now, you can even more comfort those with the comfort you have been comforted with.

  2. Oh, Brenda, I completely commiserate with these thoughts. Yes, I also wear a label I do not wish to, one I never thought could happen, one I feel much undeserved guilt over.
    I am the mother of three daughters who all deal with major anxiety/depression disorders. It doesn’t matter how happy-go-lucky they all were as children. It doesn’t count that
    as teens other mothers wished their teens were as focused about where they were going in life. It doesn’t matter how close their walk with Jesus has been, how many ministries
    and missions trips they’ve taken part in, how many others they’ve all counseled through anxieties and depression. And now, with my seeing a therapist as well, at least
    one of them feels this was a foregone conclusion to my motherhood. What kind of mother concludes her mothering days (pre-empty nest) in a state of constant anxiety and
    depression, especially after raising three amazing talented daughters?

    Why? What happened? Will our grandchildren deal with this malady as well? How can I make it stop today…with no further generations affected? Yes, I wear this label and I do
    not want to. I want them to be well-adjusted as they were as children. I want them to be focused on the positives in their futures as they were as teens. I want them keeping
    their eyes on Jesus, knowing He alone is the one Who labels them as they should be – “My Beloved,” “My Daughter,” “My Child.”

    I wear this label and struggle every day to tear it off…while realizing I’m never going to be able to. But as with our children, my true label comes with an eternal guarantee –
    “Forgiven…Healed…Grace-filled Daughter of the King”!

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