Lessons Learned

In April 2011, Chris and I were asked to be guest panelists at a Relay for Life session in Denison, Texas, to share how cancer touched our lives in ways we never expected. Here are some of the questions I was asked, along with my answers:

What do you wish you had known from the beginning of the diagnosis?

  • Stage IV is not an automatic death sentence.
  • Inoperable doesn’t mean incurable.
  • There is hope. Don’t pay attention to statistics. The Lord is in control and determines the outcome—not the statisticians, the doctors, or the treatments.

What positives have come out of your experience as caregiver?

  • I’ve started reading my Bible daily.
  • I’ve learned to rely on God instead of just relying on the medical professionals and treatments.
  • I have a stronger prayer life as an individual and with my husband.
  • We’re able to live our faith in front of our children. Actions speak louder than words.
  • I’m developing a whole new outlook on life and a deeper appreciation for God, my marriage, family, and friends.
  • We’re learning to be a witness for Christ by sharing how God is healing Chris and touching his life.
  • It’s helped us reconnect with long-lost friends.
  • We discovered we have true friends—the kind that don’t leave during a crisis.
  • I’m learning to accept help from friends and family. By allowing them to help us has blessed them by being a part of Chris’s healing process.
  • We’ve experienced the love and kindness of total strangers.
  • It has helped us focus on what’s important in life and what’s not.
  • I’ve proved to my husband how much I really love him, in sickness and in health.
  • It’s allowed me more time with my husband on a daily basis.
  • We’ve learned that the positives far outweigh the negatives, as we now understand that a cancer diagnosis can be a blessing in disguise. You have to focus on the positive aspects and look for a way to help others through this process.
  • I’ve learned I’m much stronger and more resilient than I would have ever thought. But it’s only because I turn to God to help carry me through these trials.

I’d love to hear the positive lessons you have learned during your caregiving experience or medical trial.