Cancer = Joy?
Can you imagine using the words “Cancer” and “Joy” in the same sentence? I could not. When the phone rang that morning, my doctor said “I’m sorry Suzette, we found cancer.” Hearing that, the trajectory of my life completely changed. I had been down this path before. In 1995 my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I learned many lessons by watching my Mom overcome this diagnosis and become the survivor she is today. The greatest lesson I learned from her courageous battle was that there is joy on this journey, but we must look for it.
Here I was walking in the shoes of my Mother, along with others before me. I borrowed a page from her experience and began to look for joy in this journey. The most important step I took was to spend time with God each and every day. I prayed for strength to deal with all that lay ahead. I prayed for wisdom to make the right decisions for my treatment options. I prayed to find anything joyful about this. God did not disappoint.
An Encouragement Journal was my creative outlet where I would write down positive things that happened to help find those joyful moments on the toughest days. Some entries include…
-How my niece and nephew created treatment “countdown” sheets with drawings and encouraging words.
-How through the support, encouragement and expertise of my Alexian Brothers Health System physicians and staff helped me to become a survivor.
-The kindness of friends and associates. I had never had someone bring me a meal before. That simple act touched me profoundly.
-The deep love and support of my family.
Everywhere I looked I saw God’s hand working to show me that despite the many rough moments, I was never alone.
It gives me pause to think that three years after that phone call, my life has changed in so many ways. I need to share with others that are on this journey there will be difficult moments. You can’t escape that. But there is indeed joy in this journey if we only look for it.