How Cancer has Changed Us

Image for post
Image for post

My husband and I were sitting around a table at a wedding. We were among friends, and the conversation was jumping from one couple to another as we caught up with each other. Someone asked my husband “how is your son?” He gave a brief rundown, and I interjected with “It’s been great! Everyone’s son should get cancer.”

Six months ago our son was diagnosed with cancer. Last week he had his third surgery since his diagnosis and tomorrow he will turn 27. While my response at the wedding was half sarcasm, the other half was truth. I would never actually wish anyone’s child get cancer, but I also wouldn’t trade the way cancer has changed us.

Our son has been married for four years. He and his wife are the parents of a two ½-year-old and are expecting their second on the anniversary of his diagnosis. His prognosis is good, in fact, the doctor said if you have to get cancer this is the kind to get. Still, the answers have been slow in coming, and more than once our hopes have been dashed.

Blessings of Cancer

Good can come from this type of trial. It is not obvious amongst the ugly heartbreak associated with cancer, but it is there if we choose to find it. Our priorities have been realigned with what is most important, and as we’ve proceeded with faith, we have been strengthened in remarkable ways.

I’m reminded of a scripture in Philippians 4:7 which refers to the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. Feeling peace when the world tells us we should be panicking is beyond my understanding. I can only attribute our peace as a tender mercy and blessing from God.

We have become closer to our son than we have been for a while. The teenage years were hard on our relationship, but the last six months have been a healing balm to those old wounds. Patience no longer means avoiding a power struggle with our son but waiting with him for test results and treatment plans.

This cancer has prioritized time with our son and his family. Grandkids have this innate ability to nurture hope. My grandson’s sweet little voice calling my name or mimicking what he hears fills my heart with hope. Our grandson and budding new grandbaby have become a physical symbol of the future and what we all have to hope for.

When life is threatened to be taken away your gratitude awareness is automatically raised. Instead of searching for ways to be grateful, I feel gratitude for the most simple and ordinary things. A hug from my son, the words “I Love You,” eating lunch together, a phone call or text message, and time. Gratitude has changed my attitude.

God has a plan for each of us. Some of the trials of life come from the consequences of our choices, and others come from someone else’s choices. And cancer — cancer just comes. I don’t believe God gave cancer to my son, but I also don’t think He would ever do anything to prevent it.

While cancer is a scary word with unknown outcomes, preventing it would also bypass the growth and lessons learned from dealing with it. Instead of allowing the paralysis of fear to set in, we have moved forward in faith. This action has quickened our understanding as we have seen the wisdom of God’s plan. Faith is where our plan and God’s plan have come together.

Cancer and Change

Change is always hard. As humans, we are naturally resistant to change, especially when it pushes us beyond what is comfortable and into unknown territory. Cancer has pushed our family to change. It has been difficult at times, but the change has been good.

Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change. — Jim Rohn

It has helped us to grow together, to depend on one another, and love unconditionally. The most important part of how cancer has changed us is our choice. We have chosen how to react to the cancer demon rearing his ugly fangs at us. Our choice has been to allow it to make us better than we were before. Not perfect, just better.

What is a major force in your life that has changed you?

Originally published at

Author of Creating Positive Habits and Practicing Progress, Lori writes about choices inspiring greater joy and happiness.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store