Diagnosed with cancer? Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome when you hear the word cancer is fear. There are many reasons why so many of us sense fear. The fear of the unknown is huge. For a time, we live in a sea of questions. What is going to happen? How will I cope? What will my loved ones do? How will they cope? But the most frightening part about having cancer is the feeling that you have little or no control over your circumstances. Fear can paralyze you and cause your thinking to be distorted. I remember the first time I was told that I had cancer. I was so afraid that I would die and not be able to see my very young daughters grow up. I could not see past the immediate moment. That was approximately 40 years ago.
A lot has happened since that time; but little to relieve our personal fears attached to cancer. I felt some of the same fears all over again, the second time I was diagnosed, 24 years later. Recent literature states that there is no need to fear cancer anymore; that it does not always mean a death sentence. It is true that there continues to be an extensive amount of money funneling into research and we have better and more specific ways of detecting cancer earlier. As well, there continues to be improved prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements on the market. But despite all the scientific knowledge and noble intentions, we are still no further ahead in finding a cure. The mortality rate is still very high and unfortunately, has not changed much over the years. So the fear remains.
What makes the difference between one person surviving and another not? I do not profess to know the answer to that question. What I do know is, that whatever the type, the grade, the prognosis, there is fear. I have learned that the resolution to fear is in what we choose to focus our attention on. Whether you focus on your family, help from the divine, a future goal, perfect health…the focusing is paramount.
In the beginning, I spent so much time attending to the disappointment, the ‘what ifs’ and the things that I might never have. I had to reprogram my mind to concentrate on the things that truly mattered and by doing so, I simplified my thinking. The only thing that really mattered to me was my family and then God. I read somewhere that we are wired to believe in something beyond us. We are wired for God. As I took comfort in the scriptures, my fears began to subside. I began to develop a deep relationship with the one person who truly loved me the most and that was in the person of Jesus Christ.
No longer did I fear that the cancer was controlling my life; nor did I fear death. I was influenced and controlled by my own choice of focus, a focus that allowed me to rest in the knowledge that there was a greater picture and that this journey was mine to own. The fear factor became a non-issue for me as I focused on enjoying my life and the power I had to live it; no matter what path it took.