Monday, February 24, 2014
Let's face it; most of us don't like change. As creatures of
habit we prefer our safe routines. The unknown is fearful…and
cancer is full of the unknown.
A doctor friend of mine removed a mole on the back of my leg in
September of 2012. A week later as I waited in his office to remove
the stitches, he walked in with an ashen face and told me "Rob,
it's a good thing we removed the mole, you have malignant
melanoma." It caught him completely by surprise, and it took awhile
for me to understand the seriousness of the diagnosis.
Having lost a brother to pancreatic cancer 12 years ago, I had a
general understanding of the damage that cancer could do. Even with
a stage 4 terminal cancer, my brother had a terrific attitude
throughout his fight with the disease. I remember him telling me
that "We are all terminal, some of us just have a better idea of
when." Receiving a cancer diagnosis of my own sparked something in
me and helped me recall his words and apply them to my life; "I am
Consequent doctor visits and further testing revealed that the
cancer had not spread. I keep getting full body check-ups from the
dermatologist and make sure that I sun screen-up when I go
outdoors. I was fortunate that my cancer was caught in an early
stage. But the report that the cancer had not spread has not
changed my perspective, whether cancer is rampant in my body or
not, I am terminal. It is one thing to have an intellectual
knowledge that one day we will all die. It is quite another to
understand the reality of that truth.
Whether we are full of cancer, fighting the battles with cancer,
or cancer-free, the fact remains that we will all die. The writer
of Ecclesiastes states it this way, "It is better to go to a house
of mourning than to a house of feasting, because death is the
destiny of every man and the living should take this to heart." My
diagnosis of cancer has shaped my "someday I will die" perspective
and has helped me take some of these things to heart.
I now take more pleasure in this day. When my mind starts to
fret about the future, I take an active approach in seeking out
what God has provided for me today, and to take pleasure and
gratitude for those things. I remind myself that I have no control
over the future, and can do nothing about the past, so I strive to
live my life in light of "this day" that God has provided. I am
reminded of and sometimes mimic the old Tammy Wynette song, "One
day at a time Sweet Jesus". There is something about a country
style twang that helps me keep that one-day perspective.
In the midst of change we lose our perspective of God. God's
path requires us to take one day at a time, one treatment at a
time, one stage at a time, one moment at a time. What do the
following scripture passages tell us?
- "This is the day the Lord has made, I
will rejoice and be glad therein" Psalm 118:24
- "Give us this day our daily bread."
God asks us to not worry about tomorrow but to trust Him in
this day. In the midst of transition we need to focus on
what He is doing today. The only thing we have any control of is
right now, neither a "precancerous" past nor a "cancer-free"
future, we only have this day. We are asked to obey and do
what He has empowered us to do. Daily manna falls upon us if we
focus on the grace He provides. In the world of cancer, it's not
just another day in your life, it's a gift. Open your eyes and look
at this day. Be grateful for all those who have come
around you to be God's blessing to you this day. And
remember, Joshua 1:9, God's presence will be with you wherever you
go, this day.
Rob Strauss, Man of Many Hats and Recipient of God's