Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cancer Has Changed

At my work, I have a unique opportunity to sometimes spend a little more time with patients, especially those who are dying, let alone those who are feeling alone and scared. 

Not to long ago, I had an encounter with someone who found out they had terminal cancer and was given a few weeks to live. Unfortunately, the person died in less than two weeks, leaving behind a fairly young family. The person was in their 40's, far too young. 

The thing that troubles me the most is that this scenario is one I am seeing frequently these days. 

A few years ago, some friends, who are funeral directors, and I were discussing how the general population was dying and my friend said to me that there was a trend of those 85+yrs dying of old age, but there was another trend of baby boomers dying of heart attacks and cancer in their 50's and 60's. The conversation went on and we agreed that the current theory that hospitals will be overrun with baby boomers was bunk and carried on with our visit. Four years later, I am sitting here thinking that this is still a fairly consistent trend, except that it is not just the baby boomers being hit with cancer. And, cancer has changed. No longer can we diagnose a cancer and predict where it came from and were it will hit next in the body. There seems to be a much more disturbing trend of cancer randomly showing up and then metastasizing in unexpected places. It hits hard and it hits fast and age and family history are no predictors. 

Why do I  mention this?

Two reasons:

 1. I want you to embrace the fact that life is shortGod has given us this time on earth to live as we choose. And we have made choices - some we don't regret and some we do regret. Some of us have chosen to learn more about Jesus and have chosen to believe He is who He says He is and some of us haven't.

 2. God is with us. Our world may be crumbling all around us. War, disease, and disasters may be growing daily, but He is still with us, and He is in control.

This trend has changed the way I see life.

I spend more time reflecting, more time praying for and working on relationships, and trying to mirror more of the character of Christ, among other things.

At work, every patient I encounter goes to a place of deep reflection; some find comfort in doing so, others engage in an internal battle that consumes them - they are unable to be present with those around them. The outcome of these internal battles only God knows. All I - or anyone- can do is just be with them and support them, let them battle it out and let them know that we do not judge them, just love them. And pray.

Please hear me when I say: Life is short...

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.~James 4:14

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.~Psalm 90:12

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.~Revelation 21:4

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