The 10th Blessing of Cancer – Holding On Part 1

In the last post I shared the story of a dear friend who was forced to let go, but there is another important side of cancer – holding on. Sometimes if we push hard enough (and the Lord is willing), we can elbow ourselves a seat at the table.

A friend wanted to share his wife Heather’s story about her battle with another rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure, mesothelioma. She had great reasons to fight and win her battle over cancer; a future life with her husband and new baby. She went through intense chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.  She’s been clear for 7 years and has been able to enjoy her life a little more carefully, but cancer-free. Here’s her story:

Why should we hold on? It’s a legitimate question, especially for those who find holding on a rocky road. For me, I think that I have a work here that only I can do – a personal work of sorts – and that I’m not done yet. I have family to support, friends to lift, tears to dry, encouragement to give, things to create and love to share. My sense of identity and purpose is grounded in my faith in the future – here on the earth and beyond.

A wise Japanese thinker noticed that faith in an eternal life is connected with a greater sense of purpose. A lack of faith in a plan beyond this life can give us a “why try” attitude:

If there is nothing beyond death, then what is wrong with giving oneself wholly to pleasure in the short time one has left to live? The loss of faith in the “other world” has saddled modern Western society with a fatal moral problem.

[Takeshi Umehara, “The Civilization of the Forest: Ancient Japan Shows Postmodernism the Way,” At Century’s End: Great Minds Reflect on Our Times, ed. Nathan P. Gardels (San Diego: ALTI Publishing, 1996), p. 190]

And so in the spirit of purposefulness, I’ve settled on trying to make a difference. I have a deep sense of purpose lately, and one with the clock ticking. 

I’m going to follow this up with another post that shares our first project: mPatient Myeloma Radio. In short, we want to help find a cure for multiple myeloma. Just for the record, I have a vice-grip-like fixation with holding on.