cancer changes things

It’s interesting how things start to change after that word. cancer.

Things you worried about before don’t matter. Things you thought were important before aren’t. Things that you had pushed off to the outside of your mind suddenly do matter. Things that you had thought that you could do later, things you thought you had all the time in the world to do… well, who knows. Though I suppose that last item doesn’t really count because that’s true for everyone, with or without cancer… none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

cancer changes people too. Some people come back into your life after long absences, and that is a good thing. Some people keep their distance, and it might not be that they don’t care, they just may not be able to cope. Almost everyone will share stories about someone who had some kind of cancer, or miracle cancer cures of some kind. Most people will tell you it’s all going to be okay, and a significant portion of those people will actually believe it.

cancer changes you too. You begin to learn things about yourself that you never really wanted to know. For example: I am a terrible coward. My cancer battle has not even begun yet and I have been hiding at home, crying, feeling sorry for myself, and fantasizing about running away. Six days from now a surgeon will remove a third of my colon. I’m 43. I’ve never had a surgery before. I’m terrified. They haven’t even touched me yet and I feel like I can’t cope. God help me.

God. Suddenly God becomes more important too. Some time ago God was really important in my life, but I’ve spent the last decade or so putting Him on the back burner. In recent years I’ve feebly attempted to give God more of a prominent place in my life again, half-heartedly going to church once in a while – unless I wanted to sleep (and sleep often won).

Now I wonder if my interest in having a close relationship with God again is only because of the cancer. And if it is, does it really count? As they say – there are no atheists in foxholes. Not that I was an atheist. I wasn’t. I was very self-centered. But I wonder, as sincere as I feel right now about wanting to be close to God, is it only because of the cancer? I hope not. But if it is, is that necessarily a bad thing? God can use bad for good.

Maybe cancer isn’t all bad.

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