Why Physicians’ Words of Hope are so Important to Cancer Patients…

I just passed the five-year mark since my diagnosis of Stage 3 Her 2 Positive breast cancer–  over 6 cm tumor the size of a tennis ball, with 9 positive lymph nodes,  and a heart attack from chemo thrown in for good measure.   I ponder how I got to this point.  Was it because of the mastectomy, the chemotherapy, the drug Herceptin, the radiation, or the Aromatase Inhibitor drugs?  Of course.  But coupled with the great medical care that I received, were the hopeful words of my physicians.  Those words are still played over in my head as a mantra every single day, but especially when the fears of recurrence voices start screaming at me.  Their words of hope were the greatest gifts given to me.

My first experience with this power of words was on the day of my diagnosis.  Dr. Tara Breslin,  a surgical oncologist then at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Breast Care Center delivered all the bad news to me:  mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, Herceptin and more. Then she looked me in the eye with great compassion and said in a positive manner:  “We can cure you.”  I must say, I did not believe her.  But her words were the only thing I had to cling to as I began to comprehend all that faced me.   I had those words permanently adhered to my dining room wall in 10 inch high letters which I can see from the majority of rooms in my home.  During the darkest days of wanting to die and give up during treatment, I would just sit at my dining room table and stare up at those words.  Now, five years later, I still look at them countless times a day, read them, and ponder their meaning.  Those words have become part of my home, a part of me, and an ongoing prayer.

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The next words were from my Oncologist, Dr. Daniel F. Hayes, also at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Breast Care Center. Dr. Hayes honestly told me that my cancer was a tough cancer.  He did not mince words or pull any punches with me.  I have always been grateful for that as well.  But his words that play through my head every day since he spoke them to me are these:

  1.  The cold, snowy February day I told Dr. Hayes I wanted to quit Adriamycin Cytoxan Chemo as it was too hard for me, and I would rather die is etched in my memory.  Dr. Hayes held my hand in a doctorly fashion, told me he did not have firsthand knowledge of what I was experiencing, but told me an inspirational story about a former patient.  He then told me that “I won’t let you quit.”  I then blurted out “I don’t have any control over my life” which was a huge issue for me because I like control.  He responded, “Don’t worry about it.  I am in control of your life.”  At that moment I let go of the need to control, and I knew I would complete treatment and somehow gather the courage to get through it.  I thank God every day I did not quit chemo.
  2. Because of Herceptin, I had permanent heart valve damage from the drug.  My Ejection Fraction dropped from a normal 65 to a very low 29.  My EF never improved, and Dr. Hayes had to tell me that I would not be able to resume Herceptin which should have been for 12 months, and I only had 3 months of the proven miracle drug for Her 2 Positive Breast Cancer patients.   Dr. Hayes then said the words that have played over and over in my head since the day he spoke them to me:  “I do not want you to spend one minute worrying that you did not have enough Herceptin.  God did not say exact the dosage that you needed.   I believe you have had enough and will survive this.”  I remember the words like they were spoken to me yesterday because not only did I write them down sitting in the parking lot before I left the cancer center, I repeat them to myself like a prayer every day.
  3. After my diagnosis, my 80 year old mom was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer, then my only sibling, my sister, was also diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.  Of course, we went through genetic testing.  On the appointment with Dr. Hayes reviewing the results of those tests that I had a genetic mutation called Chek 2, Dr. Hayes said:  “I believe you are cured.  We just have to keep it that way.”

The moral of my story is — choose your physicians carefully.  Their words of hope play an integral part in your healing and surviving cancer.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of cancer survivors I have had a conversation with while sitting in the cancer center that told me the same thing:   “I was told I had months to live after my cancer diagnosis and to get my affairs in order.  I switched doctors.  My new doctors gave me hope and treated me. Now I am 5, 10, 15, 20 years out and cancer free.”

We all know of those miraculous stories.  You play a role in it!  Make sure you have the right physicians for you!   It is worth every mile driven and every sacrifice you and your family have to make to find them!

 

Please check out my online store for cancer patients at http://www.hellocourage.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Will You Be/Who Are You After Cancer Treatment Ends?

One thing I find all of us have in common after a cancer diagnosis and a year or more of treatment,  is we know who we were, and we realize we are no longer that pre-cancer person.  We feel lost for a very long time, often many, many years, because nothing, especially our former selves, is the same.  And we are extremely unfamiliar with who we have become.  It is easy to remain stuck in grieving our former self and not move on to accept our Post-Cancer Self.

Early on a recent Sunday morning, I unearthed a great discovery while cleaning. That’s always the risk of cleaning, isn’t it?  I found an old journal from 2009, several years before my cancer diagnosis.  In the journal, I had written a list of 100 things that I wanted to do before I die or aka the infamous Bucket List.  Vaguely I remember reading a book by some self-help author who appeared on Oprah who said to make that bucket list, and I did. BucketList As I read through the list, my first reaction was:  “Who is this shallow person?”  The list consisted of mostly fun things I wanted to accomplish.  Reading through it actually made me shiver as I thought to myself, “Is that all I used to think about?”  It really horrified me to read what now seemed to me like very meaningless goals.  For example, one of my former goals was to “buy a luxury car.”  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with owning a luxury car, but it would no longer be on my Top 100 things to do before I die.  Now I am so grateful and fortunate to own a non-luxury mid-size car that runs.  The list upset me so much that I ripped the papers out of the journal, crumpled the pages into a ball, and threw them into my garbage can.

Later in the day, I was sitting in Church quietly reflecting on that list.   It hit me that the discovery of that list was no accident.  Lately, I had been praying about accepting Post-Cancer Denise.  In order to do so, it was necessary for me to let go of my mental images of pre-cancer Denise.   So I came home and retrieved the crumpled papers from the trash.  Studying the list, I realized that pre-cancer Denise now felt like an old acquaintance that I had nothing in common with since at least 75% of those goals no longer held any meaning.  And ironically enough, the only three “friends” that I had included in my list, had all abandoned me during cancer.  That’s because they were the “fun kind of friends” and not the “no matter what kind of friends.”

I’ve said it before and it is worth repeating.  Many of you have written these same sentiments to me:  Cancer taught me more than all my previous life experiences combined.  Am I ready to say cancer was a blessing?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.   But I am ready to say that cancer matured my thinking times 100 and taught me what really matters in life.

If you are clinging on to your pre-cancer self, holding your old self in higher esteem, and yearning to go back to who you were before cancer diagnosis, ask yourself these questions:

1)  Besides your health, what do you miss the most about your pre-cancer self?

2)  If your pre-cancer self and your Post-Cancer Self sat down to have a conversation, what would be the content of that conversation?

3)  Are your goals different now than they were before cancer?

4)  How are the depths of your relationships different today than they were before cancer?

5)  What is the single most important lesson cancer taught you/is teaching you?

Spend some time to ponder the answer to these questions.  It will help move you along to accept your Post-Cancer Self and allow you to move forward.

Please check out my store, http://www.hellocourage.com, if you haven’t in a while.  Chemo hats are on sale, and I am getting rave reviews about the Wicking Sleepwear line that helps you sleep through the hot flashes!  It is of the highest quality, Made in USA by a company that just built an amazing new factory in Alabama to bring jobs to the USA.CH-crochettealblack1CH-h4activitydenimred1CH-h4clochegraywool1

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Surviving Cancer–Adapting and Adjusting Equals New Hope

Perhaps you landed here because you are a Cancer Survivor and are having difficulties.   Or maybe a spouse, parent, or loved one had cancer, and you do not understand why they are having such a difficult time adjusting to life after cancer treatment.

Six months into being an “official” Cancer Survivor, I made this realization:  Life is not going to be what it was before the cancer diagnosis.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believed that someday, somehow, everything would shift and it would be business as usual, and my pre-cancer life would come back magically.   I kept waiting for it.

This all started because one morning as I was donning my Lymphedema gear, taking my medicine cabinet full of pills and supplements, trying to walk because of the severe pain (side effect of the drug Arimidex), and inserting my prosthesis in place of my amputated breast,  it finally hit me that “this is the way it is going to be and you damn well better get used to it.”

I was praying and asking for guidance about what I need to do so I can move forward and not stay stuck. The big, burly, bearded husband of Food Network television’s star Southern cook, Paula Deen, popped into my head.  Why is he in my head, I wondered? I don’t even know his name!  So I googled “Paula Deen’s husband” and interestingly, I found out his name is Michael Groover and he is a Harbor Pilot.   Hmmm, I thought, what does that mean for me?

I found this definition and explanation:   A harbor pilot, often known as a maritime pilot, is a boat pilot with specialized knowledge of a particular port or harbor. The pilot is needed to direct large ships into a port where there are specific deep water channels surrounded by shallower flats.     Without the services of a harbor pilot, docking ships would become a big hazard. There would be a real chance of running aground and damaging the ship and the cargo.   It’s precision work, and as with the many steps and players involved, safe docking and undocking is crucial to the ultimate success of the voyage. 

Wow, I need a Harbor Pilot to help me with this part of my journey as I do not have the knowledge or tools to navigate these unchartered waters of Cancer SurvivorSHIP.  While I was out to sea in cancer treatment world, my medical team did all the captaining of my ship.  Now, I needed someone experienced in the hazards of maneuvering my ship into this new port.  And it is okay because I have never been here before, and it is all new to me.

A friend had told me a former pastor of mine from 20 years ago, who was a gifted counselor and a cancer survivor, would be glad to speak with me.   He is a survivor of a rare cancer.  He was not expected to live, but 4 years later, he is still here and celebrating life.  We shared cancer stories.  And when I heard about all that he had to deal with on an everyday basis because of all the damage done because of Chemo and high dosages of Radiation, it was inspiring and uplifting.

He then listened to me and was able to immediately assess where I was on my survivor journey.  “AA” he said, “Adapt and Adjust.”  He told me that the biggest learning curve for him in the past 4 years was adapting to what he can do, eliminating what he cannot do, and adjusting to new, yet exciting ways to live life. 

Two simple words, but because he has been there, he knew exactly what I needed.  He is a Harbor Pilot.    The imagery of my Cancer SurvivorSHIP coming into a new port, with new things, new possibilities, and new opportunities resonated with me.  Sure, in order to adapt and adjust, I have and will have to give up things that I can no longer do, no longer take care of, or that no longer serve me.   But I have, I can and I will. For the first time in a very long time, I felt real hope and not manufactured hope!   There is a big difference.

If you are a Cancer Survivor, please take time to focus on those simple words – adapt and adjust.  Perhaps, like me, you have been waiting for life to go back to the way it was before cancer.  Unfortunately, it will not go back.   But with some adapting and adjusting, you can be ready to accept the new life that awaits you.  Also, look for a Harbor Pilot to help guide your way to this new port – a support group, a counselor, or someone who has been there.  You cannot navigate these treacherous waters alone.

I had this Inspirational Subway Sign made for my www.hellocourage.com  store.  These are the words that I realize it takes to transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor.  These have FREE SHIPPING to the Continental USA and are solid wood and beautiful!!   Click on picture for more details!

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If you are not a Cancer Survivor, I’m not going to let you off the adapting and adjusting hook!  Perhaps it is time to review your life and see what you are holding onto that no longer serves you.  Oh, there can be many things:   a job, a relationship,  a certain way of doing things, a grudge, old habits, clutter, painful thoughts…the list goes on.  Time to adapt and adjust to new ways, new thoughts, new ideas, and new hope!  And if you cannot maneuver those waters of change, find or hire a Harbor Pilot to help you.

I would love to hear your stories!     Denise

Lessons of Cancer…Quit Judging Others

As a practicing Roman Catholic, I cannot remember a Lent in recent history when I didn’t want to work on “quit being judgmental.”   I recognized that tendency in myself, because often I was quick to judge the behavior of others, mostly strangers.    I always cut myself some slack on judging others because some of it was a learned behavior.  Having worked in the court system for 15 years as Clerk of Court and Assistant to the Judge, part of my job was judging others.

This year as I pondered the onset of Lent and the coming of Easter, I realized that after enduring Cancer, judging others is a whole lot farther from me than it used to be.   It certainly was one of those “aha, be careful what you pray for” kind of moments as I stumbled upon that reality!

Suffering does indeed transform you.   And I’ve always been an experiential learner.   Because I felt judged many times as a Cancer Patient and Cancer Survivor, it awakened my awareness that judging others hurts them and you.

I feel judged each time this happens.  Interestingly enough, it usually doesn’t come from friends and family but from people who don’t know me well or who are strangers:

1)  Subtly someone suggests if you had only taken this vitamin, eaten this food, done this exercise, slept on the right side of the bed, like I have done, you would have never gotten cancer.

2)  If you follow my rules, you will never have cancer return.

3)  When my hair was growing out, my sexuality was judged.  When I took my friend, Sandy, to the hospital because her husband had to work, it was assumed we were a same-sex couple because of my very short hair.

4)  I felt judged as poor because I didn’t have the top-of-the-line insurance, had higher deductibles, and had to pay my own prescriptions.  And I realized that poor could have been only one missed health insurance payment, and I would have been responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills.

Often I have read of the pain of lung cancer patients who always hear the inevitable question:  “Did you smoke?”   Really, it isn’t any of my business if they smoked or if they did not.  Many non-smokers get lung cancer.

Cheryl is one of my blog readers, is a Cancer Survivor and writes a cancer blog of her own–http://notdownorout.wordpress.com/

Cheryl wrote this to me which clearly summarizes these thoughts:  “… your post is a great reminder that we shouldn’t be addressing another’s suffering by blaming the person for experiencing it.”

Transitioning from Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor

Kelly from Missouri wrote and told me her devoted husband is worried sick over the fact that she has not bounced back yet from breast cancer treatment.  He has flashbacks because Kelly’s dad had a cancer diagnosis, then sat around the house for two years, then died.  Kelly’s husband is concerned Kelly will have the same fate.

Kelly and I were discussing that even though she has completed active treatment, she still feels very much like a Cancer Patient.  She does not feel like a Cancer Survivor.  When I reviewed Kelly’s journey over the past 10 months, it is understandable that she has not been able to make that transition from Patient to Survivor.  I think you will agree with me.

In 10 months Kelly has endured a triple lumpectomy then a bilateral mastectomy because she had cancer in both breasts and each was a different type.  Kelly then had separate surgery to remove more lymph nodes.  Three weeks later Kelly started 4 months of dose dense chemo followed by 33 radiation treatments.  In the midst of this, Kelly found out she had the BRCA/2 gene mutation.  She finished Radiation on January 2, 2013 after having severe burns that caused her horrific pain and discomfort.  Radiation had to be halted then restarted.  And at the end of treatment, Kelly had a Hysterectomy on January 11, 2013, also related to breast cancer!!   In between all of that there was port placement, port removal, tests, tests and more tests, scans, scans and more scans, and medications galore.  Is it any wonder Kelly does not feel like some amazing Cancer Survivor?

It is frequently said that the two most difficult days in a Cancer Patient’s journey is the day they are diagnosed and the day active treatment ends.  Once you are finished with active treatment and are declared cancer free, the world looks upon you as suddenly you are all better again and are now some marvelous, heroic survivor.

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Please check out my online shopping store at www.hellocourage.com   or click on the sign below – I had these custom Subway Signs made with words that were important to me to make the transition.

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When you go from Normal Person to Cancer Patient, it is forced upon you.  Most of your choices are made for you, and you become a puppet for the medical teams that treat you.   However, when you go from Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor, suddenly you are thrust back into the world from the cancer bubble, like a bird thrown out of the nest.   Once you get thrown out of that nest, I have found that so much of the journey has just begun.  I shared that with Kelly and her husband.

Here is what isn’t over when you finish that last treatment:

1)  Fatigue and exhaustion from a year or more of treatment.  I was cautioned by my Oncologist that it can take one to two years to get through this part of the process.  Blood counts are still recovering and so is every part of your body.  It takes time.

2)  Chemo Brain – this is really overwhelming and very frightening.  In my case, I’ve always had a good memory and very good cognitive abilities.  Suddenly, those were gone.  That absolutely terrified me, so I started a rigorous training schedule for my brain.  I am happy to report after six months, I have improved dramatically.  I am now able to carry on a conversation without constantly searching for words and no longer do I get lost while driving in familiar areas.

3)  Side effects from ongoing medications – The majority of breast cancer patients take either Tamoxifen or an Aromatase Inhibitor like Arimidex.   These can cause severe side effects.  I have severe hot flashes and night sweats which wake me up a minimum of four (4) times per night.  And the joint pain is horrible.  However, I have it easy compared to a lot of women.  These drugs will be part of your life for 5 to 10 years, so it is necessary no matter what the side effects, you make the most of it!  And that is difficult.

4)  Lymphedema – If you had lymph nodes removed during surgery and suffer from Lymphedema, you know the many long-term effects of this condition and how it is something you have to deal with on a daily basis.  Because I recently picked up a heavy item without thinking (a heavy bag of groceries), I had a huge flare up of Lymphedema which requires much attention and treatment.

5)  Medical bills – the reality of the expense of cancer can be overwhelming.  I have received letters from so many who have unbelievable deductibles and co-pays or no insurance at all.  This can quickly add up to thousands and thousands of dollars or with no insurance, hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The stress for these women and their families is incredible.

6)  Relationships – Also, I receive numerous letters from women who have realized their marriages or relationships with their significant other are in bad shape after the stress of cancer.  Some women have actually become victims of domestic violence while going through cancer!  Some are now dealing with separations, divorce, lawyers and the court system.   They are not only worried their children won’t have a mom to raise them because of cancer, they are dealing with the break-up of their marriage.

6)  Earning a Living – perhaps you have had to quit working during cancer treatment or find that your old job no longer is a match for the new, post-cancer you.    Certainly, that brings its own unique set of challenges.

7)  Fear of Recurrence – Learning to live with this is probably the most challenging thing.  Ask any cancer survivor.

But here is the encouragement.  At the 6 month mark of finishing active treatment, I began to notice a major shift  in how I was feeling.  I began to feel a little more like a survivor and less and less like a patient.  Going from daily or weekly medical appointments to monthly or every 3 months drastically contributes to that fact!  Just being away from medical facilities is healing!

I’ve written before about the dangers of depression after active cancer treatment is over.  Be on the lookout for this and do something about it before it becomes debilitating.  When treatment ends is when depression often sets in.

The best wisdom I can impart is give yourself time and lots of it.  No longer can you say yes to every committee that comes your way, every social event that you are invited to, or every cry for help that comes along.

I do observe that some Cancer Survivors feel they have to really live life to the fullest and be busy every second, because they do not know how long they have to live.  This could prove dangerous over the long haul, I believe, as it may be causing too much stress to an already overtaxed system.  Balance is the key.

It is time to refocus, rebuild, and renew.  Now is the time to see a counselor to help you focus on new goals, new dreams, and new hopes.  Do not be too hard on yourself.

And to Kelly and her husband…give it time. You have both been through a war.   The healing will be slow and steady.  Try to enjoy the process.

Cancerversary, God and Breast Cancer…

I am experiencing my Cancerversary.  As I write this, it is one year ago my family doctor called me and told me I had advanced breast cancer spread to the lymph nodes.  What do you do on a Cancerversary?  I’m not sure.  I thought it is time to share a God experience that happened to me one-year ago.

This experience  kept me going in the darkest of times, when I felt like dying, when I thought I was dying, and in my loneliest moments.  I said it many times when I felt like God had abandoned me.  This experience is  also what motivated me to write my Blog:

It was the afternoon of October 10, 2011.  In the midst of my shock and disbelief from the words my family doctor had spoken to me earlier in the day, I picked up my Bible and placed it on my lap.   I cried out to God and asked Him to give me hope as I had none.  Randomly, I opened my Bible.  My eyes landed on this verse:

Psalm 118:17:   “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

I couldn’t believe it.  Was God really speaking to me?  Would I live?  I didn’t know, but this verse brought me great comfort and the glimmer of hope that I needed.  And not to take any more chances, I closed the Bible!

That same night, I was feeling inconsolable again.  I couldn’t stop crying as terror gripped my heart, and I asked God for strength because I had no idea how I would make it through the unknowns that were ahead of me.

My thought was, “I need a positive preacher.”   Televangelist Joel Osteen popped into my head.  I watched Joel Osteen on television periodically. He is known for his positive spirit.   Sometimes I disagreed with Joel, but  I knew I needed his gift of being positive.

I went to Youtube.com on my laptop and searched “Joel Osteen” and over 20,000 results popped up!  Randomly, I chose a sermon.  “One out of 20,000 results, what are the chances this will help me?”  I thought.   I began to listen and was a little discouraged, because nothing seemed to be speaking to me.  Joel began talking about claiming scriptures, then suddenly this got my full attention:

 Joel Osteen speaking…In 1981, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Every voice said,  “It’s over. She’ll never make it. Start planning her funeral. ” But my family and I found another voice, a promise from God’s Word in Psalm 118:17. It says,  “I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. ”  We had to decide,  “Are we going to believe what God says about her and let His promise give us direction and hope and faith? Or are we going to go in the direction that we feel? ” Discouraged, depressed, and despaired? My mother had been in the hospital for 21 days, and the doctors finally released her because there was nothing else they could do. We gathered early that next morning in the den as a family. We made a decision that we were going to stand on God’s promises knowing that He is our helper, and He will never fail us or let us down. Day after day, we just kept moving in that direction, acting like God told us the truth.

In the natural, it didn’t look like it was working. The first several months, my mother never got any better. There were times we thought that if healing was going to happen, it would have already happened by now.  But we had to ignore those voices and keep pressing forward. God is faithful. One day, we began to see the shore come into sight. Though she didn’t get well overnight, little by little, month after month, she got better and better; and that was 29 years ago. Today, she’s perfectly healthy and strong as can be.  (At this point Joel has his beautiful mom stand up in the congregation now in her 70s and looking years younger!)

I felt overwhelmed that the very scripture I had read earlier that day was contained in this randomly- chosen sermon while Joel explained his mother’s cancer diagnosis and miraculous recovery.  At that moment, I did know I was being spoken to by God.

I knew I had a responsibility as there were two parts to  Psalm 118:17:   1) Living not dying  and  2) Declaring the works of the Lord.   I made the decision that night that I would do everything I could to help others who were diagnosed with breast cancer.    The only way I knew how to declare the works of the Lord was by writing to others.  The Blog idea came to mind and that is how this all began.

I must have repeated Psalm 118:17 hundreds and hundreds of times this past year.  Often times it was the only prayer I could pray.  I said it when I didn’t feel it, I prayed it when I didn’t want to pray it, and I spoke it out loud when I didn’t believe it.   I prayed it before going into surgery for the Mastectomy, over and over during Chemotherapy, under the Radiation machine, and before,during and after most doctor appointments.   I wrote it on a piece of paper that has sat on my fireplace mantle for one year.

I guess this is the best way  I could possibly celebrate my Cancerversary!   Being alive and cancer free, and writing my Blog while declaring the works of the Lord!   Thanks be to God!!

Being Saintly, Holy or Religious during Cancer Treatment

As a practicing Roman Catholic, I have read countless stories about saints, have prayed to saints to ask their prayerful assistance, have celebrated the feast days of saints, and always thought I had what it took to be a saint.  That’s because I was a bit of a religious snob as well.

When I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer while the doctors were on the lookout for Stage 4, my saintly thoughts went out the window.  I did not want to die and go be with the Lord, I was not very saintly, and fear was my main emotion.   But, I went through Cancer Treatment of mastectomy surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and have arrived at the other side almost a year later.  There was much suffering .  I cannot begin to explain how much, but if you are a cancer patient, you know.  If suffering is the only criteria to being a saint, cancer patients are on their way.

But my relationship with God changed.  I used to think I had some answers about God.  Suddenly, I knew I had none.  The only place I could find God was to relegate Jesus to my La-Z-Boy Recliner.   When I was so ill that all I could do was lie on my couch with barely enough strength to go to the bathroom, I found comfort in picturing Jesus sitting across from me in the La-Z-Boy Recliner.  When I would awaken terrified in the middle of the night because of some new side effect, I would glance over and picture Jesus sitting next to me just watching over me in the darkness.

When my hair was falling out because of chemo and hair would be all over my pillow, I pictured Jesus reaching over from the recliner and placing His hands on my bald head to bring me comfort and solace.  When few people understood or if insensitive things were said to me, Jesus would cry with me.

I was not able to go to church because of very low blood counts and cold and flu season.  So Jesus and I would sit together on Sunday mornings, He on the La-Z-Boy and I on my couch.

It was rare that I would be able to have conversations with Jesus.  Mostly I just felt His presence surrounding and protecting me.  I did not ask to be healed, but I felt the healing.  Eventually, I quit holding Jesus hostage as I started to feel better.  I told Him it was okay to leave for awhile and take a little break as I began to feel stronger.  He would leave for a few hours, but when it was time for me to fall asleep, I would look over and knew He was back.

One day a friend of mine told me that when she had a brain tumor, her 5 children were very young.  She said as she was healing from brain surgery, the only place she could find solace was to go sit in the car.  She would picture Jesus along side of her.  I then shared my Jesus in the La-Z-Boy story.  We both understood through our tears.

If you find your relationship with God challenging because of cancer or other reasons, if you can’t pray in your old ways, or if you have never prayed and you can’t seem to find God anywhere, I invite you to try my approach.   He likes any kind of chairs, but prefers recliners!