Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cancer Doesn't "Win"

In the past few weeks my health has taken a sudden downward turn and although I think we knew it would eventually, things are happening faster than anticipated. Before Christmas I was enjoying lunch with girlfriends, short shopping trips, time revisiting favorite family traditions. A bout with the flu started late Christmas day and was soon compounded with other symptoms that has sent me to my oncologist numerous times as well as a few ER visits.

Before we'd been able to follow up on a possible spread to my spine, it seems the nasty tumor abutting my aorta is causing more trouble. I am so weak and seem to have nosedived so quickly. While a panel of experts reviews my case to recommend next steps, we had "the talk" today with my oncologist and I am working on updating my Advance Healthcare Directive so all my end-of-life wishes are in writing. By the way, I recommend everyone do this, whether healthy or ill, young or old, and discuss it and give copies to your doctors and family members.

I can't help thinking of my friend who has stopped chemo, is receiving palliative care, and joyfully looking forward to meeting her Lord. That sounds pretty good, especially the end of the journey. Some of the potential treatments and procedures I might face sound pretty awful and I have told doctors and family that I don't want to endure torture for only a small hope in buying a few short and miserable weeks or months in this life.

Friends put on their brave faces, pat my hand, and tell me to not give up the fight -- I'm going to be okay. I smile. Yes, I'm going to be just GREAT, but probably not in the way they meant. My physical body will only be able to fight off the cancer for just so long, and then I will joyfully leave this battered shell behind and head for the new home Jesus has been preparing for me.

But when that time comes, I don't want anyone saying that I have "lost my battle with cancer" or that "cancer beat me." CANCER DOES NOT GET THE VICTORY! I am tired of viewing this as a battle, fight, or a curse and I don't think of myself as a warrior or hero. I just did what I had to do while holding firmly to my Savior's Hand.

But cancer doesn't win!

I recently was given a great little booklet by John Piper titled "Don't Waste Your Cancer." What a lot of wonderful little nuggets of wisdom it contains. One article describes the sufferings of disease in this life as "labor pains" of a new creation and that something wonderful is coming!
"For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:22-23
"Beating cancer" doesn't equate with extending my life in this world. Satan would like me to think so, but the truth is I will be the victor either way, and the greatest victor when I join my Lord: "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8

To God be the glory! Cancer doesn't win!


  1. Cancer Doesn't Win!! Erin, you have inspired me in my daily praying, And to look to God in my times of need and also in gratefulness. Thank you for the inspiration, and for your sharing your life and struggles with us all. Your blog will remain long after we are all gone. Thank you, thank you.

  2. Erin, this is the first time I've read your blog. Sorry to hear you are feeling bad. You are truely an inspiration. Cancer seems to attack our loved ones and they have to endure awful treatments. My mother is going thru chemo for breast cancer (recurrance). We are Christians and know that this is not our home, we are passing through. (Thank God) I'm looking forward to reading your past blogs, God has blessed you with wisdom and courage! Will be praying for you and your family for comfort, wisdom, and peace.

  3. Erin, I just found out about your blog and have now read all of your entries since August. The Holy Spirit is speaking through you to all who read your blog. You are truly an inspiration to everyone, specially those of us who have been down the same road. I feel so blessed to have been introduced to you although I wish it could have been under different circumstances. (You are a very gifted writer as well.). My husband and I say the rosary every night and you are now on our prayer lost.

    1. The last word is 'list", not lost. You are on our prayer list every night.

  4. You are in my prayers, Erin.

    Nancy Brown

  5. Just found out today, thanks to Sandy's mass email. Yes, you have, indeed, won, Erin. Now I'm wondering about John. Blessings, healing, peace, comfort, and love to you both and your children, family, and friends. You are true inspiration. We will see you again soon.