“Cancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check. In the West, one person in four will die of cancer, but three in four will not. Their defense mechanisms will hold out, and they will die of other causes.” So says David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD in Anti-cancer: A New Way of Life, (2nd edition, page 7), a book I began just this afternoon. How absolutely frightening to think that we all have the beginnings of cancer within us. Stopping with this only this single thought is debilitating in its finality.
While still in hospital, a kind friend of mine—also a cancer survivor—came to visit. She brought me the gift of a MOTAB CD and a CD player, complete with batteries, to put the CD in. She told me that she listened to these and a few other selections of hymns for several years each night before bed. As I already was spending my sleepless (steroid-driven) hours thinking through hymn lyrics, I found the gift particularly appropriate. At that point in my broken life and body, I had no room for the media of the world. I needed maximum healing and comfort. Her gift was perfect. One hymn on that compilation was a beautiful rendition of All Things Bright and Beautiful, a hymn less well known to me. The song expresses the idea that 1) Heavenly Father made many beautiful wonders in our world for which we can exercise gratitude, and 2) All things are in his power.
What a comfort to think of the control that Heavenly Father had over every single cell in my body. It was a beginning, a foundation on which to build my faith. I figured that if He wanted me dead, I’d already be there, as I’d survived a few harrowing experiences already that year (black ice while driving, a terrible car crash in June, and enough time without breath to turn blue on that fateful blueberry day—the day that began it all). Each time I’d come out of these experiences, I’d had the feeling that I’d done so because it was Heavenly Father’s will. I could not doubt that same will now, constant and unchanging as I knew Him to be.
There are many things to be frightened of in this world, but to focus on the fear is only paralyzing. After a short time of this despairing emotional paralysis, I had finally found a place for my faith.