Cancer, Trials, and Life with a Smile
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Quite a few years ago, when my now teenage children were just babies, I was diagnosed with cancer.
Actually, at first I was just self diagnosed. One day I was over at my parents house, and I happened to be flipping through an issue of "Prevention" magazine (don't ask me why, I don't typically flip through magazines, especially ones that sound as boring as "Prevention"). This particular issue had an article about self diagnosing cancer. So I did. I realized that day that I had cancer. I remember going home that day and telling my wife "So... Um... I think I have cancer". I did it with with a smile on my face! I was a bit nervous, but at the same time, I felt a different kind of anxiety, a positive feeling. Was it excitement? No. Definitely not, but I did in fact feel a sense of confidence that I hadn't felt before.
As I went to the doctor I took the news rather well. Yes. He confirmed the fact that I did indeed have cancer. The plan to move forward was fairly simple. Surgery. One simple surgery should remove the tumor, and all should be well. I'm glad that is what the doctor thought, because that is exactly what I was feeling. In my mind, I didn't have CANCER, the life threatening scourge, I simply had something inside of me that wasn't right and that needed to be remedied.
The surgery went well. A biopsy was done and they discovered that my tumor was extremely rare. Apparently only 12 people worldwide had ever been diagnosed with my kind of cancer. Because of that fact, I was referred to the top specialist in the country. He told me that this particular type of tumor has traditionally been resistant to chemotherapy, so, just to be safe, he wanted to do a lymph node dissection, to make sure it was all gone. At this point, I realized one thing: If this cancer was resistant to chemotherapy, and if it had indeed spread, then that would mean that I would die. I knew that fact in my head, but my spirit knew differently.
|Brent - being a goofball in the hospital|
I had fun traveling to Portland for my second surgery. I got to fly on an airplane, and stay in a hotel the night before, then, I had a week of mandatory vacation in the hospital, watching movies with my wife and relaxing (I'm sure my wife remembers it a bit differently). My doctor said that I was clean. I was cancer free and was going to be alright... but I already knew that, the Spirit told me so. Since the very beginning of my whole cancer experience, I felt good. I felt confident. I admit, I wasn't 100% certain that I would live, but I was 100% certain that everything would work out just fine.
The Spirit is The Great Comforter
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" - John 14:26
In my case, the Holy Spirit taught me that everything was going to be okay, and it was. That is not the case for everybody who deals with trials in their life. The interesting thing is, even if the outcome was different, the Holy Spirit still could have truthfully taught me the same thing. He could have still given comfort and let me know that my Father in Heaven had not forgotten about me and my family. Our idea of everything turning out alright is not always the same thing as God's understanding of how things should happen. We don't always see things with an eternal perspective.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
I don't believe that God gives us trials (usually). I do think He is able to, but I don't think that our trials usually come directly from Him. They only come from Him in the sense that the makeup of our whole mortal existence comes from Him. Our loving Heavenly Father set up a system where we are able to come to earth and experience life with the total freedom to choose how we will react to our circumstances, and guess what, bad things sometimes happen. We have been put into a world where trials and tribulations are bound to happen. Sometimes our stupid choices cause unplanned consequences. Sometimes other people's bad decisions affect us in a negative and unfair manner. And sometimes, as in the case of my cancer, life just happens. God did not curse me with cancer, but He did comfort me while I was dealing with it. If I had died, I'm sure He would have comforted my family, Because God does love us, and He does want us to be happy.
To those who are currently going through trials-
I believe that the Holy ghost can be much more prevalent in all of our lives, if we will only let it be. Invite the Comforter. Ask for it. Don't pray for the peace and comfort that the Holy Ghost brings, and then keep praying, saying "Why me? Why oh Why?" Instead, pray for the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and then have faith in Him. Stop dwelling on your own life, and start being a blessing for somebody else. When you do this, you will start to see all of the blessings that you do have. You will start to see the influence that the Holy Ghost does have in your life, and you will understand that God does love you, and that He is and has always been mindful of you. You will see this, because it is true.