What Cancer Cannot Do is an inspirational poem reminding patients that cancer will not rob us of our spiritual life, our values or our identity. While cancer may rob us of our hair, our energy and our body image, we are still who we were before our diagnosis. We still have our hopes and dreams – we have our unique personalities – and we have our faith.
What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited.
It cannot cripple love. Our love of life and our love of our family and friends remains and may become stronger when we are diagnosed with cancer. The word cripple is not used in the sense of having difficulty walking, but instead is used to indicate that our love is not hindered, harmed or hampered by our diagnosis. Many people discover that love grows in the face of their diagnosis.
It cannot shatter hope. Hope resides within us. Hope allows us to cope with an unthinkable diagnosis and imagine that what we need and want (a successful treatment) is possible. Hope lets us know that despite a dismal diagnosis that miracles happen every day.
It cannot corrode faith. Faith comes from within. It is impossible for cancer to eat away our faith. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He explained that fear makes things worse saying, “Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Faith is what enables our courage to embrace treatments that are scary and cause uncomfortable side effects. Faith is what rides with us in the car on our way to chemo. Faith is what helped us sign the releases for our potentially curative surgery.
It cannot destroy peace. Peace … inner tranquility, a sense of calm, serenity … comes from within. It is deep-seated within our heart and soul. Cancer cannot touch it. While we may experience some short-term anxiety over scans, our inner peace is always there to comfort and reassure us.
It cannot kill friendship. Friendships blossom and bloom when we are in cancer treatment. We may even discover that someone we didn’t expect to care stepped in when we needed meals after surgery. My high school and college classmates (many of whom I hadn’t seen in years) rallied around my cause via Facebook … providing me a daily encouragement. Our friendships have deepened.
It cannot suppress memories. Our memories are special and unique to us – nothing, not even cancer, can rob us of the joy our memories bring to us. Looking back on a special vacation, remembering our firstborn’s beautiful blue eyes and thinking back on the day we met our spouse are precious and irreplaceable encouragements for us to fight the fight.
It cannot silence courage. Courage comes from within. It’s a mindset that allows us to face cancer and its challenges with strength and determination. Many of us didn’t even realize how courageous we were until we were diagnosed. We hoped we would be brave enough if we ever faced a challenge – the day we were diagnosed, we discovered that we possessed the courage we needed.
It cannot invade the soul. Our souls are who we are – our souls are what we believe and how we live our beliefs, through acts of kindness and love. We will not change if we are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatment may temporarily derail some of our projects (like volunteering at the soup kitchen), but cancer can’t stop our “giving back” to others. It won’t stop our faith. Cancer strengthens many of us to do even more.
It cannot steal eternal life. Regardless of our religion, eternal life is an integral part of most world religions. Our faith in God assures us of eternal life, and cancer does not rob us of eternal life. In fact, many people experience a growth in faith during cancer treatment. Some cancer survivors make major career changes after cancer treatment in order to help others.
It cannot conquer the spirit. While many might believe that a diagnosis of cancer will squash anyone’s spirit, nothing can be farther from the truth. That “Ole Devil” might try to sit on our shoulder, but our enthusiasm and zest for life continue to shine through the dark clouds.