Cancer is on my mind a lot right now. My wonderful, vibrant, energetic grandmother has just been diagnosed with a somewhat rare form of the disease and is in stage four. She recently underwent chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The chemo sent her to the hospital for a month in September and then sent her, again, for four days this week. It has been awful. Frightening, really.
Grandma’s cancer has meant our family has had to quickly get up to speed with the disease and how to treat it. Her doctors have told us today they’re not looking for a cure: she’s 81. They’re looking for a “management programme” that will allow her to live the longest (number of years, please God) in the best possible health. It sounds like a good plan.
While the doctors treat her with medicine, we, her family and friends, are treating her with love, support, laughter, healthy food and encouragement. On the latter front, grandma’s friend Laura M gave her a book called When You Need to Know Your Strength: Messages of Hope for People Living with Cancer, written by Melvina Young. It’s a wonderful gift to give and it’s a wonderful gift to receive.
The book is small. It can be read in ten minutes. It’s divided into four sections: 1) for when you need encouragement; 2) for when you need to know your strength; 3) for when it gets hard; and 4) for when you need to know you are loved. Melvina wrote it after a relative and a couple of close friends were diagnosed with cancer. In the prologue she writes, “I wanted desperately to offer words of encouragement and hope. I wanted to express my love and support. Instead, I found myself at a loss for what to say.” (Sounds familiar.) Melvina asked others for advice, listened well and offers us this little book to share with friends and loved ones who are battling their cancer.
I offer it as a gift idea for you. May it help you bring comfort into the life of your friend or family member who has cancer. When a day gets really bad, sit and read it aloud to them. Leave it in on a table so whomever visits may read it too. Doctors have medicinal therapy for fighting this disease…we have love and encouragement. Together the combination is powerful.
Please keep my grandmother in your thoughts and prayers and let me know if you have someone who needs remembering too.