Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cancer: Sunday Sisterhood Week 6


This was our last Sunday Sisterhood chat, and I think this one surprised me the most out of all of them. I was amazed how many women had been touched personally by cancer, who had either been diagnosed themselves or had a close family member—a parent or sibling—who’d suffered from cancer. I was also amazed at their strength and perspective, which are so inspiring and applicable in whatever pain you’re passing through.

Read all the comments from our Instagram chat on cancer below. And to read recaps of our earlier chats, click here: divorceinfertilitydepressionlosing a loved one and losing a childPlease comment if you have any feedback or thoughts to add!

UPDATE 4/3/17: Now that our series is complete, find the links to recaps on all 6 chats here


What's the hardest part about battling cancer, and what are some things you and your family can do (or that you did) to stay strong through the cancer treatments?

(Host) peachesandpotatoes I've never had cancer, so I can't say from personal experience what the hardest part is. I think the unknown would be the hardest, the treatments, the outcome, always waiting for test results. That's what so scary to me now about cancer! I think to stay strong I would really have to cling to my family and to God. It's not in my nature to reach out and ask for help, but I think I'd have to learn to do that. What do you think? 🍑

thesimplemama I think the hardest part about cancer is that it is all consuming. In your time, your finances, your energy. And there are always lots of unknowns (and reasons to worry). So thankful for our Lord who provides comfort and others to walk beside us when we face earthly struggles like cancer. 🙏🏼

lifeofaministermom I can't speak from the perspective of having had cancer and Lord willing I never will, but one of the biggest challenges I saw those close to me face was the lack of control that you feel. Being able to lean on your faith is imperative and trusting that God is greater than what the doctor says and having His peace even when things are difficult. My sister-in-law really struggled with not being able to do the simple things she could once do easily but I also saw her faith grow so much.

theshaulisfamily I think emotionally it's so so tough. I was lucky and my treatment didn't involve chemo. I do remember late nights in pain after my son was born and I had received treatment. I couldn't sleep, even tho my new baby was, bc my eye hurt so bad from the swelling treatment caused. So that was tough. But more than that was the all encompassing emotional burden. Not knowing the future, trying not to question God, struggling to enjoy each moment instead of worrying about what might happen.

tanacastleberry Honestly, I'm not afraid of cancer. And if you think about it, most people aren't...they are afraid of the treatments. The chemo and radiation. Which makes sense, watching Paul's brother dying...not because of cancer, but because the treatments were killing him. It was spreading and they kept doing chemo. It was frustrating to see them not look into alternative ways when chemo obviously wasn't working. I hear more of people healing themselves with alternative, natural ways than by chemo. Heavenly Father created our bodies to heal themselves. Don't get me wrong..doctors have their place, but cancer isn't really a scary thing and our bodies can heal. Check out Chris Wark on Facebook. He's very inspirational and healed himself when he had cancer and doctors gave him a few years to live. He created a program to help other in their healing.

graceshared@peachesandpotatoes I'm the same way about asking for help. I'm getting better at asking though. I totally agree that family & God would have to be my strength!

graceshared@theshaulisfamily I cannot imagine having to deal with that at the same time as having a newborn.

theshaulisfamily@tanacastleberry I did a lot of natural stuff when I was in treatment. I've slacked off, but I was trying to make my. Dog more alkaline. I definitely think natural healing is wise. I also had laser surgery. Not sure what I would have done is they wanted to do chemo too.
theshaulisfamily@graceshared it was rough for sure. He was a pretty easy baby, but that time of my life was full of MRIs, blood work, appointments, etc. I think God gave him to me during that time so I'd have something to focus on other than myself. I look at him as my special blessing who helped me be thankful.


graceshared@theshaulisfamily Awesome perspective! I feel that way about my oldest. All of my kids are blessings but he was born at a time when things were difficult. He gave me hope, joy, and love. I totally understand what you're saying. Thankful our paths have crossed! You're inspirational.


sayeambe I got acute leukemia when I was in college. The hardest part was that I couldn't do the things that I used to do and I felt like a burden to my family, who had to help me. I was weaker than a kitten, I didn't want to eat, and it was painful. Luckily, I found a holistic doctor who treated me and I didn't have to go through chemo. But I was too ill to drive to get my treatments myself. Once per week, my dear, dear mom would drive an hour and 45 mins to where I lived, then drive me 45 minutes to my appointments, and then travel that distance back home (a 5-hour round trip). The help, love, and continual prayers of my family helped so much. But my faith also helped me through. I knew that if the treatments didn't work, it would be ok. I would see my family again. I think that knowledge helped me avoid depression and have a more positive attitude, which I believe aids in healing.

lenae_hamman@peachesandpotatoes I think your answer is exactly what I would say. I think it would be so hard not knowing what the future held.

peachesandpotatoes@thesimplemama yes, so true! One day your life is about kids and report cards and work and dishes and what color to paint the living room, then the next day life is totally different and it's all about cancer and doing everything you can to beat it. You'd have to put so many things on hold.

peachesandpotatoes@lifeofaministermom I'm so sorry. That would be so hard not to be able to take care of your home or family or do things on your own the way you used to--to need help with everything. Your SIL had angels all around her to help her, but it would be hard to let it all go and put your life in the hands of others and God.

peachesandpotatoes@theshaulisfamily my heart goes out to you! That would be so hard, all of that with a newborn. My biggest worry would definitely be how my kids would be if something happened to me, I totally get that. You are one brave mama!


peachesandpotatoes@theshaulisfamily that's a beautiful perspective too, that God gave him to you to keep you going!

peachesandpotatoes@tanacastleberry that's amazing! I totally agree, my friend. There are so many ways God made for us to heal our bodies.

peachesandpotatoes@sayeambe wow I didn't know that about you! I'm so sorry and I'm glad you're okay now! That is some of the simplest and best advice I've heard! I totally agree a positive attitude can help heal us. Easier said than done, especially with cancer! Our inner voice is so deeply connected to our bodies.

What was it like when you [or your loved one] was diagnosed with cancer?

(Host) theshaulisfamily Have you ever felt absolutely dead inside? Like a numb, hopeless feeling? Knowing your life will never be the same, if you have a life at all? Waking up and praying that this was just a bad dream, but remembering that it wasn't? That's just a small glimpse into what it's like to receive a cancer diagnosis. I was 8 months pregnant when I got the news, surrounded by about 12 underling doctors and the top eye doctor in the world. My cancer, choroidal melanoma, is very rare. So to them I was an interesting specimen. A walking science experiment. They didn't cry, or even shed one tear. But my life was forever changed with the news they gave me. I got in the car with my husband. I texted my sister because I couldn't face talking to her on the phone. Nathan called some people but I couldn't talk. I was in shock. I had such a heavy feeling those next few months I can't even really explain it. My heart was burdened. I was worried. Every minute was a battle. The only thing that helped me was my faith in Jesus. It didn't make everything easy. But I prayed, I chose to be thankful and joyful for what I did have, and I sang through my tears, even though I didn't feel like it. I was diagnosed in October, and I had my son Josiah in November. His name [which we had already picked out before everything happened] means Jehovah Heals. And He has healed me so far. But the life of a cancer patient is always one of uncertainty. Really everyone's future is uncertain...we just have a constant reminder of it. A reminder to enjoy the time we do have, to love our people, and to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

thesimplemama Wow. How scary! Thank you for bravely sharing your story with us. May the Father continue to heal you!!!

thesimplemama I was 17 when I found out my mom had uterine cancer. I remember walking into youth group and getting "the call" from my mom. My youth minister had been given a heads up and was there to talk through it with my sister and me. I think in my brain I thought, "This can't be that serious. She's only 38." It took awhile for me to grasp what was happening and how our lives were going to temporarily change. And in all my teenage selfishness, the way I coped was by running. I never wanted to be home or around my mom. If I could turn back time I would've handled that differently.

lifeofaministermom Josiah...wow. That's the Lord! Reading this just broke my heart gave me chills all at once. I wish that no one ever had to experience this. With both my dad and SIL they had fought cancer before so although the news was devastating I tried to remain optimistic and really took on the role of caregiver and wanting to stay strong for the family. It was hard because I didn't feel like I could ever let my guard down and tried my best to be there for everyone else, but I know it's what the Lord wanted me to do in the situation.

theshaulisfamily@thesimplemama that would be so hard as a 17 year old! Having had cancer, I doubt your Mom wanted to be babied either. I always hated it when people acted like I was dying. I wanted them to act supportive and mostly normal. So maybe your reaction wasn't all bad? 😉 Anyways...glad she's ok. I love hearing happy endings. And now you can help minister to other people who have gone through this.

theshaulisfamily@lifeofaministermom I'm sure you were of invaluable help. You didn't get the happy ending. Didn't your SIL leave behind kids? That is what's hard for me. Understanding the "why" behind the unhappy endings. I have come to the conclusion that we will never understand why God does what he does. And we need to trust Him despite our feelings, based on what we know is true about God....that He is good. I'm curious what your thoughts are?

thesimplemama@theshaulisfamily I love your perspective! Maybe my reaction was just what the Lord intended and my mom needed. Now that I'm the age she was when she had cancer I don't think I would want to be babied either! 😜 I love your son's name and the story along with it. I love how the promises of the Father are shown to us in just the perfect ways!!!

theshaulisfamily@thesimplemama I know. It was such a sweet reminder to me during that tough time. And I still think about it sometimes when I call his name.

lifeofaministermom@theshaulisfamily Trusting Him in spite of our feelings is really where it's at. I've had to really believe that all things do work together for the good.... Even when it doesn't work out the way that we hope or think it will. In my father's case, he wasn't living for Christ but the Lord allowed me to help lead him to salvation just about six weeks before he died. So for me that was an answer to prayer. The answer that mattered most. It was the first time in my life that I truly experienced the peace which surpasses all understanding knowing that he received his healing although it wasn't here on earth like I prayed for. Similarly to my SIL, there was a lot of drama between our family and going through this hard time helped reconcile so much. Our relationship was stronger than ever which doesn't make it hurt any less but at the same time her faith was also in a place I never saw before and that blessed me tremendously. I wish that we could see all these results without them having to leave us but God knows our end from our beginning and I have to keep trusting in His sovereignty.

theshaulisfamily@lifeofaministermom wow! What a testimony. You have that eternal perspective...your Dad was healed in heaven. I especially love a song during my cancer journey...it always seemed to be playing when I needed a reminder. I think it's called Before the Morning. Such a sweet reminder of what you said.

lifeofaministermom@theshaulisfamily I will look that song up. Thank you for sharing your very personal experience with us.

thesimplemama@lifeofaministermom I just teared up reading this part of your story.


theshaulisfamily@lifeofaministermom you too! There is a common bond with those of us who have been affected by cancer.


livewellplaytogetherWhat a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing this!

theshaulisfamily@livewellplaytogether you're welcome! Glad I can share with others what God has done.

peachesandpotatoes I can't imagine @theshaulisfamily what a nightmare that would've been, getting that news when you're expecting. 💔 I love your testimony--and everyone's. This chat is...wow. 😮 As a mom you want to always be there for your kids @thesimplemama, so your mom was probably way more worried about you than herself. You are amazing! It seriously breaks my heart to think of God taking me from my family, but I think the people on the other side are closer than we know, and sometimes I think we can do more for Him and our families after we pass on than we can here on earth. That's God's judgement call, and He knows this life is really very short...maybe only minutes in His time. Thinking of it that way has really helped me put all my trials into perspective, like when I was struggling with infertility and recurrent miscarriages. When we're suffering, it feels like it's never ending, but again, life is short, and our joy with Him is what really lasts forever. 🍑

peachesandpotatoes@lifeofaministermom I don't even have words. That's amazing how God used you to bring your dad to Him, and how He used those experiences with your dad and SIL to bring you all closer and make you stronger. I'm so so sorry for your losses. Just completely in awe. 🍑

theshaulisfamily@peachesandpotatoes that's true!! It says somewhere in the Bible that a thousand years is like a day to God.

evagreco@thesimplemama can't imagine how difficult it was for you. Your growing years dealing with your own uncertainties then having to face your mom’s diagnosis. Tough stuff.

evagreco@theshaulisfamily I felt every word of your testimony. Thank you for sharing. God bless you!

theshaulisfamily@evagreco I'm thankful I can help people understand what it's like. Thanks for reading!

evagrecoLove hearing your testimonies. Thank you for sharing your heart and encouragement. Love this sisterhood - dislike the big "C"!

lenae_hammanOh my goodness. This gives me chills. I am so inspired by your strength and your F A I T H! 💙 Prayers for you friend!

thesimplemama@peachesandpotatoes I just adore you and your perspective on things!!

theshaulisfamily@lenae_hamman thank you! I appreciate all the prayers I can get.

How has cancer changed your life? If you're a cancer survivor, what's different about you and the way you live your life now?

thesimplemama I was a high school junior when my sweet mama was diagnosed with uterine cancer at the young age of 38. It was a difficult battle, but our story ends happily: she has been in remission for over 20 years now. #thankyoujesus ðŸ™ðŸ¼ Seeing my mom survive an aggressive cancer reconfirmed to me that the Father is the ultimate physician. We are so lucky to have her here with us as a mom and now a Grammy 💗

theshaulisfamily Cancer survivor here. Glad your mom had a happy ending!! I think that's always in. The back of my mind....what if I don't have a happy ending? Nothing is guaranteed. So I find myself constantly battling worry and fighting to trust God despite my emotions. I make a more conscious effort of enjoy the time I do have. And sometimes I feel disgusted with myself when I'm having a "hard day" because I remember how truly blessed I am to have been given an extra 3 years so far cancer free. ❤

lifeofaministermom I talk often about my dad and SIL that I lost to cancer, but there are so many others that I know who have experienced this terrible disease. For me, it's made me want to be less inhibited and live more freely for the Lord. I'm constantly reminded that no day is guaranteed and I don't want to hold back.

graceshared I've lost two grandparents to cancer. I still struggle with losing them. This past year two aunts battled cancer. Thanking God daily they've both survived and are in remission. My co-worker was also diagnosed with cancer last year. I watch helplessly as I see her struggle day to day. Last but not least a dear friend who has been fighting cancer for many years just had treatment for yet another round with this ugly sickness. Needless to say Cancer is leaving scars on my heart!

thesimplemama@theshaulisfamily A wise friend once told me to remember to give myself grace on the bad days (bc we all have them). And as strange as it sounds, sometimes the bad days help me appreciate the good days even more. I completely struggle with trusting God despite my emotions (I'm actually doing a bible study about that very thing right now!). Praying for your continued health tonight, friend!! 🙏🏼❤

theshaulisfamily@thesimplemama you are so right. Without the bad times we wouldn't appreciate the good as much. ❤

thesimplemama@lifeofaministermom Yes!!! Living each day to the fullest and to further the kingdom is such a good "take-away"...doesn't mean that I'm very good at doing that consistently though. Thank you for sharing your story about your dad and SIL tonight. ❤

lifeofaministermom@thesimplemama I need to be reminded of this too. Even with what our family has experienced . Part of it is having such close encounters with death and knowing that salvation really is a life and death decision. The other part of it is wanting to know that I left it all on the table when it's my time to join them in Heaven.

thesimplemama@graceshared Cancer definitely leaves scars on your heart!! And it sounds like you have faced many a battle with loved ones. I am so sorry that you have walked that road numerous times.

evagreco@thesimplemama in remission for 20 years!! Praise God! Such a horrible disease that I am all to familiar with. I've lost a brother and sister to cancer and currently have another brother and sister battling it as well. When I lost my sister I made the decision to live a holistic life. Constantly learning and passing along information to my family and friends.

thesimplemama@evagreco Oh sweet lady!! I had no idea about your losses. And that your family is walking that road once again. I am so sorry to hear that. 😢 I think it's wonderful that you are able to pass along your knowledge (I probably need to get some wisdom from you about living more clean). You've turned such an ugly thing into something beautiful by helping others. You inspire me ❤

thesimplemama@evagreco Quick topic change-Are you for sure going to the DR this summer???
evagreco@thesimplemama would love to share what I know. And YES! I am for sure going to the DR with my kids!!!

peachesandpotatoes@lifeofaministermom wow, so beautifully said. ❤

peachesandpotatoes@thesimplemama oh I just love that. ❤ That's what His grace is for...the days we don't "have it together" or when we wonder how we can go on.

peachesandpotatoes@evagreco I'm so so sorry for your losses. ❤ You can't catch a break! Praying for you. It's so hard to watch the people you love suffer.

thesimplemama@evagreco Hooray!!!!! I'm glad you're going!! Can't wait to serve with you pretty lady!!! 😘

evagreco@thesimplemama same here! Btw I love this #sundaysisterhood thank you for bringing women together to share their journeys! 😘💛

evagreco@peachesandpotatoes thank you for your prayers! God is good all the time!!

lenae_hamman So glad that your mama is in remission and doing well!! What a completely terrifying situation!

thesimplemama@evagreco Thank you for sharing your stories sweet friend!! My new bloggy friend @peachesandpotatoes organized all these chats and invited me to participate. She is a doll!!!! ❤ Women supporting other women has been so uplifting to me the past 6 weeks 😊

thesimplemama@lenae_hamman Thank you sweet friend! ❤

thesimplemama@peachesandpotatoes YES! So grateful for His grace ❤❤❤

amysalwayslips You know cancer has completely changed my life but I will share a little here too😘 Cancer runs rampant on my mom’s side of our family & out of her 8 brothers & sisters we've lost 6 as well as one of their daughters (a cousin who was more like a sister to me) all who've had cancer & have passed because of it or were fighting it but lost their lives to something else...my mom being one of the 6 is one of the hardest things I've ever walked through...she was my best friend & I'm positive God made sure we became crazy close early in my life knowing I would lose her at 27 (she was only 50)...my girls know her well though through stories & have talked of her often recently which somehow keeps her feeling close😍 Cancer is awful but God has held me close through each fight & I've experienced His peace & comfort in ways I otherwise wouldn't know exist!!!

thesimplemama@amysalwayslips I love you precious friend!! You are my person!! Thank you for sharing your story. Your mama would be so proud of your testimony, faith in the Father, and continued legacy you are leaving with your own darling girls. 💗💗💗💗

Sadly cancer impacts not only the person diagnosed, but the entire family, too. What are some ways to support the individual who has been diagnosed AND the family as a whole when one of their loved ones is facing cancer?

(Host) lifeofaministermom Just over 7 years ago my dad died from non-hodgkins lymphoma, and just over 7 months ago I lost my sister-in-love to breast cancer that had spread to her bones. One of the major things that helped our family was having assistance with the practical needs. Rides for my nieces and nephews. Rides for my family members to and from the treatments. Cleaning. Organizing a meal train, and in general being available with your time. We know that's a challenge for everyone these days but sometimes just being present is what the family needs the most.

hooverandgraceThis is amazing.


theshaulisfamily So sorry for your loss. I hate everything about cancer. I guess everything except how I saw my church family come around me in prayer. I had older ladies give me $20 to get a meal so I didn't have to cook. Someone watched my daughter while I had appointments. I'm with you....physical help, as well as spiritual support goes a long way.

thesimplemama My mom was diagnosed with aggressive uterine cancer when I was a high school junior. She had a full hysterectomy the day before my Jr/Sr Prom. She was unable to be there while I was getting ready and taking pre-Prom pics. But my precious friends went with me to the hospital so she could see us all dressed up...which of course made her day...and I think ultimately made her fight harder for survival. Most of these special friends continue to be in my life today (20 years later) and I still get chills thinking about how they really walked alongside us during that time.

purejoyfromme My heart goes out to you and your family Patricia. We unfortunately lost my father in law 6 yrs ago to NHL and have seen cancer effect so many others, family and friends. Physical support along with emotional and constant love in such a helpless time is so amazingly important. I just wish cancer wasn't a reality.

thesimplemama Those are hard losses. I am so very sorry. 😢 Having assistance with the "practical" needs is such a great suggestion. And sometimes just doing instead of asking what to do is what is really needed. Lifting your family up tonight as you share about your dad and sister-in-law. 🙏🏼

serendipite.ny ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

lifeofaministermom@theshaulisfamily Community is everything and it's a blessing to have that kind of support during these difficult times. ❤❤❤

thekinndproject❤❤❤ thanks for sharing


lifeofaministermom@thesimplemama What remarkable friends!! That's truly a blessing!!!💗💗💗

lifeofaministermom@purejoyfromme same here Susan. Same here. I'm so sorry for your loss as well. 💗
lifeofaministermom@thesimplemama That is a good point. Sometimes people don't want to interfere or be in the way, but volunteering to help really take a lot of the pressure off. Thank you for your kind words too!

evagreco Great point about not asking just doing. The one thing I know has really ministered to my siblings is a simple phone call. A phone call that is not overtaken by talk of cancer. They deal with it 24/7 so anytime they can get a snippet of normal helps!

peachesandpotatoes@evagreco wow that's so powerful! A phone call just to be a friend. I love that.

lenae_hammanI'm so so sorry for your losses. I'm sure it's the small kind gestures that mean the most! 💙💙

lifeofaministermom@evagreco That's so true!! A great suggestion!!!

lifeofaministermom@lenae_hamman Thank you❤❤❤

onedeterminedlifeI think that the practical things are amazing. I think to, it's not just about when they are sick, but when that person is gone. Being there for the family and continuing to be a blessing.

lifeofaministermom@onedeterminedlife That's a very good point. It's so important for that support to continue. 💜

No comments:

Post a Comment