The cancer journey is a roller coaster ride of fear, worry, sharp turns, and difficult decisions especially when one is struggling between life and death. Here are six supports every cancer patient needs to make it through the journey.
Stay Grounded in God’s Word and in prayer.
Spiritual support is key to getting through any cancer journey. I learned the power of prayer early in life as a teenager when my family was struggling with my mom’s depression and The Watergate Trials. My only power was on my knees. Our situation was so grave that words in the Bible literally leaped off the pages and nourished my soul. When I got the cancer diagnosis, we immediately turned to God. The power of prayer and staying grounded in God’s Word are both key as you walk the cancer journey. The chaplain at CTCA recommended Sara Young’s “Jesus Calling” book. It was very helpful in my journey. I suggest that you find a good devotional book that ministers to your heart.
Rely on your immediate family.
The first institution God created was the family. It’s designed to be a support system throughout life. Family support is something that every cancer patient needs. My spouse was my up when I was down. He held my hand when I was afraid. After surgery removed much of what made me a woman and I lost every hair on my head, my husband loved me unconditionally. Every morning he would say, “You’re still the most beautiful woman east of the Mississippi River.” Frankly, I didn’t look so hot. My children also gave me much-needed support in my cancer journey. They threw my husband and me a surprise 40th wedding anniversary party just in case we did not make it to our 50th.
Accept help from your extended family.
Extended family can also offer support in one’s cancer journey. My sister, Dolly, was the first person to send me flowers. My brother, Jack, came up to visit me after my first surgery. After I transferred treatment from CTCA in Chicago to CTCA in Atlanta, Dolly went with me to one of my treatments. My mother said before she passed, “I know my children will take care of each other.” And that turned out to be true. Help and support from those you’ve known from the beginning is welcomed indeed.
Gather the best for your medical team.
It’s important to assemble a medical team whom you trust. I had wonderful surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists, but CTCA also provided a naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, and acupuncturist for my benefit. I also got second opinions on my diagnosis and chemotherapy regimen. I had an integrative medical doctor who supported my immune system with vitamin C infusions, etc. between chemotherapy. My insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC provided a nurse as a navigator to mentor me through the journey. All of these trained medical personnel strengthened my prognosis.
Secure a prayer team.
As my first surgery approached, I felt the need to gather a team of prayer warriors. As I looked ahead at all the treatments and risks involved, I sent out an email explaining my situation and asking for prayer support. This group of 75 people prayed me through the cancer journey. Prayer support is much needed in this wilderness journey filled with potholes.
Be willing to lean on friends.
So many friends stepped up to the plate to volunteer to help during my journey. From bringing healthy meals to keeping me company during chemotherapy. One friend, Phyllis who was a cancer survivor, even served as my chaperone during one of my surgeries. Friends from my high school and college days came out of the woodwork to show support. My cancer journey connected me with many friends I’d not seen in years. I was so busy catching up on old times, I forgot I was receiving poisonous chemicals! Every few weeks, I’d get a call from Robertson McQuilkin just to check on how Betty and Harry Dent’s daughter was faring in this journey! A friend who offers help is a friend indeed.
I was blessed to have so much support in the cancer journey. I am concerned about those who don’t such as a widow, a single mom, or someone whose spouse leaves them during their crisis. This is when the church and others need to step up to the plate and provide unconditional love and support. Cancer is an expensive journey, especially for young couples starting out and single moms. Although I’m not a big fan of GoFundMe requests for everything, a cancer journey is a time when financial gifts are sometimes necessary. Today I mentor cancer patients all over the world by answering questions, helping with lifestyle changes to improve their prognosis, and encouraging them to grow deeper in their spiritual walk.
As you look around you, are there cancer patients who need your support? What can you do to support others when they are in a health crisis? When you reach out and help others, you lift your own spirit which in turn promotes healing in your body.
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Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs, and Second Place in both Selah Awards for Memoirs and Director’s Choice Award for Nonfiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It recently received the Christian Authors Network’s (CAN) Gold Award for Excellence in Marketing for reaching 62.5 million people with a message of cancer prevention and survival. It was written with commentary from an oncologist and was featured on CBN’s Healthy Living Show, Atlanta Live, and CTN’s Homekeepers along with over 75 media outlets. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.