Issie: Faith and Religion                                                          

Faith and Religion

When you get a cancer diagnosis, there is a period of time where you have to go home from hospital and digest this information.  I personally did not know how bad my cancer was at this time, how much it might have spread and when and if I might die because of it.  I just knew that I had it and that my life was about to change forever.  I was never angry, I was more in shock really I suppose.  It is an awful lot to take in initially.  I did not question why it was happening to me I just accepted that it was.

This gives you plenty of time to think.  I mulled over my life, who I might have hurt over the years, and I really pondered my life.  I am a Roman Catholic.  I admit that I am not great at going to mass on a weekly basis.  However, I do believe in being nice to everyone, and surely that counts for something.

When I realised what lay before me, I prayed to God to let me live.  I begged him actually.  I swore that I would be a much better person.  I pleaded with him and promised that I would be kinder and more generous with my time to everyone.  It gave me time to reflect and make plans for the future.  The local priest visited me and I cried and prayed with him.  It helped me to cope with my situation.  The night before my big operation, the hospital priest visited me and I also prayed with him,

There can be many lonely times when you are a cancer patient, waiting for doctors appointments, waiting for results, waiting for any bit of good news.  The time that I found most difficult was waiting to go in for surgery, when you are gowned up lying on a hospital trolley and waiting to go into the operating theater.  You are totally alone then.  Waiting.  I prayed hard at these times.  I cried at these times.  I just wanted to live.  I swore to God that I would change and be more helpful to other people whenever I could.

I received many holy items when I was sick, mass cards, holy water, rosary beads, holy rose petals,  and hold relics.  This all helped me personally.  It gave me great strength and solice.  I have kept all of these items and they still help me daily.

Of course I have changed as a person.  For the better I am glad to say.  I am more thoughtful, caring and giving as a person.  I'm not saying that I was a bad person before, I'm saying that cancer changes you.  I have suffered and I have also seen great suffering.  Believe me you have plenty of time to think when you are in a chemotherapy ward getting drugs pumped into you for hours on end.  I am more generous with my time.  I have more patience for old people.  I am more giving to charity.  Monetary things do not worry me anymore.  They mean nothing when you are lying in a bed sick.  And my faith helped to get me through all of this.

I do think that you have to believe in something to get you through a cancer diagnosis.  I am definitely not telling other patients what to do but I am sharing how I got through this ordeal.  I believe in a higher being protecting us and helping us.  For me it was God but for others it may be something else.  There will be times that you are alone and scared and it certainly helped me to pray.  I would recommend finding something that you believe in and using that to get you through the dark days.  We all need something more powerful than us to guide us along this journey.  

I believe that my diagnosis was a wake up call.  I have been given a second chance.  I am eternally grateful to God for sparing me and I will endeavour to make my life more worthwhile and I promise to help others into the future.  As I have said before, getting cancer was the best thing that has happened to me because it has made me a better person.  :-)  xxx 

A selection of the religious pieces that various people gave me when I was sick.