My Angel Is a Cancer Survivor

In face of a diagnosis, finding that stillness and faith brings extraordinary strength

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Posted in , Sep 9, 2015

My angel is a cancer survivor.

Today my angel is a cancer survivor.

I’m due for my yearly checkup with the oncologist. When he told me last fall that I’d “graduated,” and no longer had to see him every six months, I was thrilled. How far I’d come from having to see him every three! If he was convinced I was cured, I should be too. Right?

And usually I am a pretty positive thinker. Except when I have to make that now yearly appointment, and while I’m waiting for the doctor to come into the room for my exam.

The New York Times featured a piece by Julia Baird recently called “Getting the Diagnosis.” She wrote movingly about waiting two weeks for surgery, making her young children their school lunches and making out her will. Her suspected diagnosis was advanced ovarian cancer, probably spread to the liver.

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After a five-hour operation and eight days in intensive care, she learned in fact that her ovarian tumors were not malignant. She had another, rare, nonaggressive cancer, and though it can recur, it has a much higher survival rate. She is optimistic, for good reason. But it seems she was optimistic even when she had no business being so.

Her doctor recently asked her how that was. “I prayed,” Julia said. She wrote (as if just for me) that she prayed so hard she grew unnaturally calm, that stillness and faith can give you extraordinary strength. “I locked out negativity and drama, and drew my family near. I tried to live deliberately.”

So enough of my drama. I have an appointment to make.

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