How perspective changes everything

“Your wife has breast cancer…She’ll need chemotherapy.”

The first time you hear that, you only feel the blow of a seeming death sentence. You see your future as a widower flash before your eyes. Doesn’t everyone die who is diagnosed? No. But the anecdotes we carry would say so since we remember the awful stories and forget the great outcomes. You cry and ask God for a different story, a different outcome. Let the diagnosis be wrong.

It isn’t. And so you begin to accept the facts of breast cancer and learn what your story contains. You learn some people have wonderful post diagnosis stories and others have painful stories. You wait for confirmation. You talk with doctors, get the scans done and then talk some more.

After surgeries, scans, and appointments, you begin to accept the chemo path. But, you want a second opinion to be sure. Now, instead of praying for no cancer, you pray for the 2nd Doc to give you clear advice–either to confirm the first doc’s advice or to give something so clear that you know that one of the paths is so obviously right for you.

The second doc confirms every piece of advice the first doc recommends. You have consensus. Funny thing, when you hear that chemo is your best option, you are happy and relieved–not because chemo makes you happy but that it really does seem like the best option. Notice the much different response from the first mention of those words less than 2 months ago.

Perspective sure changes how you hear words. Now, instead of a death sentence, it is a way to work towards a cure. Odd, don’t you think. Yes, but also an answer to prayer.

I suspect many of us have a story like this. Initially we can’t believe what we are hearing. Later, we hear it completely differently based on the things we learn, the options we see before us, and a whole lot of prayer.


Filed under stories, suffering, Uncategorized

6 responses to “How perspective changes everything

  1. Jess

    Praying for you, Kim, and the boys…

  2. Amy

    Praying for your family.

  3. Dana

    This post hits very close to home, having just heard today that my non-smoking, otherwise previously healthy dad has lung cancer.

  4. Praying for you and Kim, too. Please give her our best wishes.

  5. Scott Knapp

    Phil, about 1 1/2 years ago, my dear wife began experiencing excruciating muscular aches in her arms, back and legs, combined with an all-over sensation of numbness on the skin. Neurologists universally threw up their hands, and declared either it was Fibromyalgia (the great catch-all) or “in your head.” It has progressively become more debilitating, to the point where she can barely walk at all, and relies on high doses of powerful pain killers in order to get even minimal relief. A specialist at Cleveland Clinic has determined that she has a very rare genetic disorder, her mutation is unique to her, never seen in anyone before, and (oh, lucky us!) will drive future research…until such a time as it drains her life and is eventually fatal.

    Facing debilitation and impending mortality impacts perspective, to be sure…lost opportunities, lost income, lost privileges; increased burdens on others and self regarding time, efforts and resources; being put in a position of “neediness”, relying on others for aid and assistance, to the point you’re almost ashamed to ask one more time; coming to grips with the notion that life isn’t merely put on hold until things improve…it’s gone in a completely different direction.

    Had this trainwreck not hit us, we would never have known the lavish outpouring of kindness and love from our families and church community that has come our way, many times without asking. My wife and I have learned to grieve together, something we never did well for many years of marriage (mostly my fault). We’re both getting comfortable with having our deep selfishness challenged by this condition that exposes it daily (by the minute, in my case), and we’ve discovered that it really, really is possible to want God more than relief (something a bit more conceptual before, than real), and reveal Him to others (and each other) in the middle of shattered dreams.

    We taste now in real life what it means to “count it all joy when you face various trials”…. there is truly something worth wanting more than relief, and the capacity to want it comes only when our lesser desires are crushed. THIS is a changed perspective for Scotty….

  6. Five years ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with MS. It was devastating at the time. She was told of all the disabilities and problems she could expect. Doctors said she’d have to be on medication for the rest of her life and there was no guarantee that it would even help. She was encouraged to accept it and join a support group. She and her family refused to be passive about the diagnosis. With a great deal of research and prayer, they learned how some people with the same diagnosis prevented attacks and got healed. As a result, my friend applied everything she learned. She built up her immune system with detox and antioxidants along with some other lifestyle changes. Miraculously, all the symptoms and numbness disappeared, she never had another attack and she never had to be medicated. Today she is healthier than ever. When she talks about that bad report 5 years ago, she says she is thankful. She said that God’s grace and goodness were always with her. He used it for good in her life. Not only is she healthy now, her entire family has learned about detox, nutrition, and how to take good care of their bodies. So yes, perspective changes everything. What once seemed like a death sentence was actually a blessing and beginning of a new and healthier lifestyle. This is a beautiful success story. But regardless of the outcome, it’s important to remember that God is in control and He is good. When we see things from His perspective, we have peace and trust in His wisdom and direction.

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