A Cancer Story: Battling Seeds of Doubt


All this month I’m sharing some of my own cancer story. I’d love to hear about your story too. I bet there are a lot of similarities.

Cancer has a way of launching a full-scale attack on a number of fronts. Physically it’s pretty stealthy, laying beneath the surface, spreading its poison without detection. But in every other way it’s unashamedly in-your-face. Emotionally it wears you down. Day after day the uncertainties and anxieties just keep coming with no relief. Psychologically, it capitalizes on its reputation as a ruthless killer reminding you at every turn of its deadly history and many victims. Spiritually, it tests even the strongest faith and pokes holes in long-held beliefs.

It’s quite the formidable foe.

The first doctor I saw after the diagnosis was the surgeon. I don’t know what I expected him to say but it certainly wasn’t what he said. He began to lay out the plan of attack and the farther in he got the more it felt like someone was kicking me in the gut over and over again. He mentioned surgery, ileostomy, temporary but possibly permanent, weeks of recovery, then chemo, radiation, more surgery. The hammer of reality swung down and struck me square in the chest. I remember thinking, “This is real and it’s dangerous.” I left there in shock, knocked back, reeling from the gravity of what we were facing, what lay ahead.

I went home and had an anxiety attack. I remember every detail of it. I was sitting at the dining room table and Jen was there beside me. We talked about what would come next even though we knew nothing of what the future held. And then it hit me. The truth of the matter was that while we waited for the secretary to call us with an appointment for the oncologist, while we waited for test results and more appointments, this monster inside me could be spreading, reaching its scaly tentacles throughout my body, infesting other organs with its rogue cells. I wanted to see the doctor right then, get things going, extract the monster from me. I couldn’t wait even one day longer. One day may be too late. Every day, hour, minute was one moment too long.

I began to shake and sweat. I wanted to holler out. I didn’t want to die, not like that, not at the hand of some merciless disease.

Eventually, I calmed but that seed of doubt had already been planted. From that day forward I began to entertain thoughts of death. That was right before Easter, the day we celebrate life and the Life.

Have you ever entertained thoughts of death? Battled seeds of doubt? I’d love to hear your story.

At the end of the week I’ll pick someone who has left a comment on any of these “Cancer Story” posts to win a copy of my novel, A Thousand Sleepless Nights. Join the discussion to enter.

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About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on March 5, 2014, in Cancer, Life in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Dennis Morris

    Twenty years ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump. After a double mastectomy and removable of her lymp nodos, she is still with us today. I wasn’t close to Christ then and it rocked my world.
    A few months ago my step father’s doctor found a spot on his lung which turned out to be cancer. It spread so rapidly it made your head spin. He died shortly after the diagnosis.
    About a month later my brother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and lived just a little longer than my step father.
    During the passed few months my Dad passed away from a lung condition, as well as my favorite uncle from fibrosis of the lungs.
    I’ve lost some important men in my life in a short period. Don’t take your loved ones for granted, because you will not see them again this side of Heaven. Yes, I do want to see these loved ones gone home, but I really want to see the face of Jesus, the One who died for me.

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    • Dennis, first, I’m sorry for your losses. That’s a lot to deal with in a short period of time. Thank you for sharing this; your faith is inspiring. And yes, we look forward to seeing Jesus most of all. What a sweet reunion it will be all around!

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  2. I understand how you felt when faced with the diagnosis and treatment plan of colon cancer. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in my stomach and duodenum about a year ago, and along with the damage done by the inflammation and ulceration, I also have gastroparesis, chronic small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, bile reflux, and lactose intolerance. I’m now on disability, and I’ve come to realize that, at the age of 26, chronic pain is now a part of my life, and I will be on black-box-labeled medication for the rest of my life. The disease is chronic and progressive, but I know that no matter what, the Lord has a plan for me and He is always with me. I have a much greater appreciation of this now, as well as a greater appreciation for the little things in life.

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    • Trials tend to sharpen our focus, don’t they? And yes, a greater appreciation for the little things and not so much worry about the molehills. Thanks for your words.

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  3. Dennis,
    A friend of mine referred me to your blog account of your trials and faith walk with living with cancer….you’re an encourager and gifted writer! I am battling Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma right now and was healthy up to diagnosis…climbed Long’s Peak in CO at age 54, Aug 30, 2013 and diagnosed with a 13cm tumor in chest Jan. 3. At 54, I have lost friends and acquaintances to heart attacks, cancer, car accidents, so when I got the diagnosis I wasn’t so shocked thinking I have been so blessed to live so long, but said, why not me? It’s hard to say that when you have a 19, 17 and 14 year old to live for. Since our kids were all abandoned at birth(adopted), I have felt that God wouldn’t take me out of the picture and have them lose another mother their young ages (I know I’m not immortal, but my human side saids this.) As a follower of Jesus, I was given a peace that I can do battle with the tumor I named, Herod 14. I could relate to your waiting period after diagnosis, and wanting to get the show on the road…that was difficult to wait the extra days thinking your same thoughts.
            In the same way, “Herod 2014” may also appear to be a powerful and menacing force to be feared by many. He has “built” this “structure” in my chest to be recognized for his destructive power. However, like Herod of 4 BC, today’s Herod 14 will be soon be remembered only for his vain and futile attempt to stand in the way of God’s plan for me! God has much more in store for me and for my ministry in the lives of friends and family!
    Although, I do think of death and a potential shortened life span, I have to live in hope day by day and and most importantly, I live for eternal hope. I’ve completed 2 of my 6 chemo cycles and get ready to enter the ring for the 3rd time tomorrow!
    Wishing you all of God’s best,

    Peace, Paula Mayer

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    • Paula, you certainly have the right perspective. Bless you . . . and thank you for chiming in. I’m glad your friend referred you here. When I was diagnosed my 3 daughters were 9, 7, and 5 (we now have 4 daughters) and yes, there was a lot to live for (still is!). God is faithful and give grace where it’s needed. I suspect you know that 🙂

      Mike

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  4. Mike,

    I have personally not battled the “cancer” war like you and have so many others have, I have walked beside my brother-in-law who struggled with lung cancer and lost the fight. He choose a much different path – he did not want treatment, he wanted to live everyday to the fullest, totally aware of everything and bravely made each of us have an incredible experience. The day he was told the Doctors he was going to die he took my sister and myself to a wonderful surprise dinner on a Tuesday night. We had a wonderful time, ate and laughed to our sides hurt. He then looked and me and informed me were going to talk about something in great details, we were going to cry just this one time and then we would move forward. When he told me my heart stopped. Jim was an incredible person in my life and a wonderfully strong man. So we all cried over the news and then continued our celebration. A celebration of life and love. He was told this in April, I was married in June and he passed in October 1979. Jim never doubted who he was or the decisions he made. He knew his God and lived by his word. He showed all of our family how to die with dignity. He won the battle with the “cancer” word but in a much different way and with left me with so much love.

    Matthew 21:21
    Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.

    God Bless you and your family and I’m thankful you have walked across Chris and my life.

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  5. I’ve never battled cancer personally, but have watched many family members fight this battle. As a result, doubt and fear have become my enemy, because many of the physical problems I face automatically cause me to run to the doctor out of fear that I too have cancer. I can’t even begin to imagine the anxiety of waiting for tests, scheduling ect…I think that doubt and fear are some of the enemy’s most effective tools. Thank you for being transparent and asking us to consider some intraspective questions.

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  6. Entertaining thoughts of death, huh? Sounds like my fave past time these days. Although I have never been struck with cancer myself, I know what it’s like to stare at death’s ugly face and wanting to run away in its arms with the pseudo comfort wrapped up in a tortilla of lies straight out of the mouth of the enemy. The more I listen the more I’m blinded, the more I am enveloped in darkness and despair and fear and panic attacks and every single cotton picking things drags me down and wears me out and even my job (waitressing), which had hitherto been a place of escape where I could focus on it rather than the issue at hand that was my relationship with Jesus Christ, was being so affected I’d have to run to the bathroom to cry my eyes out just to make it through the next two hours.

    This is where I was about 2pm this afternoon.

    In the not so distant past, God asked me to do something and I refused. Little did I know that the consequences would be disastrous. I’d be staying longer than I wanted, be hurt deeper than I’d intended, and be singled out for an all out full frontal assault by the forces of darkness. But it all put me in a position where I could not receive guidance or direction from God, because I was in disobedience. Not a sin, per se, just disobedience. I supposed disobedience is a sin. In this case it was like a soldier ignoring an order from his commander.

    That was back then.

    Now I am in a different situation but the same rules apply, same pain applies, same fear ravages me. I have been too afraid to pray for fear that instead of hearing from God, I’ll be answered by the Devil. I’m too afraid to ask His will for me because I’m terrified He’ll ask me to do something that I don’t have the strength to do and then I’ll be in disobedience once more and rebellion and misery, and so on and so forth like a never ending circle of torture and I’m the torturer and the tortured. Then I’m afraid that because of my bad choices and mistakes I will never fully become what God wants me to be. And that, my friend, is what shakes me to the very core of my being. That keeps me up at night crying so hard and so long that I’m on the verge of throwing up. That is what paralyzes me.

    The thing about me is that the only thing that I really value is the continual growth of my relationship with God. Period. In my deepest inner self, this is what I crave, what I live for. And God knows this. He knows because He put that desire for Him in me to begin with.

    So then why do I want to die, if I love God so much and want nothing more than desperately to be nearer to Him? Because I listen to the lies and eat them up and smear them like a balm over my skin, that I am washed up, that it’s over spiritually for me, that yeah sure maybe God will let me into heaven after I die, but He won’t or can’t complete the good work He started in me, that all the work He’d taken the time to do in me would be forsaken as would I.

    That’s where I was when I got home from work today and ran into our spare bedroom and entertained away.

    But I just couldn’t do it. Why? Was it a small ounce of hope left? Maybe. Or was it simply that although I believed the lies and embraced them with each thought, each breath, a deeper part of me knew that they were just that. Lies. That deeper self, my spirit, began ministering to me and combating the lies out of sheer self preservation.

    I remembered, too, the note cards that a pair of dear friends of mine helped me put together that summarized some of the most profound verses that are truth and reality for every born again Christian. They were still in my pocket. I read them slowly out loud, releasing each correlating lie as I did. That’s when the peace began to settle. Something I haven’t felt in I don’t know how long.

    Then I went and drank some hot peppermint tea and slept for 2 hours. Entertaining had taken that much out of me.

    I still honestly don’t feel 100% spiritually. I still have heavy leeriness about God’s will for me and the fear that He may ask of me what I am not willing to do. But cutting off the lies has at the very least given me the courage and confidence to face Christ again. And to pray, something that I have felt robbed of for months now.

    Lord willing, the next time I do any entertaining, it be with angels.

    I’m glad I saw your posts here, Mike. Your words were very encouraging. The Lord Jesus Christ be with you, my brother.

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