Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.
-Dale Carnegie

From "When God and Cancer Meet" by Lynn Ebb:

When I was in the hospital after my cancer surgery, a friend came into my room and told me God was going to teach me great things through this trial. I wanted to take the IV out of my arm, stab it in hers, and tell her, "You get in bed and learn great things from God, because I don't want to learn this way."

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, I doubt you're rejoicing over the possibilities of what you can learn through suffering. But I hope you are praying and believing that God can touch you. Whoever you are. Right where you are:

Newly diagnosed and in shock, praying there's been some mistake.
Facing surgery, praying the doctor can get it all.
Trudging through chemotherapy and radiation, praying they work. Undergoing tests, praying for some good news finally.
Dealing with a recurrence, praying it's been found soon enough.
At the end of medical hope, praying for a little more time.
Holding the hand of a loved one, praying to be strong for them.

The first person to really give me hope was a woman named Pat who came up to me after my first hospital cancer-support group meeting, put her arm around me, walked me to my car, and told me I would make it through my chemotherapy.

Do you know why I believed her? I believed her because she sported a brightly colored scarf on her head, still bald from chemotherapy. I knew that she knew because she has been there.

Now my life is filled with cancer survivors because I've spent the intervening years both as a volunteer cancer-support group facilitator and as an employed patient advocate in my oncologist's office. I have held the hands of hundreds of people with cancer, listened to the fears in their hearts, and seen what gave them hope. I know that cancer patients and their caregivers are longing for encouragement as they try to make sense of what might seem like senseless suffering. It is my prayer to bring you that encouragement.

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