The diagnosis of cancer for some is followed by months or years of chemotherapy. For others it is followed by weeks of radiation. For some, it is followed by both.
Cancer cells are cells that are out of control. Chemotherapy and radiation work by destroying rapidly dividing cells. The problem is, of course, that some healthy cells in our bodies are rapidly dividing cells. Cells such as hair cells and blood cells and the cells that line our mouths and our entire gastrointestinal tract are all rapidly dividing cells that can be effected by the treatment of cancer.
As a result, chemotherapy and radiation treatments can have significant side effects. The primary side effect is that these treatments dramatically drain our energy. We are exhausted as our bodies try to compensate for fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen and as our bodies work overtime to replace those lost cells.
Sometimes chemotherapy and radiation can begin to seem like an enemy. We take the treatment knowing it will make us feel worse. We may begin to associate the treatments with getting sick rather than with getting well. This perspective can cause us to fight psychologically against the very thing we need to regain our health.
It is important in our battle against cancer that we see treatment as our friend. We need to turn around the association between our treatment and feeling ill, and establish an association between our treatment and our health.
Treatment can be seen as a gift from God. It is God’s provision for us. Our treatments are marvelously designed to destroy the cancer cells that we want to be rid of. Sometimes the cancer can be stopped and even eliminated by the treatments we take.
To make the connection between our treatment and our health, there are several things we can do. Some people find it helpful to hang a sign on their mirror or door that says “Chemotherapy is a Good Gift From God.” Others give thanks for their treatment each time they take it, asking God to anoint the treatment with God’s healing power. Others visualize the treatment attacking the cancer cells, gobbling them up or slaying them. Some people do all of those things.
May you see your treatments as a gift. May God use your treatments to bring healing to your body.
Questions for Discussion – Session 1
1. What treatments have you (or your loved one) received for your cancer?
2. What side effects did you experience?
3. What was your emotional response to those side effects?
4. What helps you to see your treatment as a friend rather than an enemy?
Questions for Discussion – Session 2
1. Draw a picture of your treatment attacking the cancer cells.
2. Write a prayer thanking God for your treatment.