Three Life Changing Words from the Most Effective Class I Ever Took

Cancer, Chemo, Encouragement, General Thoughts, Help Cancer Patients, Juicing

“You mentioned finding strength from spirituality or faith during your cancer journey. Can you explain that more?”

The young lady asked the question at the end of my December lecture in a local university. She had been very attentive while I shared my personal journey with stage 3 and stage 4 colon cancer. The professor had invited me to present my story during the complementary and alternative wellness series. I hoped just one person would be encouraged by my journey and the choices I made including standard medical treatment, juicing, raw foods, bentonite clay and other supplements and strategies.

“Sure! I’m a Christian and I have found great comfort and strength in my relationship with God.”

I continued by sharing that I told one of my oncologists I was not afraid of dying. I know where I’m going when this life ends because of my faith in God. I was much more fearful (maybe even angry?) about the suffering caused by cancer treatment. That is clearly a choice each person has to make regarding treatment. I did go through grueling medical treatment, too – surgeries, chemo and radiation. I suggested to the class that the best thing one can do for people on a journey with cancer is to love them and support them in the choices they make about treatment.

storm cancer journey field fire clouds sunshine hidden walk

One of the students raised his hand and asked a question. He said he was planning to into the field of medicine.

“Good for you, and I wish you well in your studies!” I stated. “I’m not here to tell you that medicine is evil or using nutrition is foolish. I do want you to know that there is always, ALWAYS, hope. I would love to see medicine and nutrition paired more often for the benefit of the patient. Natural ways of healing can’t be patented like medicine can be and doctors simply aren’t trained in the true power of ‘healing’ using nutrition in our western culture. And quite honestly most of us want a quick fix. A pill.”

A friend told me that in Germany cancer patients are automatically paired with a medical doctor and a homeopathic doctor. The practitioners work together to find the best ways to meet the needs of each patient using medicine AND homeopathy. I like that concept.

Cancer patients who ask doctors about alternative options, like me, don’t typically encounter openness or understanding of valid options or complements to chemo and radiation from the medical community. When my husband and I asked a gifted surgeon in New York City what her thoughts were about the benefits of juicing carrots and using the power of nutrition, the response was literally,  “Oh, sure, carrots are fine for you – I mean, my sister feeds carrots to her horses so….” (insert smug chuckle). Completely discouraging. There can be ignorance on both sides of the cancer treatment discussion. I kept right on sipping my carrot and apple juice while she continued with our very brief consultation. I was dealing at that time with a return of cancer (stage 4) and had been juicing and eating raw foods for two months while considering whether I would accept further medical treatment. Eventually with much reluctance we agreed to a modified, more targeted radiation and chemo pill. I stopped asking doctors what they thought about what I was doing with my diet and decided what was best for me. It was a time of clinging to God for strength and wisdom and living out that little anthem of “my body, my choice.”

Later, after treatment in New York City was completed and a follow up scan five months later showed that the mass had responded far better than anticipated (it had shrunk by 90% and the doctors were very surprised), that same surgeon was insistent that I still should see her to consider surgery to remove the remaining small portion of tumor. The price I would pay for that medical kindness would be a permanent colostomy due to nerve damage and recovery from a very difficult surgery. No, thanks. I hung up the phone and juiced another five pounds of carrots.

Let me share with you the most important thing I know about cancer.

Whatever treatment I choose, no matter how hard I fight disease using any available medical method, drug, or herb, I will still die one day. I want to be certain I know where I will spend eternity when my body fails and the Creator takes me home to heaven.

How do we find confidence about an eternal plan we can’t humanly see? We have so much knowledge about the human body and spirituality and life and still we don’t have all the answers. I’ve found answers to help me cope with challenges and map out my journey in God’s Word. The Bible.

Here are three life-changing words from the most effective class I ever took in high school. It was called Youth Group. My youth pastor scrawled the following words on a whiteboard. The lesson and many others that followed ignited a desire to keep learning about what God’s Word had to say for my life.

OMNISCIENCE: God is all-knowing.

OMNIPOTENCE: God is all-powerful.

OMNIPRESENCE: God is present everywhere.

The fears and anxieties created by a cancer diagnosis are very real. Let me encourage you that God sees you. He cares! Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher from England:

So if you are lying on the battle-field of life, God sees you; let that cheer you: he will relieve you; for he only needs to look at the woes of his children at once to relieve them. Go on then; hope yet; in night’s darkest hour, hope for a brighter morrow. God sees these, whatever thou art doing; “He knows they cares, they tears, they sighs; He shall lift up they head.”

Read the full text of this sermon about “the God who sees us” from – Click Here

Do you know God? How, then, do those three words above (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence) shape your view of life and death and even perhaps your choices about medical treatment and alternative wellness strategies?

Do you wonder what I mean by “knowing God”? You may be in need of the more important “cure”. The cure from sin that only can come through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. If you get healed from cancer after whatever course of treatment you choose, you still will one day face eternity with God, or without God. You want to be with our all-knowing, ever present, all powerful God in eternity. His power and peace is available to us now, every day, when we ask him to forgive our sins and trust Jesus. He paid the price of my sin to give me eternal life no matter what I go through here on this earth. I have some personal thoughts about the only cure that matters. You can find that information by Clicking Here.

So, friend, how does your spirituality or faith give YOU strength in the cancer battle? I’d love to know!

cancer smarts, cancer, cancer encouragement, faith, hope, cancer, stage 4 cancer, cancer survivor

Thank you for stopping by! I’m a stage four colon cancer and cancer treatment survivor. I like to share encouragement and things that have helped me and given me hope on my personal journey. Speaking of things that have helped, you can find a information about “What I Did that Helped” by Clicking Here, and a summary of my personal Cancer Journey Timeline by Clicking Here. Most importantly, you can read about the Only Cure that Matters – just Click Here.

Follow CancerSmarts on Facebook! Click Here

Swimming for Hope in the Fight Against Cancer

Cancer, Cancer News, Encouragement, Exercise, Fundraising, General Thoughts, Help Cancer Patients

Have you ever stood watching waves on a quiet beach? A year ago in March my toes were buried in wet sand on the ocean’s edge in Florida. Kind friends made it possible for Tom and me to stay near the water while he ministered with Baseball Chapel during Spring Training. It was my first visit to the ocean since cancer had arrived two and a half years before; faded; raged back; and had now receded from my body. I had washed up on shore in free-from-cancer paradise. A survivor astonished to be safe on dry land.

I think everyone needs to know there is hope. Especially people passing through the waves of cancer.

when you pass through the waters i will be with you isaiah 43 waves ocean sand toes foam

You’ve probably had some hard waves come your way too, right?

Sometimes you survive the waves by learning to swim. Sometimes people step in and lift you up and help pull you through so you don’t sink. They do the hard swimming for you.

It’s like they’re being hope just being with you.

One of my friends is a hope-bringer. She’s going through waves to help in the fight against cancer and raise money for cancer research. Karen McDowell is training right now to participate in the Baltimore Swim Across America (SAA) One Mile Open Water Swim on September 20, 2015. Check out this video of Karen training for her first One Mile Open Water swim!

I’m very honored that Karen has included me as a reason she is swimming. If you would like to donate and support her swim please visit her page by clicking the image below. The proceeds donated to SAA will be gifted to the Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The money you give will go towards cancer research, prevention and treatment and will make an impact in the fight to find a cure:

Swim Across America Karen McDowell Sydney Kimmel Cancer Research Center Johns Hopkins Hospital

Karen shared with me recently, “When I decided I would join with Swim Across America a month ago to raise money for Cancer Research, I told my husband I would swim for Sharon! We are keeping you in our prayers!”

Thank you, God, for friends who swim through waves and keep us in their prayers.

karen bob mcdowellKaren pictured with her husband, Bob.

cancer smarts good encouragement helps sharon oconnor

shop now greens detoxify alkalize energize

Keeping Your Faith through Cancer

Cancer, General Thoughts, Help Cancer Patients

Friends, I hope you are having a GREAT start to your week. I am. I just returned from visiting our neighbor and came back with a beautiful plant that Tom will be trusted to keep alive; reviewed my daughter’s homework assignment and was blessed by reading thoughts from the beautiful person she is, both inside and out; threw cooked brown rice into a pan with coconut oil, celery, snap peas, and my favorite seasonings of the moment (cumin, coriander, fresh parsley – also from our lovely neighbor – and sea salt); and now, I get to write for a few minutes.

I was honored to be asked to share some thoughts about cancer (I know, big surprise for you to read those words, right) with Faith Truth & Love Magazine. They are doing a special cancer awareness week featuring a number of stories from women who have faced cancer. Here is an excerpt from the article by yours truly – I hope you’ll click the link below to visit the site and enjoy the many informative articles and info designed to encourage women.

Here we go:

Yesterday was my forty-third birthday.  I know, we women aren’t supposed to admit our age. The milestones made me ponder what it looks like to keep one’s faith in God and trust His goodness when life is touched and torn by serious illness. Especially when that illness may take your life in a long, slow, painful manner. You know that song by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying”? Soon after I first heard the song, I had an entirely new perspective on the lyrics. I had become a cancer patient three months after I turned forty. I was living but faced the reality of possibly dying. Faith, meet reality. Reality, meet faith.

“I gave in, and admitted that God was God.” — C. S. Lewis

Giving In

Accepting that I had cancer was like grieving. I was mourning a loss. Accepting a new normal. I had to give in and accept, even embrace, that God had a different plan for my life. The plan meant my family, too, had to experience the challenge. It seemed so unfair. It was not the abundant life I had envisioned. I had trusted Christ as a child and tried to please Him. As I have learned about the art of surrendering (and that the action of surrender is a daily process), God has given me a life far more abundant than I could have imagined. He continues to remind me just how much He loves me, and how much I need to have a child-like faith.

God helped me keep my faith in Him during a very painful season of my life, and He kindly continues to help me grow my faith as I look at the steps ahead. Here are some thoughts about the journey with help from steps that are often said to be a part of the grief process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance…

Read More over at Faith Truth and Love Magazine by Clicking Here (and be sure to head on over and “like” their Facebook page).

About Faith Truth and Love Magazine:

Faith, Truth, and Love Magazine was created to bring different communities of women closer to Jesus Christ. We strive to seek faith and love through truth in Christ. Our goal is to help other women learn how to put Jesus Christ, and God, before everything they do in life. Faith, Truth, and Love magazine discusses different topics such as relationships, and dealing with everyday life. All topics are viewed from a Christian and Biblical point of view. The magazine is also very active with its readers, and offers daily devotionals. We are learning and growing with our spiritual walk in life, join us in our help to build up the body of Christ.