How Cancer has Changed Us

How Cancer has Changed Us

My husband and I were sitting around a table at a wedding. We were among friends, and the conversation was jumping from one couple to another as we caught up with each other. Someone asked my husband “how is your son?” He gave a brief rundown, and I interjected with “It’s been great! Everyone’s son should get cancer.”

Our son was diagnosed with cancer six months before he turned 27. Within those six months, he had three surgeries and numerous trips to various doctors and labs. While my response at the wedding was half sarcasm, the other half was truth.  I would never actually wish anyone’s child get cancer, but I also wouldn’t trade the way cancer has changed us.

At the time of his diagnosis, our son had been married for four years and he and his wife were the parents of a two ½-year-old with one on the way. Today, his prognosis is good, in fact, the doctor said if you have to get cancer this is the kind to get.  Still, answers were slow in coming, and more than once our hopes were dashed.  

Blessings of Cancer

How Cancer has Changed Us

Good can come from this type of trial. It is not obvious amongst the ugly heartbreak associated with cancer, but it is there if we choose to find it. Our priorities have been realigned with what is most important, and as we’ve proceeded with faith, we were strengthened in remarkable ways.

I’m reminded of a scripture in Philippians 4:7  which refers to the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. Feeling peace when the world tells us we should be panicking is beyond my understanding.  I can only attribute our peace as a tender mercy and blessing from God.


We have become closer to our son than we have been for a while. The teenage years were hard on our relationship, but this trial was a healing balm to those old wounds. Patience no longer means avoiding a power struggle with our son but waiting with him for test results and treatment plans.  


This cancer prioritized time with our son and his family. Grandkids have this innate ability to nurture hope. My grandson’s sweet little voice calling my name or mimicking what he hears fills my heart with hope. Our grandson and budding new grandbaby became a physical symbol of the future and what we all have to hope for.


When life is threatened our gratitude awareness is automatically heightened. Instead of searching for ways to be grateful, I feel gratitude for the most simple and ordinary things. A hug from my son, the words “I Love You,” eating lunch together, a phone call or text message, and time. Gratitude has changed my attitude.


How Cancer has Changed Us

God has a plan for each of us. Some of the trials of life come from the consequences of our choices, and others come as a result of someone else’s choice. And cancer — cancer just comes. I don’t believe God gave cancer to my son, but I also don’t think He would ever do anything to prevent it.  

Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

Cancer helped us to grow together, to depend on one another, and to love unconditionally. The most important part of how cancer has changed us is our choice.  We have chosen how to react to the cancer demon rearing his ugly fangs at us. Our choice has been to allow it to make us better than we were before. Not perfect, just better.

What is a major force in your life that has changed you?

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How Cancer has Changed Us - Change is always hard.  As humans, we are naturally resistant to change, especially when it pushes us beyond what is comfortable and into unknown territory. Cancer has pushed our family to change.  It has been difficult at times, but the change has been good.

How Cancer has Changed Us

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14 thoughts on “How Cancer has Changed Us”

    1. I guess life is just that way;) We all have different hills to climb and valleys to deal with. Thanks for the comment, Rachel!

  1. This is a truly beautiful and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing your story and testimony with everyone in the blogosphere. My father has been through cancer three times now, and he constantly speaks on how much it changed him, his perspective on life, and his relationship with God. I’m glad you are blessing others by sharing this.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Mary. I’m sorry your father has been through such a tough battle, but love what you have shared about how cancer has changed him. When we allow these awful challenges to transform us into better people it somehow seems like it is okay. I’m glad you have such a strong example in your father!

  2. I love this. I love your heart. God bless you and your family. I’m so sorry to hear about your son. We do serve a God of healing and promises! I am so inspired by your outlook.

    I went through an incredibly difficult season in my life. I have been able to take my experiences and utilize them for good! I get to share my story with other people and help them navigate their own journey with Christ. It is so true that God wastes nothing. There is a reason for every season! He will never abandon nor forsake us!!!

    Love and hugs to you, Mama.

  3. I can relate to this only partially via our experience with IVF. It was an emotional roller coaster with one person enduring the brunt of the physical pain. The same elements – hope, gratitude, patience, etc… – were there too. It is inspiring to see your family has taken a difficult mortal experience and grown together and better through it. I wish your son well in his recovery as well as any further treatments.

    1. Thank you Jen! There are the hard trials of life that push our hope, gratitude, and patience. It’s all about how we choose to react to them. You are always an inspiration to me!

  4. Beautiful post! I have been looking for it since sitting around that table at the wedding with you. ? I’m so glad you’ve had these experiences as a family. God always knows what we need. In looking back at my own life’s touch from cancer, I agree that it’s really in how you look at things and what you focus on and how you let life change you. I would never have CHOSEN to lose my mom from cancer, but I also know that I wouldn’t have gotten closer to my dad in the way I have if my mom were still here. I miss my mom a lot, but it’s been a blessing for me to focus so much on my dad and how he’s doing and what he needs and therefore get to know him better and strengthen my relationship with him. Life is an intricately-designed creation.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed! I’ve been hesitant about posting because I didn’t want to undermine the real pain from actually loosing a loved one to cancer. It is scary. There is no doubt it is painful and hard! I love how you’ve seen the good from loosing your mom, as hard as it’s been! You have a beautiful perspective!

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