Life After Cancer is Meant to be Overflowing! By Karen Tripp MS LMFT

 Video #1 The Doubting Father

  1. What are your thoughts about the video?
  2. John is ashamed that he wants more for his son when he’s already been made whole.  Does it seem okay to pray for more blessings since you (or your loved ones) have already been blessed by surviving cancer treatment?  Is it comfortable to ask God for more?

Cancer changes things.  Lots of things.  Cancer treatment is hard… on everyone.  And when the last treatment is done, it does not mean that your cancer journey is done.  Cancer leaves marks on your body, your relationships, and your faith.  The issue is not whether these marks left you stronger or weaker.  The issue is how have these marks  left you different?  Let’s take a minute and examine more closely how you coped with cancer treatment.

People diagnosed with cancer …

  • Might have protected the people they love from the truth of how difficult their cancer treatment was.
  • Might not have shared the severity of their discomfort, fatigue or pain.
  • Might not tell of their fears for their future or the future for those they love.

Caregivers and loved ones …

  • Might have protected the person with the diagnosis by not sharing stressful topics affecting the
  • Might not share about struggles with finances, maintaining the household, their own fatigue or even the caregiver’s health.

Sharing on your Cancer Journey

  • What about you? Find changes in your Sharing Score.  How much did you share about the difficulties in your life with those you love?

Place an X to indicate how much you shared at each phase of your cancer journey.

Before the diagnosis:

Very Little                                /           Some Things               /           Almost Everything

1 ——————– 2 ——————- 3  ————– 4 ——————– 5

 

During Treatment:

Very Little                                /           Some Things               /           Almost Everything

1 ——————– 2 —————— 3  ———— 4 ———————– 5

Now:

Very Little                                /           Some Things               /           Almost Everything

1 ——————– 2 ——————– 3  ———————- 4 —————— 5

The problem is that the people you are protecting are the ones you’ve shared your struggles with throughout your life.  Raising kids, financial difficulties, grief, loss- it’s our loved ones that we turn to through these.  Now cancer has come, and as both a patient and a caregiver, we protect our loved ones from the strain it is having on us.  “They have enough on their plates.  They don’t need to worry about me.”  The problem is that this creates distance.

In post treatment, it can be easier to see the impact of cancer relationally,  physically, prayerfully and spiritually.

  • Did you see changes in your Sharing Score? Share your response if you would like.

 

 

 Impact of Cancer Relationally

After treatment, it is difficult to know what to expect.

  • What about you?

Rate how likely you might think these thoughts or suspect other’s might be thinking them about you.

10- Very Likely                                    5- Likely                                              1- Not Likely

___ “Before the diagnosis you worked more hours.  Why can’t you do that now?”

___ “You stopped working long hours during treatment.  Can’t you work less hours now?”

___ “How much longer will this fatigue last?”

___ “The doctors says you’re fine.  Can’t you help out more?”

___ “Are they using the cancer to get out of doing things or has the struggle been so hard they really need a break?”

___ “They know they’re not supposed to eat like that.”

___ “Can’t they tell they can’t spend money like before the medical bills?”

SHARE your responses, if you would like.

  1. Impact of Cancer Physically:
  • What about you? After being blessed by Jesus with surviving cancer treatment, is it okay to pray for more blessings? (Less side effects, more energy, appreciative family, understanding workplace, etc. )

Caregivers and survivors alike often feel this struggle: “I’m thrilled to be past the cancer treatments and YET I’m so ____________________________  that my/our life will never be the same.”

CHECK all that apply:  (It’s not unusual to check some from both columns.)

__Disappointed

__Frightened

__Angry

__Frustrated

__Discouraged

__Regretful

__Relieved

__Encouraged

__Grateful

__Thankful

__Pleased

__Other______________

 

SHARE your responses, if you would like.

  1. Impact of cancer on prayer life

Is my faith weak because I want more than just surviving cancer?  Should I be satisfied with what I have? How should we pray to God after He has given us so much?

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

  • From the verse above, how should you approach God’s throne of grace? ________ ______________________

The word for confidence in the Greek is parrēsia  which means free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance   (reference Strong’s Concordance of the Bible

It’s normal to feel humble after the Lord has laid a huge blessing at your door.  Getting through cancer treatment for you or a loved one is DEFINITELY a huge blessing!  But does that mean you used up all of your allotment of blessings from God?  Remember what abundant life means…

  • Look at Hebrews 4:16 above again. When will you find grace to help you?
  1. When you pray the right way?
  2. In your time of need?
  3. In your time of need- unless God has recently blessed you really good. Then sorry, you’re out of luck?

When you ask for more, does it mean that you are an ungrateful child?  Does God expect us to be so content in our difficulties that we do not even ask for His help?   Hebrew 4:16 certainly tells us NO.  God wants us to confidently come to Him in prayer so we can receive grace to help us in our times of need.

  1. Impact of Cancer Spiritually

These answers reflect times of need.  In Hebrews 4:16, we learned to take our needs with confidence to God.  But let’s look back at the two verses before that verse to discover more:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need Hebrews 4:14-16

  • Look at the verses of Hebrews 4:14-16

Who is our Great High Priest?

Where is He?

Remember, verse 16 encourages us to “approach God in His throne room.”    As obviously AWESOME as this would be, for me, it would also be completely terrifying.  Why?  Because God is perfect and we are not.  Everything allowed in God’s presence must be perfect.  I know I’m not perfect.  None of us is.  So how are we supposed to be confident when we approach God?  GOOD NEWS!  When Jesus came from Heaven to Earth He was perfect.  Then He died on the cross so that we will be made perfect in Heaven- in the throne room before God.  So we can confidently approach God because Jesus died on the cross for us. Whew!  That’s a relief!

  • Look again at the verses Hebrews 4:14-16 above:

Is Jesus, our High Priest, able to empathize with your weaknesses?

What happened to Jesus so that He is really good at empathizing with us?

What does it mean to you to have Jesus understanding your struggles?

Placing our Struggles Before God

What difficulties in post treatment would you like to place before God through prayer?

Rank in order:    1- largest struggle     10- lowest struggle

___ money

___ marriage/significant relationship

___ parent/child relationship

___ extended family

___ friends

___ work

___ side effects

___ worries/anxiety

___ fatigue

___ fear of recurrence

___ what’s next?

___ lifestyle for recurrence prevention i.e. giving up smoking, losing weight, exercising.

SHARE your response, if you would like.

About Karen Tripp

Beyond being a Christian Counselor and the President of Cancer Companions, Karen loves to read (she's a great reader) and loves to sing (she's a bad singer) in her home near St Louis, MO. Cancer has personally touched Karen's personal life through her dad - a 23 year colon cancer survivor. Impacting lives for Christ through her speaking, writing and counseling fills Karen with a passion which infuses every task she approaches. (except matching socks. Karen hates matching socks.)
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