The Blog – Seeing God in Your Cancer Journey

‘They feel abandoned’: Cancer survivors say post-treatment support is lacking (CTVNews) Staff
Published Saturday, February 3, 2018 10:20PM EST

Charlotte Cook-Dowsett survived ovarian cancer but felt cast adrift when the surgery and chemotherapy ended.

“When you’re going through the treatment, you have this warrior attitude … and you’re surrounded by a community of support,” says the Winnipeg woman.

“But when the cancer is gone and the chemo is done … the community support isn’t as strong because they feel you are done,” she adds.

For Cook-Dowsett, it wasn’t over. Depression and anxiety had set in.

One in two Canadians will experience cancer in their lifetimes. There are 800,000 survivors.

Studies have shown that 80 per cent of survivors report long-term side effects like fatigue and 70 per cent report psychological impacts. About one in five have symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ahead of World Cancer Day on Sunday, Canadian survivors are highlighting the fact that while the medical system is doing better than at ever at curing cancer, it does a poor job of providing mental health care after they get the all-clear.

Jackie Manthorne, a cancer survivor and president of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, says that many patients “feel abandoned when treatment ends.”

“There isn’t one survivor who won’t tell you that they don’t fear recurrence,” she says. “They’re dealing with an illness that they know sometimes kills people.”

Manthorne says cancer can also strain relationships with partners and children.

Yet in most treatment centres don’t offer any follow up for survivors, Manthorne says. “They are off on their own.”

Manthorne says she’d like to see cancer patients receive automatic rehabilitation options, just like when someone survives a heart attack or stroke.

Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, medical director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, agrees there is a gap.

“The social support is very important,” she says. “It is one area of cancer that has’t been well funded or well resourced.”

Ottawa mother Charlotte Kessler, 36, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013 and endured brain surgery and two years of chemotherapy.

Kessler says she didn’t want to lose the support of her oncology team after it was over, but she was given no choice.

She eventually sought new medical treatment. “I need help,” she told them. “No, I don’t know what I need … but I need help.”

“In treatment it was easy to explain away why I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do, why I couldn’t be there for my daughters, why I was feeling terrible,” she says. “Then treatment ends and that doesn’t necessarily go away.”

With a report from CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

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After Cancer Christian Survivorship Retreat Schedule


8:30-9:30  Registration

9:30-10:30  Small Group Bible Study

10:30-11:30 Nutrition- speaker and small group

11:30- 2:00 Break and Lunch

2:00-3:15 Small Group Bible Study

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30- 4:45 Exercise Speaker/class/small group

4:45-5:00 Break

5:00- 6:15 Small Group Bible Study

6:15 dinner

7:30 Additional Activity



8:00 Breakfast

8:30-9:45 Small Group Bible Study

9:45-10:00 break

10:00-11:00 Small Group Bible Study

11:00 Closing Worship

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Paying for Cancer Treatments – Personal Loans, HSAs, and More

By Brian Robson

Paying for Cancer Treatments – Personal Loans, HSAs, and More

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Excerpt Reading #27 “You Are the Expert”

This is an excerpt from the Seeing God in Your Cancer Journey Program Participant Guide.  To learn more, contact a program near you  or email Karen Tripp [email protected]

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Communication Coordinator Position for National Christian Cancer Ministry

Cancer Companions, a Christian cancer ministry currently in 21 states, is seeking a creative person with the ability to improve and generate communication ideas and complete projects independently.

Brief Description: To oversee and improve communication tools (social media, email blasts, pamphlets, flyers, etc) for reaching potential volunteers, current volunteers, donors, and people coping with cancer.

Cancer Companions is a 501c3 nonprofit which trains, equips and supports church volunteers to facilitate Christian cancer support groups and one to one meetings. Continue reading

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God is Bigger Than…a Flying Trapeze

As a child, there was nothing as thrilling as watching the flying trapeze.   I’d strain my neck to watch the bejeweled lady release the bar just in time for the arm bulging man to catch her.   Holding my breath, I  waited to see if her searching fingers would find the safety of his arms.  Can you imagine trusting someone enough to let go of the bar or to trust yourself enough to know that you will catch them?  Maybe it would be easier to be a clown.  But if you are going to experience the thrill of the catch, you have to let go of the bar.

Marriage is a lot like the flying trapeze.  Couples can go for years with each person holding tight to their own bar.  Their marriage is OK but there’s no risk, no thrills, no real trust.  Marriage can sound like:

“OK, go ahead.  Let go.”

“ What?  I’m not letting go.  You let go.”

“ Why would I let go?  You don’t look like you’re ready to catch me.”

“  I’ll get ready to catch you as soon as you let go.”

“ You’re kidding, right?”

You can see the problem. Continue reading

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Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

Every couple facing cancer needs a love song.  Try this one.

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
(Yes He did)

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.



Now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

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God is BIGGER Than … New Years Resolutions

New Years resolutions are funny things. This year my resolutions are pretty common. They focus on eating less and exercising more. Other years my resolutions have been about staying in touch with friends and visiting family more often. Although, calling my mom and joining an exercise class are good plans for any year, maybe the plans I make are not necessarily the ones God has in store for me.
Look at Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. Imagine him making New Years resolutions the year before Jesus was born. There he was a typical small town Jewish carpenter engaged to be married with great plans for his life. Maybe Joseph’s New Years Resolutions looked like this:

Joseph’s New Years Resolutions

  1. Set aside some money for the future.
  2. Begin new addition to the house to expand carpentry business and to make room for Mary.
  3. Volunteer for more leadership roles at the synagogue.

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Cancer and the Holidays: a KFUO Interview with Andy Bates and Karen Tripp

Karen Tripp, LMFT, founder Cancer Companions, shares about how we can offer support through the holidays to those experiencing cancer, and what to do and not to do to care for those loved ones. Listen below to Karen’s interview with Andy Bates on KFUO’s Faith and Family – Please note, there is a 30 second commercial at the beginning – please be patient.


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A Prayer-Cancer, Food and the Holidays

To hear prayer click below:

Heavenly Father,

You know how much food is part of the holidays and how much I love food.  But this year, cancer has robbed me of this joy.


There are times…

I can’t eat food.

I can’t prepare food.

I can’t smell food.

I can’t even think of food.

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