Many people find emotional support from their religious or spiritual beliefs and their faith community. Prayer and reflective meditation may bring you solace, perspective, and inspire hope. For some, their faith has always been a source of strength and comfort. Others find that their faith is renewed by the challenges they are facing.
Finding a Source of Support
Cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling overwhelmed with nowhere to turn. However, it can also give you opportunities to find those sources of emotional support and strength that you did not realize you had. Where can you find the strength you need to cope?
I was diagnosed with leukemia the summer of 2014. Being diagnosed with cancer made me realize how precious life is. Life is too short to worry about things you have no control over. I may have cancer, but it does not have me. My strength comes from the Lord.
My journey with cancer began on June 26, 2014, when I went to STATCARE for abdominal pain. My official diagnosis was chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The plan was to wait and watch, and as long as I was not having symptoms, I would not need treatment. However, by the end of October, I was experiencing pain again and had to begin six months of chemotherapy. I’ve been symptom free now for over a year! I’m still getting used to my “new norm.” It’s been a long road but I’ve made it this far. I’ve been through so much and at times had so many questions, seemingly without answers; yet no matter what I went through, I know I wasn’t alone. God was with me! ~ Margaret Smith, Mercy Medical Records employee since 2003 and cancer survivor
Strength from the Divine
Many people find emotional support from their religious or spiritual beliefs and their faith community. Prayer and reflective meditation may bring you solace, perspective, and inspire hope. For some, their faith has always been a source of strength and comfort. Others find that their faith is renewed by the challenges they are facing. If physically able to do so, attending religious services may provide both spiritual and social support, as you will be able to participate in worship and fellowship. If not physically able to attend, request a visit from those in your faith community. They may be able to share comforting thoughts or scriptures from a recent service, and pray with you.
Strength from Within
For those individuals who have always felt strong, being sick and not being able to take on the roles they normally do can feel like quite a blow. Finding strength from within oneself can be a journey of discovery. You may need to relinquish some roles that have always been a part of your identity, and find new ways to express your individuality. For example, if your role has been the financial provider for your family, and you can no longer work due to illness, you may find yourself adopting the role of provider of love, affection, or time in your household. You may find that your thoughts are focused more on having meaning and purpose in life rather than career success. You may be surprised at the level of resilience you have when coping with a health crisis. Challenges in life may give you a renewed appreciation of your own ability to weather the storm.
But no matter how self-reliant one is, there comes a time in life when we all need others. Serious illness is such a time. Support is out there, and many have come to view those sources of support as essential to their well being.
Strength from Others
Learning to rely on others may be a challenge, but it can bring rich rewards. Many find that simply having open communication with their inner circle of friends and family yields a great deal of strength. Being clear about what your needs are, emotional or otherwise, helps those who love you know how best to be supportive. If you have always been the source of strength in your inner circle, it may bring you even closer to those you care about when they have the opportunity to support you. At times, you may need support from those who have been where you are now, and this might mean finding a support group, such as Mercy’s Cancer Support Group or Mercy’s Breast Cancer Support Group. It may even be beneficial to see a counselor on a one-on-one basis.