Cancer, Questions, and Life Clarity

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It’s been a week! The week I found out the carcinoid tumor I had removed has metastasized to my liver. The week I unintentionally offended two close family members. The week I updated another close family member on my diagnosis and never heard a word back. The week where I remembered the third anniversary of burying my daddy.

It was a week with the stress of a PET scan and our water heater dying. A week of feeling like I can’t talk about Covid or vaccines with people, because the feelings are too strong and diverse. It’s been a week of often feeling alone, even when I’ not.

I’m not sure who I should or shouldn’t to talk to about my cancer, or how much to say. Carcinoid is slow growing and there is a decent chance I could still live a long time, maybe, which I’m grateful for. But it’s still an unknown, new, scary thing for me. Still many other people have much worse problems, so I shouldn’t be upset and self-focused, right?

I want to be strong for my family. I want to honor God with my faith. And I’ve mostly felt His grace surrounding me and I’ve mostly rested in His peace, and I’m grateful. But this has been a week.

Cancer makes you face your mortality. And you start asking yourself big questions like… What have I done with my life? What am I doing now with my life? How much does my life matter?

It makes you look at your family through misty eyes of hope. Will I live to see our grandchildren grow up? If I don’t will they remember me? What will be their memories? Will they remember the cuddles and the cookies we baked together and the stories we read? Or will they just remember that time I scolded them and they cried?

And what about my dear, faithful husband? Will I end up being a burden to him? Or will I grow old with him? (Technically we already are old, but, you know, really old.) Will I live long enough to finally see him have as much gray hair as I’ve been coloring myself for years?

Will we attend our grandchildren’s graduations and weddings together someday, or will I be gone? And If I’m gone will he be sitting alone or will a new wife/grandma be next to him?

These aren’t the questions I bring up with my family. They are the ones that rattle around in my soul and poke me sometimes, and other times quietly mind their own business and leave me alone.

But you don’t have to have cancer to ask those questions. Not one of us knows the future. Cancer just brings up the questions with more sharpness. More clarity. More often.

Cancer makes relationships feel more precious. And makes offenses and separations feel harsher. More intense. More hurtful.

It makes me want to gather all my loved ones close, in this time of social distancing. I want to huddle up and squeeze in all the love and joy I can. I want them to know how loved and valued they are to me.

But I fail. And I make too many cloudy memories, instead of bright ones. And my heart hurts.

So, I’ll keep praying for God’s grace and peace. I’ll pray that He will guard my words and relationships. I’ll pray that he will give me eyes to see the blessings each day.

I’ll remember the beautiful flowers my daughter sent me the other week. I’ll remember the phone call my busy son made just to talk with me and hear how I’m processing all this. I’ll remember the other son who came by on a busy Saturday to pick up something and took the time to find me and sit by me and ask, “How are you doing, Mom?” And he looked concerned and listened.

I’ll thank God for my sweet husband who continually shows me his love and who I know cares profoundly and always.

I will keep seeking God and trust that He will guide me through all of this and work all things out for good. And I will pray to have a grateful heart. Even in the hard days and weeks.

It’s been a week of hard stuff. But there have been blessings too. That’s the way life is.

Tomorrow we get our new water heater! After a week of washing in cold water, or stopping to boil water, what a joy hot water will be! Yay!

And it reminds me how easy it is to take things for granted until I don’t have them. And to thank God when I do.


  1. I am so sorry to hear of this more recent diagnosis and appreciate your beautiful transparent heart as you share your incredibly difficult week and share the hard questions! You asked what you have done with your life and what are you currently doing. You have blessed so many with your posts as you cared for your parents and in doing so, brought comfort and a new perspective for so many of us going through that process with aging parents. You made us feel that we weren’t alone in the struggle! You blessed me in so many ways as I laughed, cried and saw a more positive way to handle things through the hard stuff. You have been such an incredible blessing to me and to so many!

    Please know that I’m lifting you in my prayers for healing and for that peace that passes all understanding. Praying that God will fill your heart even with joy as you see Him provide what you need and desire. I know you are clinging to Jesus and that is the best hang out — in the shadow of His wings!

    Blessings to you, Cheryl, my unknown but known friend!

    1. Wow, Lynette! You make me cry! God must have sent you and your perfect words to me today. Thank you so much. You have blessed my heart!

  2. Lynette,
    I ‘stumbled’ onto your blog a year ago and I just want to let you know what a blessing you are to me,
    Your ability to articulate all that you feel and think confirms to me that I am not alone in my own inner daily issues and that God sees each one. Your faithfulness in writing touches my heart and leaves me in tears more times than I can count.
    I thank God for you and I pray for you.

  3. Your messages always bring joy and tears to me. We (your readers) are so blessed and look forward to your words. Both in good times and “frustrating” weeks. It makes our tough weeks easier knowing that others have them as well. A classmate of mine had ovarian cancer and passed away two years ago. Her husband had died years earlier from complications from Type 1 diabetes. They had three beautiful children. She did re-Marry. I encouraged her to write letters to the grandkids that she would not have the privilege to meet. Also to write letters to her children. Something that they could remember her by and cherish forever. She did get to see one of her kids get married and the other two graduate from college and find wonderful jobs. I do not know if she actually wrote letters or not. What a wonderful way to share with your kids and grandkids. Something that you will be able to give to them and share in person in the years to come. I’m even thinking of starting a journal of some type for each of my two grandkids. Or, a “memory” book. There are many journaling Bibles that can be purchased and written in as well. My prayers for your as you go through treatments.

  4. I’m such a fan of your blog. We share much. I’m sorry for your cancer. I’ll be praying for you. Lynda

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Thank you, Lynda. I appreciate your comment and your prayers. May God bless you and give you grace for whatever you’re dealing with. ~Cheryl

  5. Oh Cheryl, What a week you’ve had. Praying for strength during this time for you as you process everything and for your family as they all process too. Praying that you would feel the arms of Jesus surrounding you, comforting your heart and hearing your questions. Thank you for sharing where you are at, that we as a body can be lifting you up. May there be blessings & Joy on your day today.

  6. Wow, Cheryl, I am SO sad to hear of your cancer diagnosis! I feel like I know you personally, although I’ve never met you face to face. I have followed your blog for a few years now. I discovered you after my caregiving days for my parents were over (my Mom had Alzheimer’s, and my Dad had COPD). I could always relate to your experiences with your folks, and also to the soft sentiments and love you expressed for them. Plus, I’m a fellow Minnesota native, although I’ve lived in Colorado for many years.

    My point in saying all this is that your life matters to so many people—not just to your family, friends, and loved ones, but to those of us who you’ve touched through your blog. You have an amazing gift for expressing yourself, and your love and faith in our Lord is so inspirational.

    I’m just so sorry you are facing these many challenges, and I will keep you in my daily prayers.

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Oops, I sent my prior email when I only meant to save it as a draft, but to finish it out, I will be keeping you in my prayers.

    Cheryl, I’m praying for your healing, and for God’s grace and peace in your fight against cancer. 🙏🏻💕🌸

    God bless, Vickie Drechsler

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Vickie, your message and your prayers mean so much to me! Thank you for the encouragement and especially for your prayers! I’m so touched and grateful! God bless you~ Cheryl

  8. You have blessed my life through your words and encouraged me to keep seeking and trusting God in the dark moments. Thank you, Cheryl, for continuing to share your heart with us. I am so sorry about the diagnosis you received recently. I pray foe the peace that surpasses understanding to fill your heart and mind as you deal with the cancer. I pray for wisdom and direction for your physicians as you make decisions about next steps in treatment. I trust that God is hiding you under His wings. I will keep you in my prayers dear friend.
    Your reader friend from Toronto.

  9. Cheryl, my heart is saddened to hear of your cancer diagnosis. And, to hear that word spoken the midst of other trials of life, well that just hurts even more, I’m sure. Your faith and trust in the One who provides grace sufficient for the trial is an inspiration to me. Please know how very much your writing has inspired, challenged, and encouraged me. I will pray with you that you and your husband will be able to see God’s blessings each day as you face this together.
    God bless and keep you! ~ Cindie

    1. Thank you so much, Cindie! I’ve appreciated your comments and encouragement over the years, too! God bless and keep you, too! ~Cheryl

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