THIS COMMON STATEMENT CAN MAKE CANCER PATIENTS CRINGE
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
Learn what the statement is and the reason why
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I, as a cancer patient, heard this all statement all the time; yet each time I did I cringed a little on the inside. I knew it was said without any intention of harm, I knew it was to try to uplift and comfort me. Yet, something didn't sit right each time.
So what was that statement?
"You are so strong"
I didn't realize it at the time, but the reason I felt uncomfortable was because I felt anything but strong. The truth was that I felt the exact opposite of strong - I felt weak. The cancer diagnosis had served as a harsh reminder (or eye opener) that I, in fact, was not in control. And that lack of control made me feel as though I was completely and utterly powerless.
To me, strength implied self effort; sound decisions; powerful actions.
And unfortunately after the diagnosis, I wasn't consciously making the decision to move forward full speed ahead with strength oozing out of my pores like a superhero. Honestly, some days were so overwhelming I would have gladly pushed the exit button if I could have. No one's cancer journey is easy, no matter the type or stage of cancer. And mine was no exception. I was 24 when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer...and it was stage IV already. Trust me, I was a prime example of anything but "strong". I sat in denial too long, avoided the feelings, pushed people away, and did quite a things that I am now looking back at and wondering "WHAT was I thinking?!" I was a mess. Granted, I didn't show side to people. Yet on the inside (and behind closed doors) I was a disaster (You can read about my whirlwind of a cancer story here).
I've since discovered that I wasn't alone (even though I felt quite alone at the time) in feeling inadequate to face the battle I was fighting. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that just about every cancer diagnosis brings with it a train wreck of emotions, such as; doubt, fear, and insecurity.
A lot of cancer patients feel tired, weak, and sometimes: hopeless. There are so many swirling emotions, negative thoughts, and constant fears pounding on them from all sides that they feel as though they are about to crumble under the pressure any given second.
They often have no idea how to handle the whirlwind that's going on around them, therefore they feel powerless. And trust me, powerlessness feels the exact opposite of strength. The act of trying to just "take one day at a time" becomes this monogamous movement where they simply trudge onward because they have to.
Not because they choose to.
So, you see? What they are feeling and experiencing is all very far from what they would define as “strength.” It actually feels quite contrary.
But, just between you and I...
The situation is completely out of their control, yes. And they are unable to do anything about it besides take it one day at a time, yes. And yes, that doesn't feel like it's quite enough action on their part in their battle against something trying to steal their life.
Truth be told, it is.
That's all they can do, that's all there is to do.
Even though they don't feel worthy of being called "strong" at the moment, a few years after treatment has finished, they might come to find that they are in fact stronger than they thought.
Strength is not the avoidance of the fall itself, but the willingness to get back up and try again.
And for me, the driving force to keep getting back up comes from someone stronger than I ever could be: Jesus. Through Christ, I am strong. Through Christ I am able. Through Christ I am moving onward. He is the one who carries me when I'm too weak and the one who picks me back up when I crumble to the floor. There is nothing too hard or too big for Him to conquer. And because of His unchanging love for me I now have that same power living on the inside of me (Romans 8:11).
So you see, years after the cancer battle has ended, I have finally discovered that my weakness serves as an opportunity for God's strength to shine through.
P.S. You can get more Jesus inspiration here on my platform Hope After Cancer.
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