CSN Login
Members Online: 4

You are here

Having some spiritual issues

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I have a very strong faith in God. Nothing in my cancer battle has shaken that. That being said, I have some issues that bother me and I wonder what you guys think about this and how you handle it if you feel like I do. Sorry, this is a bit long.

First, I've been told so many times and have said to people that I was blessed because I seem to have beaten the colon cancer, so far at least, and because I lived through the pulmonary embolism that shold have killed me or at least left me mentally and physically disabled. But, I had some pretty nasty things that came along with the cancer battle including two abcesses at the resection site in my colon for which the treatment was pretty unpleasant and painful and then I had an infection in my incision which was bad enough to tunnel a large finger sized hole under the incision and required treatment that was also quite painful and put off my mop up chemo for over a month. Then the mop up chemo gave me blood clots which culminated in the pulmonary embolism which caused 5 cardiac arrests, a stroke, kidney failure, catastrophic brain bleed, brain swelling to the point they were considering opening my skull, a coma, and paralysis once I woke up from the coma from which I have mostly recovered but am still unable to or have a lot of difficulty doing certain things. All of this has caused financial issues with me being unable to work until last fall and now only working part time. And, it sounds minor but it makes me angry, because of the vein damage from chemo my legs retain water so they're swollen even though I have to wear compression stockings because of it. In the summer it's worse and is really miserable. I look like I have huge, fat legs because of it. Just another little treat from this crap.

So, one question is this. Am I blessed for having survived all of that or am I not blessed for having had to go though it to start with? My life is pretty darn good considering and I'm alive and I am so grateful for that. I have people who love me and have been hugely supportive. But they were there to start with, before all of this crap. And while I'm so grateful for being alive and thank the Lord every night in my prayers I also have bad days- like today- where I feel resentful that I'm grateful for the very basic thing everyone has, just being alive. Other people haven't gone through this crap but aren't thanking God every night for being alive. And theyre physically better off than I am. And they haven't given up their hopes and dreams. I lost my business because of this, I feel like I have nothing to look forward to in the future because I can't plan for anything beyond the next few years. I'd like to take a few courses but then I think why spend money on someone who may not be around long enough to make it beneficial. On the other hand I look at people who are fleeing their countries or being tortured or killed by ISIS or who live with afflictions for which there is no hope at all and I think I don't have a right to feel like I do.

The other thing that I'm having issues with is survivor's guilt. When I read about children dying of cancer or anyone for that matter I hesitate to call my survival a blessing. Because that means that I was blessed despite all my shortcomings and an innocent child or someone more deserving didn't get blessed? How can I feel blessed when that's the case? There's a meme on Facebook that shows Jesus sitting in front of a computer that says something like "Jesus deciding if there are enough 'likes' to save the child". Obviously this isn't the case but why are some people supposedly blessed while others are not? It dosn't make me feel good to know that I'm still here while a little boy in our town lost his cancer fight last week. It seems self indulgent to say that I was blessed.  

I'm having a bad day while usually I'm quite upbeat about this whole thing and will even crack jokes about my cancer or death. I don't dwell on it or act like a victim but at the back of my mind this dark stuff is there. The guilt, the resentment, the wanting something more than just basic survival. The dehumanization of people in the latter stages of cancer. I've seen my aunts, my mom, and my brother die of it. I often write out my thoughts to help me get past this but today I'm just wondering if anyone can relate and what you do about it, if so. I'm tired of feeling unworthy and guilty every time I hear about someone else losing their battle with this. And not having dreams and hopes for the future other than just beng alive is hurting my soul.

Jan  

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1078
Joined: Aug 2013

I've pondered lots of this stuff for a long time now, and without having to address questions on faith and purpose, I'm certain that the difference between a happy, satisfying life and an unhappy one, has to come down to perspective, the one thing you can control to a real degree. How you view your future, even if it's looking at the short-term, is critical to how you feel. Blessed or not blessed, to me are just points of view. Would I rather feel blessed/ lucky because so many, children, those in true poverty, the chronically/terminally ill, suffer or die every day, all the time. Or am I not blessed/unlucky because most folks I know, and in general, aren't going through this crap. The truth is most people will go through a lot of pain and loss, just living an average life. Loved one's suffer and/or die, 1 of 2 men, 1 of 3 women will get cancer, yet heart disease is the number 1 killer of adults past a certain age. Below that age younger folks number 1 killer is accidents and violence. Not many escape some trial in their lives, so how you process it, how you decide to look at what's happened to you is everything. To make that work, I think humans need to have a meaning in the lives, a purpose or reason that carries them through the rough stuff. Right now, I don't have a long view about meaning, but after all my battles to survive my cancer, fighting and losing my wife to hers, and spending all we had in those fights, I'm content to find my purpose in helping my kids,raising my granddaughter, and getting my 20yo to the point of running a viable, successful contracting business. Working towards these things are enough for me, for now. I read all the Facebook stuff where friends and family are getting new this and travelling to there, and here I am, just trying to fix stuff at home and stay even with all the repairs I neglected these last few, very hard years. If I let myself, I could be consumed with jealousy everywhere I look, but I'm not going there. I'm staying grateful for and working with what I have, because I know what the other view looks and feels like. I read the paper and the internet, every day reminding myself that it could be worse, much worse. This gives me the perspective and sense of meaning I need to get through the day, week, and month. The years will have to take care of themselves, cause I'm not looking that far. I have bad days too, but for the most part, I'm at peace with my life. My answer to you is find a meaning and purpose that work for you and stay blessed, because feeling the other way sucks..........................................Dave

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Guilt and victimization....

Those two words are better with an MP3 of "Feelings" playing in the background.

I'm not too sure how anyone can suffer from "survivor's guilt" once diagnosed with cancer. My dear mother died almost 17 years beyond her prognosis of lung cancer from....uhhh.... lung cancer. I have met and known more individuals that have died long after their initial diagnosis and assumed "cured" status.

Some of us live longer than another, some of us die sooner, and age doesn't matter any more than the type or stage of cancer. I had two friends, one stage one and the other stage two - both died within a year after diagnosis... and a neighbor/pal that died within a year of stage one melanoma in spite of a hefty reassurance from his physicians that it was 98% curable. So much for that.

I was almost at the ten year mark, and bingo, I win the cancer lottery. Less than one lousy foot of colon left in me, and it has to have a cancer tumor.. go figger... Probably cost me my life this time....I wonder if I should have felt guilty for the past nine years?

As far as victimization.... that's a word that's held to scorn around here from time to time. If they didn't call this the "cancer SURVIVOR'S network", perhaps there wouldn't be so many feathers ruffled. Ahhh, but then "cancer victim's network" has kind of a lousy cloud hanging over it....

If I was held up at gunpoint and robbed; beat up by thugs because of the way I look, or for my religious beliefs, or my political leanings, you can say that I was a victim. When anything is taken from you against your will, you have been victimized.

I have lost an awful lot from cancer. We all, each and every one of us here have lost a chunk of our lives; a major chunk of our happiness, and jobs, friends, homes and marriages have been lost after diagnosis of cancer.

I would call that victimization. Oh sure, we "survive", just like an individual can "survive" after being raped, but the loss remains; you don't get that back.

Thugs can beat you without mercy, your body can survive and the wounds healed, but you don't get back the time, and you'll always have the memories and nightmares of the pain and anguish....

Cancer does all that, and more. It's the gift that keeps on giving, or taking.....

And it doesn't have to be the cancer that kills us, we can indeed die of something totally unrelated! But it's all the time we spend waiting for that other proverbial "shoe" to drop; the fear and the worry and the concern. How do any of us plan things for the "future" when we have absolutely no clue regarding our future? Get a pet, or have a child? Start a new relationship? I don't even begin reading a  novel anymore.

My beloved African Grey Parrot that we've had for over 25 years died last Friday at 3am in my arms after a long illness. She was my pal, my closest friend and as much of me as my arms and legs. I worried about dying and how she would take my absence. Each time I came home from a month's stay at the hospital, she would bite me... a "scolding" for disappearing without notice. How would my death affect her?

She's gone now. I am devastated.

Even if I did not have this tumor and facing a very major operation, I would not consider another pet. I have a death sentence; an expiration date, however blurred, emblazoned upon my forehead. I would never desire to hurt another being by promising love forever when "forever" could be at 3am tomorrow morning.

Cancer victimizes us. It takes away. It gives nothing in return.

There. My opinion. I'm in a downward slope, like you go into Jan...

You're not alone. We all go there.

Stay well, my best wishes are with you!

John

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5226
Joined: Jan 2013

"cancer SURVIVOR'S network", perhaps there wouldn't be so many feathers ruffled. Ahhh, but then "cancer victim's network" has kind of a lousy cloud hanging over it....

I never refer to myself as a survivour or victim, but a patient.  I am, and always will be a Cancer patient, no matter whether my Cancer is active or not. 

Trubrit

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1078
Joined: Aug 2013

Oh, the survivor guilt thing, your not living because others are dying, life isn't a zero-sum game. Other's suffering and yours are not connected, so there's no point in comparing the two. I had some for a time, that Cindy lost her fight, and why should I be here and happy, why me? The truth is, it's nonsensical thinking, one thing has nothing to do with another, and Jan, you and I, and all who come here are entitled to all the breaks we can get. That's a little nonsensical, but I'll take any good fortune, and feel just fine about it, if it's big enough, I'll share it and feel twice as good. People rescue animals, feed the poor, help the needy. If I need to feel better in the future, I might join one of those endeavours, something good coming out of my need to feel good...............................Dave

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

There are too many questions concerning this topic. If God, Jesus, Allah, whoever or whatever a person believes in... loves us then why do we suffer? Why do children suffer? It is because of the saying that "God only gives us what we can handle"? I guess it's all about what you choose to believe.

I've had bouts with survivor's guilt as well. It comes with the package. Some of us make it while others do not.
There is no rhyme or reason, it just is.

This disease is very tough to deal with much of the time. I think that the best one can do is to try to take care of themselves (however that may be) and to try to help others (again, however that may be).

I know I've always disagreed with John on this and most likely always will (unless he changes his stance ;-) ) but not once did I ever feel like I was a victim. I only have cancer... 

danker
Posts: 1256
Joined: Apr 2012

I too have Cancer!  Presently I am NED, but I realize that could change tommolrow. If we start out with the premis that "God's ways are not man's ways" we must just accept what happens.  Upon arriving at heaven, I am sure I will discover The justice and love that God delivered even though it didn't appear to us at the time. Only faith will get us through this.  Why was I given Cancer at age 77 only to be Ned as I am approaching my 84th birthday.   God loves us all, so just take it a day at a time and enjoy what life we have!!!!!

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5226
Joined: Jan 2013

You know, you are allowed to have a bad day, now and again. You are allowed to question your faith, the meaning of life, the whole nine yards. 

Sometimes the bad day can become a bad week, a bad month a bad life, and that is what you need to be aware of. Keep it in check. 

As for faith. I bleive their is a God, though I don't prefess to understand Him or why some suffer and others run wild and aren't touched. I would say I'm having a crisis of faith. Haven't stopped praying. Haven't stopped serving others. Haven't turned into myself, as that is dangerous. Just muddling my way though it, will probably come out the other side some day. 

Survivor's guilt. I don't understand what it really means. I don't ever think why me and not others. I do think, if others then it could be me. 

I am hugely gratefuil every day, every hour, almost every moment, for the life that I am enjoying. It is precious. 

You must have hopes and plans for the future. Take those classes. What will you lose if you were to pass away? You want to learn, then learn. Its not a waste. I remember, 18 years ago, my neice was killed in an accident. She had just got braces taken off her teeth, after several years. I remember thinking 'What a waste of money'. Really?!! Of course it wasn't a waste of money. She enjoyed her straight teeth for a whole week. It was not a waste. 

Dream and dream big. Plan and plan big. Your soul goes with you when you die, so feed it now that you are alive. 

Cyber hugs! 

Trubrit

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thank you to all of you for your support. I've typed up this kind of post several times now and then deleted them because I don't want to be taken the wrong way. I'm so grateful that you guys understand and I am grateful beyond words for you all taking the time to type up responses for me.

One of the things that I find bothersome is something my husband does. He's so supportive and has been so wonderful but when I get down he tells me I should be happy that I'm alive. He says that I almost died but I made it and I was paralyzed and look at me now, I've come so far. I feel like he's diminishing feelings that I have a right to have and he's helping to make me feel guilty wanting more than basic survival and existing. He'll use the example of our friend's son who has spina bifida and how he's worse off than me or another man we know with MS and how he's worse off. I tell him there will always be people worse off but does that make it so that I'm supposed to feel bad when I want more? When I want one single day of no pain? One day where I'm not fatigued? The opportunity to work full time instead of part time so money isn't such an issue? Not having to live with fear? One day where the memory of the things I've been through doesn't crop up by things that remind me?

Anyway, enough about my sadness. I'll get up tomorrow and feel better and push through it. Thank you so much for your thoughts and words, you are all wonderful and I'm so lucky to have found this site. Hugs to all of you!

Jan

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1078
Joined: Aug 2013

I wonder if you haven't touched on how different women and men are in dealing with their feelings. I think I'm like most guys, when I'm in a bad mood, I just want get out of it. Work out of it, exercise it away, drink it away, back in the day. Your hubby wants to get you out of it by comparison, which I've done as well and probably did to Cindy, more than once, by pointing out those worse off or how you could have been worse off. You want to be okay with your feelings, to not have to feel bad about desiring more or better, compounding the bad feelings. I get it, but I don't believe I've ever thought about it that way. Now I wish I'd learned this much earlier. Thanks for the education, and feel better Jan.......................................Dave

GSP2's picture
GSP2
Posts: 103
Joined: Feb 2015

Jan. You have a right to any feelings that are yours. It's like an opinion. You are entitled to yours.

Perhaps, I could be way off, this is his way of expressing the fear that he had of losing you, it sounds like,

several times over.

 

Steve.

DaveHereInFlorida
Posts: 48
Joined: Jun 2015

My take as a devoted Christ Follower is to try very very hard to leave it in his hands  ;   this means when competing thoughts, accusations, and  attacks to lower my self esteem come knocking.... I apply the Spiritual Armour of God found in Galatians chapter 6.  If we dont use this armour, then we will get wiped out with the emotional attacks visited on us by the enemy of God.   Remember, if you truly have Christ in your life, you have qll you need for any life battle. Its just a matter applying these christian  strategies and rules for engagement in an effective way.  Get the mini book called Using Spiritual Warefare by Dr. David Jerimiah ministry----its been a very rewarding education that i use all the time in my lifes adversities .  PM me if u want more info on a personal basis. Lastly,  notice creation/nature around you and take in all its beauty, design magnificance , and purpose.   Your Brother in Christ,  Dave

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

You are all so wonderful. Thank you SO much for your support and kind words and thoughts. Again, I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to give me a response. Thank you for reminding me that there are truly wonderful people in the world.

Jan

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Just venting today. Last night we got notice regarding a financial issue so that was really upsetting. Then I wake up this morning and my pouch is leaking. I've been getting only about 3 or 4 hours sleep the last few nights and really needed the sleep this morning. I don't work today so it would have been wonderful. But, nope, I had to get out of bed like a rocket to deal with the leaker. Having another crying day. :(

Jan

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1078
Joined: Aug 2013

Well I hope Saturday was/is better for you, I've been in a bit of a funk the last few days myself. Financial stuff, retaining a lawyer, slogging my way through the guardianship of my granddaughter, just feels like I'm treading water without going forward much. On the plus side, I've gotten alot done with the fruit trees and plants in the front yard, and most of the palm trees and plants in the back yard. I just need to fix the ladder and trim the tall queen palms, but I'm not feeling like being 20 feet off the ground today. I'll aim for tomorrow and cut myself some slack today. I know I've got ice cream stashed somewhere in the chest freezer......................................Dave

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Tahnks for thinking of me, Dave. Palm trees! Nice! We're in Alberta, Canada. It's been really nice for a couple of days and the snow is long gone. I did a bit of garden clean up yesterday and did a bunch of things today. Doing better emotionally, thanks. Had a letter served to us the other night regarding a financial issue so that was upsetting and something I didn't need but we'll slog through.

My aughter has been working on a project car and it's been fun helping her rebuild the engine. Tomorrow I'll go see my horse and that will really improve my mood. I'm so glad and lucky I had a daughter that's just like me. Cars, dogs and horses are our loves. My husband makes beautiful things out of wood and has three boys from his previous marriage and not one of them has the slightest interest in woodworking or anything else he's interested in.

Jan 

Subscribe to Comments for "Having some spiritual issues"