We all have lots of ways to label ourselves that help to define who we are to others. Some of them tell about what we do: Christian, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, cousin, pianist, deacon’s wife, teacher. Others describe our characteristics: emotional, crazy, off-the-wall, energetic, opinionated, driven, optimistic, kind, helpful. Sometimes, other people put a label on us and it really STICKS. One of those labels for me is CANCER PATIENT.
You see, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in March of 2012. I was 28, had been married for almost 4 years, and had a 7 month old son. I had no family history of any type of cancer. We thought I was healthy…I ate whole foods, drank mainly water, exercised regularly, was a healthy weight for my height, etc. But, inside, it became obvious that I was far from healthy.
Fast forward to now, January 2017. I’m almost 5 years out from my diagnosis. WHEN (not if) I make it to March 2017 cancer-free, I will be CURED! But today, I went to see a new GI specialist. It was supposed to simply be an appointment to discuss my current medications and routines and to get her opinion on it. However, that’s not the way the appointment went. You see, when she saw the check mark next to the “personal history of cancer” box, she automatically labeled me. When I was talking with her, it became very evident to me that I will ALWAYS have the label of “Cancer Patient”. And let me put this plainly…THAT SUCKS!!
I left that appointment in tears. I cried to my husband about how unfair it was that I should have the label of “cured” but I don’t and feel like I won’t. I talked with my mom about how this label will never go away. I threw myself a pity party. Then, I realized that while doctors will ALWAYS label me as “Cancer Patient”, that’s not the label God sees. I’m so thankful that the only label HE sees is “SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!” I’m also thankful that He made me the exact way He wanted me, cancer patient and all. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
I know that I have physical health issues (and always will) due to my cancer, surgeries, and chemotherapy. I will never be “normal” nor will I ever be treated that way by the medical profession. And I suppose I will just have to learn to be ok with that and praise God for it!