From Cancer To Corona: What I’ve Learned…

Greetings From Self-Imposed Isolation

I have a low-grade fever, some congestion, and headache, but none of the other Covid-19 symptoms. I don’t want to expose any of my family to whatever I have, so I’m writing this from isolation. When my fever came, I was concerned that I might have Coronavirus. I’m thankful for the opportunity to apply a few things I learned from dealing with stage 4 cancer to the current Coronavirus mayhem.

Facts Without Fear

It’s challenging to face the scary facts without giving fear a prominent place in our lives. When I was going through chemo with compromised immunity, it was necessary to find that balance of being careful, but not filled with care. How do we acknowledge the dangerous facts without allowing anxiety to take root? When my blood counts were scraping the bottom of the barrel, I had to focus on what I could do instead of what I couldn’t. I took precautions, I wore the mask, limited exposure, got blood transfusions, rested. I built up my system by eating healthful food and trusted God to control what I couldn’t. We can’t be in denial that bad things can happen, they can. The Bible actually assures that they will in John 16:33. I wrote a post about that called “If God Is Good, Why Did I Get Cancer, Why Do Carbs Make Me Fat And Other Theological Questions” What do we do about something that we fear, something that could actually happen?


“33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

John 16:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Skeleton Shelves and Corona-mayhem

Photo by Chase Ryan

Finding a faith-reality balance can be challenging. I went to our local grocery store yesterday; it was so creepy. The long lines and the bare shelves felt like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. Seeing the skeleton shelves void of once-abundant necessities and resources can incite fear in anyone. It’s something that we in the West haven’t experienced. The empty shelves reminded me of images in grocery stores from communist Russia in the 1990s. It was unnerving, but I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like having to live like that. It made me thankful that we don’t. Something good can always come out of our trials. Gratefulness was the gift from this experience. We live in a bountiful country that reaches out to those in need. https://allthatsinteresting.com/fall-of-the-soviet-union#4

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not for I am with you.
Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Filling The Void Of The Formidable Foe

To me, statements like, “Just have faith” don’t cut it. I get annoyed with self-righteous platitudes that have no corresponding practicalities. God’s not like that. Throughout the scriptures, when God says not to fear, he accompanies it with tools to help us do just that. He either provides us with a way to posture ourselves, how to think, or assurances of His love. Fear is a formidable foe, but God has a way out for us. For instance, in Isaiah 41:10, God tells us not to fear; however, he tells us why, because he is with us. His word reminds us that if we make him our God that we don’t need to be dismayed. He adds that he will strengthen, help, and uphold us. Fear is our worst enemy. It exhausts, torments and discourages us but there is hope.

1 John 4:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Faith Isn’t A Lobotomy

Having faith isn’t like getting a lobotomy. God gave us a brain, and he expects us to use it. In Ephesians 5:15-20, the word circumspectly is not taking chances, “not as fools but as wise.” The rest of the scripture is significant. My personal translation: “Don’t take stupid chances when dealing with the deadly and dangerous” We aren’t doctors or scientists. They don’t even know all of the details on how Covid-19 spreads. Don’t you think it’s wise to take advice from the experts? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html


“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt March 4, 1933

Corona-stress and Scanxiety

President Roosevelt described it so well in the quote above. Fear is the “Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Doesn’t that statement represent our country right now? When a cancer patient is scheduled for a scan, we experience “scanxiety.” Thoughts can be, “What if the chemo isn’t working? What if it’s getting worse and not better? What if its spread? What about my kids, loved ones? What if there are no other options? What if I can’t work anymore?” Right now, the Corona-stress is at that in-between place. It could fizzle out to nothing, but it might not. We don’t know what the future holds, if a friend or family member may contract it, what will happen to our economy, our finances, our lives, and country. I’m reminded of a quote by Ralph Abernathy, “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.”

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your comforts delight me.”

Psalm 94:19

Three For Two

Psalm 23:4-6 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
Photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash

Here are three ways I dealt with Scanxiety that can crossover to Coronavirus.

  1. LIMITED EXPOSURE AND CALCULATED RISKS
  2. POWER UP
  3. MAKE IT REAL

Limited Exposure And Calculated Risks

  • LIMITED EXPOSURE AND CALCULATED RISKS
  • We need to calculate our risks, however, we don’t have all of the facts. You’d never bungee jump if you weren’t sure if the cord is shorter than your distance to the ground. If we don’t know all of the factors yet, we can’t be precise. Wisdom then dictates that we should err on the side of caution. Temporarily adjusting our lives won’t kill us; it might even be a much-needed break from the rat race. The challenge is not letting a spirit of fear take root when we are uprooting our routines.
    • SICKNESS
    • For compromised immunity during chemo, we limit our exposure. We stay at home if we can. We can do that here. Many stores have curbside pickup, Amazon, home grocery delivery, or shop online. Museums are doing online tours and churches are having services online. We’ve all heard to keep out of crowds, wash our hands, and don’t touch our faces.
    • FEAR
    • This is our biggest opponent. We absolutely have to limit our exposure to fear, just like it’s a disease. Watching corona-news all day waiting for a little tidbit of something new feeds our anxiety, it trains our souls to wait for the other shoe to drop. It needs to stop dominating our conversations. It’s good to talk, but we need to balance it. I stopped watching things that incited fear or sadness. I even stopped watching emergency shows. There’s enough of this in the world and in me. I don’t want to give it fuel.

Power Up

I must allow myself to acknowledge what’s scaring me and bring it to God. We don’t need to put on a brave face with God. We need to speak to ourselves to be calm, my power secret is reciting scriptures that bring me peace. Praying and spending time magnifying God lessens the fear. According to Proverbs 18:14, our spirits play a sustaining role in our sickness. We need to build them up so they can keep us strong.

SICKNESS
BUILD AND FILL
Let’s take vitamins and eat food that strengthens our bodies and immune system. Doing cleanses and cutting down on eating junk is helpful. If this virus doesn’t come near to us, we’ve lost nothing. I’m taking extra vitamins and eating raw garlic. I’m in isolation anyhow so why not eat garlic? I use essential oils and teas that support my body’s immune function. I used a little regime that helped my daughter Debby get well fast when she couldn’t take much sick time off as an actor, cutting her sick time in half, even with strep and flu.

FEAR
POWER UP WITH PRAYER
Get physical exercise and sunshine. Sunshine and nature are designed to calm us. Fear plays on the nerves, so getting rid of pent up physical energy helps us manage anxiety. I prayed, found scriptures that applied, and I prayed those scriptures. I asked others to pray with those scriptures too. It’s called the power of agreement. We must pray for our country to be healed of division and protected from sickness. This is the perfect time for these prayers. It’s gotten too out of control.

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[b] help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah “

Psalm 46:1-3

Make It Real


“Make your faith larger than your fears and your dreams bigger than your doubts.”

― Robin Sharma
  • PREPPING WITHOUT WORRY

It’s a tricky balance, to be wise, prepared, vigilant while not giving in to anxiety. To do this, we need to make sure that our actions aren’t fueled by the Spirit of fear. With this outbreak, we are going to be at home more so we need to buy more. However, we should ask why we’re throwing five years of paper goods into the cart. What’s behind that? Make sure we are not giving in to the “Spirit of fear” I’ve been guilty. Scripture says that doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but power, love, and a sound mind. The power of thoughts and words deal soundly with fear and sickness. 

POWER THOUGHTS

Just because fear is taking center stage in the world around us doesn’t mean it needs to be center stage in our lives. Allowing ourselves to laugh during this time is an act of faith. Finding ways to laugh was essential to my health and wellbeing during cancer. It strengthens my spirit, and it’s a weapon of joy. I watch comedy and happy things Dry Bar Comedy, Ellen, or looking up YouTube kitten, baby, and puppy videos. This is scriptural. Click Proverbs 17:22 and Philippians 4:8 for scripture references.

POWER WORDS

Speaking powerful words. We are created in the image of God, he created the universe with his word. The scripture reference is Genesis chapter one. Our words are powerful. I spoke positive confessions and scriptures throughout my stage 4 battle. Hundreds of studies and accounts on the effectiveness of positive confessions show the power of our speech. Add God’s words, the scriptures to our Godlike action of speaking to our fear, our sickness, our situation is the most powerful thing we can do. Psalm 118:17 was my favorite and easy go-to reference to remember.

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Psalm 118:17

In Conclusion

These are fearful times, but we can’t let fear control us. Fear is like a virus, and we need to treat it as such. We need to limit our exposure, strengthen ourselves, and continue to shape the reality apart from a spirit of fear. My cancer trials were awful, but God redeemed them and they have become a resource for times like these. I want to come out of this better than I was before. God is with us in our trials, he gives us supernatural peace to help us in our fearful times.

Let not your heart be troubled.

Sandy

6 thoughts on “From Cancer To Corona: What I’ve Learned…

  1. I absolutely love this! This is the point of view people need to hear regarding this subject and I’m in agreement the saying “Just have Faith” isn’t sufficient in cases like this. God gave us the “smarts” to have Faith while also taking precaution and following suggestions by those who know something about the subject.

    1. Thank you, Misty! I think sometimes people use the “Just have faith” so they don’t have to be involved in your problems or they have forgotten what it was like to suffer. I guess we are all subject to it.

  2. Praying you get better soon and that it’s just a 24 hour bug or something.

    I was also at HEB on Friday and was shocked when I walked in. I was only going to get a few things I needed but when I saw shelves being emptied and everyone all frantic I decided I better get more than what I went for. I timed the time I got in line to the time I got to the register and it took one hour and twenty minutes but I stuck it out cause I wasn’t sure what was really going on. You could say that fear did set in and the actions of everyone around was feeding that fear. The uncertainty also causes us to fear and panic. If they came out and said that Friday things would be back to normal then everybody wouldn’t be over stocking but because no one is sure when this will end the shelves will continue to be emptied. I just pray that those who really need certain things are able to get them. I over heard a man telling an HEB employee he was just trying to get a gallon of milk for his grandkids. It was sad cause you see others with gallons and gallons of milk for whatever reason but milk rots after a while no matter what. So why buy that much…
    Best wishes to you and the family during this time and I pray Deb is extra cautious during her travels.

    God Bless.

    1. Hey Tony, it’s crazy right now. The stores don’t limit the quantities that people can buy so that people who are in need have access. HEB has a special on curbside pickup now which is a better idea for people like my mom.

  3. So good Sandy! Thank you for writing these each week. They truly do give me a cup of courage to face each day knowing that God is in control.
    With my granddaughter battling Leukemia, my dad battling bladder cancer and the world battling Corona Virus, having these words to hold tight to make each day bearable!

    1. Wendy, thank you for letting me know! I am praying for little L she’s strong and praying for your daddy. It’s such a helpless feeling when people we love struggle with sickness and battle in the valley of the shadow of death. They are blessed to have you in their corner.

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