But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I am writing today about something that has been on my heart.  As someone hearing those words "you have cancer", I now have a better understanding of what a cancer patient needs to hear and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

First of all, I don't look at myself as a "victim", so I don't like to be called that.  Call me a fighter, call me a warrior, call me a survivor.....but, please don't call me a victim. 

Cancer is a part of our lives today.....unfortunately, everyone has been touched by it.  I never felt I was immune from it...actually with the past scares I've had, I felt the opposite.  No one is immune from it!  I have run into people who have let me know they don't believe they'd ever get it for various reasons...they exercise and stay in good shape, eat right, don't have any family history....but they are only kidding themselves.  Plus, this gives me the message that I must have done something wrong to cause my own cancer.  Maybe I got it because I was overweight....because I didn't exercise enough....didn't eat right.....it's like putting blame on me for my own cancer.  This is one of those things NOT to say to a cancer patient....don't make them feel like they could have prevented their cancer and it's something they did or didn't do to bring it on.  ALL OF US, no matter what WE do can get cancer.  I pray they never do, but I've never understood the thinking of "it happens to other people, not me".  I've also never understood the "why me" question.  I was always a "why not me?" type of person.  Why not me?  Am I so special that it should always happen to someone else?  We are surrounded by cancer everywhere....every day....why would I think there was something so special about me that I would never get it?  You can do everything right....and still get it.  It's a disease that strikes indiscriminatingly.  I remember having a conversation with my sister Sheila when I was diagnosed....we talked about how we never drank, never smoked, didn't do drugs, lead a pretty calm life....and we still got cancer.  No one is immune!

I found this video some time back and was waiting for just the right time to share it with you.  I found it so interesting and touching. 

On August 15, 2011, we grabbed a camera and set it up at the heart of Indianapolis. We had one question, and we wanted fifty answers. One by one, people took a leap of faith and stepped in front of our camera - not knowing what we might ask.

Here's the result of what happens when you ask fifty strangers:
"If you could say one message to someone living with cancer, what would it be?"

When I was first diagnosed I could tell people were uncomfortable with me talking about it.  I wanted to talk about it but quicky realized they were not comfortable.  I was surprised and tried to figure out why...at first it hurt.  Then I realized that it scares people.  And they don't know what to say.  I guess I was probably like that before my own diagnosis. Eventually these same people came around and realized it wasn't an instant death sentence and were a great support to me.  I think people just fear that the word "cancer" is an immediate death sentence.  Yes, it can kill you....but many people also survive it.  I made up my mind from the get-go that I was going to fight it and not give into the "death sentence" mentality.  I, thankfully, had a good prognosis, but I would have felt the same way with a bad prognosis.  There is so much medical science can do today and I was ready to do whatever it took. Plus I have my faith in God, and figured either way....live or die...I couldn't lose!  Many people have told me I'm so strong...and I guess there's some truth in that...but, in reality, you have two choices....Be Strong or Give Up.  Not to fight would have been giving too much power to the disease.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a friend about her husband who is going through testing and waiting on the results of a biopsy of possible cancer.  At this point they don't have a confirmed diagnosis.  She was already going down what I call the "doom and gloom" road.  Even though she doesn't even know yet if her husband has cancer or what kind or stage or anything about it....she was already talking about the death rate or even if it's treated and goes into remission, it can come back.  Yes, this is true!  But, I'm a "take one day at a time" kinda gal.  Don't worry today about something that may never happen tomorrow!  Any cancer patient/survivor lives with the reality of the real possibiity of reoccurence in the future and the real possibility that it may eventually kill you.  But, you can't let that fear rob you of your quaity of life today!  I was able to talk honestly with this friend and told her not to go down the roads she was already going down in her mind....especially in front of him!  This has lead me to think about the things that a cancer patient wants to hear and what they don't want to hear.

A cancer patient wants to hear....
You can do this!
You are amazing!
You are such a fighter and so strong!
There are so many medical strides today!
More people are surviving cancer today!
I am here for you to support you!
God bless and prayers for you!
I'm so sorry you have cancer, but want to encourage you in any way!
You look beautiful bald!
You can pull off that hairdo!
You're looking good!
Oh, my aunt, brother, sister, mom or dad had cancer and are living a productive life today!
Never give up hope...there's always hope!
May I pray for/with you.

A cancer patient does not want to hear.....
The death rate of this cancer is.....
Even if it goes into remission, it can and probably will come back.
I worry so much about you.
I don't think I will ever get cancer because I take care of myself.
I'm so sorry you became a cancer victim.
Oh, you look really sick.
Oh, my aunt,brother, sister, dad, mom died of cancer.
Why does breast cancer get so much attention?
There will never be a cure because cancer brings too much money.

I know most people mean well.  I found myself surrounded by positive people who kept me "up" when I could have easily gone the other way.   They didn't treat me like I was dying.  They have meant the world to me (you know who you are!)  I always knew if I ever got cancer I didn't want the "doom and gloom" crowd around me....you know, the ones who talk among themselves about how sick you are and watch every little thing that happens as a bad sign.  Like, "she slept all day today".  Well, there are days like that, but it didn't mean I was dying!  Or, "she doesn't eat much".  Well, cancer and the treatments just kinda do that to your appetite....not to mention everything during chemo tastes like iron...but it didn't mean I was dying!  I hate it when people watch for things to worry about!  I have my doctors doing that for me!  I just wanted people to surround me with positive thoughts and love me...not decipher the "signs".  I have watched people with cancer "dying" a little every day.  I choose to "live" every day!  I've always said I'm alive until I take that last breathe....so don't have me dead before then!  I watched people in my father's home whispering about him in the other room, as he laid dying of cancer.  I told my daughters if I ever got cancer or any deadly disease...I did NOT want that scenario!  Let me live until I die!!!!  I just see too many people having someone dead before they are dead!  Yes, cancer is a bad diagnosis....one no one wants to hear!  But, don't give it the power to strip you from what life you have left!  Don't give it the power of being a "death sentence" from the moment you hear those words....not even for your loved one who is diagnosed.  Let them live until they die!  That's what I always wanted to say while my dad fought cancer.  He had too many well meaning people hovering over him telling him what to do and what not to do....I just wanted him to live his last months doing what he wanted to do!  If he wanted to be in the sun, so be it!  If he wanted to go for walks, so be it!  Don't hover over a cancer patient....let them live whatever life they have left!  Let them decide how they want to spend their days! 

I watched a dear friend of mine lose their daughter to cancer about 10 years ago....way too young (21)....and I admired them so much!  They were going through this at the same time my daddy was battling cancer.  They let her LIVE!!!  They didn't hover over her and try to protect her.  She continued to go to college and live the college life away from home.  She never gave up....they never gave up!  Yes, she died in the end.....but she lived a whole lot of life instead of just waiting to die!  I will forever be inspired by the strength and bravery of Laura Culp and her family.
Until next time.....live, live, live!!!!


  1. Cindy,
    Wonderful message and beautiful tribute to Laura! I am glad that I have been able to be on this journey with you. I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people!
    Love you, my friend


  2. Linda, I was so blessed by having you by my side since Day 1. God knew I would need you this year.....so glad you retired so you could be with me! Yes, we've sure met some incredible people this year, haven't we? Thank you dear friend! I believe God brought us together many, many years ago for a purpose...and He is fulfilling His purpose! Much love girl!

  3. Cindy,
    Thank you dear friend for honoring Laura today! She fought so hard and had such a positive attitude. I will forever be inspired by her as well. Please know I am so proud of your strength, attitude and encouragement to others as you fought this battle!
    Love you,

  4. Martha, you know how much you mean to me. I thank God for the special people He brought into my life. Laura was such an inspiration to many and I have thought of her and her strength many times while I've been on this journey. She was so young to go down this road, but so full of life and insight beyond her years. I know that she lives on today thru the inspiration she has given to others. I always loved her spirit to live, even when she was dying. She was very special. I was also inspired by you and Jeff and the way you let her live her last months the way she wanted to. That took a lot of love and courage on your part. Much love to you girlfriend and thank you for letting me honor Laura on my blog today.