So what exactly is cancer? I now found myself desperate to know more. I started to consume every book I could find on the subject. I borrowed books from the Cancer Association articles, from Beulah, and from the local library. Rob and I searched through the local bookshops including our only Christian bookstore.
“This is so frustrating,” I grumbled. “Most of these books don't refer to the spiritual side at all. Those that do almost always lean towards a belief system I can’t accept.”
I sensed there was more to this disease than the physical. Surely there were things I could do on an emotional level which would not offend my Christian faith. Almost all the books I read encouraged practices which I knew to be wrong: allowing outside forces to take over my mind and body; making my mind a blank; going into a trance. Yet I felt certain I should be able to involve my mind in the healing process.
We continued to hunt for Christian books, especially real-life stories. I soon learned the importance of checking the back page before bringing the book home! If the last page contained an obituary I put the book right back on the shelf. I needed to be positive. I needed to read about people who had survived.
So few books met my requirements. I resolved that when I was well again, I would write the book that I needed at that time. In the meantime I had to find ways of using my mind and emotions. How? I put it to one side temporarily, and returned to my research.
Dr. Meiring had already taught me that cancer was caused by the reproduction of deformed cells. I liked to think of them as weak and confused. This was the opposite to the usual picture of cancer as the 'Almighty Destroyer'! But what had caused these cells to become deformed in the first place? Why had I developed cancer?
I learned that Breast Cancer is one of the few cancers which frequently occurs in families. I was the first one in my family
—and I prayed that I would be the last. I learned that my siblings were therefore at high risk. I only have one brother and no sisters, so I thought that wasn't an issue.
Wrong. I discovered that what is generally thought of as a women’s problem is actually on the increase in men. An American survey states that for every 100 women who is diagnosed with breast cancer, one man is found to have the disease.
I read of a man in America who tried to enter a promotional race for survivors of breast cancer, but he was turned away as it was only for women. He contested this, but I can’t remember if he won his case. I hope he did.
At least I didn’t have to fight for the right to have the disease! My offspring all have to be diligent in checking their breasts regularly, my sons, my daughter, and my grandchildren as they grow up.
* Some names have been changed to protect identity.