Thank you so much for exploring the value of belief in a higher power and what it means to cancer patients in “Keeping the Faith.” Thankfully, today I am able to see my cancer journey as a gift, not a curse, and that would be a very difficult distinction to make had I not had faith.
It saddened me that Kathy LaTour’s article, “Keeping the Faith,” in the Spring issue seemed to focus more on a religious faith than a spiritual faith. I am a leukemia survivor and do not believe in a personal god or any organized religion. However, I felt a strong faith during my journey and had many magical moments of clarity and a feeling of grace in the ability to see and appreciate life, even as I faced the possibility that it was over for me. It was the experience of living fully, one day at a time, and connecting to every other living thing that brought grace and gratitude. I still have “faith” that the unfolding of the universe is just as it should be, without a capital letter God orchestrating things.
Thank you Kathy LaTour for your excellent piece, “Keeping the Faith.” Spirituality has always played an integral role in my life. I have discovered over the years that spirituality, as with life experience, is not static but rather an unfolding and dynamic process. As a cancer survivor, not only has spirituality afforded meaning to my cancer experience and survivorship, but conversely the cancer experience has provided a lens and framework in which to re-interpret spirituality and “walk in the world.” Spirituality has empowered me to live in the moment, appreciate the present, and engage in life in a deeper and more profound and meaningful way.
Glenn Meuche, MSW, LCSW
Senior Program Coordinator for Bereavement Services, CancerCare of New Jersey
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Kathy LaTour’s article was a great introduction to the concepts of faith, spirituality, religion, belief, and non-belief. As a "believer" in a higher power, namely God, I am interested in learning more about how "non-believers" cope, and what their views are. These may be people whose belief is not in a higher power, but in the power of leading a good life on this Earth.
I was diagnosed in April 2006. I was going into my last year of graduate school as a mental health counselor when my world caved in. What I learned most that year was the incredible strength of the human spirit. I can't say I’m glad I got cancer and that it made me a better person—I felt I was always a person who appreciated the very small things in life. But what it did do for me was renew my faith in the human spirit. I know my purpose here on earth is evolving and I have much yet to do. I made myself realize how precious life is, not to take anything for granted, and to stay positive and keep moving forward.
I read with interest the Spring issue and discovered that two of your articles are connected—“Friends in Need” and “Alongside My Wife.” You see, I also had triple-negative, metaplastic breast cancer, and information was hard to find seven years ago. Several ladies with metaplastic cancer connected through the Internet and later created a website, www.metaplasticbreastcancer.org, for ladies trying to find information about this rare cancer. We have met, talked, laughed, shared information, and prayed with many women across the country and overseas. Although we did not have the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Smider, we were able to talk with Dr. Vaughn Smider. Internet access has brought us hope and comfort when things didn’t look good for each of us on the MBC journey. Thank you for both articles.
I really enjoyed the essay “Taking a Radiation ‘Trip’ ” from the Spring issue. I underwent daily radiation treatment in January and February of this year. What an inspiring and funny story. What a wonderful and different way to deal with radiation therapy!
Oro Valley, Arizona
As a stage 4 lung cancer survivor for the past four years, “Lung Overdue” was very interesting to me. I've been on a clinical trial at Yale University for the past two years, and the ongoing research in lung cancer is exciting and promising.
I, too, have experienced lots of those long sleepless nights and hot flashes following my chemotherapy and surgery for a thymoma two years ago. After reading “Sleepless in Seattle, San Antonio & St.Louis,” I was shocked to learn that this could be the result of my treatment.