Saturday, June 22 2024 - 12:53 AM
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“Cancer” on My Resume

In April when I was diagnosed with a very aggressive, stage 4, non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer called mantle cell, I said, “I never wanted to have ‘cancer survivor’ on my résumé but now I desperately do.” On Monday, November 20, 2006, when Sue and I heard the words from Dr. Nichols that my CT scan and bone marrow biopsy both confirmed I am cancer-free, the statement “cancer survivor” became a wonderful reality.

Thinking Back

I think back to the long 76 days in the hospital, the radical treatments so brutal that I actually passed out at one point, and the faith-building times of uncertainty. I am reminded of the incredible support of family, friends, and even people from around the world that we won’t know until eternity. Our hearts overflow with gratitude. God answered our combined prayers. He used the best of modern medicine to work a miracle in giving us my life back. And to Him and to all of you, Sue and I will be forever grateful. Thank you for your love and your support. We love you for it.

Some months ago Sue asked me what I had learned from this journey. There are many lessons I’ve learned as a cancer survivor, and others I am sure I have still to learn. But let me share some of them, for what they are worth to those of you who are going through a similar situation now or will in the future.

Lessons I’ve Learned

• Life beyond this moment is not guaranteed.

• Live one day at a time rather than five years in advance.

• God didn’t keep the three worthies from the fire—He kept them while they were in the fire.

• Suffering is no respecter of persons.

• He is the Potter; I am the clay.

• He is my Pilot; I am the passenger.

• The devil is an equal-opportunity destroyer.

• Don’t waste the suffering.

• A merry heart doeth good like a…chemo.

• His grace is indeed sufficient for me.

• I no longer fear the future, including the Time of Trouble.

• A seemingly insignificant (to the sender) call, card, or e-mail is heaven’s medicine to the receiver.

• God is more concerned about my character than about my comfort.

• I will never again glibly pray, “Thank you for life, health and strength.” I lost two, almost the third.

• We have a very loving and supportive church family around the world.

• To walk by faith, not by sight.

• I am His child; I am not His consultant.

• He gives His peace during the storm, not before it.

• Suffering takes our prayer life to another level.

• He keeps the storm out of the boat, not the boat out of the storm.

 To the Christian this is as bad as it gets; to the non-Christian, this is as good as it gets.

• Whatever the outcome, it gets better either way.

• The past is forgiven, the present is secure, the future is assured.


So while I have not yet been able to thank the Lord for the suffering that we have been through, I am able to thank Him sincerely for what I have learned through that suffering. And to all of you who have supported us during this difficult journey, we again say, “Thank you, and we love you!”

If you liked this, you may also like Healing In Progress | How to Live In The Face of Fear: Lessons From a Cancer Survivor

Jere Patzer wrote from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Jere Patzer

Jere Patzer

This 2-part series was written when Patzer was President of the North Pacific Union

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