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A Story About Faith

As an oncology nurse, I've cared for hundreds of patients. Although they came from different backgrounds, some male, some female, some young, and some old, they shared a common diagnosis - cancer. For many, the diagnosis was terminal.

A young dark haired, bearded man with his head bowed, eyes closed, holding rosary beads.

Most were able to accept their fate after going through the process of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Well, you know the drill. After accepting their fate, palliative care and hospice were discussed and many patients and their families chose to go that route. But for others, giving up was not an option and they chose to continue to fight with whatever treatment was offered to them. Caring for these patients is so much more than starting a line and administering chemotherapy. Listening is a skill not taught in school but imperative when caring for these patients. There isn't much to say to offer comfort, no promises of a positive outcome, and certainly no guarantee of a brighter future. All we can do as a caregiver is listen.

There have been times when my heart was heavy because of all the sadness. I was beginning to worry that maybe I was on the brink of burnout and didn't believe any good could come from what I did anymore. Until the day when I met Diego, a twenty-eight-year-old with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer. Although colorectal cancer is not common in younger individuals, it happened to Diego and the prognosis wasn't great. But what was great, was Diego's attitude. Despite his situation, his attitude was surprisingly upbeat!

He entered the clinic that day smiling and smelling of his best aftershave as if his first chemo treatment was a hot date. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. The patients at the clinic were usually quiet and somber, perhaps pleasantly cordial, but certainly never excited to be there! So, I had to ask Diego if his oncologist had explained his situation to him and how serious it was. Without hesitating, he said, "Oh yes! But I'm not worried because I know God has bigger plans and I trust it will all work out!"

With each visit to the clinic, he never succumbed to sadness. As Diego became weaker and weaker from the chemo, he remained confident that he was in God's very capable hands, and that he needn't worry. He said it was prayer that brought him assurance.

I've learned many things from the patients I've cared for, but Diego taught me to never give up. His faith in God was a remarkable thing to witness, because he truly believed that whatever the outcome, everything would be ok. Diego showed me that with enough faith, there is no need to worry, even when the outcome is unknown.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

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Published by Jennifer Tipton / This post may contain affiliate links.


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