Dealing with Dread


Dread and fear are too familiar to cancer patients. It’s everpresent when we face upcoming scans, tests, and results appointments. It’s traumatic to wait and possibly find out that you gave everything you had and are at the end of your strength, and the treatment didn’t work. In the cancer community, we call it “Scanxiety”, and we deal with it throughout treatment and for the rest of our lives. Jesus experienced his own form of this dread as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He saw the upcoming betrayals, mock trials, hate, and the pain of the cross were too much to handle. Jesus was under such stress and pressure that he got a condition called hematidrosis, where blood poured from his sweat glands. That’s the most severe form of anxiety, so extreme that it’s rare. He knows what it feels like.

 And being in agony [deeply distressed and anguished; almost to the point of death], He prayed more intently; and His [a]sweat became like drops of blood, falling down on the ground.

Luke 22:44

Jesus Asked to be Spared

If you ask me, cancer can be the perfect form of torture. There’s unexplainable fear, anxiety, and dread, while your poisoned body tries to rally, and your loved ones helplessly watch. The Romans designed the cross as the perfect torture device to suspend a person in agony for days. Hands and feet were pierced in a way to avoid arteries to prolong death. They pierced the hands and feet through bundles of nerves, causing shooting pain through the arms, hands, feet, and legs. The only way to inhale while on the cross was to slide their raw whipped back up and down a splintered verticle post. When they became too weak to push themselves up to inhale, they’d suffocate. We can relate as we pray and ask God to be spared, for our family to be spared the pain.

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:39

So We Can Relate

Have you ever literally laid down your life for someone, only for them to choose someone terrible person instead of you? This is what happened with the crowd having a second chance to choose Jesus. However, they chose a known criminal, Barabbas, to be released over Jesus. The God of creation subjected himself to every kind of pain and disappointment that we would ever feel. There is nothing that we will experience with which he hasn’t been acquainted. He knows everything we feel dealing with this horrible disease, and he’s in it with us.

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.

Hebrews 4:15

After 7+ Years of N.E.D. & Annual Scans

Receiving the peace that “transcends all understanding” goes beyond a mental ascent; it only comes from Jesus. Knowing scripture is a big step. When Jesus is our savior, the scripture comes alive in us. It gives us power, and our spirits are tougher than the effects of sickness, pain, or stress. Although I’ve been considered N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) for the last seven + years, I still get annual scans. I’m not terrified anymore, but anyone will tell you that it trudges up old thoughts and feelings. Did you know that God can and will give you a scripture to help you face a situation? The one he gave me was Psalm 107:20. I personalized it to “He sent his word and healed my disease.”

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Psalm 107:20

How I Used Psalm 107:20

How did I use Psalm 107:20 to deal with stress or scanxiety? He sent his word and healed me in the past tense in my personal experience, but it can also be applied to the future tense. So if I’m struggling with the thoughts that cancer could return, I address that directly. If the Bible says he sent his word and healed my disease, he can do it again if, for some reason, it returns. I don’t know how people get through cancer without God and his word, but no one has to. Jesus endured it all so that God could walk with us through all of our valleys, even the valley of cancer.

Even though I walk through the [sunless] [a]valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me

Psalm 23:4
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