3 Things to Remember When You're Diagnosed

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cancer diagnosed

I didn’t flinch when the the doctor told me it was cancer, . 

Maybe it was denial. Maybe it was the anesthesia drugs still coursing through my veins, fogging my brain.

Or perhaps the Lord’s peace descended just when I needed it. Regardless, when the doctor explained how the tumor they’d found was either cancer or lymphoma, I hardly reacted.

I didn’t break down. Not then.

Cancer Stinks

Your tears may have flowed immediately, the what-ifs of your midnight worry sessions suddenly morphing into reality. Or maybe you slowly folded into yourself like a deflating bouncy castle.

Perhaps you gasped, your hand racing to stifle the eruption of a primeval wail, before gathering yourself to pepper your doctor with a million questions. Or maybe your diagnosis was so unexpected you simply sat, dazed and stunned in shocked silence.

However you reacted—and please know there’s no right or wrong way—the truth is, cancer stinks.

My diagnosis came a mere six weeks after I lost my sister to cancer—and just six years after I lost my mom. I felt like it was my turn. So I understand.

As I fought through chemo, radiation, surgery, more chemo, and enough scans and blood work to keep a fully staffed lab in overtime, I needed to hear a few key things every day, sometimes every minute. Now I say them to you.

So here are 3 things to remember as you battle on.


3 Things To Remember When You’ve Been Diagnosed


1. God is good and he likes you.



Firstly, though it might seem obvious: God is good and he likes you.

He’s 100 percent for you 100 percent of the time.

When cancer rips our world apart, it’s easy to think he’s mad or punishing us, but that simply isn’t true. If we fully understood the enormity of his love, it would blow our minds.

So remember, no matter what cancer throws at you, you are loved—passionately and unconditionally.


2. He hasn’t left you.


Second, God hasn’t left you.

He isn’t off helping someone more “deserving,” like the missionary couple you support in Thailand, or Janice at church who leads Bible studies and didn’t sleep around in college.


Regardless of whether you can see him, feel him, or hear him, God is with you and isn’t going anywhere.

Saint Augustine’s testimony is true for you too: “God is nearer to me than I am to myself.”


3. There’s no such thing as a bad prayer


Lastly, please don’t get in a tizzy about the hows, whens, wheres and whats of prayer. It’s a myth that “proper” prayers are eloquent, bursting with scriptural references, and uttered in profound faith.

Yes, those prayers are great, but don’t let your fear of not praying perfectly, having no idea what to say, or your need to simply scream and question God, kill your relationship with God.



He’s always listening and loves it when we come to him, however imperfectly, so the only wasted or “wrong” prayer is the one we don’t pray.

Whether it’s you or someone you love that’s been diagnosed, let’s pray as Pete Grieg encourages; by keeping it simple, keeping it real, and keeping it going.

Chemo-brain is real 

So if you’re struggling to remember what day of the week it is or what you had for dinner last night, take a moment to write these three things down.



Post them on the fridge, pop them in your bible, or ask someone close to you to remind you of them when you next have a low moment. Then repeat them on the daily.

God is nice and he loves me.

He’s not angry and hasn’t left me.

There’s no such thing as a bad prayer,  so I’ll keep it simple, keep it real, and keep it going.

A gift for you.

If you're going through cancer I have a gift for you. Two actually.

Firstly, I wrote you a book of devotions; One Minute Prayers for Women with Cancer,  to encourage and inspire you, help you connect with God in your fears and doubts, and to help you pray when you have no words.

One Minute Prayers for Women with Cancer is exactly what it says it is.

A book of short devotions and prayers; the friend who's been there who wants to sit with you over tea and pray alongside you and remind you these three things are true.

The second gift is that right now, when you order One Minute Prayers for Women with Cancer you'll get one of the prayers delivered straight to your inbox for the next month.

Each one with a beautifully designed printable version with space to make the prayer your own.

Unfortunately this bonus gift won't be available for long, so you might want to grab your copy (or 5 to give to friends) now.

Do you know someone who's been diagnosed?

Why not buy them them One Minute Prayers for Women with Cancer as a gift? Then send them this link to get the prayers delivered to their inbox for some much needed love and encouragement.



A version of this post first appeared on the Harvest House website