Day 22: Welcome to the Club

As a child, we had many neighborhood clubs and they seemed to change as quickly as our interests. Some of the clubs were actual organizations – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or church clubs, but most were made up affiliations of a group of early elementary school imaginations.

I met a young cancer survivor a few years after my treatment and he handed me a card. On one side it said the word cancer and on the back it said, “Welcome to the Club”.  A cancer diagnosis stinks, to put it politely, but the fact that someone created a “cancer club” card was quite comical.

Being diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer at a young age gave me immediate access to clubs that I never wanted to join or even new existed. The infertility club was the most heart wrenching. I had plenty of friends that were already in that club, but I could never truly empathize until I lost my own fertility. Then there was the ostomy club. This one isn’t as bad for me, but in a few different support groups I have learned there truly are people out there who are basically disgusted that they have to live with an ostomy. This list of clubs could go on and on – the neuropathy club, the fatigue club, the chronic pain club, etc. While most of these are not real clubs, the affiliation is genuine.

The best groups that I have come to join or participate in are non-profit advocacy groups that work hard to raise awareness by publicly sharing stories of young adults diagnosed with colorectal cancers. They collaborate to increase awareness, funding, research and access to screenings.

Through all of these affiliations, I have realized that the phrase “everybody has something” is a very true statement. Not everyone has or had cancer and not everyone has life long side effect, but everyone has something.

I know people who have lost a spouse, a child or a parent. I know people living with debilitating diseases. I know people who have lost the ability to walk, talk, see and hear. I know people who struggle with anxiety and depression  I know people that are financially strapped and have children who are living with chronic illnesses. I know students who are struggling socially and academically. I know adult and child bullies and those they choose to target. I know people who have committed suicide and those they have left behind.

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My devotional this morning was less about colorectal cancer awareness and more about life’s challenges. It was a positive spin on the mountains many of us face each day.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:5, NIV

Another devotional ended with a well said prayer, “Heavenly Father, thank You for the hope I have knowing You take my messy life and make it beautiful. Give me the patience I need to wait on You and eyes to see the masterpiece taking shape.”

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