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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cancer brought her closer to God

By Rena M. Blank


What are your thoughts on faith? Share your ideas and stories with Advertiser readers as an Expressions of Faith guest columnist. For additional information, contact Maureen O'Connell at 535-2475 or moconnell@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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My faith journey with Jesus began in 1978, but the full reality of what it truly means to be a believer didn't hit home until breast cancer entered my life the first time, in January 2007; and the second, August 2009.

Cancer took both of my breasts and, according to my doctors, could very possibly take my life.

So, how do I live my life to the best of my ability with all this uncertainty?

It has only been possible because of my relationship with Father God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and the wonderful medical team that I have been so fortunate to have at The Queen's Medical Center, Queen's Cancer Center as well as two other doctors one at Straub and one at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children.

A cancer diagnosis, or any life-threatening illness, does not have to be a reason for giving up, for not trying to fulfill your hopes and dreams. Sometimes, looking death in the eye gives us the courage to be able to do these things, to accomplish our goals.

Now is the time to discover who we really are. To crawl into the dark night of our souls in search of ourselves to discover what meaning and purpose our lives have meant to us and others. What will be the legacy that each of us leaves?

Those of us who know in advance that our lives hang on a thread thinner than others have been given an opportunity because of the gift of time that God has granted us, unlike someone who dies suddenly.

We need to not squander this time. We need to use it wisely and to learn from it regardless of whether we live to be 30 or 99 years old.

Cancer, for me, has brought out more of who I am, granting me a freedom of creative expression through my writing, drawing, painting and teaching that I never had before. And through it, allowing me to be of help to other cancer survivors.

So many good things have happened to me since my cancer diagnosis a little over three years ago. God has been so good to me. Even that which we do not get the time to complete can still bring something of meaning and joy to others as did Schubert's unfinished symphony.