By David Young
“Mr. Young 99% of my prostate cancer patients die of something else. But I'm afraid you are in the 1% who will die of this disease.”
Some years ago, I sat in a doctor's office in Tacoma Washington as a compassionate doctor struggled to tell me my cancer was terminal. It had metastasized in my bones. But by God's grace and advancements in modern medicine, I have lived longer than my doctors thought I would.
Years later we moved to Carson City Nevada. And Dr. Perez took me as his patient. He and the Sierra Nevada Cancer Center have been a great blessing in my life.
First of all, Dr. Perez is good with me. He has a gift at working with people. He is always honest with you. His examinations are careful, and his communications are clear. Talking with him always calms me. He is warm and friendly and genuinely compassionate.
Dr. Perez is also brilliant. His knowledge and medical studies reflect that. He studied at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in America, completing specializations in both hematology and oncology. And he diligently keeps up with the literature on new and promising cancer treatments.
I still have terminal cancer. But my life has been extended many years longer than the early prognosis. And to a great extent my quality of life has been maintained. Life is precious. Cancer, especially if it's terminal, forces you to deal with ultimate concerns, and come to grips with meaning in every moment of life. I can boil the significance of my life down to purpose and relationships.
Shortly after receiving my diagnosis I wrote an article for a magazine entitled, filling the unforgiving minute. I took the title from the line in Rudyard Kipling's poem If, “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. You can see the article on my website.
The purpose of my life revolves around other people. That includes listening to people and caring about their needs. For me it also includes writing. I write as a calling from God. I write to touch hearts and meet the needs of other people. And I pray for God to meet needs of people that I could never meet myself. I hope to do this whatever my condition every moment that I am alive.
Relationships are crucial to meaning in life. You have to work at relationships. That can be difficult, but it is nearly always rewarding. I thank God for my family. We live with family members and work at maintaining communication with others who live across the country. I regularly ask God to help me love them with his love. I also try to pray silently for people I meet everywhere I go.
Of course, the foundation for all human relationships is a relationship with God. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world to reconcile us with God (Colossians 1:19,20). It also teaches that if you seek Him you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Having cancer may help you do that.