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Patient tips Six truths about a cancer diagnosis Rev. Percy wants you to know

Six truths about a cancer diagnosis Rev. Percy wants you to know

Overcoming cancer often requires a heroic amount of physical, emotional and spiritual strength. Few understand this like Rev. Percy McCray, Director of Faith-Based Programs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) and a stage 1 colorectal cancer patient himself. Here, Rev. Percy shares the six ways his spirituality helped him navigate his cancer diagnosis and treatment plan.

Who would have thought it? After dedicating my talents and ministry to supporting cancer patients and their caregivers for over two decades with counsel, prayer and spiritual support, I was diagnosed with early, stage 1 colorectal cancer. I never saw it coming, but somehow, I wasn’t really that surprised. After all, I had seen almost virtually every scenario and situation regarding the effects of having cancer. In many ways, I was unknowingly in a dress rehearsal for when it would be my turn. I never asked, “Why me?” Instead, I accepted the challenge of “why not me?” I had coached thousands of cancer patients through the journey on TV, radio and in countless churches, but now I had to walk that walk myself. Six truths helped me along the way:

  1. I didn’t waste time trying to figure out why or how I got cancer. It’s only human to wonder why, but trying to answer this question may never have an absolute conclusion, and so it’s an energy killer. Don’t waste the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resources you need to fight the good fight toward your healing and recovery. The focus of your fight shouldn’t be about why, but more importantly about how. That answer may eventually come later, but in the meantime, fight like a warrior!
  2. I was OK with a bad thing happening to me while doing good deeds for others. Never confuse being a “good” or “bad” person with a cancer diagnosis. This disease is indiscriminate and can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Your overall value and worth has nothing to do with this disease, so don’t give cancer that kind of power over your sense of self.
  3. I was strategic with whom I shared my diagnosis. Initially being told you have cancer can be disorienting, causing uncertainty and dismay. Only share this news initially with those who can be trusted to breathe life and hope into your consciousness. No negative Nellies needed!
  4. I accepted that my faith didn’t make me immune to sickness. Don’t entertain the notion that you lack faith in God because you have cancer. In fact, one’s faith can be strengthened and empowered because of a health care challenge. You have more faith than you think you do.
  5. Cancer cemented my priorities for the better while in the pursuit of healing. When confronted with our mortality, we can be motivated to focus only on those things that matter most in our lives and forget about those things that do not. Remember, keep the main thing the main thing and make every day matter.
  6. I didn’t compare my cancer journey to anyone else’s. Every cancer scenario is unique and individual. Walk out your days with an open mind of expectation and intentionality. Remember, you and no one else is the driver of your bus.
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