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Title: WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS CANCER
Author: Cecil Murphey
Illustrator: Michal Sparks
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Genre: Inspirational/gift book
Author Cecil Murphey has walked through the journey of cancer with someone he loves. And as a pastor, he has counseled and comforted many. But when his wife was told she had cancer, being a caregiver and encourager took on a different meaning.
Written by many different people who cared for people with many different kinds of cancer, WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS CANCER is sure to help reach and comfort anyone, whether their loved one has breast cancer, colon cancer, or some other type.
Beautifully illustrations as well as well-articulated prayers make this book complete. I enjoyed thumbing through the seascapes, the lighthouses, the garden pictures, and other locals within the pages of the book.
There is also a helpful section at the end of the book about what to do and what not to do when someone you know is diagnosed with cancer. It is sure to help you, whether you are ministering to a close loved one or whether it is just an acquaintance that has had the dreaded diagnosis.
I’ve just finished going through chemo for breast cancer and it has not been the easiest road to follow. It would have been nice if this book had been out for my husband, children, and friends to read before I started down this road. I wasn’t allowed to grieve. And while I didn’t get angry at God, it would have been nice to know I didn’t have to be strong twenty-four hours every single day. That it would be okay to cry about my hair coming out in handfuls. And that I could mourn the loss of a body part that had served me well as I nursed each of my five children. It would have been nice to have had the luxury of mourning, and someday, when no one is around maybe I will belatedly grieve. Maybe.
But now, there is this wonderful little gift book out to help other caregivers. If someone you know has cancer, don’t miss this little book. It will help open your eyes to what they are going through, it will help you know what to say or not to say. It will help you to know how to be there for your loved one.
About the Book:
The World Health Organization reported that by the year 2010 cancer will be the number one killer worldwide. More than 12.4 million people in the world suffer from cancer. 7.6 million people are expected to die from some form of cancer. That's a lot of people, but the number of loved ones of cancer sufferers is far greater. What do they do when a special person in their life is diagnosed with this devastating disease?
Murphey brings his experiences as a loved one and many years of wisdom gained from being a pastor and hospital chaplain to his newest book When Someone You Love Has Cancer: Comfort and Encouragement for Caregivers and Loved Ones (Harvest House Publishers). His honest I've-been-there admissions and practical helps are combined with artist Michal Sparks' soothing watercolor paintings.
Readers of When Someone You Love Has Cancer will receive:
• Inspiration to seek peace and understanding in their loved one's situation
• Help in learning the importance of active listening
• Guidance in exploring their own feelings of confusion and unrest
• Suggestions on how to handle anxiety and apprehension
• Honest answers to questions dealing with emotions, exhaustion, and helplessness
• Spirit-lifting thoughts for celebrating the gift of life in the midst of troubles
Murphey explains why this is a much-needed book: "Most books about cancer address survivors. I want to speak to the mates, families, and friends who love those with cancer. I offer a number of simple, practical things people can do for those with cancer."
1. The first sentence of your book reads, "I felt helpless." Tell us about that feeling.
Because her doctor put Shirley into the high-risk category, I felt helpless. To me, helpless means hating the situation, wanting to make it better, but admitting there was nothing I could do for her.
2. On that same page you also write, "One thing we learned: God was with us and strengthened us through the many weeks of uncertainty and pain." How did you get from feeling helpless to that assurance?
Shirley and I sat down one day and I put my arm around her. "The only way I know how I can handle this," I said, "is to talk about it." Shirley knows that's my way of working through puzzling issues. "Let's consider every possibility." If her surgeon decided she did not have breast cancer, how would we react? We talked of our reaction if he said, "There is a tumor and it's obviously benign. Finally, I was able to say, with tears in my eyes, "How do we react if he says the cancer is advanced and you have only a short time to live?" By the time we talked answered that question, I was crying. Shirley had tears in her eyes, but remained quite calm. "I'm ready to go whenever God wants to take me," she said. She is too honest not to have meant those words. As I searched her face, I saw calmness and peace. I held her tightly and we prayed together. After that I felt calm. Since then, one of the first things I do when I awaken is to thank God that Shirley and I have at least one more day together.
3. When most people hear the word cancer applied to someone they love, they have strong emotional reactions. What are some of them? What was your reaction when your wife was diagnosed with breast cancer?
As a pastor, a volunteer chaplain, and a friend I've encountered virtually every emotional reaction. Some refuse to accept what they hear. Some go inward and are unable to talk. Others start making telephone calls to talk to friends.
Me? I went numb, absolutely numb. That was my old way of dealing with overwhelming emotions. I heard everything but I couldn't feel anything. It took me almost two weeks before I was able to feel--and to face the possibility that the person I loved most in the world might die.
4. "What can I do for my loved one with cancer?" That's a good question for us to ask ourselves. How can we be supportive and helpful?
Many think they need to do big things; they don't. Express your concern and your love.
Be available to talk when the other person needs it--and be even more willing to be silent if your loved one doesn't want to talk. Don't ask what you can do; do what you see needs doing. To express loving support in your own way (and we all express love differently) is the best gift you can offer.
5. Why do you urge people not to say, "I know exactly how you feel"?
No one knows how you feel. They may remember how they felt at a certain time. Even if they did know, what help is that to the person with cancer? It's like saying, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. I know what it's like and I'm fine now."
Instead, focus on how the loved one feels. Let him or her tell you.
6. Those with cancer suffer physically and spiritually. You mention God's silence as a form of spiritual suffering. They pray and don't seem to sense God. What can you do to help them?
God is sometimes silent but that doesn't mean God is absent. In my upcoming book, When God Turns off the Lights, I tell what it was like for me when God stopped communicating for about 18 months.
I didn't like it and I was angry. I didn't doubt God's existence, but I didn't understand the silence. I read Psalms and Lamentations in various translations. I prayed and I did everything I could, but nothing changed.
After a couple of months, I realized that I needed to accept the situation and wait for God to turn on the lights again. Each day I quoted Psalm 13:1: "O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?" (NLT)
I learned many invaluable lessons about myself--and I could have learned them only in the darkness. When God turns off the lights (and the sounds) I finally realized that instead of God being angry, it was God's loving way to draw me closer.
7. Guilt troubles many friends and loved ones of caregivers because they feel they failed or didn't do enough. What can you say to help them?
We probably fail our loved ones in some ways. No one is perfect. If you feel that kind of guilt, I suggest 3 things:
(1) Tell the loved one and ask forgiveness.
(2) Talk to God and ask God to forgive you and give you strength not to repeat your failures.
(3) Forgive yourself. And one way to do that is to say, "At the time, I thought I did the right thing. I was wrong and I forgive myself."
8. Do you have some final words of wisdom for those giving care to a loved one with cancer?
Be available. You can't take away the cancer but you can alleviate the sense of aloneness. Don't ever try to explain the reason the person has cancer. We don't know the reason and even if we did, would it really help the other person?
Be careful about what you say. Too often visitors and friends speak from their own discomfort and forget about the pain of the one with cancer. Don't tell them about your cancer or other disease; don't tell them horror stories about others. Above all, don't give them false words of comfort. Be natural. Be yourself. Behave as loving as you can.
About the Author:
Cecil Murphey is an international speaker and bestselling author who has written more than 100 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper). No stranger himself to loss and grieving, Cecil has served as a pastor and hospital chaplain for many years, and through his ministry and books he has brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. For more information, visit http://www.themanbehindthewords.com/.
Cec designed the appendix to be the most practical part of the book. He's witnessed too many situations where genuinely caring people had no idea what to do, so he has tried to givea few general guidelines.
1. Before you offer help. Learn about the disease before you visit. Determine to accept their feelings, no matter how negative. Pray for your loved one before you visit. Don't throw religious slogans at them, such as, "This is God's will" or "God knew you were strong enough to handle this."
2. What you can do now. As the first question, don't ask, "How are you?" Instead, ask, "Do you feel like talking." Don't offer advice. Be willing to sit in silence. If you need to cry, do so. Be natural. If appropriate, hug your loved one. Human touch is powerful.
3. Long-term caregiving. The overarching principle is to let the seriousness of the disease determine the amount of time and commitment you offer. This can be a time for you to help them spiritually. Think about tangible things you can do that say you care. Plan celebrations for every anniversary of being cancer free.
Ask them reflective questions such as:
• What have you discovered about yourself through this experience?
• What have you learned about relationships?
• How has your faith in God changed?
The Grand Prize Winner Will Receive:
When Someone You Love Has Cancer
90 Minutes in Heaven (hard cover)
Heaven Is Real (hard cover)
Daily Devotions Inspired by 90 Minutes in Heaven (hard cover)
90 Minutes in Heaven, gift edition (selections)
90 Minutes in Heaven, audio (5 CD set)
Heaven Is Real, audio (6 CDs)
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
Everybody Loved Roger Harden
Everybody Wanted Room 623
Everybody Called Her a Saint
Committed But Flawed
Immortality of Influence (hard cover)
Touchdown Alexander (hard cover)
Aging Is an Attitude
My Parents, My Children: Spiritual Help for Caregivers