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Suffer Alongside Me: A letter to the addict and the cancer patient

If you’ve been on Facebook you might have seen a video that has been circulating recently. This video shows what appears to be a teenage boy, laying in a hospital bed with cancer. His parents are also in the room, as they begin to yell at him over, what they believe, are poor decisions that he’s inflicted upon himself. The boy begins to cry, as his mother grows increasingly angry. She says things to him such as, “This is his fault!” and “You won’t ever be anything!” She calls him weak and demands that he gets up. The video ends with a posing question: “What if we treated people with cancer the way we treat people with addiction?” I need to be honest. At first, I was confused by the message that this campaign was trying to convey. I didn’t understand the comparison they were making. Cancer is not addiction. I still stand by this statement. As many of you know, I fought and won my own battle against cancer four years ago. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 2A. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation. I lost my hair, my eyebrows, and my confidence. Then two and a half years later, I lost so much more because of cancer. I lost my go-to gal, my Gammy (my grandmother). It’s because of her and her influence in my life that this next thing I’m going to say has to be heard.

Addiction is not the same as cancer, but the human-being that suffers from addiction is just as important. I say suffer because I suffered too. So did Gammy. So do many of us while we find ourselves here on earth, in our temporary bodies. I recognize that addiction is serious, it is a disease, and it is life-threatening. I understand that each person’s story of addiction and its impact is vastly different from the next. In some instances, a person’s addiction is caused by external influences, influences they cannot prevent. I would never, ever want to down-play that. In fact, it wouldn’t even be fair for me to do so. I have no idea what someone with addiction has experienced, but I do know what pain feels like and I know what fighting feels like. We’re all going to suffer, so why are we comparing our sufferings? Why aren’t we instead reaching out in love to those who are right now, in this very moment, hurting? It’s not about which one of us is hurting more; it’s about helping one another heal.

So now I want to pose a new question to you. Rather than, “What if we treated people with cancer the way we treat people with addiction?” How about:

“What if we treated people the way Jesus treated people?”

What if we viewed them as people, as individuals, who are in dire need of love, grace, and empathy? Instead of seeing the addict or the cancer patient, the Jew or the Gentile, we saw Cassidy, Jenn, Mike, and Lisa? Their needs matter, they matter. What if we stopped categorizing them, and rather began to identify with them? Suddenly it’s not about the label, but about the person. The person who Christ died for. The person who is inevitably going to suffer here, but understands they’re not suffering alone. After all, isn’t that the purpose of the cross? To know that even in our weakest moments, when the pain is crippling and unbearable, He took on the cross. He did it for all of us. 1 John 3:16 says, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Your brother or sister might be someone who is facing addiction, or maybe it’s cancer. Either way, they need you. Set aside your assumptions, and exemplify love. I’m not talking about the hoity toity stuff. I’m talking about a radical and deep sort of love. The love that erases the labels, and embraces the individual.

So unlike the mother from the video of the boy suffering from addiction. You will never hear the words, “You won’t ever be anything!” come from my mouth. In fact, I want you to know that you are everything. You are everything to the God who created you. When you are weak, you are everything. When you can’t get up, you are everything. When you find yourself in a time of suffering, you are everything. No disease can take that away from you.

Love always,

Cassidy

 

Sunflower
“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Gamy
My forever best friend. 
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Uncategorized

Suffer Alongside Me: A letter to the addict and the cancer patient

If you’ve been on Facebook you might have seen a video that has been circulating recently. This video shows what appears to be a teenage boy, laying in a hospital bed with cancer. His parents are also in the room, as they begin to yell at him over, what they believe, are poor decisions that he’s inflicted upon himself. The boy begins to cry, as his mother grows increasingly angry. She says things to him such as, “This is his fault!” and “You won’t ever be anything!” She calls him weak and demands that he gets up. The video ends with a posing question: “What if we treated people with cancer the way we treat people with addiction?” I need to be honest. At first, I was confused by the message that this campaign was trying to convey. I didn’t understand the comparison they were making. Cancer is not addiction. I still stand by this statement. As many of you know, I fought and won my own battle against cancer four years ago. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 2A. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation. I lost my hair, my eyebrows, and my confidence. Then two and a half years later, I lost so much more because of cancer. I lost my go-to gal, my Gammy (my grandmother). It’s because of her and her influence in my life that this next thing I’m going to say has to be heard.

Addiction is not the same as cancer, but the human-being that suffers from addiction is just as important. I say suffer because I suffered too. So did Gammy. So do many of us while we find ourselves here on earth, in our temporary bodies. I recognize that addiction is serious, it is a disease, and it is life-threatening. I understand that each person’s story of addiction and its impact is vastly different from the next. In some instances, a person’s addiction is caused by external influences, influences they cannot prevent. I would never, ever want to down-play that. In fact, it wouldn’t even be fair for me to do so. I have no idea what someone with addiction has experienced, but I do know what pain feels like and I know what fighting feels like. We’re all going to suffer, so why are we comparing our sufferings? Why aren’t we instead reaching out in love to those who are right now, in this very moment, hurting? It’s not about which one of us is hurting more; it’s about helping one another heal.

So now I want to pose a new question to you. Rather than, “What if we treated people with cancer the way we treat people with addiction?” How about:

“What if we treated people the way Jesus treated people?”

What if we viewed them as people, as individuals, who are in dire need of love, grace, and empathy? Instead of seeing the addict or the cancer patient, the Jew or the Gentile, we saw Cassidy, Jenn, Mike, and Lisa? Their needs matter, they matter. What if we stopped categorizing them, and rather began to identify with them? Suddenly it’s not about the label, but about the person. The person who Christ died for. The person who is inevitably going to suffer here, but understands they’re not suffering alone. After all, isn’t that the purpose of the cross? To know that even in our weakest moments, when the pain is crippling and unbearable, He took on the cross. He did it for all of us. 1 John 3:16 says, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Your brother or sister might be someone who is facing addiction, or maybe it’s cancer. Either way, they need you. Set aside your assumptions, and exemplify love. I’m not talking about the hoity toity stuff. I’m talking about a radical and deep sort of love. The love that erases the labels, and embraces the individual.

So unlike the mother from the video of the boy suffering from addiction. You will never hear the words, “You won’t ever be anything!” come from my mouth. In fact, I want you to know that you are everything. You are everything to the God who created you. When you are weak, you are everything. When you can’t get up, you are everything. When you find yourself in a time of suffering, you are everything. No disease can take that away from you.

Love always,

Cassidy

Sunflower
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Gamy
My forever best friend.
Grace

A letter to the girl who faked having cancer…

To the girl who faked having cancer, I need to tell you something.

First of all, I’m not mad at you. But I do have a confession to make. I was mad at you, and I was very mad at you. You see, cancer is not a joke to me. It’s not something I take lightly. It’s not an outlet to make money. It’s not a way to get attention. And you know what else it isn’t; it’s not curable. Let me show you what cancer is.

 

 

Cancer is the day you decide enough is enough. You’re shaving it, because you’re deciding when it’s time. Cancer’s not calling the shots today.

cancer

Cancer is smiling with someone who loves you unconditionally. Someone who would take all of the pain, the illness, the disease upon himself if it meant I was cured. Someone who kisses your forehead, rubs your feet, brings you anything you can get down, and just sits while you soundly sleep the days away. Cancer doesn’t destroy love. Love perseveres.

Cancer sucks!

Cancer is flaunting your new “hairdo” and hat, because you don’t always feel pretty without it. Your beautiful locks are no longer, but you fight for your confidence. You fight for your health and your future. Cancer is seeing the light in such a harsh and ugly disease. It doesn’t define you. YOU are a beautiful ray of sunshine amidst the darkness. YOU will win this battle.

Me and my wig

Cancer is jumping for joy, because chemo is over! Hooray!

Free of chemo!

Cancer is looking up. Looking up and seeing the God who saw you through it all. Cancer is smiling because you can’t help but feel an overwhelming amount of peace that there’s a God who suffered a surpassing amount for me. This God knows my weaknesses and my pain and says, “I’m here. I know it hurts, but I’m here.” He suffered beside me and with me and I look to Him with the biggest smile. This smile is for You, Lord. Thank You for Your presence and guiding me straight to remission.

Me

Cancer is something else, too. It’s a terrible disease. It’s a disease that took my best friend Home. I witnessed her body grow weaker, her voice grow tired, her pain become excruciating due to cancer. I saw her hair fall out, then grow back, then fall out again. But I also saw a strength that I can’t put into words. Gammy’s strength was powerful and moved myself and many others to believe again. We had to believe in Eternity where we would get to hug her, kiss her, and laugh with her. We had to believe it wasn’t really goodbye; her sweet soul would soon greet us at the Holy Gates. Cancer doesn’t have a single hold on Heaven.

 

 

To the girl who faked cancer, I forgive you and I’m sorry. In fact, I forgive you because I’m sorry. What do I mean by this? I mean that I forgive you because I’m so sorry that whatever your circumstances and wherever you are in life has led you to faking cancer. I’m so sorry that somewhere along the way you became lost and broken. I’m sorry that you’re hurting. I’m sorry that your life hasn’t been touched by the Holy Spirit, and that you’re out there searching for something you just haven’t quite found. My prayer for you is that you find it and you find it in Him. Jesus is where the lost are found and where the broken are healed, and I pray He does that for you. Somewhere along the way someone has failed you, someone like me. Someone who had the chance to tell you about the love of a Savior, but didn’t. And now here you are, still searching. I’m so deeply sorry and I forgive you. Will you forgive me?

The last thing I want to say to you is this: I love you. I love the heck out of you! I hope you know that. You’re special to me and I will continue to pray for you and your journey. You can overcome this and prosper, I promise. Open your heart and mind to change, because it’s coming. In the mean time, I’m not mad at you, I forgive you, I’m sorry, and I love you. 

With love and blessings,

The girl who didn’t fake cancer