Thursday, April 2, 2009

Does Faith Prolong Suffering for Cancer Patients?

There is a fascinating article online in Christianity Today this month concerning studies that show that while faith can help in coping with cancer, religious cancer patients often tend to opt for aggressive care in their final days, prolonging their own suffering and leaving behind caregivers who have a hard time adjusting to bereavement.  I would really encourage you to read this fascinating article.

As many of you know, Denita and I have had to address this issue for ourselves in the past few months and weeks. We have decided not to pursue any further aggressive treatments for my cancer and have given directions not to resuscitate me should my heart stop or put me on a ventilator if I should stop breathing, or to put me on artificial life support due to medical circumstances related to my cancer.  It was (and is) not an easy decision but I think it is the right one.  I have seen others engage in all sorts of risky, expensive, and questionable treatments in the attempt to extend life, but only cause greater suffering in the process.  For the Christian, there is more to life than life. I am content with what God has given to me. 


Todd said...

Your final comment brought to mind these verses in Philippians 4:
11.I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
12.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
13.I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Praise God for His presence with you as you walk through these days; the presence that allows us to face difficult circumstances with contentment, knowing that ultimately it is His strength that we walk in.

Glenn Penner said...

I wish I could have come to this stage earlier in my life, but I do wonder if I could have without having walked this path first. Probably not

terri said...

A very interesting article.

I wonder if the narrative of all the prophets fighting against the odds and winning in some miraculous way, at the last minute, feeds this tendency.

Perhaps some people think "fighting" equals faith? Maybe they see "giving up" as spiritual failure?

Wishing you continued peace and contentment.


Anonymous said...

We have a healthy desire to live and that is good. There are things we wish to complete before we leave this earth. However, do we become so attached to the world in which we live that we 'live' as though there were nothing better ahead of us?
We have heard so much about research for a cure for cancer that we hope we will experience that. How do we balance that 'hope' with the hope that awaits us as believers?

pvwiebe said...

Glenn, may you and your family experience the fullness of the Aaronic blessing.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Peter & Verna Wiebe