Cancer affected our family in a beautiful way this past year.
“You have cancer.” No one wants to hear those words. Although I did not hear those words I did hear, “Mom, Kyle has cancer.” Kyle is my daughter’s boyfriend.
The way my family works is if one of us is affected by something, all of us are going through it. It’s just the way we are. Although I did not have cancer, nor did one of my family members, it still affected us deeply…very deeply.
Kyle was only 26 when diagnosed. How could he have cancer? But he did and it changed us forever. It changed us in a beautiful way.
When most young ladies would have chanted, “Where’s the fun in this? I’m young. I want to go out and have fun. “ My daughter said, “I don’t want anything from you. I am not expecting anything. I just want to help you through this.”
As I watched her, the student became the teacher. She taught me how to love more deeply. She taught me how to love through action. She taught me how to love sacrificially.
Kyle’s cancer required surgery, 12 weeks of chemotherapy, and now another surgery. He’s never complained. Not even when he could hardly talk because of the sores in his mouth. Not even when he lost his hair. Not even when he vomited…another time. Not even when he could hardly walk up a flight of stairs. Not even when he couldn’t eat. (I am certain I would complain if I couldn’t eat!)
When I received the honor of taking him to his chemotherapy treatments, I got to see cancer up close in a way I had never seen it before. The waiting room was full of sullen faces. The chairs lined with those choosing to have chemo run through their bodies because the alternative was far worse, and even the empty chairs next to each patient who had no one with them. I told God, “I never want to come here again…ever.” And yet Kyle laughed and told stories and smiled. Visibly he was a favorite among the nurses and staff. Going there became fun because of him.
Watching him it didn’t seem that bad. I know that sounds horrific and immensely insensitive, but something I had feared most seemed doable now. A person can tackle cancer with class and hope. It can be done without it robbing you of life and joy. It can be done with love. How?
I think the answer comes from Kyle’s own words during a sermon he preached to our mega-church congregation shortly after he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said, “We are not a people of despair. We are a people of hope.” With God there is hope.
As Kyle prepares for another surgery he said, “I’d rather have surgery then go through another round of chemo.” So, after all I guess it was pretty rough. He just didn’t let on.
“Because we are not a people of despair. We are a people of hope.” –Kyle Welch