Thoughts on cancer

Journal entry by Loretta Beyer — Feb. 27, 2021

Today, I wanted to share a few personal thoughts on my own encounter with cancer.

This began about 12 years ago, when our family’s world was rocked with my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer. She pursued treatments such as a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, which were “successful” for a while, but then it came back with a vengeance.

In America, it seems we don’t have “health care,” but, rather, we attempt to survive on “sick care.” In my opinion, it is far too easy for people to want to get a quick, 10-day script from a doctor, assume no responsibility of their own, and be fine from then on.

Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. Given the right fuel, food, exercise, and stress management skills, we have the amazing capability to heal and thrive. Somewhere, I read the best medicine is sunshine, air, water, exercise, rest and a healthy diet. Pills often merely mask the problem, rather than going to the source and fixing it. Just think if most insurances would cover such therapeutic options as massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, functional medicine providers, supplements, and the like.

Anyone with whom I have shared at length knows that I am passionate about actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle. While no one thing can be the answer, many avenues can contribute to positive outcomes and quality of life: nourishing food, carefully selected supplements, stress management (always a challenge for me), practicing gratitude, investing yourself in meaningful employment, building healthy relationships with others, giving of yourself and your resources to others and the needy, and a deep faith and walk with God.

My niece, Fiona, is currently pursuing a health fitness coach certification online, with the dream of one day soon being able to impact others in just that way. Not just food, but a holistic approach that treats each human as an entire package. I read their book and was of course fascinated by it and highly recommend it.

We have many relatives in our family who have been plagued by cancer, and, in 2016, my brother, Jon, was diagnosed with melanoma. He suffered through immunotherapy and then whole brain radiation and gamma knife therapy.

I watched both my mom and brother go through hell during those times.

The treatment cannot be worse than the disease. Each case is unique, and each individual must choose whatever path they are led to follow without condemnation, but I decided then and there that I would follow the homeopathic route and protocols.

In August 2019, I had my first encounter with stage 1 uterine cancer, with the ensuing requisite oophorectomy and appropriate follow-ups, but choosing not to do a small amount of radiation, “just in case.” Because of that, I have enjoyed two wonderful, healthy, quality-of-life, happy years biking with my husband, swimming at the pool, interacting with students, friends and family. The nurse told me that, because I had tried to take such good care of myself and was blessed to never have had to be on any regular, long-term prescription drugs, my body is responding well to the medicines they have me on now. Neither do I have any comorbidities, and that, along with my wonderful support system and deep faith, is in part why I believe I am still here.

The surgeon who performed my hysterectomy back then announced rather bluntly at my first appointment with him, “We are all going to die of either cancer or heart disease.”

While I am grateful for the medical community and what God has enabled men to learn through science, my own personal mantra has become, “Doctors are not God, and you are your own best advocate.”

We each need to seek the Lord to come to our own decisions and follow where He leads us. I know I am in a safe place in His care, where He is in total control of my life, regardless. I would just like to encourage each one of you to begin to take a more proactive role in your own lifestyle choices and educate yourselves as much as possible in that regard. For instance, someone has said, “If it comes from God’s garden, eat it, if not avoid it.”

Carol Putkamer from Friends Together gave me this anonymous poem, from which I and many others have drawn much comfort.

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited …

It cannot cripple LOVE,

In cannot shatter HOPE,

It cannot corrode FAITH,

It cannot destroy PEACE,

It cannot kill FRIENDSHIP,

It cannot suppress MEMORIES,

It cannot silence COURAGE,

In cannot invade the SOUL,

It cannot steal eternal LIFE,

It cannot conquer the SPIRIT.

Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and bold: have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you: He will not fail or forsake you (KJV).”

This column is published posthumously with permission from the family. Missionary kid Loretta Beyer grew up in Zimbabwe. After graduating college in the U.S. with a degree in music and psychology, she joined her parents in Alpena, because of terrorist warfare in her African home. Over the last 40 years, she has made Alpena her place of ministry.


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