Monday, June 2, 2008

Attitude doesn't affect relapse

When it comes to cancer, it seems everyone is an expert. Once my diagnosis became public, scores of people wanted to make their suggestions about how to cure it. I received numerous books, talks, websites and pieces of well-meaning advice from concerned friends and acquaintances about various diets, miracle-working healers and the psycho-somatic effects of a positive attitude. While it was lovely to have so many people concerned for my welfare, I took most of the suggestions with a grain of salt or three. If even one in ten of the claims I encountered was true, it's a wonder cancer still kills anyone at all.

Of course, cancer touches so many lives, directly and indirectly, and we can feel so powerless in the face of it. So it is natural for us to wish to share the lifestyles and strategies of those who survive with people we love when they are facing a similar situation.

In any case, of the most frequent pieces of advice I received was about the importance of a positive attitude. While I do think having an ultimate hope for God's new world made and makes a difference to whether I bother getting up in the morning, it seems that attitude doesn't affect your chances of surviving cancer.

This might seem like bad news, but the illusion of control is a myth in all areas of life. We live our lives out of control. That is part of what it means to trust God.

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