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 Tips  on spiritual growth, emotional health, and relational healing.

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05: Lessons from My Cancer Battles: An Interview with Christy Brosman

Oct 29, 2015

I asked a large room of people recently, “How many of you know someone who has been impacted by cancer?” Nearly every person in the room stood up.

The same is probably true for you. Cancer is terrible and we all love someone who has been involuntarily called into battle with it.

Christy Brosman

One of those people is Christy Brosman. Christy has been my friend for many years. She currently serves as my assistant at the church where I serve as Teaching Pastor and Pastor of Spiritual Formation.

Christy has battled ovarian cancer twice, including a recurrence this year. She’s a courageous fighter, passionate, incredibly thoughtful and profoundly generous. She’s one of my heroes.

I recently asked her some questions about her battle with cancer, including what she learned about fear, courage and hope. I think her responses will encourage and help you as you overcome fear in your life.

Lessons from Battling Cancer

SS: Christy, thanks so much for sharing with us today! I know we’re exploring tough territory for you and I appreciate your vulnerability. The first question I want to ask you is…what fear did you encounter in your two battles with cancer?

CB: Thank you so much! I’m so honored to share.

The first time I got sick my biggest fears were of overwhelming my husband financially and with the chaotic mess that had become our life. Another thing that worried me deeply was wondering what legacy I would leave. What if my life didn’t really matter? What if I didn’t matter? I also feared death and the possible manner of dying.

With my recurrence, I came to a tenuous acceptance of my legacy and the possibility of a limited life span. The other fears I have to continuously lay at the Lord’s feet. Ovarian cancer is a chronic disease that can bring a lifetime of uncertainty. I would appreciate prayers to stay courageous enough to live the life God has for me.

SS: Thanks for that honesty, Christy and we will be praying. I want to keep exploring your experience with fear. Has fear ever defeated you in the past? What happened?

CB: One of the times I let fear win was when I was once again up most of the night in excruciating pain, battling a never-ending serious side effect of treatment. I was so scared and felt so helpless. I railed against God and told Him I just couldn’t do it anymore, to just take me home. I’m so grateful that He meets us where we’re at and doesn’t give us everything that we ask for! Even though I couldn’t feel Him in those hours, I knew He was there.

SS: I’m glad you shared that transparently. I think there are a lot of people who can relate to a moment like you had. I said in the introduction – you’re one of the most courageous women I know. What helped you become courageous as you battle cancer?

CB: God supplies all of my needs and He gives me such courage and peace when I ask. I work with Him to keep focused by constantly praying, meditating on His Word and worshipping through music. I also have a fantastic support system of family, friends and medical professionals who aren’t afraid to set me straight when I go off on a worry tangent. During treatment I was blessed to have been able to continue working. This also provided support and focus for me. So many people blessed me with meals and rides. I even had a special friend sit with me during all of my chemotherapy treatments. I am so grateful! When you see God’s providence, it gets easier to not give in to fear.

SS: I wasn’t as close to you during your first battle with cancer as I was during this second round. This time, I witnessed how long the battle has been. As you were going to chemotherapy treatments each week for 16-17 weeks, what did you do to stay hopeful?

CB: Staying hopeful was and still is a real struggle for me. Focusing outside of myself eases my fear and allows me to experience God’s hope, which is better than hope based on my current circumstances. If I ask Him, God helps me love and serve others when I just don’t feel like it. This brings me joy and hope. Sometimes, though, I give in to feelings of despair and have to be very intentional about crawling back out of that hole. Humor and laughter help with this. I also interact with many amazing women, both online and in person, in the same situation that I am in. I am in awe of these beautiful women and their courage brings me hope.

SS: You’ve been really frank about the darkness you’ve endured. What have you learned about yourself through these difficult seasons?

CB: When I come to the end of myself, God’s grace is sufficient for me. I want to enjoy this wonderful, beautiful life that God gave me, so I must be intentional about focusing on moving forward a step at a time. I have always liked to be in control and plan ahead; I am now learning to just take the next step in faith.

SS: Cancer impacts all of us. What would you say to encourage readers who are battling cancer or know someone who is?

CB: If you have cancer, don’t give in to fear and hopelessness. Let God take that burden from you. “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

If you know someone fighting cancer I would encourage you to be a blessing by recognizing their pain. Look the person in the eye and ask them how they are doing and how you can help. Don’t give unsolicited advice or share stories of other people with cancer. Make it about the person going through this hard time and let them guide the conversation.

Thank you Christy Brosman!

Christy, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. You’re a hero! If you want to reach out to Christy personally to say thank you or ask a question about her story, you can contact her at christy@pobox.com.

If you’d like to read more interviews from people who are overcoming fear, click here. I’ve also written about 8 ways you can deal with the fear you’re facing.

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