Faith and Prostate Cancer

It’s still so vivid in my memory: 9:45 a.m. on Friday, May 5th, 2017. I was driving to a dental appointment and my mobile phone rang (hands free!). When I answered, I heard my younger brother, who sounded upset. He told me that he was with our younger sister, and they’d just been told that she only had 12 months to live.

The grueling experience of cancer

She survived another 18 months and a bout of grueling chemotherapy that made her quality of life so much worse. It was heart-wrenching watching her decline and struggle. She eventually passed away in November 2018, killing the breast cancer that had caused her to have such a hard last 18 months.

Move forward to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017. I get a telephone call from my sports injuries doctor breaking the most awful news: he was 99% certain that my runner's “groin strain” was in fact prostate cancer. Ten days of further tests, and the news was even worse. The cancer was confirmed, it was incurable, and I may only live 2 years.

Needless to say, this was a pretty dreadful few days for the Collier family!

Faith has been challenging for me

Now I was never the most religious person in the world, but I was occasionally a churchgoer at Christmas and other special celebrations. However, what little faith I had was extinguished by the worst period ever in the Collier family’s existence. I couldn’t face the fact that any God would give my family such a hard time.

My sister passed away at just 54 years old. She never got the chance to see her grandchildren grow up. In fact, she never met one of her grandchildren! Her daughter-in-law was expecting a child when my sister was admitted to a hospice for end-of-life care. Her son and daughter-in-law paid to have a private scan done, and they took the picture of the baby to show her. She passed away later that evening, and I’m convinced that she waited to see the baby and left us with a smile on her face.

Faith has been very challenging for me as a result. However, my wife is a regular church goer and has a very strong faith. She has explained to me that, despite everything that’s happened, her faith sustains and comforts her. And when I ultimately lose my battle against prostate cancer, she will have her faith to get her through and to live a good life without me.

But it can be helpful

At Easter I decided to attend a church service with her, which isn’t something I would normally do. I asked myself why I’d decided to do that. Was I asking God for a favor? If I was, who am I to expect a savior when I talk to God so infrequently?

Ultimately, however, I was overthinking the situation. The reality is that I went along with her to support her and because it was important to her. Faith is a very personal thing, and I’m so happy that my wife has somewhere she can turn when times are hard. However, I really hope that I wasn’t talking to God just because I needed a favor!

I’d be interested to hear from our readers just how their faith has sustained and comforted them when dealing with the adversity of a dire health diagnosis.

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