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Spirituality and Lung Cancer

Religion and spirituality often become a topic of conversation when it relates to a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis. How many times have you been in someone’s prayers or added to their prayer list? What does that mean to you?

Building my relationship with God

For me, I grew up in a very religious household, my mom was Catholic, my dad was Lutheran, but he converted to Catholicism in order to marry my mom. My mom was the driving force behind our religious and spiritual upbringing.

While I’ve also considered myself spiritual, it really wasn’t until I received those fateful words, you have stage IV lung cancer, that I really began to lean on my faith and spirituality. I feel I really began to understand where God fit, and worked, in my life.

Finding God in the little things

I can remember feeling so desperate, alone, and afraid. I asked God, “Where are you? Why are you not helping me?” as I cried to myself. It was at that moment that I heard an inner voice that said. “I’m right here...I’m the friends that are helping you with housework, I’m the neighbors that are bringing you food, I’m the love and the prayers and the cards and the donations that are coming to you through all of those that love you.”

I shifted from thinking that I was waiting for some type of Divine intervention with my diagnosis (i.e. a cure), to noticing all of the little things that were being done for me by those that love and care for me. It was definitely a shift in mentality, and this perspective has helped me cope in so many different ways.

Spirituality through supporting others

Not only did I start to appreciate all that was being done for me, but my journey with my lung cancer became a little less daunting for me. I’ve had plenty of bumps and setbacks, but I lean into the knowledge that when things get tough, my friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers, will rise to the occasion. To me, that is God showing up on my journey.

And while I continue to live with stage IV lung cancer, I utilize my talents and knowledge that I’ve gained over the last three years to pay it forward. When I’m advocating for others, providing support or words of encouragement, or sharing my story and educating about lung cancer, I consider it my own form of spirituality.

How have you leaned into your spirituality? What has your diagnosis taught you about your path in this world? Share your story and life philosophy (it's easy) in LungCancer.net Stories!

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on April 1st, 2023, Julie passed away. Julie’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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