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Pain into Purpose: A New Cancer Caregiver’s Support Group
By Rock Church - November 27, 2009

The defining moments in our lives – joyful or painful – often lead to our more fruitful opportunities for service later on.

There have been many defining moments in my life. At one end of the continuum, there are joyous moments: the birth of my child, graduating college, buying my first home, and moving cross-country to San Diego. At the other end, there have been many trials: my brother serving a life sentence, health challenges, and the death of my mother to cancer.

Many Detroiters remember March 8, 1999 as the culmination of one of the worst snow storms in Detroit’s history: ten inches of snow, frigid temperatures, and impossible driving conditions.

I remember March 8 for its life-defining power. It was the day my mother died in my arms.

First-Hand Experience

I have launched a second support group: the Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. Support Group for Caregivers. We will meet once a month in room 353. Please join us!

I now see how the experience shaped me for ministry today. My mother was diagnosed in May 1998 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the t-cell kind. After a four-month hospital stay in ICU, the doctors said there was a strong possibility that my mother would not talk or walk again after being on a respirator and immobile that long.

I was a baby Christian. I literally devoured any and everything I could find on faith and healing. I also learned to be an advocate. I learned how to navigate the hospital terrain and manage the basic disrespect that some doctors had for my stand in faith for my mother’s healing. Most importantly, I learned how to believe God. I learned God is a healer.

My mother’s treatment protocol threw her cancer into remission. Not only did she walk and talk again, but she went about praising God. You know my faith went through the roof, don’t you? When she was later re-admitted to the hospital because her cancer had come back, I kept believing my mother would beat cancer again.

When she died that fateful afternoon of March 8, I was devastated. I had to deal with my pain and the body-blow to my faith. Grieving is like peeling through an onion, there are many layers, it really stinks and as one friend told me – it makes you cry!

Caregiver’s Support

Fast forward ten years. I had been attending the Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. Support Group, which meets every Monday evening at the Rock Church. I realized how much my pain and my process could help others provide care, support, and advocacy for their loved ones battling cancer.

I realized how much cancer-patient caregivers need support too. So, I have been inspired to DO Something. With the blessings of the Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. ministry, I have launched a second support group: the Rock Cancer C.A.R.E. Support Group for Caregivers. We will meet once a month in room 353 beginning December 14, 2009. Please join us!

God turned my pain from a decade ago into purpose. I thank God for that.

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Perri Storey is also a volunteer writer with Rock the Word: The Rock Church Writers Ministry. If you're interested in writing, or in telling how God is using the Rock to change lives, go to www.sdrock.com/ministries/writers/ for more information.

For more information about the Cancer Care Ministry, click here »