The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

How Church Supported Me During My Diagnosis

by Ashley OettingerSurvivor and in Treatment, Stage 4 Metastatic Breast CancerMarch 12, 2024View more posts from Ashley Oettinger

I have always been involved in the Christian Community—I went to Christian school my whole life and I’ve been attending my church for over five years now. I didn’t tell many people at Church about my diagnosis until things got really bad.

My church community took action. They didn’t just offer the common response of, “If you need anything let me know.” While I am confident anybody who said that to me would, in fact, do anything for me at the drop of a hat—and many have—sometimes just doing something means more. My church community sent me daily prayers and inspirational verses via text, sent gifts, supported my family, sent us meals and DoorDash gift cards, and was a sounding board to me and my family. The most special gift I received was a handmade wooden sign that says “faith” from a women’s Bible group from a church I don’t even go to. They wrote Bible verses and notes on the back of the sign to wish me good health and healing. It is next to my bed and I look at it every night before I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up. I have more prayer shawls than I can count and I am always receiving cards from members of the church.

They celebrate every small success with me and pray fervently when there are setbacks. My pastor and I now have a personal relationship and he always checks in to see how I am doing.

The church helped me work through some tough questions and encouraged me to strengthen my relationship with God. I had the privilege of being baptized and I had the opportunity to share my story with the entire congregation. There was not a dry eye in the room after I shared my testimony.

The daughter of a woman at my church was diagnosed with leukemia, and I had the privilege of helping her and providing her daughter with resources to help her at this time. I am hoping to be a resource for other caregivers and patients at my church so I can return the favor.

I was given 3-6 months to live, and I have been alive seven months since my diagnosis. I went into remission (for the third time) and I truly believe all the prayers helped make this happen. I am doing as well as possible and I keep depending on God and leaning on my church for strength.

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