The following post is written by the Rev. Lisa Baumgartner, chaplain with Woman’s Hospital.
After a cancer diagnosis, many patients go through the five stages of grief before they can accept the fact that they have cancer. Those stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
For many, turning to their religion and spirituality can be a helpful method to dealing with their emotions following the diagnosis.
The Serenity Prayer is one of the best examples of practicing acceptance.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Acceptance is the key, Alcoholics Anonymous writes, to everything.
Whenever I am struggling greatly with a problem, a new diagnosis, a changed prognosis, unless it is good news, I generally begin with denial, or lack of acceptance. But when God grants the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference, accepting life and recovery’s bumps in the road comes easier.
How well am I accepting this latest development? Is my denial accomplishing anything positive for me? To what am I clinging when I am in denial? Is there really any purpose in my denial? How can I begin to accept what is happening to me in my treatment?
For those still struggling with the acceptance of their cancer diagnosis, look to the Serenity Prayer to find peace, courage and wisdom. After that, the future will look brighter.