Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to our Living With Cancer e-newsletter to stay up to date on cancer topics.
Along with the changes in your physical well-being, living with a diagnosis of cancer can cause changes in your spiritual well-being.
You might be thinking "why me?" You might have feelings of anger and betrayal that cause you to question your spiritual beliefs. These emotions are quite normal.
A major illness such as cancer may leave you feeling vulnerable and forever changed. At times, the changes experienced are positive, with a shift toward a new sense of joy in life, forgiveness and gratitude.
Everyone defines spirituality in a personal way. For many, it means a connection to a religion — including important beliefs, traditions, values and practices. At times, spirituality is a connection to nature, inner peace, or a sense of hope or connection to a higher power. Our spirituality has a strong connection to our emotional and physical life.
As you reflect on your own spirituality, consider the things that are important and meaningful to you.
A few ways to reconnect with your spiritual side may be...
I'd love to hear reflections of how you've connected with your spiritual side throughout the journey.
Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
Follow on Twitter:
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
My sister has just been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. She is overwhelmed with fear, as anyone would be. Any tips on how to keep her positive during the long road ahead of her?So far, she is doing well with this. Will probably start treatment next week.
I was just diagnosed with breast cancer,They say early stage but they want me to have this gene test because I am only 42 but I have no history of breast cancer. My maternal Grandmother had uterine cancer. I am not a church person but I believe in God and have prayed since I was a little girl. I am trying to keep my faith and trust in God to give me strength but I have this overwhelming sense of doom and fear and I cannot seem to over come these feelings. Is this normal? Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with these feelings?
After being diagnosed with CLL three years ago, I felt my world crash around me. I stumbled the next two years angry and upset....but never with God. However I did not reach out to God until last year when I became involved with the Stephan Ministries Program at my Church. What a blessing! I am at total peace with myself and feel the hand of God with me on this journey. I am very lucky as I am in watch and wait, no treatments, and feel wonderful...but I know that I am ready for all that may lie ahead as I know that " I will have strength for all things through Christ" as is promised in the Word. I pray that all of you will join me on this journey. Peace
I am a Buddhist and when I found out I had cancer my faith was heightened and my spiritual side sustained me. My first round of chemo changed that. I became extremely ill and everything revolved around the physical aspects, nothing spiritual. I have decided to go off the chemo so I am more aware of my being during the dying process. I have no fear of death and have lived a blessed life. I take great joy in the little things and I am completely content.
Part of my practise is to pray for everyone who is suffering, so I will include you in my prayers and I hope those of you who have lost contact with your religion will find it again. I believe all religions are basically the same: to do no harm to others; to be compassionate; love, above all love. I hope you all find your way on your path, whatever it may be. Again, I hold you in my prayers.
Excellent post to give us spiritual strenght. I practice Yoga according to Paramahansa Yogananda teaching and I member of Self-Realization Fellowship since year 2000. The faith in God and in my Guruji teaching have been decisive to face this health situation. I hope to see the ligth in this valley of sorrow, I am finishing the chemotheraphy treatment and I am in excellent physical, spritual form thanks to my faith and the Medical Science in my country that God has given us.
Thanks to give me the opportunity to share with you about this subject, God bless you, Om, peace, aum...
Cecilia - Cuba
I am sticking with this subject as it is so important to me. Two days of the xeloda cycle and I get a week off. Many more cycles to go. However, today seems like a good day ahead. A little trick I have to use in my bag is when feeling low or morbid thoughts I sing a favorite hymn to myself. I love the majestic hymns of old and they are so meanngful and comforting. It is not only a way to calm my spirit but to thank God for his presence in my life. I am aware that miracles are happening every day. Our Mayo doctors and nurses and more are gifts to us. Today is going to be good and tomorrow may be a downer but I will dig into my survival bag and pull something out to get me through. (I hope) Try it you might find relief.
Mine is abig thank you to mayo clinic for the good job and tips of how to care for our dear loved ones.i must say they help me when my Mum really needed me and even others with recipes and palliative care.keep the good work and God bless you.spiritually we need more.
I appreciate the visualization that Cathy has offered.I am hopeful that, with time, Diane will find her way, perhaps inspired by such an offering.
When I feel low, or strong, or angry, whenever I need supportive and non-judgemental company, I call on the ancestors within. I know what my parents, my aunts and uncles, grandparents, and those who went before faced. I remember their subdued tears, their raucous laughter, their failings, their accomplishments. I know in my heart that their love and their experiences were bequeathed to me.(I view it as a psychological, not a literal, state.)
Instead of berating myself for not running a marathon, I tell myself I can put on my shoes and walk to the corner. I am not likely to become the most exceptional of volunteers, but I can offer a genuine compliment to someone I meet in my day, and hopefully, make someone else's day a little better. I can make a batch of cookies for may family and friends. From a selfish point of view, those little things serve to make things better. Perfect? Not at all. I have found no way around a range of normal emotions made more acute by life with cancer.
With best wishes for finding your paths.
TLC, I am so sorry that you have lost your faith. I am a person of very strong faith, but do not pray to a particular God. I pray for someone, not to someone. I have many friends of faith and am on many prayer chains, and am grateful for that. But I am always striving to be a kinder person, with more tolerance and to stay in control of my own happiness. I have had cancer for 28 years, so I know what a long journey feels like. Diane, you talk about a feeling of emptiness. Cancer does that to you. I sometimes feel alone in this struggle, even when I have caring people around me, and often feel so very tired. I have a visualization that helps me. When I am really down I shut my eyes and imagine that there is a long cylinder by my side. In it are all the wonderful things that have happened to me, and all my strong qualities. When I am at the end of my rope I picture myself digging deep into the cylinder and pulling out some of the wonderful things and I feel stronger. It sounds as if you are a caring person and I hope that you regain your strength.
I would love to see this blog talk about visualizations that others use.
I must be very angry because this years journey for me has left me spiritually bankrupt. I go thru the motions of life, push myself physically but all the prayers, prayer chains, and the kindness of family, friends, and strangers still leave me empty inside. I don't know what I want, how to really live nor how to feel. Support groups and blogs just leave me with a feeling of more dread in the future. I seem to be fighting this battle physically but mentally not good.
Awareness of cancer and its pain is the major cause behind my commitment to my Nichiren Buddhist spirituality.I am encouraged by the fact that some people have cured their cancers by a correct study and application of this spirituality,in addition to the medical procedures
Thank you everyone for posting your spiritual experiences. I have grown in my faith and relationship with God since my diagnosis of multiple myeloma in '09. I prayed on my knees and recited Pslalm 23, as I had in all health crises with my husband who passed in '06....prostate and colon cancer. God knew I was going to deal with this, and I truly believe He had the people and doctors in place for my journey. It has been challenging to stay "up," but I am continually renewed through daily prayer, devotions and the strength of others. Be blessed.
Anna, do not lose hope. The prayer that got me through a lot of anxious and depressing days was Thomas Merton's prayer, "My Lord my God" Please google "Thomas Merton's famous prayer"...it has helped so many people to survive this tough time. Heart and soul with you.
thank you Mary. Today is one of those sad days. I am feeling sick from the xeloda and my spirits are down. Your comments of recovery are so uplifting and gives me hope. I am also struggling with breast cancer for the third time only it has spread to the bones.
I have used prapyer frequently today to get me through the day. tTh5jg
Through the Mayo Labs I have learned that I have a genetic mutation called the Lynch Syndrome which puts one at a high risk for about 6 different cancers. I have had 3 (last one Stage 4 breast) and each time have recoverd, I believe, with good medicine, an awareness of mind/body interactions, meditation, prayer, exercise, nature and good friends. You are what you think, so think good thoughts. Amen.
I joined a group which didn't seem to help me as I came home thinking of their journey and wasn't able to sleep at nights so I quite going and found my own way of dealing with my journey which was prayer,reflection and just going and doing things as little as they may seem with my friends.
I THINK YOUR FEELINGS ARE QUITE NORMAL. I GET DOWN SOME DAYS. I CALL IT MY SD DAYS AND HAPPY DAYS. THERE HAVE BEEN SUNDAYS THAT I WOULD JUST S SOON STAY HOME BUT HAVE FORCED MYSELF TO GO AND ALWAYS GLAD I DID. DON'T LET GO OF YOUR GOD. HE WILL NOT ABANDON YOU IN THIS JOURNEY. EVEN IF IT DOES NOT FEE LIKE IT IF YOU CONTINUE TO GO THRU THE MOTIONS YOU WILL GAIN YOUR FAITH BACK.
I will share that my faith helped very much when diagnosed and initially treated but then my younger brother died last summer and I have struggled with church and my beliefs. I still find tremendous strength from nature, music, meditation and mindfulness but my church and faith practices that previously helped are actually not helpful. Anyone else with this experience?
So sorry for the typos. I meant staff instead of stagg. I also meant to say in addition to the Bible the Book My Beauatiful Broken Shell is meaningful. It was a gift given to us by a church locally by leaving them at the cancer unit in town.
Having been to Mayo I found that not only are the people on the stagg knowledgable and caring but people of Faiath. This was very uplifting to me. I also have let every contact I have to know my return of cancer and asked to be on their prayer list. It is rwrding to know I am being lifted up in prayer. I have also found a abook I recommend because the Bible. It is My Beautifu Broken Shell by Carol Adams. One important thing to remember is that we are all God's children and He will not give us more than we can handle. Hang in there and have faith tht you are loved and can go on thru the treatments with Prayer whenever you feel a need for it. Also, remember your fears are normal. We just do not have to carry them alone.
i hope everyone who is sick all get well one of these days
Upon diagnosis I informed my congregation and was placed on the prayer chain. It was powerful to have this community praying for me and my family in this journey. I also found using Caringbridge a helpful resource. After telling the story and medical path of my treatment, I received powerful comments through the guestbook. Many days these words of hope, comfort, encouragement and prayer gave great comfort when I wasn't up for talking. I also use the journal as a blog some days, sharing reflections and struggles, insights and hopes. It has become a very spiritual journey for us all.
I appreciate this post for its emphasis on the spiritual part of a very physical experience. As a cancer patient at Mayo, I have spoken very honestly to my friends about the varied emotions one goes through in the personal battle with disease. The following is a blog I wrote some weeks back in one of my more honest and transparent moods. http://southmoon.me/2011/11/09/nothingness/
I have been able reach people for Christ and my church and other chrurchs mens groups prayer list I am on and knowing that God is in control. Pray often ask for Gods guidance and send a verse to a friend. A friend sent me this one today Isiah 40:31. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strenght, they shall mount up with wings of eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. Ask friend to pray for you God hears the prayers of his people
God Bless you today and seek Him now!
Thanks for addressing the spiritual side of cancer recovery. I'm a cancer survivor, RN, and parish nurse. Recently I was urged to start a cancer survivor/caregiver support group in our town. It's been a blessing to all of us, and the one thing that stands out in our conversations is how important the spiritual part is--in most cases it's connecting to God, and learning to be prayerful and thankful for the blessing of life. Meditation, in whatever form one does it is also very helpful. I have found that it helps alleviate pain! The support group itself is a form of therapy, as many of you know.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.