Walks With Cancer


From readings, conversations with other people, and her doctor’s comments, Mirella gathered information about this mysterious disease, cancer. Even though Mirella was a pastor, ministering to those in hospitals, she felt she should have been more positive. Faced with her own illness, though, she had no words to reassure the patients that God was in the midst of their suffering. Mirella had no arguments to help them cope, to give them the courage to fight one day at a time. How could she say these things if, at times, she struggled to believe them herself? Mirella realized we are all human when these sorts of things enter our lives, but as she journeyed through her bouts with cancer, she also realized how much her faith helped her along each step of the way.

Written by Mirella Coacci van der Zyl

Edited by Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour and Regina Jetleb

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There are many books and articles written about surviving disaster, violence, or illness. I survived cancer twice in my life: how can I deal with such a miracle? It is a miracle, in every sense to me, because I am alive and well, and enjoying my golden years. I attribute this miracle to God, my Healer.

I decided to share some of my experiences with my readers. My words may bring comfort to some individuals; others may see hope for their future. Still, others might discard my words as useless. As I share my journey with cancer, much of my focus will also be on my personal journey with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ has been a large part of my life, and I felt His presence most prominently when I was going through my illness.

Another person who supported me significantly during this trying time was my beloved mother, who came to reside with me when I first learned about my illness. She was a nurse before she stayed home with her children and helped my father in his Ministry of our Baptist Church in Italy. She knew how to make me comfortable and feel well cared for.

My life was changing. For a time, I thought it was over; I didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even my mother. I closed up and shut everybody out. Only two or three people knew about my condition, and I made sure to keep it that way for a while. Why? There was a sense of confusion within me. I thought I had done something wrong in my life, and this cancer was the punishment for my transgressions. So, I kept quiet and lived with it––by myself. However, eventually, my attitude changed. As you read on, I will make light of it.

I ask you to journey with me through my experiences with cancer, plus the experiences of others who wished to share their story with me. I will end with my husband’s story, as he not only assisted me through my cancer scares but had his own.

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