What I Continue to Learn from Cindy Bolbach: We Hate Cancer

Cindy Green WigsNote:  It’s Cindy Bolbach Week in my head, so I’m thinking of her wisdom as we approach the 3rd Sunday in Advent.  

I hate cancer.

Breast cancer is my special enemy.  I also have profound hatred for Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, liver cancer, cancer of the uterine lining, and . . . really, all of it sickens me.

I’ve watched cancer steal the body shapes, appetites, hair-dos, energy levels and souls of people I love.  I have – most devastatingly – observed cancer sapping the faith of previously faithful people.

What Cindy has taught me is that There Is A Will To Live beyond common wisdom and understanding.  I’ve witnessed hopefulness when no thinking person would still have hope.  I’ve participated in gallows humor that kept us sane.

The exquisite E. (the tiny one) has shared that her father – the forester – knew when pine trees were about to die because they produced an enormous number of pine cones just before their lives ended.  Human beings do this too.

And yet, even when it looks like cancer has won, it hasn’t.  There is something beyond this life.  I really have to believe this.

13 responses to “What I Continue to Learn from Cindy Bolbach: We Hate Cancer

  1. I hate cancer. Yes.

    When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Cindy, who was interim General Presbyter at the time, was the first person to arrive at our home to offer comfort and courage; for she was a “survivor” of breast cancer herself. Later, she was showed up in the hospital waiting room to sit with me as my wife went through surgery. These pastoral acts (from a ruling elder!) meant more to me, and my wife, than Cindy will ever know. So, while it may seem that cancer has won again, I’m believing that there are many of these pastoral acts of Cindy that are bearing witness to the God of life even now.


  2. For Cindy’s witness and your brave one, too, we give thanks.


  3. When my mother died, Cindy told me of her experiences of losing her own mother, and of feeling her mother’s presence with her at important turns in her life. I know that I (and we) will feel Cindy’s presence and influence in life and in death.


  4. Laura Cunningham

    So, I have this card that says all these things about how limited cancer really is. I’ve realized I don’t believe all of them, but am giving thanks that cancer cannot kill friendship and it cannot cripple love. And Cindy is living testament, as we all know. Thanks for your post.


  5. cancer sucks. 😦


  6. you took the words right out of my mouth. I hate cancer with a passion. Thank you for your post and wise, profound, heartfelt words. Elizabeth’s dad/my father-in-law is currently in hospice, whole brain radiation dementia. Been battling cancer since spring 2007, had tumors all over his body. Radiation wiped the last ones out of his brain over a year ago but his quality of life has diminished and quite considerably in last month with increased confusion, dementia, seizures. His condition worsens each day. It is only a matter of time. Prayers to and fro in this Advent season as all of us sit by bedsides and wait…and wait…and wait…


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  9. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?




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