Hope for the Caregiver – Chapter Five

My late wife, Benita Kepler. The photo was taken after she had been diagnosed with two cancers, both Stage 4.

Your Attitude is Important

Learning to care for a loved one with a chronic illness includes discovering how to laugh. Our attitude is crucial when caring for a person with a chronic disease. Our view is also contagious, infectious.

The cheerfulness of mind does good like a medicine for the body. Our attitude contributes to the restoration or preservation of bodily health and vigor. Medical science tells us the red blood cells, most white blood cells, and platelets are produced in the bone marrow, the soft fatty tissue inside bone cavities. A poor spirit/attitude ‘drieth the bones’ and remember it is the bones which produce the needed cells.

We can learn a lot if we read our Bible.

My Story

Anyone who ever saw or knew my late wife Benita in her last three to five years would almost always comment on her smile. Her attitude would match the smile.

The July before she passed away the next April was one of the few times when I saw her spirit nearly broken. She shared with me a visit she had with the dermatologist. The young dermatologist told Miss Benita she was surprised she was continuing to work her day job. 

The physician stood facing my wife, looking her directly in the eyes. She had placed a hand on each of my wife’s shoulders to make sure she had her attention. She commented, “We, that is me and the rest of your medical team (the managing oncologist, surgical oncologist, primary care physician, gastroenterologist and the radiologist are all concerned that you don’t understand that you have Stage 4 Melanoma Cancer and Stage 4 Neuroendocrine Carcinoid. One or the other of these cancers is going to kill you. They are incurable.”

Benita told me that upset her said she took the lady doctor’s hands off her shoulders and told her. “I know I have cancer. I know without Providential intervention they will kill me. I am not just going to sit on my couch in my living room and wait to die. I work because I need the medical insurance and because when I work, I don’t think about cancer.”

“That had to be tough to hear,” I replied.

“Don’t patronize me. You know it was hard to hear even when I knew it.”

I nodded.

She added, “I told her that God had my days numbered. I was going to smile and keep my trust in God. It was my hope in Jesus that allowed me to smile, to have hope, and keep going.”

She hugged me and then thanked me for supporting her approach to handling the illness.

She lived about eighteen months longer than the doctor’s original projection of life expectancy. I am sure attitude added to both the quality of her life and the length of her life.

The Bible Says

Proverbs 17:22 (KJV),  “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

The Meaning Of The Bible Verse

The attitude of the sick person is crucial when dealing with a chronic illness. Their cheerfulness of mind does good like a medicine for the body. Their mental approach contributes to the restoration or preservation of bodily health and vigor. Their outlook gives them hope. As caregivers, our attitude is equally critical. The one we’re caring for with catch our state of mind. Caregivers need more than a positive attitude. We need the joy of the Lord in our heart.

Pray Using the Bible Verse

  1. Heavenly Father, help us to enjoy the funny things that happen in life. Let our joyful attitude be caught by our loved one and other family members.
  2. Lord Jesus, help us to take life one day at a time. Allow us the ability to enjoy today instead of worrying about tomorrow.
  3. Almighty God, help our family and friends to not dwell on the seriousness of the illness, but rather help us to live life to the fullest as we know You hold the future of the loved one we are caring for and our future.

Applying the Verse to Receive God’s Hope for the Caregiver

  1. How’s your attitude? Being down is normal. Allow the joy of the Lord to fill your heart and lift your mood.
  2. How’s your outlook? Remember, that in the Lord’s strength you can care for your loved one.
  3. How do you get a merry heart? You get one by knowing Christ as Savior. You get one by spending time in reading the Bible, being in fellowship with Christians, and you just ask the Lord through prayer to make your heart merry. For the Believer in Jesus Christ there is the ultimate destination of heaven and being with Jesus. That knowledge alone should fill your heart with joy.

Author: Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a full-time writer. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, to a career military father and stay at home mother. He lived in six states and attended eight different schools before graduating high school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with minors in English and Military Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Arts and Master of Religious Education degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Doctor of Education degree. Before writing full-time, he worked as a US Army officer for 10-years, religious educator for 18-years, and as an IT software application engineer for over 20-years. He is a widower. He lives in North Texas with his cat Lacey.

One thought on “Hope for the Caregiver – Chapter Five”

Comments are closed.