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Karina's Cancer Blog

Rules for Surviving Cancer


There's an interesting book called Deep Survival that looks at what traits or actions survivors of life-threatening experiences have in common. The author seems to be writing from an non-religious perspective, so it might be helpful taking this into account.


His findings are helpful though, and to religious folk as well as non-religious. Gonzales' 12 Rules of Survival are:


1. Perceive and Believe - or recognize the life-threatening situation and take action to do what you are able to help yourself. 

2. Stay Calm

3. Think, Analyze, Plan. 

4. Take Correct, Decisive Action.

5. Celebrate Your Success. 

6. Be a Rescuer, Not a Victim.

7. Enjoy the Survival Journey.
8. See the Beauty.  

9. Believe You Will Succeed. 

10. Surrender. 

11. Do Whatever is Necessary.
12. Never Give Up.


There's a lot that applies to cancer families - the parents as well as children. As Christians facing serious life-threatening situations, we may struggle with the question - what would God have us do? Do we surrender? Do we fight? 


The answer may be different at different times, but we should remember God always leaves lines of communication open to us. And God does like to work his love, rescue, and healing through other people so that we should seek help where and when we can. We should be prepared to think and work tirelessly if that is what we are called to do, or surrender all if that is our calling. Endurance is one of the most difficult aspects in this cancer journey, so I enjoyed seeing the rule of Celebrate Your Success (or celebrate God's mercy?) and See the Beauty included in the list, although I would substitute Find Joy for the latter.


Just before Christmas break, our daughter chose an assignment to write a paragraph on How to Survive in the Wilderness and I gave her the Gonzales article to read. This was what she wrote:


"Many people who have experienced life threatening situations in the wilderness have been able to survive because of their ability to remain calm and put their faith in God. God calmed them down and made them realize what they needed: food, water, and shelter. In Laurence Gonzales' study of survival he discovered men and women were able to survive by not panicking. They found out the good in their situation and were able to think about essentials: food, water, and shelter. Even through hard times, people like Debbie Kiley survived. She was trapped on a raft after her ship sank in a hurricane. She kept herself encouraged by looking at the beauty in the sky. Corrie Ten Boom said, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."


What she added to Gonzales' rules was the recognition of God's goodness helping us live.

Rules for Surviving Cancer
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