So, something made you ill,
then God waited until many people petitioned him,
then made you well again.
Something makes people around the world ill
then no amount of people petitioning God
makes them well again.
Cancer made me ill,
I want no one to petition God for me
and I get better.
In my opinion, there is no god to answer petitions
or that can make me well.
My medical team found the cancer
by using modern technology;
they performed surgery designed
by up to the minute research;
they poured powerful chemicals into me,
based on double blind research studies;
they shot me with powerful radiation
that burned my outer layer of skin
and killed cancer cells and healthy ones,
knowing what increases my probability of survival;
they continue to pour chemicals into me
every three weeks for seven and a half months,
based on results of double blind trials;
they follow my progress on a regular basis,
watching with well trained eyes
for signs of re-growth.
I put my trust in my medical team, my family, friends, neighbors, and atheists from around the Earth, and my body’s natural healing process working with my teams.

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Replies to This Discussion

I wish it were an easier time for you, Joan ... and maybe one day, it'll be an easier time for you or someone else who learned from results reported on your case.

In any event, prayer or chanting or mystical ceremonies have ZERO impact on malignant cells, which are as disordered and purposeless as the religion that claims to have all the answers.  Your team may not have the best answer, but they have AN answer, an answer with some history, some background, and evidence supporting the efficacy of their methods, which is way more than the other side of the ledger has to offer.

And for whatever it's worth, you have my support, Joan.  You've had it from Letter A, and I see no reason to alter that.  Just do me one favor:

Get. Well. SOON!

Actually, Loren, I have felt well from the very first time I heard, "It is cancer, Joan!" I knew I was in good hands. The luck of the draw meant I get an opportunity to grow through this experience, just as every other experience has provided development I would not have had. Yes, it was a wretched experience, and yes, I had your support from the very first. So many gave me the feeling of being embraced, cared for, and valued.
My daughter and I have become fast friends, not just mother/daughter. She is all grown up and gave me so much love and encouragement. Her twin brother, living in Colorado, came with his two boys to spend time with me and make me laugh. My son Cary, the eldest, has been here holding my hand when I was overwhelmed, cheering me on when I was discouraged, and provided me with delicious meals every single day, as well as fresh water many times a day. My dear son-in-law gives me the best hugs and always keeps me mentally stimulated with things like politics and economics to keep my mind occupied. My granddaughters and great grandchildren were a bit tentative at first with my bald head and sleeping all the time, and they ended up making me laugh and they brought me little live frogs, and treasures they find in the forest.
My friends of Atheist Nexus present me a "cloud of support" in the virtual world of friendship over the internet.
Thank you, dear Loren, for your kind words and lively participation in my rants, and for giving me permission to share your excellent writing with my family and friends.
I am WELL and getting WELLER!

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Joan. It's brave to learn from a deathly challenge. Not many are strong enough to see it as an opportunity for development. Most of us just get regressed and wallow in self-pity. More power to you, our role model!

I remember a post in which you told us about having cancer:  "well, it has been a nice trip..." but you went on and made this journey through the long treatment, learning more about yourself and teaching anyone who would learn from it. Thank you for sharing!

Thanks for your courageous essay, Joan. I certainly hope (not pray) that you're doing better now. Please visit the chat room soon.

Gwaithmir, your lovely note encourages me. Help me remember where we met. Your name and avatar I cannot forget. 

Hi, Joan!


I believe we met in the chat room several months ago. You joined my group Lord of the Rings Atheists. I don't really look like Gandalf. ;-)


I'm a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer 5½  years ago. I underwent a radical prostatectomy and six weeks of followup radiation therapy. I appear to be cancer free now, but have to undergo semi-annual cancer screening, probably for the rest of my life.

 Gandalf, I am so glad you touched based with me and shared your story of being a cancer survivor. Such news sounds like there is life after the diagnosis, and a wonderfully new appreciation of life. 

I trust you are feeling well and doing those things that you love. 

I underwent another cancer screening the day after I last posted here. All results were negative. My next screning will be in December.

Very good news! In the meantime, have a rip roaring rich and fulfilling life, full of interesting things to think about and do, great food with tastes that sparkle, neighbors, family and friends that bring you pleasure and profound peace and joy! 

Thanks for this creative share, Joan.

This resonated with me quite a bit. My husband made it through lymphoma a few years ago. He descended deep into life support as all of his major systems shut down and we were told to expect the worst. But his team tried an innovative combination of drugs, one of which counter-intuitively suppressed his immune system — which was the thing already under attack and severely depleted. It was this combination that saved his life. Those are the people — along with the amazing nursing staff — who have my gratitude.

There were those who mentioned throughout that they were praying. Prayer is without consequence, an expression of impotence. But we all felt impotent, and what I took from that mention of prayer was the love indicated by it.

But it sickened me, when the ordeal was over, to hear some who had prayed attempt to take credit because of their prayers, to pronounce it a 'miracle', and — most nauseating of all — tentatively probe my willingness to approve this verdict.

But my overwhelming memories are of the love and support shown by my fellow atheists, who I called our 'army of doves', and who helped us over the gruelling months to continue to find reserves of strength to keep going.




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