Charlotte Cole was one of the most unlikely people on the planet to get cancer—or so you would think. She rigorously believed in avoiding processed foods, using alternative health methods to stay in optimal health, and practicing her strong Christian faith to manage the stress in her life. But no matter what we plan, God makes other plans for us, and for Charlotte, cancer was one of them.
When stomach problems turned into a cancer diagnosis in July, 2011, Charlotte did not despair. She firmly believed God has a reason for everything, and while she knew the journey ahead of her would be difficult, she never relinquished her faith in God. From the start, she believed God wanted to use her cancer to help Him reach others — from other cancer patients who needed comfort to people who needed to have their faith strengthened. And so Charlotte began blogging about her cancer experience.
Heartbeats for Cancer is the compilation of a year’s worth of nearly daily blogs Charlotte wrote about her journey through cancer and her recovery from it. While she experienced physical pain and heart-wrenching moments, she also gained so much through this experience, including learning to let go of trying to control the situation to how to accept help from others. She realized she needed to cultivate a sense of gratitude and also give others the opportunity to show kindness toward her. She also learned to accept and befriend a wide variety of people, including a gay fellow patient and women in a Sober House, whom she learned, despite their own ordeals, were praying for her. In the end, Charlotte drew closer to God, her family, and her friends, and she opened herself to many new relationships; best of all, the benefits were mutual for those she interacted with since she opened up others to the miracles God can work in our lives when we get out of the way and let Him.
While readers are given a front row seat into Charlotte’s experiences with doctors, hospitals, and treatments, her cancer journey is also full of humorous and touching moments. I loved Charlotte’s sense of humor throughout the book, such as when she titles one chapter, “Sorry, Satan…It’s Time for Some Laughter,” when she tells the doctor her kids are hoping her diagnosis will mean she can smoke pot, and when she refers to herself as a Christian witch doctor because of her belief in alternative health remedies. And then there are poignant moments such as when she goes to the beach and finds someone else’s ostomy bag floating in the water, which makes her feel empathy for others. Nor is she afraid to be honest about her faith or point out when people wrongly use Christianity to judge others when judging should be left up to God.
Ultimately, Heartbeats for Cancer is both a realistic and inspirational look at one woman’s cancer journey. But it’s more than that — it’s a wakeup call for many of us to embrace life, get our priorities straight, and reinvest in our relationship with God. Near the end of the book, Charlotte urges us on with a call to action, saying:
“What about you? Hopefully, you don’t need cancer or something of that magnitude to shift into gear and move forward toward fulfilling your calling. Ask yourself, ‘If I only had a short time left here, is this how I’d want to be spending it?’ If not, make some radical changes; though be prepared for the resistance that will surely precede the fresh start. Make one small step: commit to one thing you’ve been putting off. I’d love to hear about it.”
Whether you or a loved one are dealing with cancer or another illness, or you’re just in need of making some changes in your life and you need a little motivation, Heartbeats for Cancer is the perfect book to get you moving in the right direction.
For more information about Charlotte Cole and Heartbeats for Cancer, visit the author’s website.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1500550469]