Thompson, Deanna A. Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace. (Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock Pub, 2012), 166 pp.
Deanna Thompson called her life a “near perfect life” at age 42, as she had a caring and loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a career teaching religion at a Minnesota university. She also had opportunities to travel and observe the beauty of God’s creation, plus the blessing of family and friends who lived in close proximity and served as a great support group for her. Along with all of this, she enjoyed the blessing of excellent health, so excellent that she rarely needed a doctor. In fact, at age 42 she did not have a primary-care doctor of her own.
In the summer of 2008, however, this excellent health record took a major turn-about when Deanna began suffering major lower back pain accompanied by a burning sensation in her back. This led her to appointments with chiropractors, doctors, and specialists. Finally, with the help of an MRI, Deanna was diagnosed as having a fractured spine and needing the expertise of a spine specialist.
The MRI revealed a mysterious fluid surrounding two fractured vertebrae – a fluid which was biopsied and revealed that she had breast cancer, a cancer that had spread to her spine. The diagnosis was Stage IV breast cancer. Thus began months of doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations, tests, medications, and total emotional drain.
This is a powerful book which connects the fearful and painful recognition of our own mortality with the grace of God and the comforting assertion of the Apostle Paul that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
Deanna Thompson is now living in remission, knowing that each day is a gift of grace. She is awed by the way her family and her community have rallied around her. She looks upon her cancer as a gift because, “the experiences of grace that I’ve been privileged to have would not have happened had I not had cancer.”
Deanna A. Thompson
is a Professor of Religion at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota,
and the author of Crossing the Divide: Luther, Feminism, and the Cross. She lives with her husband and two daughters in St. Paul.