What Is It About Health?

It is all of these elements, such as physical health, mental health, and spiritual health. In other words, there’s always more than just physical health. We have to look at it in a holistic way that combines the four pillars of health. This is a process we can all begin to do within our own lives; we must cultivate a deeper understanding of life and ourselves.

My brother was diagnosed at age 36 with acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL. When his doctors told my father that he had less than a five percent chance of survival, he was stunned. My mother told our family that he would see her before he died and she assured my father in her last breath that he would live a long, full life. Instead, in a matter of three weeks, when she received the horrible news that the cancer had invaded his entire left side, she had already died. What happened? My sister, a nurse, has dedicated her life to finding the answers to that question. Today, more than a decade later, and with help from research, she has helped countless people understand in a new way why it is so important for them to embrace physical, mental and spiritual health as a core part of their health care regime. My sister lives her personal spiritual life fully, as she always has since before we were born. In this video, our mother, a devout Christian, shares her story. In her words, she relates her struggle that began when, as a young, healthy woman, she realized that she could not trust the medical profession, even though she believed her illness was a spiritual attack on her soul. In that moment, she began to search for answers that would prove that she no longer had to live with fear of death and doubt about the divine.

She says, “As I was searching for answers, I discovered the Church, and I began to seek for forgiveness; for my parents, for my son; for the Savior.  I was determined to find the answers. I searched from coast to coast to find the answers and to find them I had to pray, I had to search from coast to coast, from state to state.”   She shares that “there was a very clear message that I had received. I had received the Gospel; the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that message was the importance of living a life of faith and living a life of righteousness.”

My sister’s journey through the process of embracing, living the Church’s teachings on living from a place of faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ are compelling and poignant. After learning of a series of tests related to the cancer that were to be given to my father, my mother gave up the hope that the diagnosis would be “all in her head.” As she had done all of those years ago, her prayers found their way directly to Christ and that led to the most remarkable day of her life. On July 3, 2004, her prayer was answered; the doctors told her that his cancer was inoperable. With the healing power of the sacrament she was able to bring my father to Church in his final moments. As she recounts, “After a few moments of silence as I held him, he turned to me and he said, “Thank you for bringing me to church today. You have brought me back to life.”

In that moment my mother said “I will never forget that look on his face.” I can’t imagine the pain of losing your husband and father. My sister shares why she believes that physical health is so important and that all patients, cancer patients included, have a sacred right to the medical care they need. “My father, my mother, even my son should have an right to the same kind of medical care that I have been afforded.” The truth of that fact is clear to her, and it’s why she has worked tirelessly to expand and protect the health care choices that so many cancer patients have.

In this video, my sister’s mother, a Christian, shares her story. In her words, my sister is her story .  In her final moments, she was taken to Church by her mother, and asked to give a little bit of her life for the salvation of her son. To my sister, that was the greatest blessing she’s ever received; that she could fulfill that little bit of her life for Christ. Now, all of her efforts are focused on helping other cancer patients understand why it is a sacred right to the medical care that they need.

My sister lives in Utah and is the mother of two wonderful boys.

She is also an ambassador for AFAF and is now working towards her Ph.D. at Brigham Young University.