Free translation – Side Effects (Parte 3) – The Chemo Brain

The “chemo brain” is real. For years people with cancer have mentioned about the “mental cloudiness” they notice before, during or after cancer treatment. Although the exact causes are unknown, this mental fog is called “chemo brain”. Some examples I’ve noticed are: forgetting things that I usually had no trouble recalling, difficulty remembering details, trouble concentrating (solving Sudoku is an unexpected challenge) and trouble doing more than one thing at a time. I suspect that I am describing a typical day for some people (ha,ha,ha), but I’m sorry to say that if you are not undergoing chemotherapy treatment, you can’t call it “chemo brain”. However, the “gospel brain” must be real to everyone.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) says ” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will
First, the “gospel brain” makes us focus on God and not on us. Any action from our part is the result of God’s mercy. We are not the protagonists of the story. If our struggles, trials, successes, failures, dreams and goals are exclusively about us we are not experiencing the side effects of the gospel.
Second, our life should be an act of spiritual worship. This is not a sacrifice for our sins because Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient. It is about displaying the mercy of God with our lives. This offering is not holy and pleasing to God because our lives are perfect or because our bodies are healthy. It is a holy and acceptable sacrifice if we offer every part of ourselves to him as an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13).
Third, our minds are the battle ground between being conformed to the pattern of this world and being transformed. It is “How do I think?” before “How do I feel?” The biggest fight against cancer is the daily struggle with thoughts that come with the cancer. The arrival is unexpected, varied and cruel. It’s not always at the same time or in the same way but inevitably every day there is some thought that causes me trouble. We all have the same issue. Every day we are bombarded with the framework, the way of thinking of this world. “Do whatever you want”, “the most important thing is to be happy”, “it is all about yourself,” “it is okay to do it as long as you don’t hurt someone” etc.
That battle is not won with positive thoughts or following a series of steps. That battle is won in one place and doing one thing: ” And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV). Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory.  By keeping our eyes on Jesus we are transformed into his image and renewed in our mind. But this transformation also comes from God through His Spirit.
There is no way that based on my own strength and with my “Becky brain” I can consider this cancer as something good, pleasing and perfect. There will always be a situation that we can hardly see as part of God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. But the “gospel brain” says: focus on God’s mercy; surrender yourself to the glory of God; do not conform to the pattern of this world; keep your eyes on Jesus and be transformed by His Spirit.


All rights reserved. Rebecca Parrilla. June/2015

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