Riding the Cancer Wave—Spiritually Speaking
About the Lecture
Cancer not only invades the physical body but it can invade our spirit, our soul, our very identities, and the relationships that keep us connected to life or even to our sense of higher power or God. It can confound our deeper sense of what’s true and meaningful. But cancer can also lead us into deep spiritual growth and discovery. We may start to question the sign posts that have led us this far or wonder why our prayers have not been answered. These are deep spiritual questions without easy answers. The journey through cancer is not unlike riding a wave—peaks, valleys, wipe outs, and even sublime thrills. No wave is exactly like another, and each surfer has a unique style and way to navigate the wave and all its surprises. Michael explores the qualities he’s observed that help patients and families ride the cancer wave with greater ease. He shares what can sometimes happen when lifelong beliefs meet the challenge of cancer—to the religious and secular alike. Michael discusses how it is that we tend to find meaning in the unlikeliest of places—including on the cancer wave.
Michael Eselun, a Certified Associate Chaplain, serves as the chaplain for the Simms/Mann –UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology providing inter-faith support to those affected by cancer. He has extensive hospice background and spent four years at the Santa Monica-UCLA Hospital as the chaplain for the Palliative Care Program. He’s also served as the chaplain for the Acute Adult Partial Hospitalization Program, at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA since 2003. Michael’s been invited many times to speak to undergraduate students at UCLA, to church communities and to the Wellness Community about his work as a chaplain and on the spiritual dimension of the cancer experience. He recently was invited to address 300 nurses at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Nursing Symposium.