Professor shares how he got through his wife’s cancer

History and Political Science Professor Jim Fuller presented, “Why Not Me?: How Jesus Helped Beat Cancer” in the Trustees Dining Room on Monday, Feb. 22, at 12 p.m. as part of the Sharing My Story series, sponsored by the Lantz Center for Christian Vocations and Formation.

Fuller talked about how he and his family dealt with his wife, Brenda Fuller, being diagnosed with cancer. Fuller first met his wife in 2002, and they married in 2003. Fuller and Brenda had a son named Carson in 2006. On April 2008, Brenda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis and received treatment. Brenda took part in clinical trials at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis and also the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Brenda’s final treatment was at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. She then passed away in February 2012.

Through his experience, Fuller said, he found that happiness comes from knowing God and experiencing true love. Fuller said that they are hard to achieve, but most choose to be in a relationship with God and with others through love. According to Fuller, we must work hard every day to continue to love and keep those relationships alive.

To prepare for his presentation, Fuller said he thought about the effect of his story and how it would help his audience.

“What helped me prepare was faith in God and that whoever would be in this room might need to hear this and that whatever words I say would glorify God and glorify Christ and that He would speak for those that need to hear it,” Fuller said. “Maybe there would have been someone who would have been here but wasn’t, and maybe there would have been people who could not care less. I know already that there was at least one person here today that felt like I was speaking to them for them. It was the sort of faith in this event, that for whoever happened to show up, it would be for God’s purposes.”

Fuller said what he looks forward to explaining in his story is that defeat is not always as it seems.

“The part that I look forward to the most is that there’s victory in what looks like defeat,” Fuller said. “That faith sustained me and my family and my wife right up to the very end of her life, and that through Christ there’s victory in what everyone else, including ourselves, can easily define as defeat.”

Sophomore religion major Zach Chapman said that Fuller’s presentation taught him that not every bad thing that happens to you is negative.

“The things that we kind of accept normally as negatives don’t always have to be just a negative; there can always be another side,” Chapman said. “In particular to this story, there can be a joyful side to something very upsetting and kind of depressing in nature.”

Fuller emphasized living life with joy. He said that when it comes to living, finding joy will help during those times when there is difficulty or feelings of wanting to give up.

“Get busy living. No matter how hard it is and no matter how much pain it is, try to remember you’re not dead yet,” Fuller said. “There’s life here, and even when you’re suffering, even there, try to find joy. Joy for me is a sense of happiness, and it is also a sense of peace that God is in control. Yes, you’re suffering, and you’re in pain, and maybe you don’t feel like laughing, and maybe you’re not joking around all the time but have a sense of peace that God is in control and to do as much as you possibly can every day you’re given.”