Latter-day Saint Life

12 Months of Service: How One Family Chose to Deal with a Terminal Cancer Diagnosis


When Annette Ferran, a member of the Hidden Valley Stake in Draper, Utah, first heard the news that her cancer was terminal, she knew she had a decision to make.

“The choice wasn’t 'Are you going to have cancer or not have cancer?' It was 'How are you going to react to having it? Are you going to be sad and fall apart and be angry, or are you going to trust God and be positive and grateful for the days you have?'” Ferran said in a recent interview with the Church News. “It has to be a conscious decision, and it becomes a daily thing.”

After first being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (stomach cancer) in 2016, Ferran and her family made the decision to fight the cancer. And after three rounds of chemotherapy, a surgery that removed about 90 percent of her stomach and one more round of chemo for good measure, all the tests came back positive. For a brief time, it seemed that Ferran had beaten the odds.

But when a biopsy came back in August 2018 telling her that the cancer had migrated to her colon and had spread in such a way that her diagnosis was now terminal, Ferran and her family made two life-changing decisions.

Time to Turn Outward

First, as a family, they opted to not attempt treatment.

“We decided as a family that it is better to have a short life with high quality,” Ferran said. “We kind of just put it in Heavenly Father’s hands and however it plays out, we’ll be good with it.”

Second, they decided to turn their focus away from their own trials. When doctors told Ferran that the average life expectancy for someone with her diagnoses is 12 months, a plan developed amongst the Ferran family.

Story by Aubrey Eyre, lead images from the Church News
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