Healthy Survivors' Hope for a Miracle

Is “hope for a miracle” a healing hope? The answer begins with defining what patients mean by “miracle.”

Some people are referring to magic, a supernatural being, or a God whose divine interventions supersede laws of nature. Others are using it “in more earth-bound terms, such as when someone says, ‘The traffic was so awful, it's a miracle I arrived on time.’ ….[intending] nothing more than hope of achieving an unlikely—but possible—good outcome. “ [excerpted from an article for clinicians, “Patients’ Hope for a Miracle.”]

The answer continues with exploring what patients believe about “miracles,” because patients’ beliefs shape their hopes—what they hope for and which hopes drive their actions.

If you are facing upsetting news or difficult decisions, hopelessness can make it difficult to learn about your situation and options. In the pursuit of Healthy Survivorship under those circumstances, thinking or talking about miracles is healing when it helps you…

  • Hold on to overall hopefulness while grieving the loss of specific hopes

  • Avoid despair while accepting a new reality

Hope for a miracle is not healing when it keeps you from taking steps that could help. For example, patients with treatable disease are not Healthy Survivors if their response is to hope for a miracle instead of working with their healthcare team to find out about about treatment options and make the best decision for them.

Healthy Survivors think about and talk about miracles in ways that help them get good care and live as fully as possible.  

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