Tuesday, 14 May 2013 17:53

Cancer: Reflections Before The War Within Begins

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Hello.  Please honour my request and apply due diligence to my need for prayers and intercession.  I am starting chemo on this coming Monday.  I will be taking treatment at the Siteman Cancer Center here in St. Louis.  It is located on the campus of Barnes-Jewish Hospital.  We were initially told that they were going to do a program of chemo involving a once every two weeks treatment in a three to four months on, four months off, manner.  The oncologists have settled on a method of treatment which is fairly new, has been used for 1,000+ persons, and is delivered in a time period as follows: three Mondays in a row with one week off.  The treatment itself is not more intensive but the time period in which it is delivered is more exhausting for me.
 
I have been diagnosed with cancer of the liver and gall bladder.  The tumors are inoperable.  I have been given six months to live if I do not take chemotherapy and 36 months to live if I pursue chemotherapy to reduce or stop the growth of the cancer.  In spite of all of this I am unafraid and I am resolute.  I want to stay here with my children but I accept that if it is the will of God I must leave this place and go on to the next.  I'm only 46 years old and I have so much more to give to this world.  I also have so much living yet to do.  The calculation of 36 months was made without factoring in remission or the hand of God (a miracle).
 
Sometimes, when I sit and think over the possibility of weddings, grandbabies, and other life events juxtaposed with the timelines of my life given by the doctors I get sad.  Sometimes, I cry.  At all times I remember that these doctors are not the ones who gave me life.  They are not the ones who sustain my life.  They are not the ones who head my life.  I asked the doctor, "if my situation is so grave then why is my liver and my other systems still functioning as if I do not have cancer?"  His answer?  "I don't know."  My doctors are brilliant men and women.  I am so very blessed to have them on my team.  They are not omnipotent and they are not omniscient.  God knows why and my trust is well –placed.  My life is in His hands. 
 
My doctors have told me, statistically, how longer my life is projected to last.  You can look into the future and give me an expected date of departure but they cannot tell me why I'm living today?  Furthermore, they cannot tell me how I knew that I was sick from a disease which has no symptoms (rather I should say, this form rarely has symptoms until it is almost too late and there are few treatment options).  You cannot tell me why, even though my liver has tumors inside and on its' surface, it is still functioning in the normal range of someone who does not have cancer?  You can use all of this 22nd century equipment to created calculations regarding when my story is going to end but you cannot give me an answer on the moments in which we presently reside?  Therefore, I cannot be sad and sit around and cry because you have yet to give me a complete story. Man may have an answer but in the case man does not have the answer.
 
This cancer is a test in a cold, barren, lonely valley and I could think that it is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone if I placed it in a self-centered and selfish paradigm.  I thank God for the words in Ecclesiastes, “There are no new things under the sun.”  I cannot compare myself with Job.  I think the analogy is so inadequate that to do so would be a form of blasphemy.  I'm just sick.  That's all.  I'm really not that much different from someone who has the flu, which has the potential to lead to pneumonia, which has the potential to lead to death.  Now that's a loose comparison but I think it's closer to my present trials than a comparison made with all of the horrendous calamities visited upon our triumphant Biblical brother.
 
I do not claim defeat.  This, most certainly, is not my dying hour.  I do not believe it.  Not because I'm in denial but because I'm in deliverance!  I have never been so close to God as I am now.  I do not linger close to Him like a child who hides behind his mother or father.  No, I have not drawn close because of fear.  I move closer to Him because He is the only constant of my world.  My universe.  He is the only one for me and my children. I don't know about anything else regarding religion except I do know that there is a Heaven.   I know that Jesus was sacrificed for my sins.  I know that there will be a judgment.  And I know I want to go to Heaven and live with God for eternity.
 
This experience has given me the seeds of grace.  The genesis of  calm.  And the conception of compassion. I have learned to call God my Master, my Saviour, Divine, and Father.  His yoke is entirely comprised of love.  I have learned to love the feeling of submission; giving the totality of this burden over to Him and trusting that He will see me through to life on this Earth or life after death.
 
I wasted a few stutter steps on those who believe in a punitive God of retribution on this Earth.  Yes.  There were those who were openly exultant over my diagnosis and there are some who have turned away from me with the synonymous cold and quiet of the grave.  My tears of pain over these folks have been transformed to strength in my resolve.  If that person's God allowed such things then there was no more time to be wasted due to the fact that the evidence is irrefutable we do not serve the same God.
 
I view my abandonment in two ways and they are (1) Room has been made for those who truly love me and who love the Lord and (2) Divine revelation of the dark truth being brought to light. Everyone who says they follow Jesus…  As they say on the streets, “you can make yo mouf say anythang.” 
 
Those two tiny bits of fact?  Family, cousins, sisters and brothers in Christ, those two or three lines are the hard lessons of a lifetime.  Those three sentences, once learned, bring peace to a searching and weary soul.  For they are lessons which can be applied by the old and young, man and woman, sick and healthy.  Because we do not have the ability to create more time. Because all of our time, ultimately, belongs to God.  Isn't it incumbent upon me, His servant, to examine how I spend my time and with whom?
 
I face this obstacle with courage but I do not regret never winning the Pulitzer Prize or anything of that ilk (so far).  I regret time spent away from my children.  I do not hunger for more time to become economically successful.  I hunger and am near ravenous for more time with my children.  Lastly, I am beyond caring what this world sees in me or what the world wants to see when they view me.  My only care is what my children see and my only desire or need is that they view me with love.  Especially when I'm tired, can't eat, throwing up, screaming and crying.  I know within my viscera that they view me, in these difficult days (our worst of times), with love.  That form of vision is what I need during my journey out of this valley.
 
Pray for my children.  Pray for the doctors and nurses who will provide care.  Please, pray for me.  
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