Recent photo of my parents in my office

Recent photo of my parents in my office

June 14, 2007

Another Day of Treatment

A quick update: I drove myself to the hospital today for the third treatment. On the way, I got some Aloe Vera juice to drink, since my larynx has already begun to be a bit more raspy. I'm also taking some wonderful natural herbs and medications that have been given to me.

The radiation is going fine otherwise. Lying still is less painful, I think I sense an ease in breathing, and my shoulders are not in misery. I did sense a caution in my left hip (the area where the femural neck is eroded). I go tomorrow morning to see the osteopathic surgeon. He is to assess quickly whether a rod to sustain the bone would be better than attempting radiate it. At his call, the neuro-oncologist will decide whether to radiate or not. She seems to favor the surgery option, which would probably happen quickly. She claims that recovery time is short. I'd love to believe that.

Thanks be to God, I continue to have such fun doing projects at work. I'm energetic and generally focused, and it seems as though I've been encountering just the people I need to see at the right time. Praise the Lord for the ordering of our days!

I have also had some wonderful meditations in the night. I sometimes awaken and have a two-hour period of alertness. I try to lie still and focus on the Lord, listen to him, and let him touch those places in my body and soul that need healing. It is amazing to me how connected the two are.

Take an example from something I wrote in an earlier post concerning the relation between the body and the soul. I've been reflecting on whether I should view this cancer as an enemy to be "killed" or "destroyed." In some ways, it is certainly that. It is an invasive perversion of the intended design of my human form, a corrupt evidence of fallen erosion, the curse of death, the evil that Jesus came to bear and carry in his own body. But how, in light of my union with Christ, should I think of this cancer?

I've been struck by the way that the Lord carried our sins and the curse of death. One of my night-time meditations is the seven last words of Christ on the cross. You'll remember one of the first: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Is it possible, even conceivable, that the Son of God himself could have prayed an unanswered prayer? Could the one who raised others from the dead and commanded demons to flee have been resisted by the Father when he interceded for their forgiveness? I know that Jesus had to bear the cup that his Father gave him, and he submitted to that despite his plea to have it foregone. But for those who crucified him, I am inclined to believe that they were some of the ones who later repented at the day of Pentecost for their participation in his death, and that Jesus's intentions for them were fulfilled.

Applying that to my struggle with cancer, I think that the medical approach to "destroying cells" through radiation and chemotherapy is somewhat analogous to a just war theory of public life. There is a time when attack against evil and protection of innocent life is an essential priority, I believe, and I am thankful for those who are so trained. At the same time, there is a form of ministry that I think "modern" medicine misses. It's the recognition that the body itself is in need of redemption, healing, and recovery. It's a form of discipline and correction that would re-establish proper order within the body, rather than a matter of simply eliminating "bad" parts.

So, in that regard, I am amazed at how when I lie on the floor at night and become aware of the intercession of the saints (you all!), and the voice of the Lord, and then when the walls come down in areas of my thoughts and memories where I sinned against Him or mistrusted Him, or when I drove myself too hard out of pride and desire, or when I failed to obey -- I receive a release of tension, a washing of His forgiveness (I didn't know what I did -- I crucified Him, also!) and I'm so blessed with His gift of Himself to me, and reassured of His eternal love, that in some mysterious way, my body is strengthened. Healthy energy is released to eliminate those distorted cells, to rectify the bent over, to lift up the downtrodden. And all of this differs from the idea that I sometimes perceive from a surgeon who is more invested in a modified version of amputation. Again -- I think we need both, but the restorative recovery that I believe God wants us to find through prayer extends beyond the limits of scientific materialism.

May this somewhat intuitive ramble begin to take greater form, and somehow bless some of you. It helps me to verbalize it a bit. Come, Holy Spirit, and teach us to pray for healing.