Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Living with Cancer

One of my very good friends has been fighting cancer now for 3 1/2 years. Two surgeries, two rounds of chemo, regulary testing, life with cancer has many realities. New labels - cancer patient. At first you think that label is temporary. And for some it is, you have been a cancer patient and you become a cancer survivor. But being a cancer patient moves you into a whole different realm of reality. Reality is regular doctor visits, sitting under big intimidating equipment, having toxins poured into your system to "kill" part of your body. My friend has been lucky, major pain has not been one of her symptoms. But most of the cancer treatments have "side effects." Nausea, hair loss, physical deterioration, and added stress on the body to fight off those cancerous cells. And once you've been through chemo, knowing that you have to do it again, it is no longer an unknown quantity, you KNOW what discomfort is coming next.

There is a group of women who meet regularly to pray for my friend. It has been a privilege to me to be part of this group. While I do not know what the end of this story will be, I DO know that God is faithful. Our time together is spent both in a special fellowship with her - sharing our lives with her and in a time of intense prayer. Each one of us adds something unique to the prayer. We pray for her physical strength, we pray for miraculous healing, we pray for emotional support, we pray for the doctors. I doubt that there is any aspect of dealing with cancer that we have not brought before God on her behalf.

And we know that God has answered some of our prayers. Two years ago we almost lost her - complications from the second surgery, lung problems, she was very weak, frail, and even the doctors thought they were going to lose her. But through God's intervention, she not only survived but has thrived these last two years, regaining the strength she lost from a long hospital stay. She has been active, vigorous, and joyful these past two years. She has acknowledged how God has cared for her and guided her. She has been a continuous witness for him. She has inspired all of us.

I have had an almost liturgical prayer for my friend. Her mom laughed when I told her about it, commenting on how I had her life all planned out. I would ask you to join me in this prayer for my friend: Father, I ask complete healing for my friend. Father, I ask that she live to see her childen married, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren. I ask that she have a long and healthy life and that she die of old age in her own bed.

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