Archive for Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sedgwick: Doctor’s simple answer brings new pathways to life’s journey

July 21, 2011

“To whom much is given, much will be required.”

I thought about this recently in relating my latest visit to the cancer center. In September of 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemo, surgery, radiation and chemo, it was said that my cancer was in remission.

A youngster in my office recently asked me what remission meant and how long did it last? It was a question I had not put to my treatment team, preferring to keep moving full-speed ahead, without a backward glance.

So, I asked the question at my latest visit in June. Explain to me, I said to my oncologist, who was kneading my breast like bread dough, what is remission and how long will I remain in remission; when will I know if I am or am not in remission? She paused in her examination and looked down at me.

“You are not in remission,” she commented. I popped up from the table and looked her in the eye; whatever the news has been, I have always wanted to be looking at my informant straight in the eyes.

“We are considering you cured.”

I don’t know how many people have the opportunity to hear those words. I have a friend with lung cancer who says to me that she prefers to think she is living with cancer.

I can tell you the news took me back a bit.

Really? I said.

I told you we’d cure you, she commented.

It was my brother who asked about my prognosis, not I. As I said, I was determined to put one foot in front of the other and journey forward.

I have not journeyed alone. It was with one of the groups that journeyed with me that I recently shared the news. It is with mixed feeling that I share such news. I am grateful and humbled by the news but saddened as well, for there are those who do not receive such news and struggle still with difficult and challenging days.

My journey has been challenging; it has also been grace filled. Because I have been showered with grace, it feels to me that there is work yet for me to do. I have had the opportunity to study with a small church of faithful people who have journeyed with me and are walking with me still on this journey for what lies ahead.

How to discern the meaning in such a gift: my life?

On Sunday mornings, I sit and study the stained-glass window in the church sanctuary and wonder what God, in all Her wisdom, has in store for me. On those days, I feel especially blessed to be among those who bear one another’s burdens, share one another’s joys and whose love manifests itself to the stranger in their midst.


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