As far as my doctors in Houston can tell, my cancer is gone. But the war against that beast left me battle weary and scarred. Literally. I have Frankenstein-ish scars and scar tissue on my neck and upper body. I can’t turn my neck much, can’t raise my arm but a few inches, and live in a degree of post-surgical pain. The doctors say I may have to live with it forever. I also have fatigue from radiation that has vastly improved from this time last year, but still has a ways to go before I feel fully human again. If I have to live in pain, I’d rather do it overseas where I feel a purpose, rather than back home where I never could find a suitable one.
Some of you may think that because I returned overseas, I am back to my old self. But since I’m not, I’ll give you some things to pray about if you feel inclined to remember me.
- I feel blessed that there are several western-trained, English-speaking doctors in my city. Most are Singaporean, at least one is Filipino. They helped me find my cancer in the very beginning back in 2014; they know me quite well. My favorite doctor, Dr. L, has been able to help me with medication since I got back overseas. But the medication available here is slightly different from what I was able to get in America, and I haven’t yet found the right balance. Some of the stuff she gives me makes me groggy. I require extensive napping, which is fine if the need comes around on weekends! If I try not to take the medicine, my arm and neck pain are the only thing I can think about. I wouldn’t bother to mention this to you if it was just a little annoyance, but it is at the front and center of my life every day. I want to feel pain free, alert, and human. Please pray my doctor and I can strike the right balance. Pray that eventually I won’t need any meds at all.
- When I first went to MD Anderson in the fall of 2014, to the emergency room, they ran all kinds of CT scans and MRI’s trying to locate my cancer. The most horrifying thing was to get an exam, wait for the result, and then have the doctor stand in front of me with his/her mouth about to open with words that could change my life forever. I wondered if the next ten words I’d hear would herald life or death. It’s not a position you want to be in often. I haven’t had any of those kinds of exams in quite awhile, but I’m having a PET scan in July that should be able to detect cancer anywhere in my body. I’ll have the exam, then be gone on a week long trip. I won’t know the results until I get back. Please pray that no cancer is in my body for the PET scan to find. Ask God to clear away any remnants of disease and make me whole. ASK FOR GOOD NEWS! By the way, the PET scan will be in Shanghai. China’s only (as far I I can tell after doing research) western-trained, English-speaking cancer centers is there. The doctors there are compassionate and experienced.
Sometimes I worry that by talking about doctors all the time, you think I depend on them for my health. I do think they are a blessing. I believe God can and does use them. I also believe that God can do all things, including heal me, with or without the help of doctors or medicine. I love to read the stories in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the Bible, and see how God’s heart was always inclined to bring life to those who were sick. When we see the heart of Jesus, we see the heart of God. I never want anything I say about medicine and medical professionals to take away from what our loving Father can and wants to do in our bodies. Sometimes I struggle with how to express it well. But I know God and His work are more important than anything else, and that’s why I ask for prayers. My requests almost look like news bulletins, but in fact they are my way of seeking the intervention of God in my life, the type of intervention that surpasses human involvement. Please ask God to bestow His favor in my body and in my life.
I also realize that these past couple of years, I’ve had to think about myself a lot, while many of you were facing your own struggles that I heard little or nothing about. What can I do for you? How can I pray for you? Please let me know. You are my friends, and I want to be there for you in your time of need as you have been around for mine.