Monday, December 12, 2005

December 11, 2005 - Seeing You Seeing Me

Today is Sunday, a week since my announcement to the congregation. Our Chancel Choir has presented a wonderful Christmas program. I've written a narration to introduce each of the suite of familiar carols the choir is singing, and my contribution is well-received. I'm relieved that there's no need, today, to say a thing about my medical situation in worship. It's good to have a normal Sunday.

I’m aware, of course, that my health is on many church members’ minds. I wonder, now – as the people look at their pastor, do they see a person who is less than whole? If so, what difference does that make?

As I'm greeting at the door afterwards, many people bring the subject up themselves, asking how I'm feeling. It's gratifying to know how much they care. I reply that I'm feeling fine and have no symptoms. A few people who have heard the news but weren't here the previous Sunday express their concern.

I have a moment, after the greeting at the door is over, to speak with Tom and Karen, who linger at the church door. Tom has recently retired as a school administrator, and has moved into private practice as a psychological therapist. Karen is a teacher. In the past year, Karen has completed a grueling round of surgery and chemotherapy at Sloan-Kettering for breast cancer. I'm aware that one factor in Tom's decision to retire early was the experience of walking with a loved one through cancer treatment. It caused him to re-think his priorities.

Karen is looking strong and healthy. Her hair has grown back. She and Tom speak very positively about Sloan-Kettering. They tell how, in the waiting rooms, they met people who had traveled there from all over the country. With a world-class facility like that just two hours away, they reason, why go anywhere else?

It's comforting to talk with Karen and Tom. They are examples of the saying, "What does not kill me makes me stronger." The Cancer Underground strikes again.


blue scorpion said...

I was surfing the web and came across your blog. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I've been through the same experience with my mother. There have been so many improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. I pray that you remain strong during this difficult time and beat this monster. God Bless You.

Carlos ("Carl") said...

Thank you. I appreciate your prayers and good wishes.

I am learning that indolent NHL is not so much something that can be cured, but rather something that must be lived with - although, with a good oncologist and the use of some of the wonderful medications that are now available, it can certainly be managed.

So they tell me, anyway.