Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, 2010 – Help! I’m a Market Segment

I ran across this link recently, describing a subscription newsletter issued by a financial-information firm, communicating the latest news and statistics on “the global NHL market.”

Yes, that’s right. The “NHL” in “NHL market” refers to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. There are actually financial analysts out there who make it their business to study the strength of companies developing drugs and other therapies to treat NHL.

We all know that health care in this country is profit-driven, but this displays the seamy underside of that reality. Some of these technological developments tracked by this service represent life and death for people like me. We follow this information in order to stay as healthy as we possibly can. Subscribers to this newsletter follow the same information in order to make a buck. Lots of bucks, actually.

I read this stuff and I end up feeling vaguely dirty, for no particular reason. How does it strike the rest of you, especially folks who are dealing with cancer?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

November 7, 2010 – Gratitude on the Radiation Table

Paul Bresnahan is an Episcopal priest who served with me on the writing team for the internet sermon resource, The Immediate Word, back when I was working as the team’s convener. Recently I came across a blog post of his, reflecting on his own cancer experience. Here's an excerpt:

“Prostate cancer struck me well over a year ago, and I have been living with Jesus as I always have and then journeyed through surgery and now radiation. God has given me the privilege of sharing my journey with others who gather with me in the waiting room at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. We share our joys and sorrows, our hopes and our fears, our aches and our pains.

We cheer one another along. Last week when I was called for a radiation treatment, I quipped: ‘My turn to shine.’ My companion for the day told me that the entire waiting room erupted in laughter as I left the room. ‘Who is that man?’ several asked. ‘He is my parish priest,’ was the proud answer. And thus the witness to Jesus' love and healing touch tickled those within the Cox Center for Cancer Treatment at one of the world's great hospitals.

Inside the treatment facility, as I lay on the table with a giant metal fork rotating around me and beaming its rays within my body, I saw the hand of God and sensed a healing touch within me. I saw no vision other than the hand of science and medicine ministering to me out of the gifts God so generously bestows upon the care giving community in my home city. The beaming rays of radiation give me the gift of healing and of life, and I am brim full of gratitude.”

It’s so true that the eye of faith can sometimes glimpse the hand of God in all kinds of things. Even a piece of radiation therapy equipment.