I had an appointment with my oncologist. I like him, but after five years, I’m ready to just run into him socially.
This was supposed to be when he released me, when he took me to the door and said, “Fly little bird, you are free.”
But that’s not what happened. After encouraging words about my blood panel, he hesitated about my CT scan.
The images showed something on my spleen. Instead of “Fly little bird,” what I got was, “You better stick around for a while.”
While gratitude was not my first reaction, I was thankful they had taken my blood pressure before this.
I called our son, who’s a radiologist. He explained that the spleen and the contrast of a scan have a challenging relationship, often resulting in imperfect images.
He told me that he didn’t think there was any reason for alarm. I hoped those words were coming from clinical experience and not filial affection.
My wife assured me everything would be fine. It was heartwarming, but, what else would you expect from someone who brims both trust and optimism?
I had a meeting later that day. The director and I were visiting afterwards when, out of the blue, she asked me about my health.
I told her about my oncology appointment. She said that she was sorry and then she asked if she could pray over me.
We come from very different traditions. She’s more Jeremiah, up in God’s grill, unabashedly asking for what’s on her heart.
I’m more “Thy will be done,” knowing full well that it will be done, whether I pray for it or not.
She placed her hands on my shoulders, closed her eyes, took a deep breath and then unloaded her soul.
She invoked God, the prophets and angels. She prayed for my spleen, then my whole body, begging it be purged of all disease and infirmity.
I felt hypocritical, as what she was asking was beyond my belief. But as I listened to her prayer, a wave of warmth washed over my body.
When she finished, I thanked her and told her I had no idea what physical effects it might have, but I felt healed and whole, regardless of what lies ahead.
Later, I prayed, too. Mine was more apology than request. I was sorry it took the threat of recurring cancer to remind me that I am graced with people who will love me all the way through anything.