July 08, 2007

A Personal Matter of Life and Death

I'm going to venture off topic with this post because, well, it's my blog.

Pastor Brenda and I have been operating with a heavy weight on our shoulders in recent weeks.

In May, not long after I recovered from complications following "routine" gallbladder surgery, Pastor Brenda went in for her annual mamogram.

They found a very small lump in her left breast.

They did a biopsy.

The biopsy showed some "bad cells," so they performed a lumpectomy, where they remove a portion of the tissue from inside the breast.

The pathology tests showed that there were four very, very small cancererous tumors.

They had to go back in and extract more tissue.

This is the part where our faith was being tested. We both felt that she would be completely healed, but we didn't know how big a price she would have to pay for that healing. After the third procedure, we waited to see if further treatment, likely radiation, would be needed.

Praise the Lord, it wasn't. The pathology (two days after we had been told to expect the results) came back clean. No more cancer, no more surgery or other treatment needed.

I post this for two reasons. First of all, that our passionate prayers were answered and Pastor Brenda will be fine.

Second, with her blessing, I want to point out the vital importance of early detection. If Brenda had skipped her annual exam, this cancer would have had plenty of time to get a good foothold, and her prognosis could have been much, much worse.

Unlike many of our laws, breast cancer does not discriminate based on a woman's sexual orientation.

I am linking to the Susan G. Komen Foundation's website, which contains a plethora of information about breast cancer. Pastor Brenda and I recently participated in the Race For The Cure in Washington, DC, and now that she is officially a breast cancer survivor, you can bet we'll be doing that as long as we are able. It was inspiring walking along with so many brave survivors who endured a lot more than Brenda had to.

So why did God allow my wife to be afflicted with those tumors? Perhaps so you could read about her story here. Perhaps she will meet someone in the future who needs to hear about the value of early detection.

I'm just glad she'll be around, whole and healthy, to do so.


  1. Yes, thank goodness she is fine. Truly. The story makes me less scared of doctors a bit. Just a bit.

    But I wanted to respond to your statement "First of all, that our passionate prayers were answered and Pastor Brenda will be fine."

    What if she were not fine? You may say that we don't get answers that we want to our prayers. That God has his own plan.

    After experiencing my own husband's death from cancer and all of the church people saying they would pray for him (and they did) and saying after he died that God's plans were different, I have developed a real aversion for these statements.

    Isn't it a platitude to say God's plans are different or that a prayer was answered?

    We had a pastor here that I complained to about this. They were praying for healing for a member of the congregation and I had to object. The minister said that they pray for the healing of the soul to accept what is going to come. That I can understand: praying for strength to live through something awful.

    Well, this is confused and long. Thank you for your blog.

  2. meeyauw,

    I really appreciate what you are saying in your comment. Of course, if our prayers for health of loved ones were always answered, people would never die. That wouldn't work, now would it?

    Having also lost a spouse, I can empathize with your perspective here. In Brenda's situation, however, we had both felt we received assurance from God that she would emerge from this healthy and whole before we got too deep into it, so our prayers were more of the "don't make her have to go through radiation treatment" than "please spare her life."

    We weren't at sure he would answer that prayer, but we feel He did because we are gearing up some ministry initiatives we believe He led us to, and it's not like God to point us in a certain direction just to pull the rug out from under us.

    I learned after losing my late wife that even that was part of His plan, and when I sought Him out, he pointed me in the direction He wanted me to go. It was a painful, humbling time that I emerged from stronger and more at peace than ever.

    I hope that explains where I was coming from.