Sunday, April 24, 2011

"In any event, in came the radiation oncologist.

But, hey, for the purposes of this blog, we could just call him Mr. Lovely. Or Mr. Perfect. Or Mr. Super Nice Guy. Or Mr. Special. At the time, however, I called him The Rocket. He was lean and fit and just like my naturopath, his skin glowed with great health and he didn’t miss a trick.

At this point, I really wasn’t thinking about what God may or may not have been lining up so I could reach my goal of ‘Shalom’ – a Hebrew word that means, ‘nothing missing, nothing broken’. I possessed no earthly contacts to advance my pleading case of mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, so I was pretty much biding my time, hanging on to this diseased body part as chemo continued to shrink the lump within.

The Rocket greeted me and I marveled at how well people in medical positions talk to you as though you look perfectly normal to them. He acted like I was not sitting in a washed-out shapeless Johnny shirt, devoid of eyelashes and eyebrows, wearing a wig I singed by opening the oven door with it on while baking. (Melt, baby, melt.)

He asked me something. I don’t recall what, but a greeting kind of question.

I answered him. I don’t recall what, but it seemed like a rather innocuous response.

“So,” he said, “You’re a spiritual person!”

I started to look at him again – more carefully – to see if he was sporting some kind of spiritual antennae that I had carelessly overlooked at first glance. I was completely caught off guard.

“Aaahhh. Ummm. Yes. I am.”

“What kind?”

“Ahhhh. Ummm.” Do I tell him? “Christian.”

“Great!” he said. “Then what would you like to tell me?” There was not one whiff of sarcasm or judgment or disdain in his voice.

What did I want to say, indeed. I was so excited to be the presence of a doctor who actually thought it was okay to bring my spirituality into the cancer equation. What did I want to say?

“I want to tell you that I have listened deep within myself and I’m not going anywhere.” Okay, here it comes. He’s gonna say something about how I can’t hope for that.

“Wonderful,” he said. “So, you need me to help you get, what, another 50 years or so?”

I am really bad at math, so that took a minute for me to compute … Oh, he’s saying he wants to help me live till I’m 95.

“Yes, that would be fine!”

There are many, many things I could tell you about The Rocket. And I probably will. He is a rare and exotic bird living in the forest of doctors.

And if I wasn’t paying attention to what God was doing in the details, that encounter that day with that man reminded me again that Someone with a much bigger view of my life knew I needed a spiritual boost – and a champion inside the system to help me reach my goal.

Unbeknownst to me, The Rocket would play what I would characterize as a divinely pivotal role nearly three months later when I was drowning in confusion and disappointment and anger about how it was all going down."


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