Observations--Scientific and Otherwise
1. Business as usual. I sleep well and feel well. I eat as I did before--a little too much probably. Not many sweets (except for that rhubarb crunch I baked on Saturday). Freshly juiced vegetables in the morning, along with one slice toasted mostly-whole-grain bread topped with pesto sauce, sliced hard-boiled egg and sprouts--mostly alfalfa.
2. Exercise as usual--which is, sadly, too little, by far.
3. Take lots of food supplements and a few prescription meds--part of business as usual.
4. Tell people who would want or who need to know about medical matters--often in writing. It's easier that way.
5. Feel overwhelmed with a feeling of vulnerability in the presence of sympathetic friends, but lean heavily also on these same friends for support.
6. Follow the doctor's treatment recommendations.
7. Consider normal school days a gift. I wasn't sure at first that I would get to finish the school year normally.
8. Evaluate carefully the stresses in my life. Note how God is working in areas of stress and how relief is happening. Try to follow my nurse/sister's advice to engage in self-care, and seek out activities that restore and renew. Don't take it as license, however, to check out of life as part of a family, church, and community.
9. Share good news when there is good news. For me, this meant telling others about the Grade 1 diagnosis,* in addition to the Stage 1 diagnosis. Likely no need for treatment beyond surgery. That's about as good as it gets--unless the cancer miraculously disappears all by itself.
10. Read Scripture and pray by myself in the morning. Read Scripture and pray with Hiromi in the evening.
11. Give thanks for help with paying the bills--through a church aid plan.
12. Give thanks also for a husband who is responsible about paying the bills not covered by the church plan.
13. Give thanks that the extra expenses didn't all come deep into the sabbatical, with its corresponding diminished income. Remind myself that God knows all about timing according to His purposes.
14. Maintain a normal schedule--aim for a 10:30 bedtime and 5:30 rising time.
15. Do some reading and research on cancer. Resolve not to become obsessed with doing this.
16. Remember that as long as I know the next step by the time I need to take it, I don't have to see the whole picture now. I can trust God to reveal the next steps.
*I've been told that "Grade" when used to refer to cancer is determined by observation of the cancer cell structure. I've gathered also that in my case the cell structure revealed the cancer to be the least aggressive or slowest-growing kind. Hence it was labeled "Grade 1."
Surgery is scheduled for May 13--the first Wednesday after school ends. The doctor tells me that patients often can go home the same day.
I woke up one night during the past month or so, and "heard" the Lord asking me if I was willing to hear a cancer diagnosis without being angry with God or turning away from Him. I said "Sure, with Your help," and went right back to sleep. The diagnosis came later.
Very fresh in my mind is the illness and death of my dear friend Marian, who died in 2013 of ovarian cancer. The recent death of Matthew, my brother-in-law, who also died of cancer, is even fresher in my mind. I am aware of what cancer can mean. I hear from many other friends, however, who are cancer survivors. Some of them had cancer so long ago that I've almost forgotten it, although I'm sure they never will.
Also, locally, we're hearing good news about Willis Nisly, who was thought at one time to be unlikely to survive very long after his wife died after a short illness in March (?). He has no more pain in his bones, where the cancer had been very active. Now the pain is gone, and he has no more need for pain medication. The doctor says this means the cancer is no longer active in his bones. I don't know many details about how his cancer has been treated, except that I know he's been doing some alternative things.
I'm working with others on the curriculum review committee for the grade school, and the project for this year is to thoroughly review and possibly revise the science curriculum. We did language arts last year.
In thinking about the foundations of a science study, I've been venturing mentally into the realm of how people determine which solution to apply to a problem. Specifically, I'm thinking right now about health and wellness and medicine--traditional and alternative. We search always, of course, for what makes good sense. If Willis recovers fully, as we pray he will, what will we do with that? Learn all we can about the methods he tried, and then seek to apply similar methods in other cancer situations? Chalk it up to a miracle, thank God, and ignore the methods? Note anything that was done according to traditional protocols and conclude that recovery was due to this? Disbelieve everything we have not personally verified and which cannot be documented?
Seeing what traditional treatment approaches to cancer cost in dollars and cents is sobering, as is the very real toll that side-effects can initiate. Seeing how easily people fall into a habit of chasing the newest alternatives, offered largely based on anecdotal evidence, is sobering too. Preoccupation with the miraculous seems often to not sufficiently honor God for less dramatic evidences of His grace--a living faith that survives even the most painful journey toward the end of life, for example. The scientific method can be so laborious, when applied to matters of health, wellness, disease, and treatment that generations can live and die while it's being painstakingly followed. Add formidable influence-peddling and money interest influences to scientific investigation, and good results from scientific inquiry can seem all-too-elusive.
I'm hoping that additional clarity will result from working with others in formulating a philosophy statement for the study of science. Right now, however, I'm concluding that seeking answers for the mysteries of life must always begin and end by turning to the Lord. The scientific method, anecdotal evidence, and miracles may all be part of what God uses to direct us and guide us toward truth. Which one is to be the operative principle at any given time is part of what is to be discovered in a daily walk with God.