Skip to main content

The Cancer Roller Coaster

John chemotherapy @ Wed Aug 11 This Google calendar reminder popped up in my gmail inbox. It is not like I needed the reminder. Cancer is not something you forget. Cancer and chemotherapy have prompted several metaphors. Chemotherapy is aptly likened to a roller coaster. Every cycle is like another hill on the roller coaster. You never know what is on the other side. There are all kinds of twists and turns between the hills. No two hills are exactly the same. I've never been too fond of roller coasters.

Living with cancer is very much like having a constant ringing in your ears--tinnitus is the medical condition. Much of the time you can push it to the background and carry on as if it isn't there. There are times when you are totally unaware of it. But then something happens and it marches to the forefront crowding out all your other senses. It interrupts your physical, emotional, and spiritual life.

There is a temptation to try and read the tea leaves. "Oh, (fill in the blank) must be a sign of (fill in the blank with a positive or negative prognosis)!" The conclusion drawn has no real basis in fact but it is an attempt to know the unknowable. The better yet more difficult way to cope is to trust. There has never been an occasion when God has not been present. I know that. He will give us the grace to face whatever lies on the other side of the roller coaster hill or around the next hairpin curve. So we pray. Prayer is not an attempt to change God's mind. Prayer centers us on the One who is control. Many of our prayers are petitions. And many of those petitions will be answered exactly as submitted. But submitting prayers of petitions to God is not like ordering breakfast at McDonald's. I submit my humble prayer and know that God, who loves me more than anyone on earth has ever loved me, will offer me so much more than what I can even think to request. In the short term, I may not understand His answer. The challenge is to trust that sometime in the upcoming eternity, I will understand.


David Jackson said…
Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his book Jesus of Nazareth that Heaven is the place where God's will is unswervingly done. I think that is what prayer really attempt to unite with the will of the one who loves us more than we'll ever be able to fathom. John is in my prayers, daily.
Rosemary Bogdan said…
Denise, you and John are in my prayers. May all of us, especially in times like these, learn to trust in the God whose tender love for us is beyond our ability to even imagine...

Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …