Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting my Masters in Cancer

The last month has been a crash course in Cancer -- both what conventional medicine and alternative practices can teach me. I've skimmed what feels like hundreds of medical journals, clinic websites, and clinical trial abstracts. I've read books on nutrition, alkaline water, and watched documentaries on health. I've researched supplements, spices, roots, and plants with healing properties. I've studied diagrams of the gastrointestinal area and learned medical jargon.

If we'd had complete faith in the first doctors we met, or even in what conventional medicine had to offer my Dad and his type of cancer, this all would have been much easier. We would have trusted them to educate us, answer our questions, and make all the decisions. The agony we've experienced was trying to take the matter of Dad's care into our own hands, educate ourselves on our options, and make a decision we had enough confidence in to proceed, while accepting all the responsibility for it possibly not working. Each time we made a decision, we were faced with an obstacle: a doctor wouldn't treat us because the disease was too advanced, we lived out of state, or there was a waiting period longer than seemed reasonable.

For the first time in the last few years, falling apart and letting my anxiety get the best of me isn't an option. Neither is giving up. The stakes aren't wearing the wrong outfit, wondering what to do with my career, or worrying about my marriage. The stakes are my dad's life, my family's ultimate happiness, my world being turned upside down. I have to see all these hurdles as closed doors that HAVE to lead to an open one. I have to stay positive that there is something out there that could help, that would help. I can't let the disappointments result in me frozen and petrified, not knowing what to do. I have people counting on me in a big way.

So in the last month or so, I haven't just gotten my "Masters Degree in Cancer." I've started to comprehend faith in a way I never had before, because I'd never had any real reason to need it. In a sense, true tragedy makes faith very easy to understand, because it leaves you with great need and incredibly humbled. This wasn't a "situation" I could fix with my own intelligence or planning skills. I couldn't swoop in and save the day of my own accord. I couldn't control it. I could only rely on faith.