Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I can't even begin to tell you the amount of helpful, uplifting, heartfelt messages I received in response to my May 16th blog.  Thank you!

I went to see a new Doctor down at MD Anderson today and she adjusted some of my medications to help me cope with some of my symptoms.  Please pray that these new medications help.  I know that it's not just the meds but your prayers.  And of course The Great Physician!

I received a message from my cousin that was also very helpful.  I have his permission to share his post with you.  I hope you can learn from it the way that I have.  It is amazing to me how God can take something we see as bad and use it for good.  Miracles happen every day.

I love you all.

Love & Blessings from the top of my heart,

Here is Andrew's post:

"May 17, 2010 
Dearest Moni,  
      The letter you posted yesterday on Caring Bridge requested assistance from family and friends to help you persevere through this most difficult time in your life…
      In what follows, it is my most fervent hope that what your plea has prompted me to write will contribute towards your recognition that while you suffer, you do not do so alone, but possess within you a limitless power capable of completely restoring you…
      Your comments about being “stuck,” “in a hard place right now,” and stating your attitude as “I’m sad, I’m mad, I’m lost,” all recall the sense of frustration and bewilderment suffered by Job. I’m sure throughout this trial, you’ve had the opportunity to consult this book or have passages of it read to you, so I’ll just quote one section.
      After he has lost his family, his wealth, and is on the brink of losing his will to live, Job declares  
“If only my anguish could be weighed
And all my misery be placed on the scales
      It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas”, (6: 2-3) 
      Job sought to measure his pain so that he could find someway of controlling it: perhaps if he could define it as limited, possibly he could begin to understand why he had to suffer so intensely and continually, and therefore, find a way out of it.
      I think you too, wishing to reach the end of your chemotherapy sessions, desperately want to see a light at the end of the tunnel that would demonstrate the prolongation of your pain is not for much longer…and yesterday you honestly admitted that realization of relief continues to elude you…an excruciating and frustrating feeling, which aggravates the situation because it burdens you further, at a time when your pain already seemed boundless and approaching the unbearable.  
      So what do you do? Where do you turn? Actually, you answered that question yourself in your log entry: “I’d really like to be able to pray again. My prayers have become stagnant.” Your conviction in Christ will grant you your wish to control your pain, render it harmless, and through him, reinvigorate your spirit.
      Easy for my to say, you might be thinking…I’m not the one with cancer…I don’t have children, and therefore have no sense of guilt that I am not strong enough to be the parent I should be…all excellent, valid points…so instead of me just offering you my empathy based mostly in ignorance, albeit with good intention, let’s continue with finding the strength and knowledge you seek through your faith.
      This time I’d like to cite Luke, chapter 17. You’re probably familiar with the story contained in the section: Jesus is trying to convey to the disciples the essentialness of their faith in relation to their worship of God, and that no matter how seemingly small one’s faith may appear, if it is pure, then its power to save is limitless. After this occurs, Jesus is approached by ten lepers who request he heal them; he does, but only one returns to thank him. Jesus, in turn, blesses him for his display of gratitude by saying:  
      “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (17: 19) 
      The leper’s ‘faith’ was his recognition of Christ’s power of love…not just wanted to be healed in body, but in spirit, hence his return and thanking Jesus whose abilities to restore he never allowed himself to doubt.
      I think that the example of 10 lepers with only 1 returning to acknowledge Christ’s selfless act can be interpreted in several meaningful ways. In one context, what Luke is conveying to the reader is that some people will convert to Christianity, but most will not even though everyone is the beneficiary of Jesus’ love. This I think is the predominant way that the passage has been preached.
      Yet, there is another lesson here, which I believe is useful for your situation…the use of 10 lepers can also be understood as not just referring to different people, but an allegory applicable to just one person, with each leper representing a personal crisis, including illness experienced throughout your life or one prolonged period with moments of highs and lows as you have undergone.
      What Luke is seeking to make us understand is this: to fully empower ourselves with Christ’s love, his followers must continually strive to thank him for his blessings, especially in those times when pain is so absorbing as to almost convince us that we have been abandoned…such a moment of doubt is like being one of nine lepers, healed, but thankless to the power which restored you, and therefore without faith.
      Please, don’t misunderstand my intention here…I certainly don’t question the depth and determination of your Christian belief, but I do wonder whether you have yourself at times during this ordeal, and this sense of guilt burdens your overwhelming pain even further. Like Job, you have your limits, and while your faith has given you the perseverance to withstand the trial up to this point so far, you now fear that the pain is greater than your faith, which makes you scared you are faltering, that you’ve failed, let people down, and its all has been in vain.
      Before you settle into this disillusion, I think we should continue looking at Luke chapter 17. It’s no coincidence, I think, that immediately after the story of the 10 lepers, a Pharisee asks Jesus to identify what exactly the ‘Kingdom of God’ is. After that question is put to Jesus, he replies:  
          “The kingdom of God is within you.” (17: 21) 
      This is an oft-quoted verse, but I often wonder whether the force behind it is fully comprehended. Christ remarked that the leper who returned to thank him had enough faith to be healed…in other words, a man afflicted with a presumed incurable illness and having nothing to expect except a painfully slow death, still contained within himself an unfailing conviction in Jesus’ power to heal. No matter how decayed his outer body…the sense of sadness, madness, and feeling of being lost at his condition…the Kingdom of God resided within his spirit, so strong that even when he received the miracle of healing, he did not falter to appreciate the gift, and readily thanked Jesus for his selfless act.
      That, then, is where you need to go to find the solution to control your pain…within you. I remind you that throughout your previous entries in your log the evidence that the Kingdom of God was within you is indisputable. As the leper who returned to thank Christ, you have faithfully recorded your sense of rejoicing to God for each small success in this struggle, each instance where someone has assisted you with kind words and heart-felt sincerity. So, let me quote one final passage, which I firmly believe best exemplifies your capabilities. It comes from the opening of the Book of James:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers [and sisters!], whenever you face trials of may kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, [s]he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him [her]. But when [s]he asks, [s]he must believe and not doubt” (1: 2-6) 
      Through James’ advice, Christ is letting you know that your pain is indeed limited, but your faith, like that of the thankful leper, is boundless and as long as you believe, will always be greater than your suffering. Perhaps more than ever, you are being confronted with this recognition at the most painful moment of your illness. Through your faith, manifest in surviving all the trials of your therapy to this point, through your family and friends constantly channeling to you their love and faith, you will endure and be victorious because within you lies the Kingdom of God. 
      Remain strong in your religious conviction, continue to lean on your husband, your children, relations and friends, for you must accept Jesus has placed them before you so they can assist you now in your time of need…for soon you too will be healed, and moved by your enduring faith, thank him for the support he freely gave you to survive this painful but momentary crisis in your life.
      This, then, is my prayer for you as requested. I give it freely and continuously, because the experiences you have so well documented in your log have demonstrated to everyone how powerful your faith truly is, because it resides within the Kingdom of God. 
      With my deepest and constant love, 

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