With the number of problems Fran has had with her health, surgeries, hospital stays, and lengthy recuperations, friends and well-wishers have taken to asking me, ďAnd how are you doing? No one ever asks the care givers how they are doing.Ē My answer has been, just fine, but now, not so.
Towards the end of last September, I began to feel a tickle in my throat which developed into a cough with a cold. The cold went away, but the cough didnít. It resisted a course of antibiotics, and several other prescriptions. My friends began to ask me about it and by December, it was of such concern that I was referred to the Mayo complex in Rochester. Over the course of a month, I was x-rayed, CAT scanned, PET scanned, blood tested, sputum tested, and more, till finally I underwent a bronchoscopy Tuesday, the third of January. There was an odd pneumonia that seemed to be generated by some underlying infection.
I got a phone call two days later. The underlying cause of the pneumonia was lung cancer in the top lobe of the right lung. By the time this edition hits the streets, I will have undergone surgery to remove it, Friday morning. Why would I develop lung cancer, when my wife has barely recovered from breast cancer surgery? I quit smoking forty years ago. I exercise regularly and keep relatively trim. I have steadily reined in my beer vice over the years, for Godís sake!
The answer, of course, is only God knows, and I can only keep faith that His wisdom is ultimate and His mercy and grace boundless. (And I admit that my faith is far from perfect, a thin and tattered blanket, some times, in the dark of night.) There is no sense in questioning Godís will, or cursing oneís fate, for as He said to Job from out of the whirlwind:
Who is this that darkeneth council by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare if thou hast understanding.
(Job 38, 2-4)
The story of Job has a happy ending, and hopefully the end of this chapter of my life will have one too. My cancer was caught in an early stage, unlike most lung cancers. A PET scan reveals no spread to the lymph nodes, or anywhere else beyond the one lobe of the lung. So I have a very good chance of a full recovery. I believe, in fact, that a cure is guaranteed, if the many, many prayers and well wishes from all of our friends and loved ones in the Winona community can make it so.
Please, then, keep Fran and me in your prayers.