Tag Archives: cancer

Cystoscope - photo by Michael Reeve via Wikimedia Commons

My Story’s Far From Over

The Lie Called Cancer is now on sale in paperback; Kindle comes Monday.

(A three minute read)

If you haven’t yet read TLCC, some of this may get past you, but that’s okay. And, in all my generosity, you can read a free sample to fully know how wonderful it is before you order cases and cases of what is surely destined to be given as The Best Christmas Gift Of The Year.

Even as TLCC bursts onto the scene, humorously detailing my 2019 cancer treatment, my story continues.

Those doctors can be a suspicious and unconfident lot, but I love them for all that. I’ve healed 100% but they still want to poke around inside me in case they missed something. 

I had another one of those lovely cystoscopies in September. You know – the 14 mile journey with the big probe up into my bladder. Only one way to get there! However, now that this has been done many times, it’s not as frightening as it once was.

While the probe goes in and knocks around, I can now sit relaxed as one might while having a limb removed with a bone saw, cigarette and highball in hand, chatting with the medic. 

Seriously, it has actually backed off to the discomfort level predicted by NHS, as compared to the screaming-level pain I enjoyed the first time round.

Here’s the travelogue: ‘Normal urethra, non-obstructive prostate, meticulous examination of the bladder done without any recurrences masses or lesions detected.’

Meticulous indeed. 

So, What’s Next For Me?

I have contracted a case of NaNoWriMo. No, that’s not a medical condition. It’s short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to produce a 50,000 word draft by 30 November. That breaks down to 1,667 words per day.

For you non-writers, 1,667 words is about five times as many words as in this post. it’s 340 words more than in the US Declaration of Independence. 20 of the 66 books in the Bible are shorter than that.

Plus there’s the added challenge of inventing compelling characters, penning witty dialogue and devising cracking good cliffhangers to keep you reading through.

The conventional wisdom is to ‘write what you know’, which lends itself well to a novel about coming-of-age in the American Midwest during the 1970s (since I did that). For now it’s called Fortunate Son, which may or may not be an accurate outline of the life lived by the protagonist. You get to wait and see.

To stay on top of this new book, and get other updates on what else I’m writing, you can subscribe to Pleasant Lines here.

If you wish to join the happy throng, you can buy Masterpiece (A Love Story) and The Lie Called Cancer in paperback or for Kindle, or read them free through Kindle Unlimited. Using the ‘Look Inside’ feature you can get a free taster.

Happy reading and Happy Christmas shopping!

Photo: Michael Reeve via Wikimedia Commons

The Lie Called Cancer cover

God? Or Doctors?

(A three-minute read)

Here are some thoughts based on material from my upcoming memoir, The Lie Called Cancer (A Divine Comedy) being released in October. Yes, it’s a comedy. Sign up here to learn more.

[I promise that all email communication from this website will be covid-free. I always wash my hands before clicking <send>.]

Last year at this time I was being treated for cancer; I was just about to enter my fourth round of chemotherapy. A group of faithful friends gathered regularly in prayer for me. They certainly encouraged me, and I’m convinced their prayers helped tip the balance toward my complete recovery.

My prayer request this week in 2019 was to focus on God’s promises, not on the physical discomfort and weariness in my body. Those were transitory. ‘This too shall pass’, and all that. Despite these truths, and the comfort they brought, my life was in crisis.

Crisis provokes one of two responses in the human heart, faith or fear. My choice? I can either turn to the God I know and lean on Him in faith, or I can turn away from Him and blame him for my problems. Faith or fear, my only options. There is no ‘wait and see,’ because even the grossest procrastination dumps me into one or the other in the end.

I knew the trial of cancer treatment would be spiritual as well as physical. So I appeared to face a stark challenge. Do I approach healing spiritually, supernaturally and trust God? Or do I attack it physically and trust the doctors? Was it possible to do both? It was a much more complicated question for me than you might think. But the answer was simple.

I stupidly thought that these paths were mutually exclusive; one path leading to greater faith, the other dead-ending in despair. My foolishness was undone by a friend.

Until it closed due to covid concerns, I would spend my Tuesday afternoons as a volunteer (and later, as a client) at the Healing Rooms of SW London. This particular week I was on a ministry team with Catherine Q. After the ministry time ended she shared with me a scripture that was given to her specifically about healing.

‘Someone shared this with me when I was very ill. It can speak about the healing power of communion – how remembering Christ’s sacrifice can bring physical healing, not just forgiveness of sins,’ she said.

‘For we who are in this tent (figuratively, the mortal body) groan, being burdened, not because we wish to be unclothed, but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal might be swallowed up by life.’ 1 (insert mine)

That life that swallows us? It’s Father God’s love through the sacrifice of His Son. What I receive at the communion table swallows me up within His greater life. I go there with nothing; I leave with everything. What is mortal (the dead parts in me) is swallowed up by life and made whole again!

This section of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church talks about living a faith-filled life. This seemed particularly apt as I underwent treatment for a condition the physicians said had a 50-50 chance of killing me within ten years. I read this passage often in the ensuing weeks. It’s worth quoting more fully here, (in The Message translation) so you know the faith I was trying to cement into my heart to offset the fear running laps in my head:

‘So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.’ 2

I’m instructed to walk by faith, not by sight, to rely on the invisible more than the visible.3 I see myself blindfolded, groping forward cautiously. Forget what I can see with my eyes, what does my heart see? Moreover, what does it mean?

It means making decisions based on faith, even while I’m surrounded with the facts of the case, coming at me like a pack of yapping dogs. It means trusting God, and His promises first, while simultaneously listening to doctors.

Walking by faith, and not by sight. I’d be doing a lot of that in the following months.

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1. 2 Corinthians 5:4
2. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
3. 2 Corinthians 4:18 ‘while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’