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The Paradox


Is cancer a curse?

We have walked the cancer road for 22 years now with Cammie. It is not a path we would have chosen. But now, from our current vantage point, we realize we have experienced something unusual.   Yes, cancer is a curse and we wish it for no one. But paradoxically, it has been a blessing. A rich blessing.

How so?

It is not my intention to give you a grocery list of ways in which we have been blessed. But allow me just a few brief thoughts.

We have been blessed with an acute knowledge of the transitory nature of life. And, as a result, I believe we enjoy it, and our time with each other, on a richer level. When you can’t take life for granted, you don’t.

In the process of treatments we have come to realize how many people care, and how much they care, about Cammie, and also about us. The depth and breadth of our friendships have been enhanced by Cammie’s illness. And we learned “grace receiving” by being loved by people who know all about grace giving. Further, our spiritual lives are richer because we fully realize we are not “masters of our souls”, or our lives (or much else, truth be known)—we continue to learn dependence. It has not brought us to our knees, but it has taken us there.

And here is something a bit unexpected. We have been blessed with the knowledge of a good diet. I don’t know any family that eats as consistently healthy as we do (Judy could give seminars). There are other areas of knowledge too—for instance, that cancer is not nearly the killer heart disease is, and that many forms of cancer are readily treatable.

OK, and here is another slightly unusual one. Out of necessity, we brought Steph and Amanda to Cammie’s doctor appointments and to the hospital to visit her, and so on. In the process they were exposed to the medical side of things at a young age. And out of that, and as a result of seeing the benefit of good medicine, we have two daughters going into medicine. Steph is a second year medical student at U.T. Southwestern here in Dallas. And Amanda just started pre-nursing courses at U.T. Arlington. We could not possibly be more pleased.

I could go on. I love the story of Joseph in the Bible. Almost every time I read that story I am struck by the chain of events that could have had Joseph wallowing in self-pity. But what does he say about all the bad, evil, rotten things that happened to him? He says…”but God meant it for good.”

Cancer. Absolutely no fun.

But we are blessed.

(And if you are reading this, YOU are one of the reasons we are blessed!)


(Written sometime in 2006, sent as an email to friends and family)