Usually my essays are directed at cultural and/or political subject matter, but for this one I plan to deviate and touch on a subject more of a spiritual/religious nature. Religion is a subject matter I usually do not care to delve into, however what I plan to share with you all is so compelling I have no choice. Let me begin this journey with an acknowledgement of two worlds, one dominated by sectarianism and the other secularism. Certain terms with specific meanings are applicable to each of these variant worlds.
What I am about to share with you, those in the secular world would claim I was “fortunate” or “lucky.” While those who lean toward religions would counter with the claim that I was “Blessed” and part of a “Miracle.” Once I share with you my journey, you can decide what fits you, according to your belief system. The very fact that I am compelled to deviate from my themes and write this piece, explains where I fall between the worlds. Here is the story and you can decide.
Approximately two years ago, I began to suffer from severe back and leg pain. Initially, I refused to go to the doctor and instead just took a bunch pain pills such as Motrin, Ibuprofen, Alleve and Advil. I did this for most of 2015 and into the second month of 2016. Finally, the pain became so excruciating that I decided to go to our family doctor for an examination. After explaining my situation to him, he immediately concluded that I was suffering from what is called Spinal Stenosis. He suggested that I get an MRI to confirm his findings.
Now there is no way they were going to roll me inside a tube with no room to move. I suffer from claustrophobia and wouldn’t last for a half-hour in that confined area. But that natural instinct we all possess told me I had better do it, because I needed the confirmation. Somehow I mustered up the nerve to crawl into that machine, and the technician instructed me to breathe in and breathe out for the next half hour as technology examined what was happening on the inside of my body.
One day later, my family doctor received the results of the examination. He called me and said I needed to get into his office right away. The next morning as I sat on one of those long bed like contraptions in every doctor’s office, he told me that in doing the exam for Spinal Stenosis they discovered a mass growth in my left kidney. He immediately referred me to an Urologists and after additional tests, the doctor informed me that I had Type 1 Renal Cell Carcinoma in just the one kidney. There were no signs of any additional cancer and they could surgically remove the small growth.
On August 4, I had the surgery and now have pretty much recovered. I don’t have to go back for a follow-up for six months. When my physician walked into the room after the surgery, he said, “You are a very lucky man and quite fortunate. We hardly catch this cancer in such early stages, because it gives the person no signs that it is working its ugly and deadly deed within the kidney. Usually, patients don’t know they have the tumor until it has progressed to much more dangerous stages. In its later stages, this cancer spreads from the kidney to the liver, lungs and eventually the brain.
That brings me back to my earlier statement regarding being fortunate and lucky, or part of a miracle and a blessing. Those in the secular world will opt for the former and I tend to lean toward the latter. Here is my reasoning. There is a higher source in the universe, God, Allah, Yahweh or Jehovah, according to your cultural upbringing, that sent me a message that I needed to get to the doctor so that the growth could be detected. He sent that message through the pain in my back. Remember, the cancer gives you no signals that it exists in the early stages. If no pain in my back, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor and therefore no detection of the cancer until it had progressed. Furthermore, even though the MRI concentrated on the spinal area, it was able to detect the growth in my kidney due to the proximity of your kidneys to the spine.
I am thoroughly convinced that the God I believe exists as the higher power, sent me a miracle when He planted that pain in my back and delivered a blessing when the doctors were able to remove the growth in the kidney. It wasn’t luck or simply being fortunate or just the randomness of fate. That happens when you hit the jackpot at the casino or win the lottery. Mine was much greater than something that simple. My life was extended through a miracle from God, and a blessing He had for me. Why He intervened to save my life, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because He wanted me to know that my mission on His behalf, here on earth, was not quite over yet. Part of that mission was for me to write this post about how God works in all of us and still is in the miracle making business. I stand as a true testament to His powers.