Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What a long strange trip it's been

The Grateful Dead's song, part of whose lyrics are listed above, sum up my life quite well. This past week has been surreal. After discovered that my cancer had returned, it became clear we needed to get back into therapy very aggressively. Before doing that, however, we needed to have a bone marrow biopsy performed. When I tried to connect with my Dallas oncologist's nurse, I was getting no response, after, no response. I ended up having to call in a favor and speak with the head of the oncology department at Baylor to rattle the cages of the staff enough to they would call me back. Wow! Talk about frustration. 

So, fast forward a few days. I had my marrow biopsy scheduled. When the did the biopsy they had to do 5 attempts because they kept getting dry taps. Eventually they got some issue, but, as it would turn out, not enough to do a full anlaysis. Two days ago, Monday, July 9, 2012, we were able to go back and learn that the tests were inconclusive. From what we could tell, the test did rule out lymphoma based on pathology and special stains. Nonetheless, the oncologist in Houston wanted to run a genetic analysis on the marrow to identify if was had an exact match of DSRCT in the marrow or not. I got the call yesterday morning while I was getting 3 pints of A+ at Plano Presby that they needed me back in Baylor downtown today at 10:40 am, to do another biopsy. I could feel the rage rising up within me.

Not only was the failed attempt last week insulting enough, they wanted to throw on top of it another test to validate, based on genetic analysis, what we were dealing with. When they did the biopsy my Dallas oncologist frankly said they don't know, and, while the test should show nothing, it would give us a final answer as to what we are dealing with. They gave me some ativan (man that hurts subcutaneous) and some dilaudid (kicked in later) to make it a little more barable. In the end, they got sufficient samples, but, I had so many feelings and thoughts rolling around in my head it just felt anticlimactic.

Since we spoke with Dr. Mennel Monday, everything seems that much more surreal, dark, and, weak. For so long we had tons of faith God would heal this we labelled this as a "learning experience" where God was teaching us about healing. At first, we hoped for a miracle. But, after we had to start chemo, then, after we had to do the surgery, and, finally, after the broken leg and now this...I would be lying if I didn't say I truly doubt God heals any more. People talk about "God can heal" as a key point of faith. Sure, conceptually, I get it. But, I look at my life, and, the lives of dozens of people I know, some infinitely better than me, who would have deserved God's merciful healing, and, who received none. At this point, I even question why I believed in healing. 

Sure, it sounds great. Nothing in scripture clearly points out that God quit healing. But, if I look around and use common sense, it is hard to argue that God really does heal anymore. Trust me, I, as much as anyone, wants it to be true. But, when faced with pain, doubt, disappointment, fear and loss like I have been, you have to think God would intervene somewhere. If he has, I don't see it. Sure, people talk about how God has healed me, yet, it just sounds like nonsense to me these days. If God has truly healed me why am I dying? I am coming to see God as a God of hypothetical power, not one of real power, not one who brings people back from the dead, and, one who restores the broken, lost, and, desperate.

People dedicate their lives hoping to be closer enough to God that he will show his power and mercy. Yet, in the history of mankind so few people have had God intervene on their behalf, if you look at it with common sense, it just smacks of delusion for a man like me to believe he would do anything for me. Because these feelings are rising up in me, I find sermons now strike me oddly, as insulting, banal, trivial, and, meaningless. If anything, they are mocking me in my pain and loss. People are supposed to praise God in the good and the bad. So, God, you want me, someone you could supposedly save, to praise you even though you won't exercise power you possess and claim this is God's great plan? I feel like a veil has been lifted off my eyes and the things I once believed in seem just absurd and deluded.

Here I stand, alone, left behind, powerless to save myself, and, not permitted to do anything about my own life. The God train has passed me by and I am supposed to quietly smile and pretend like nothing has changed. Is this the dark night of the soul? Is this the loss of faith? The realization that death is upon me, God will do nothing to stop it (before it should have right to my life) and my remaining days consist of suffering, detaching from those I love, the things I found happiness in and, in a sense, closing up shop. I look around me and see thousands of books, tools I accumulated in hopes of becoming a wizard in one field, but, which amounted to nothing. Thousands of dollar of musical equipment all I ever wanted to do was write and sing beautiful songs. Yet, another dream unfulfilled.

This God, this brokenness, bitterness, and, cold, struggling soul. Is this what pleases you? Is this what glorifies you? If so, I stand horribly uninspired by who and what you are in all this. A silent, uncompassionate observer, unwilling to reach out and help. You created me, knowing before hand what would come of me, and, yet, you let me and Kerri have children. That seems demented and sick if you ask me. Part of this is the bitter ventings of a weak, broken young man, hoping against hope, and, knowing nothing will come of it. But, I feel like pretending to be the good Christian spouting the same platitudes and niceties and verses is pure dishonesty and unreal nonsense. God, you want truth, this is my truth.  There are so many others, I wonder who I really am now that I have time to look past the cliches and desperate labels I have tried for so long to adopt as my own, as signs of who I am. Realizing who I am, Lord, is a hard process, and, apparently, it has taken death to do it. So sad.