Someone who is very close to me told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she went for her last check up. (Let’s refer to her as Pamela, to make this easy.) She had some issues with her one breast that had continued for some time, and at the time she and the doctor felt it was related to breastfeeding.
She had stopped breastfeeding, and had gone back to the hospital, and the hospital had run tests.
She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago. The doctors were running a battery of other tests to see what the severity was of the problem, and she needed to return to hospital yesterday for those tests results, and go through another set which would assist them to decide on the best treatment for her.
I was devastated for her. She is a mom, and she needs to work. She cannot be ill, and not earn an income. But more importantly she cannot die. I wondered to myself why is this happening to her —– for crying out loud.
I have never tested positive for cancer, so have no idea how it must feel to have someone across the table from you confirm your worst nightmare. I have no idea how that feels.
I had to have something cut out of an area right next to my eye – which my dermatologist was concerned might be cancer. Tiny little spot, minor surgery to take it out and send it for a biopsy. I still sat and thought to myself “is this how it starts, you get a small spot somewhere which turns out to be a cancer that has already spread, and there you are staring at your spot going, it’s only a spot…”
Either way my totally inconsequential spot really scared me, because the word “cancer” had been used.
It turned out to be an inconsequential spot.
Pamela had an appointment yesterday to return to the hospital for her results, and then for them to run more tests and make a decision how aggressively to proceed.
I held her in my thoughts all day.
I have always admired her for the strong, controlled woman she is -and the way she deals with the punches that life throws at her. She does not fall down in a wet heap, but works through it, stands up, dusts herself off and comes out of the corner with her fists up.
This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.
I thought to myself yesterday, is it enough to keep Pamela in my thoughts, or is it important that I pray for her? Or ask other people to pray for her, say via Facebook?
I am agnostic, so praying is already a bit of an issue for me.
I wondered, that if God does exists, in which ever form he/she may be (I am just going to use he, as this is going to get cumbersome) – and knows everything and is all powerful, then surely he would know the fight that Pamela is going through already, and he would make a decision whether to assist Pamela or not to.
Would praying change the outcome for Pamela — would God be swayed by prayers?
Is he like a cricket umpire who makes a decision, and only reconsiders his decision when the players run up into his face screaming OUT or what ever they scream. Or does he stand there unmoved, because his decision is his decisions, and he is the umpire?
It started to remind me of IDOLS or America’s Got Talent, and that a person could only move forward if enough people phoned-in in support of that person. Is the concept of praying sort of the same?
What if no one prayed for Pamela? Would God still assist her as much or as little as he was going to do anyway, and it was irrelevant whether 1 person prayed for her or 1000 people prayed for her?
There I sat yesterday wrestling with this beast called religion —– and prayer.
I started at one point to reason, what if I prayed for Pamela, even if I technically did not believe in a god, surely then I would still be praying and well that would be good for Pamela.
I reverted back to my proposition that if God was all seeing and all knowing, then he would recognise an insincere request from someone who is not sure whether he exists or not. Would that count against how he had already decided how Pamela’s results were going to go?
I am not sure. I really am not.
Pamela had a full day of testing, and the results though still breast cancer, were not as disastrous as she had initially been told. She is booked for a biopsy on the other breast, so that they can decide on the treatment and do it all at once.
I am not sure how prayer works.
I am not sure how life and the universe works either.
I do like the power that can emanate from people who are collectively thinking the same thing, or hoping for the same thing ….. and no I am not sure how that works either.
If you want to bear Pamela in mind for the 17 November when she has her biopsy please do.