Up Front and Personal

Why Did I Have To Get Sick?

by Carol Powell

Life is filled with all kinds of loss. There are the deaths of loved ones, the loss of jobs, various disappointments, illnesses which suddenly occur. In September, I lost two good friends. Two months later, after a routine doctor visit and blood test, I was informed that I had chronic mylogenous leukemia. What a shock that was!

The word “leukemia” is a frightening word to most of us. Those of us who are old enough remember the movie “Love Story” from the ’70s in which the beautiful protagonist had the disease and died at the end of the movie. Things have changed for the better since then. The doctor informed me that there are all sorts of miracle drugs that can put the disease into remission. I was encouraged until he did a bone marrow test. He called me a few days later and said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you do have the chronic mylogenous leukemia.” I thought to myself, “If that’s the good news, what could the bad news possibly be.” He told me in the next sentence, “The results of the bone marrow test indicate that you have a rare form of the disease which only 11 other people in the United States have.” What a dubious honor!

“What does that mean for me,” I asked? “Well,” he said, “for some of the patients with the rare type the medication only worked for a time and then it stopped working.”

“What happens when it stops working?” I asked hopefully.

“Then you need a bone marrow transplant,” he answered nonchalantly, like such things happen every day.

He sent me to a specialist, who had actually been instrumental in developing the miracle medicine. He immediately put me on the medication, and within a month of taking it with a background of prayer from everyone I know and some I don’t know, I was in remission. Now the prayers are that I stay in remission.

Life is filled with such crises that come when we least expect them. We are reminded at such times that we are not in control and that we belong to Another who is Mystery. We cannot define God. We say, “God is Father. God is Lover. God is Friend.” At best, these things are only analogies.

We are dealing with “Mystery.” Life is a mystery also. Why someone gets sick, why some die young, why some people have an easy life while others suffer continually is beyond our comprehension. I was dealing with this mystery – where in Heaven’s name did this disease come from? When I asked the doctor for causes he was baffled. They don’t know why two chromosomes switch places causing the white blood cells to multiply. And, I am only one of 12 in the country who have the rare type? A mystery!

How can we cope? The first thing I did was to get everyone I know to pray for me. I am on many prayer lists. Then I remembered something a dying uncle told me 14 years ago. He said, “Don’t worry about anything. We are all in God’s hands.” I also realized that, while God is Mystery, the Bible calls God, “Love.” God is “pouring out kenotic Love.” The Bible also associates God with “Light.” We say grace is God’s “life and love.” We also believe in the Divine Indwelling which means God is within us. If all this is true, and I believe it is, God is the source of all healing. These are not just beautiful thoughts. These are the realities we believe in.

I realized that, as part of my prayer every day when asking God for healing, I could visualize the life, love and light of God flowing within me. The power of God through the medication and through the positive energies of all the prayers that were directed toward me, plus my own prayer and union with God, could heal and eradicate all illness.

Also, the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. Every time I receive Communion, I ask the Lord to mingle His Blood with mine and eradicate all the cancer cells. God is more powerful than any illness. God wills the good for us. This is what I believe.

Illness came into the world because of sin, not the sin of the person who is ill but the sin, the negativity, of all humankind. Jesus came to save us from sin and all its effects. One of these effects is illness. So we can pray confidently to be relieved of illness and all the effects of evil in this world. May the love of God and the positive energies of the Holy Spirit surround us all, now and forever.

As my uncle said so beautifully, “We are all in God’s hands.”

If such is the case, what is there to worry about?