A Tale of Two Cancer Patients
This is the story of two men whose lives would be connected in a way neither expected.
Both men were truck drivers. They loved the open road. They enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people. Both were married to wives who loved them dearly and respected them deeply.
Both men developed abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and refused to see a doctor when their wives became worried. Both became sicker and eventually agreed to see a doctor.
Both developed jaundice, a sickly yellow coloring of the skin. Both would be admitted to a small hospital for testing. Both would be found to have a suspicious mass on their pancreas and both were told they had one of the most aggressive forms of cancer known to man.
One would spend his last days with his son, Praying Medic at his side. The older man, weakened and frail, would turn to the younger and say, “You’ve seen a lot of people die in your lifetime. You must know something about how it works. I’m ready to go now…how do I do it?”
One of these men was my father. The other was my patient.
I haven’t felt like praying for anyone this week. I had a couple of excellent opportunities land in my lap, but I let them fly right past me. Part of my problem it is apathy. The other part is a fear of man. If you’re thinking that a guy like me doesn’t suffer from a fear of what others think…think again.
But today, something was different.
My dad died of pancreatic cancer 7 years before I began praying with my patients. I didn’t know any better back then. But I do now. I felt like this man’s sickness was my shot at redemption. I couldn’t help my mom hang onto the man she loved, but if I could help this guy keep his wedding vows a little longer, it would be worth it. I might be apathetic or lazy some days, but if you get in my path and you have cancer, I can become a raging bull.
I didn’t waste any time. As soon as we were on the road, I told my patient a little story about my dad. How he drove trucks, how he loved the road, how got sick, turned yellow and landed in a hospital. He had his hand in the air the whole time I told the story, like he was signaling an auctioneer. He finally said, “That’s my story.”
Then I told him my dad died nine months after he was diagnosed. Then I told him about the dreams I’ve had about praying for my patients and about the people who have been healed. There’s power in the testimony, you know. It encourages and it builds expectancy for miracles. I asked if I could pray with him and with a grateful smile he said, ‘sure’.
I placed my hands on his shoulders and spoke healing and peace over him for a few minutes, then said, “Okay…you’re healed. Now stop being a sissy.”
We pulled into the parking lot at the destination hospital and took him to his room. He walked to the bed and made himself comfortable. I got his signature on my form. He thanked me as we shook hands.
“You’re too young for this crap, Jim. You’ve got better things to do with your life than sit in a hospital. Get well, then Go home and take care of your wife.”
“That’s my plan,” he said with a smile.
I turned toward the door and disappeared from his sight.