The Next Battle
20 percent under the poverty line
Reconciling my faith and my orientation
All of these are difficult crosses to bear in themselves. I had only recently come to a reluctant peace over the last issue and had come to the point where I believed that having an intimate, joyful same-sex relationship would never be mine and if that was the cross I had to bear for His name, then so be it.
But it turns out, I’m not done fighting yet. There’s a new battle on the horizon.
At the beginning of the month, I got desperately sick. It’s part of having a pretty large abdominal hernia. Sometimes a loop of the bowel gets wedged, food gets jammed up, and I get very sick. I made it to the ER barely in time. My admitting blood pressure was 65/50. The doctor actually asked me why I was conscious. (“Too stubborn to die yet, doc.”)
They took a CT scan of my midsection to look at the bowel and found that during the coma and subsequent infections that caused me to become disabled in the first place, I developed some pretty severe adhesions in my intestines. Adhesions are when infected flesh heals over and produces scar tissue. Sometimes organs can stick to each other or narrow. Some of that narrowing causes the internal problems.
When they ran the scan, they noticed a very large mass on my right leg. The mass has been there before and was considered fairly harmless, but now the mass had grown considerably and some of the bone in my leg had begun to dissolve. Bone involvement, they said, was either a massive infectious process, or cancer. They took me in for a biopsy of the mass and ran tests. The tests were indeterminate for cancer, but definitely negative for infection.
There are two possibilities here: the first is something called a lipoma. Literally, a cancer of the fat. It is THE most benign kind of cancer that you can have. They go into your leg, dig it out with a dirty soup spoon, then sew you up and wait for you to heal. The other kind of cancer is something called a liposarcoma. This is when the fat becomes malignant and begins to affect other tissues…including bone. This kind of cancer can be treated by every manner up to and including the loss of my right leg.
There is a point where your prayers go from thanksgiving for peace…to “I trust You, Your will be done”…to ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS CRAP?!?!?!? But I’ve been trying to get into the hospital to have a bone biopsy done in these last two weeks, and in the process of all of this, a change. I’m at peace about this and, more often times than not, I am eager to take this battle on.
It is so simple to blame God for all the problems and all the heartache caused by this war. It is too easy. BUT ALL THIS HAD TO GO THROUGH YOUR HANDS!! WHY DO YOU ALLOW SATAN THIS GROUND?? I CHOOSE TO DENY MYSELF, PICK UP MY CROSS TO FOLLOW YOU AND YOU LET HIM BEAT ME WITH IT? WHY? Fact of the matter, I can see His hand in all of this. God is not raising up a big old sissy boy. God is raising a warrior and it will not be long before He allows me the joy of setting down my crosses and beating Satan with His.
It is a lonely haul, this, but I am blessed here too. I may be poor, but I have a handful of men that have all told me, in their own way, that when the darkness gets darker, they will not leave, they will not run. They will be there to hold the hand and wipe the brow. That is a blessing that not many people have and it strengthens me to know I am blessed beyond reason. One of my best friends in San Francisco will drop everything to fly up when the big excision surgery happens.
I wish this were all different. I wish that I could believe that there were incredible joys and wonderful surprises ahead. I don’t. But in place of that knowledge, I savor each day I have. Today I had no appointments or responsibilities other than to rest, and I am resting like a boss, believe you me. I wish the bank account weren’t so low, but as I survey the kitchen I am stocked with frozen veggies, lean proteins, and all the low-glycemic carbohydrates I could ask for.
There is still so much I long for, deep in my soul. I crave being touched, holding and being held. Greedily, there are things I want to have. Places I want to go. Accomplishments yet to be realized. But to trade them all for a simple appreciation of one day at a time is an amazing thing for me. I pray for that to continue, throughout these days and the pain yet to come, but even that peace and appreciation can only exist one day at a time.
More to come. This is enough for today.