Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lessons From Pearl

I have been thinking of my friend Pearl today. There is a lesson to be learned from her life, and I want to pass it along.

My husband met Pearl long before I did. She was a new transfer student from Taiwan, and he was preparing for his mission. They made friends, and when he received a call to serve in Taiwan, she gave him her family's home address so that he could pay them a visit. Later, after his mission, they still kept in contact. I met her when I signed up to live in the Chinese language housing at BYU. My husband also signed up to live in the language housing. Pearl was the head resident of my house. My husband and I started dating at that time, and were married one short semester later. Because she knew us both, we kept in contact with her, and she often visited us. Even when we lived in China, we still kept in contact with her, and were able to visit with her when she was living for a short time in Hong Kong. She married, but then divorced. I spent many late hours with her on the phone trying to help her through that trauma.

Flash forward a few years to when she lived in the San Jose area. She called to tell us that she had developed breast cancer. For some reason she was terrified of surgery, and didn't want to go through any other sort of chemo or radiation therapy either. She decided to try alternative healing instead. By the time I found out about her cancer, it was already like a stage 4, and had metastasized. She went to Reno to do some sort of alternative healing that was geared around diet. She was there for several months at their center, then I went and picked her up and drove her home.

I have a friend that does a sort of "energy" healing, but I have never been convinced of it's validity because frankly I've known him a long time and never seen anyone healed. But she went to him and asked him to work on her. I don't know if anything he did helped her physically, but it did open the door to some emotional healing. I guess in that respect it was worth the effort.

A year or so went by and I received a call from Pearl. She asked me if I could talk to my energy healing friend and see if he could help her. She said that she now had open sores on her chest from the breast cancer. I never heard from her again.

For me, there are several lessons I learned from Pearl. One is that healing is only part physical, but is also emotional. The other lesson I learned is that early agressive treatment is necessary if you want to survive cancer. If she had followed the advice of her doctors, and had surgery, then cancer treatments, I believe she would be alive today.

A friend of mine called today and told me that her boyfriend has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. She said he has decided to forego treatment, and rely solely upon prayer. While I admire his faith, I told my friend that I believe that God gave medical technologies to man for a reason. I believe that faith, without works is dead. I believe that God expects us to do everything in our power to solve our problem, but that doesn't diminish our ability to have faith. I think this man believes that if he accepts medical treatment, then he isn't showing true faith. I think you can do both. You can believe with all of your heart that God can heal you, AND move ahead with medical treatment.

I just hope that others who might be in this same circumstance will learn the lesson from Pearl. Don't let fears keep you from getting the treatment you need. And don't let your desire to show faith keep you from getting treatment. Maybe the way God wants to heal you is through medicine!


Dee Ice Hole said...

I do not believe there is any cure to cancer that isn't medically assisted---I also believe there are times to just let it take it's course---medical and chemical treatments do reduce the quality of your life, but it may be worth the reduction if it prolongs it past the treatments. The key word there is PAST.

Nene said...

I think it's sad that a cancer like breast cancer is very treatable and she could have lived many more years. I agree with you that we need to do all we can - which includes going to the dr and all the treatments, along with prayer and fasting.

Becky said...

Wayne shared the following quote from Brigham Young with me recently. I thought of it immediately when I read your post, but it took me a while to remember where I heard it!

"If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and to ask my Father in Heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, to sanctify that application to the healing of my body.

"But suppose we were traveling in the mountains, and one or two were taken sick, without anything in the world in the shape of healing medicine within our reach, what should we do? According to my faith, ask the Lord Almighty to heal the sick. This is our privilege, when so situated that we cannot get anything to help ourselves. Then the Lord and his servants can do all. But it is my duty to do, when I have it in my power."

(originally from Discourses of Brigham Young, page 163, but I took it from the 1998 Relief Society Brigham Young manual, pages 252-3)

Stick said...

And in all things, remember that the will of the Lord wil be done. Sometimes the answer is still no. That is the hardest part of all of this.