Odds and Ends

Today, I thought I’d take a few minutes to update you guys on my medical travails and then address something I’m not sure I could make a whole post out of. First, the medical crap. For those not in the know, about 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. The surgery and follow-up treatment kicked my ass, but I got through it all and things looked great until this past February when one of my quarterly CT scans (just one of the fun things cancer survivors get to do) showed a mass where there really shouldn’t be one. A PET scan showed it was malignant, which  entailed a trip to the surgeon who removed it. Now, I’m doing follow up chemotherapy treatments which, truthfully, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But, I have to say, the drugs and such to deal with the side effects have improved greatly over the last five years. It’s not been fun, but nowhere near as bad as last time. Now, if the people at the doctor’s office could just get with the program.

Don’t get me wrong, the people here are great, but it’s a big practice and sometimes individuals fall through the cracks. Like last Thursday when they called to tell me I was scheduled for and knew nothing about. When I inquired, I was told that my CEA had gone up and they were checking things out. That’s all well and good, but it was a shitty way to find out. But, you work with what you’ve got and, if the office staff is lacking at times, the doctors and nurses are great. Anyway, I had the PET scan and it was clear. I asked why the number went and the answer was “Sometimes it does that and we don’t know why”. Which explains why CEA isn’t used for diagnosis and other important things. As I write this, I’m laid back in a recliner, getting pumped full of just enough poison to kill the cancer, but not kill me. And, for the first time since this started, that’s not so bad.

Yesterday I posted an article titled “This is a Luxury?” where I took conservatives to task for their opposition to the Affordable Care Act and listed several verses of scripture to back up caring for the sick and injured. One reader posted the following comment:

“the problem is this when dealing with Christian conservatives.  while you can cite all the Bible verses that point to charity and generosity and healing the sick, the Christian conservative will argue back that they agree, but ONLY if the individual does this.  they strongly believe that the government should never play the role of giver nor healer.  they want their Sunday-morning-pass-the-plate-church dollars to go to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked cause God loves that, and they want their tax dollars to go to banning homosexuality and banning science cause God hates that.”

He’s right, you know. I’ve lost count of the times a conservative who claims to be a Christian has told me that the taxation to pay for the social safety net equates to stealing their hard-earned pay. Personally, I think unless you use every tool at your disposal to care for less fortunate, you’re failing at carrying Jesus’ commandment to care for them. I’ve long wondered how people who claim to follow Christ could stomach the Ayn Randian world they’re creating. It’s such a Darwinian place, where survival of the fittest rules. Today, I think I got at least part of an answer. It comes Mark Sandlin, author of The God Article and Presbyterian pastor. This morning, on Facebook, he posted the following status:

“Once you have a full and deep understanding of grace you can no longer simply receive it, you will be compelled to extend it to others in love, acceptance and forgiveness.”

I’m guessing some, not all by a long shot, lack that “full and deep understanding of grace”. If they had it, they wouldn’t be proposing a budget that cuts social programs that make it possible for poor families to get by, while cutting taxes for the wealthy. If they had it, they wouldn’t stand in the pulpit of a house of God and advocate violence and death for one group of God’s children based on who those children choose to love. If they had it, they wouldn’t hate the President simply because (I’m going to get in trouble for this) he’s a black man. I’m beginning to wonder if some of my conservative brothers and sisters have even heard of grace. If they have, it’s certainly different from the grace I’ve experienced. And that, my friends, is truly sad.