The days getting ready for my cancer treatments have been amazingly busy. Because I will be undergoing both radiation and chemotherapy, I am engaged in two tracks of testing and preparation. Today, for instance, I will go in for a dress rehearsal of my custom-designed radiation treatment. During this procedure the technicians, the physicist, and the doctor all sign off on the mapping of high-energy x-rays that will converge on the Beast. Yesterday it was a bone-marrow biopsy to set a baseline for measuring side effects of chemotherapy.
Another kind of preparation is happening at home. Because the disease itself has already made me feel sick and tired, it is apparent to me that I will need help here at home “for the duration.” And so, using a task-coordination website, my local friends are signing up to give me rides to and from treatment, to keep an eye on me afterwards until my husband gets home from work, and to bring meals in. It is heartening and moving to see where those volunteers are coming from: members of three churches I have served, old friends, current students, and even my daughter’s pals I haven’t seen since their college days.
Truly, “it takes a village” to heal a person. In so many instances of healing we read about in the gospels, the healing encounter ultimately is between Jesus and the one who is sick. But quite often, there is a third party (the Centurian in Matthew 8, the mother in Matthew 15) requesting the help.