Yippee! I Have Leukemia

This is a reprint of my June 25, 2011 blog post at The Rest of the Old, Old Story.

If this post is a blessing to you, please click the "+1" button at the bottom, which will help it be found in Google and be a blessing to others!

As I write this on June 25, I have only a preliminary diagnosis of leukemia from my family doctor. It's Saturday, and I have an appointment with the cancer center in Corinth, MS on Monday to confirm the diagnosis and find out more.

I'm scheduling this post for June 28 so that my appointment will have passed and I'll know whether I really have Leukemia (June 27 note: I do). If they say I don't, then I won't let this run, and, I have to admit, I'll be really disappointed.

Here's why.

Keep in mind in what follows that my family has much more to lose than I do. It's easy for me to have a positive outlook. I am only in danger of a bit of suffering and possibly dying. My family's in danger of losing a husband and father, and there's really nothing to compare to that kind of sorrow except losing a child. They're handling it as well as I am, which is very impressive.

First, when you're a Christian and the purpose of your body is to glorify God, then there is really no difference between a clean bill of health and a diagnosis of leukemia. God is simply giving you the tools you need to do what you're supposed to do with your body.

How could having leukemia be a good tool? In a myriad of ways.

The Pros and Cons of Contracting Leukemia as a Christian

I was weighing the pros and cons of having leukemia, and there are some significant pros:

  • The Scriptures say that wisdom is the principle thing. Therefore, it says, "in all your getting, get understanding" (Prov. 4:7). Along those lines, the Psalmist prays, "Teach us to number our days, so that we may obtain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). Leukemia is a quick way to number my days!
  • There's people to see and talk to that I would never be able to talk to without leukemia.
  • It should be easier to display faith in Christ to these people because they're going to be expecting me to think something bad is happening to me.
  • In general, any statements that I make that God can be trusted in every situation will carry more authority than they would if everything was going well for me.
  • Living and dying are in the hands of our Father in heaven. Saints don't die because they have leukemia. Saints die because it's the will of God for them (Isa. 57:1-2; Ps. 116:15).
  • I have a friend with cancer, and now I get to go through this with her ... consoling others with the consolation I've received.

The cons?

  • Distress on my family
  • I can barely exercise at all. (I think God told me he didn't like my obsession with exercise anyway.)
  • There's a real danger of focus on self: self-pity, loving attention, or taking over conversations by bringing up leukemia.

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons by a lot except perhaps the distress on my family. But they're trusting God really well, which is awesome. So I'm excited to enter this new phase in my life.

Divine Healing

I believe in divine healing. I've seen it happen. Unless God really speaks to you that I'm wrong, please don't pray for me to be healed now and possibly ruin this new ministry God has called me to. You can pray for me to be healed in his time. I don't think I'm supposed to die.

What God's Been Saying to Me

If you've been reading my blog, then you know that I don't write that God told me this or God told me that. I've heard God speak clearly in terms I felt comfortable repeating to others, but not often.

Except this week.

Between the day last week when I finally became convinced that there's something badly wrong with my health and yesterday when the doctor told me a stress test was unnecessary because he could see the enlarged, abnormal lymphocytes in my blood smear (along with anemia and low platelets), I believe God has spoken several things to me pretty clearly:

  • I'm not going to die (not real soon, anyway).
  • This is supposed to be happening to me.
  • My attitude toward exercise has always been too positive.
  • I'm supposed to eat healthy and heartily (rather than diet to lose weight) because my nutrition is more important than weight loss. (This was obviously correct now that I know the problem's leukemia, but the direction from God came before I knew.)
  • If I want to lose weight, I'm allowed to exercise better self-control in the evening, but otherwise no dieting for weight loss.

I guess I've put myself and my Christianity on the spot here, huh? If I'm dead in a few months, whether from leukemia or from a car wreck, I'll just be one more false prophet.

I didn't know what else to do but be honest and let you judge the success I'm experiencing following Christ. By the way, I gave my brothers and sisters in the church an opportunity to tell me they didn't bear witness to the things I think I heard from God. If they had told me they disagreed, I would not have posted this.

So I guess it's we and our Christianity that are on the spot.

The Grace of God and His Gifts

My family's doing really well with all this. My attitude's not just good, I'm thrilled!

That's purely the grace of God, and I want to give thanks.

By the way, don't be jealous that it's not you who gets to have leukemia and the ministry that goes with it. We each have our own gift, and yours matters as much as mine. I'm just expressing my zeal and gratefulness for the gift God has given me (and perhaps correcting the mistaken impression that it's not a gift).

By the way, I found out a friend of mine has a blog, and the first post I saw from him (just tonight!) is a writing by someone else who found their cancer to be a gift and a calling.