I believe in modern medicine.
I believe in the good karma that comes from the positive wishes of friends and neighbors.
And in the astonishingly generous acts of complete strangers.
I believe in the spiritual, holistic approach to healing and health held by a young practitioner who was quick to insist on more tests when early results didn't match my symptoms.
I believe most definitely in the power of prayer.
And mostly, I believe in the great-good things that happen when they all get a chance to work together.
It was just a few months ago when some mysterious pains in my back, sides and abdomen slowly led to some kind of scary conclusions.
"It has spread to your spine, liver and lymph glands."
"We don't know what kind of cancer it is."
"No cure, but we'll try to slow it down."
And so the journey began, with an aggressive combination of powerful chemotherapy and natural supplements, plus a huge dose of prayer and support.
We believed that the best approach to the whole situation was prayerful and positive.
And then we waited.
Finally, it was time to take a look. Time for a scan that would reveal if the treatment I've received over the past few months and weeks was doing anything at all to stem the growth of this still-mysterious cancer. After my first scheduled test was cancelled due to the cold, snowy winter weather we experienced awhile back, we headed to Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital for an early morning scan before a long day of blood work, consultation and my regularly scheduled chemo session. I doubted whether there'd be enough time to receive any results from the scan before I met with my doctor, but was glad enough to get it done without having to schedule another Chi-town visit.
We got the answer when we met with my oncologist a couple of hours later. She is a young, positive, enthusiastic, kind person who exudes the sort of hope, spirituality, competence and confidence I want on my side. She entered the exam room, and after a minute or two of doctor-speak, she paused and interrupted herself.
"You know, let's cut to the chase here," she said. "I just saw your scans. They look great."
Tumors are shrinking. Something good is happening.
The doctor smiled. I swallowed hard and tried to get my head around the news. And the other person in the room--the one who hopes, believes and prays the most of all--softly began to cry.
Don't get me wrong, it's far from over. It's still Stage IV cancer of an unknown origin.
And it is, as that Chicago oncologist reminds me, not going to be a dash, but a marathon.
But for now, some good news is good enough.
Quite good enough.
Because you've just gotta believe.