For these sick let there be assigned a special room and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous. Let the use of baths be afforded the sick as often as may be expedient; but to the healthy, and especially to the young, let them be granted more rarely. Moreover, let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak, for the restoration of their strength; but when they are convalescent, let all abstain from meat as usual.
The Abbot shall take the greatest care that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants; for he also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples." -Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 36.
"Over the course of my ministry I've visited many who are sick. About 18 years ago, I helped care for my wife after a cerebral hemorrhage. But late last year was the first time we heard the dread word, cancer. In October my wife had her annual mammogram. And it wasn't all that unusual for them to call her back a retake. By November we heard she had breast cancer.
We began the round of her oncologist, and surgeon. Things seemed set, but then the oncologist had some news. A shadow appeared on her breast MRI which resulted in an abdominal MRI. The second MRI showed a very large growth around her kidney, liver, and impinging on her inferior vena cava. Her oncologist searched for a doctor in Chicago who could deal with it. Finding none, he set us up at the Mayo Clinic. We left with visions of a double mastectomy and an abdominal operation.
Mayo Clinic sent Joan through several days of testing, and had us return to Chicago. About a week later we were back at Mayo's to see her new surgeon. He told us he felt a lumpectomy would be fine, and that the growth in her abdomen was a cyst. We were told to leave it alone. A few days later Joan had her lumpectomy and we were sent on our way with expectations of good health although we knew radiation was in her future.
About a week later Joan received a letter telling her that the one lymph node removed during her operation showed cancer. After another trip to Mayo's, and another operation, we're back in Chicago. At the moment we're trying to find a doctor to take out the drainage port put in after her second operation. Then she's facing chemotherapy, and after that, radiation.
At the moment, I'm the family driver, among other things. I have been looking for another interim pastorate so far without success. All this has prevented any further blog posts. I apologize to my readers for this lack.
I am very grateful for the three month extension of salary and benefits paid to me by my last call. Although it was designed for a search for a new call, and the search has continued, this time has allowed me to care for my family without any financial concerns. So a public thank you is due to the members of First Presbyterian Church in Gibson City.
Have I kept on an even keel during this period? Fairly well, but not always. I get a little overwhelmed at times. But I am surviving. Thank you for this chapter's reminders that the sick are to be treated as Christ, Father Benedict. Keep on reminding me,
Brother Oscar Romero