Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday March 20, 2009

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5.

An apt text for this time in my life, although the pilgrimage I am about to take is not the one suggested on today's text. My current pilgrimage is certainly one that raises apprehensions. The healthy body I currently have (relatively speaking!) is going to be cut up and I’ll be convalescencing for . . . ? Only yesterday an article on suggested that the PSA test for prostate cancer was not sufficiently reliable and many men are now impotent and incontinent because of it. At Least one person I know suffers this three years after prostate surgery—but at least he is cancer free.

Of course, it’s not the PSA test itself that causes these infirmities; it is the surgery to remove the prostate that follows a positive test for cancer. In my case the PSA test was also positive, but in addition a rectal exam found a lump and a biopsy confirmed cancer. However good I feel, this invader has to be removed but the future beyond that is not certain. The urologist claims I will eventually retain all functions, but projections and reality do not always coincide so I am prepared for a more unsatisfactory outcome. So this really is a pilgrimage.

However, my future as a whole is a lot more certain than many entering surgery for a variety of other problems, and I have little to complain about. But I can identify to some degree with the anxiety that surgery provokes in less certain cases. All the more reason to continue on the ultimate pilgrimage with God, where, as our text declares, we find our strength.

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