Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Sickness and Personality (Part II of III)

Yu Ling

PureInsight | February 28, 2005

[PureInsight.org] After Martha's friends heard about her cancer, they came to her rescue Martha was feeling depressed at the time. Her friends volunteered to take turns helping with babysitting, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry and cleaning, from Monday through Saturday. All the much-needed help came from a group of old friends that Martha had been unwilling to forgive over a minor disagreement and had sworn she would never get in touch with again. She is now very touched by their kind gestures in her darkest hour.

Martha's emotional and vivacious Italian mother became unusually calm and quiet. Instead of dramatically crying over the phone, her mother quietly left her a bouquet of flowers, food, and a short loving note at her door.

Her life changed. Now Martha was ready to appreciate others for their kindness. Her friends and family reassured her that they had always tried to be kind to her.

Cancer treatment is a long, difficult journey. Many cancer patients die during the treatment process. What's particularly distressing to patients is each doctor suggesting a different treatment. Having been given ten different suggestions for treatment, Martha wanted to give up and let it be.

"Doctor, have you ever run a marathon?" Martha suddenly asked me one day.

"No." I wondered about the meaning behind her question.

"At the starting line of the marathon, your friends, family, and supporters see you take off, cheer for you, encourage you, and provide you with food and water. Because of their love and encouragement, you want to start the marathon right away. But when you start running, you soon become completely alone. You feel tired and thirsty. You want to take a break and feel you can no longer go on. There is no one around to help you.

During the chemotherapy, people only saw that I had lost my hair, but they did not know the journey I was experiencing. It is extremely painful when the poisonous chemical drug enters my body and passes into each and every cell. Sometimes I feel that I can't take it any more, that I don't want to go on any more. I don't even have the strength to pull myself up from the floor. I am completely worn out. I know my family and friends are anxiously waiting for me at the end of the marathon. They expect me to persevere to the end. But I have to grind my teeth to get through every single minute and every single hour."

Martha looks old and skinny. She no longer pays attention to her attire. She is really worn out.

"What do you think about the most?" I asked her.

"Why me? Why did I get cancer? It's not fair!" she exclaimed.

"Have you found the answer?"

"Compared to many people, I am very strong, so God chose me to endure the pain. A lot of people would have given up hope already."

"Do you really think God assigns illness to people according to their endurance levels?"

She became silent.

"Doctor, on my way to the hospital, I noticed a very beautiful girl on the bus. I especially envied her long thick hair. I feasted my eyes on this beautiful woman until she got up to get off the bus. Then I saw her pick up a walking cane next to her. It was then that I realized she had only one leg! At that moment, I decided to stop complaining about God. I felt miserable for losing all of my hair, but I hadn't realized that God is actually very compassionate because I still have both my legs. I must have done a lot of bad things in the past to deserve this tragic fate, right?" she asked me.

"I don't know."

I felt that, deep down in her heart, Martha was still complaining and feeling that God was unjust to let her have cancer instead of others.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/2/8/25731.html

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