Thursday, August 15, 2002


"Battling cancer." Really. Think about it. If you've ever gone through it with a loved one, it's not even a cliche, because it isn't accurate. It's more like...surfing, followed by a car crash, followed by a nice nap, followed by a horrible alarm clock.

There's a wild story in the latest O magazine about Elisabeth Targ, an MD who did original research in the area of healing with prayer and "distance healing." Her original study groups were with AIDS patients, but her most recent study was to be with people suffering from a rare form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. Virulent does not begin to describe this particular cancer; basically, if it's left untreated following diagnosis, you're dead in a month.

My father died of it, 17 years ago. After of year of...having it.

In a bizarre turn of events, Dr. Targ was diagnosed with a tumor that ended up being...glioblastoma multiforme. In the article, she faces it bravely, and feels that this will deepen her research. The end of the article gives the URL of her Web site, where you can learn about her research, and, well, pray for her.

I logged on, only to discover that she was already gone.

I have a lot to say about healing and prayer and cancer, but here's what my father's cancer taught me: however evolved you may be, you are always going to pray for the person you love not to die, not to suffer, to be returned to the state he or she was before. Whatever lip service is given to the idea that healing and getting well are not the same thing, it's bullshit to someone who's suffering. You will always make deals with God, even if you didn't believe in him before, you will always see mystical signs where before you saw randomness, because, I believe, the human race is simply not hardwired to wrap its collective mind around death.


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