Divine Intervention

February 28, 2012

Hey everybody!

I hope all of you are doing well.  Testing is over for today- yay! Now, I can put it out of my mind until March 5 when I have my clinic visit.  The worst part is leaving my children but they are safe and secure in the best family care.  Leaving is still such a drag but no sense worrying about that yet.  Waiting for test results is a bummer too but in reality, I can’t change anything so being upset or stressed is wasted energy.  I won’t allow myself to go to that dark place anymore.  I think I will be productive and hit the gym.  No time for the drama or at least acknowledging it.

I had some very strange experiences happen to me shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer that is worth sharing.  First, the man who helped saved my life; a notable neurologist met my husband while crossing a major New York City Boulevard.  The two seemed destined to meet each other as they found themselves stranded on a tiny concrete island warding off treacherous traffic.  This was 10 years before I was diagnosed with cancer.  Timing seems to be everything in life.  In fact, all of our lives somehow seem pre planned and set on a larger stage that is beyond our reach or control.  As I look back on all the particulars, Dave first met our neurologist friend whom I shall refer to as: “The Saint”, not only because both were stranded together but also because the Caribbean-American doctor spoke fluent Japanese to

my American Born, Japanese husband while  they were stranded on a  little concrete strip.  The word Saint even appears in his name which is no coincidence.  My husband admittedly was slightly taken aback by his perfect fluency and the two immediately struck up a conversation.  To make a long story short, The Saint invited Dave back to his office and the two shared a bite to eat.  A friendship was born.    They had many common interests.  The obvious being the love for Japanese Culture and then there were other interests including photography, technology and Jazz.  Had my husband not felt comfortable with this complete stranger while crossing a busy New York City Street perhaps my life would be very different?  The Saint may not have been there for me years later to save my life.  In fact, when Dave got to know the Saint, he soon discovered that The Saint previously treated his aunt when she was brutally mugged and left with a severe head injury.  It’s times like these when we often say, gosh, what a small world.

In 2002, when I landed myself in the emergency room with chronic headaches and blurred vision, Dave immediately called The Saint.  We didn’t think he would be available on a Sunday morning but 45 minutes later, The Saint was at my bedside, performing a neurological evaluation and downloading my MRI & CT scans onto his laptop.  We knew nothing about neurology.  I was ten days post partum and everything was happening so quickly.  Doctors informed me of a mass in my brain but I knew nothing more than that.  After years of losing touch with The Saint there he was holding my hand at my bedside reassuring me that he would get me the best care.  Surgery was eminent for what appeared to be a cyst.  That evening, The Saint arranged for my transfer to an excellent New York City hospital where I would be prepped for surgery.  On the eve of surgery, The Saint was there by my side along with Dave and the rest of my family.  When my gurney exited the elevator, there was The Saint standing beside my husband, my cousin and near my parents lending comfort and support to all that needed it.  He was there for a purpose but I was just too upset at the time to recognize that all the people in my life were there for a purpose.  I was too upset to see the higher meaning of my purpose.

When I relapsed several years later, I flew to Boston to discuss my post surgical MRI.  I was miserable and my head was sore.  Dave and I were hopeful for a good report.  The neurosurgeon felt confident that clean borders were achieved and a clean resection had been successful.  I knew the first tumor was malignant and a WHO Grade II so we had a clear indication that this one was the same grade perhaps little worse.  As we exited the Boston airport, a taxi was waiting for us.  We stepped in and gave our destination to the Hilton Bay Back.  The elderly man was very talkative and curious.  He asked a series of questions that went something like this: “How was your flight?” “What brings you to Boston?” When I politely responded: “medical stuff”, his curiosity was heightened.  I was bombarded with a series of questions which included everything from doctors to hospitals to my present condition.  Surprisingly, the little old man was not rude.  In fact, he was the cutest cab driver that I had ever driven with and although he was intrusive, clearly he was harmless and sincere.

What makes this interaction very interesting, almost divine in nature is the fact that the night before our trip to Boston I prayed quite a bit.  Praying for me did not come naturally because I didn’t really know how to pray or speak to God but I just did it anyway.  I did not have real belief but I knew I wasn’t a non-believer either.  I was on the fence about God.  My grandmother was very religious.  I was blessed to have had her in my life for a good portion of my childhood and had very happy memories of our time spent together.  She was a devout Catholic and she instructed me how to bless myself with Holy Water which she proudly displayed in the hallways outside of each of the bedrooms. We watched Sunday morning Mass together on television although I never grasped the real meaning of what it meant to have a relationship with God.  After she died, I lost all contact with religion.  It would take 30 years to reconnect.

Nana was a sickly person dating back to the time when she was a little girl so she was isolated and a real homebody.  The night before our trip to Boston, I reached out to my Nana through prayer and asked God to give me a sign that I could visibly see.  I knew the doctors in Boston were going to suggest all kinds of treatments for the tumor that was removed from my brain and I didn’t want any of it.  I knew the doctors were going to break out the big guns in terms of treatment.  Although I agreed to surgery, I protected my body and my brain like a sacred temple.  cytotoxic treatments repulsed me.  I needed strength and I needed lots of it to get through the visit at Dana Farber.  I needed a game plan in my mind and the strength to prepare for a poor pathology report.   So here we are in a cab with a complete stranger asking tons of questions about my medical situation and in an effort not to be rude, I continued with the conversation.  I explained how Doctor Peter Black was my doctor.  One can only imagine my shock when the cab driver responded by saying: “and Dr. Patrick Wen too? My jaw dropped and the cab driver immediately looked at me in his rear view mirror.  I looked at my husband and squeezed his left knee as hard as I could.  Our eyes along with the driver welled up with tears.  There was an unspoken silence that seemed to last longer than it actually did and I could not help but wonder what the statistical probability was that we landed ourselves in this man’s cab? This man who knew my doctors…Timing really is everything.  The plot thickened though.  My mind spun out of control and I was dizzy and sick.  Had I told Dave about my prayers to God and Nana as well as my demands for a visible sign?  The cab driver shared his story as we drove towards to city of Boston.  He explained how his daughter was treated by Dr. Black and Dr. Wen.  When I heard this, a chill went down my spine because I immediately knew his daughter had brain cancer and strangely, I knew she was dead.  Now my curiosity had been piqued.  “Your daughter had a brain tumor? I asked.  He replied: “yes”.  How is she? The cab driver’s eyes welled up with tears in the rearview mirror as he explained the entire story of his beautiful daughter Pam.  I felt honored to hear his story but as he spoke I wondered how could this possibly be a good sign?  It seemed a little cruel but things are not always what they seem.    As we continued our journey towards the city of Boston, the driver pulled up next to Fenway Park.  Since we were in no hurry, we did not mind.  He placed the car in park and turned to the both of us with his shoulders facing us.  He spoke the following powerful words: “don’t let them talk you into doing anything that you don’t want to do. I squeezed Dave’s knee even harder.  He smiled and told me that I would be alright.  I told him of my intentions to forgo traditional therapies like chemotherapy and radiation.  I explained how I wished to travel to Germany where I could experience an innovative cancer therapy.  He simply replied: “You will make the right decision”.  When we pulled up to the lobby of the Hilton, I hugged Mr. A tightly and he told me to send his best to the doctors who had cared so well for his Pam.  He held no animosity towards them and exhibited only love throughout our journey together.  Dave became obsessed for a short time trying to see who this mysterious cab driver was that seemed to answer my prayer request.  We did find Pam’s obituary.  Ironically, the two of us were very close in age and had the same profession.  Talk about uncanny!  I believe in Divine intervention. I think the signs are around us but we have to adjust our frequency in order to be able to tune in.  Some may not be as obvious as the experience that I just shared but the message is right in front of us waiting to be received. Let me close with these following words:

 Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never ever the same.
~Flavia Weedn, Forever

Until next time, peace out cub scouts. Sending Lhasa Love from my heart to yours…


2 Responses to Divine Intervention

  1. helen says:

    Hi Jen. Your grandmother would have been very proud of you,and my greatest wish is that you will always remember how much you are loved.I am proud to have you for a niece. Love You Lots! YaYa

  2. Jen says:

    You are so special yaya…thank you for all your love & support that has keep our family so strong for the past 9+ years. we love you so much!! You are a blessing… I am so grateful for our family…

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