My mom was supposed to start chemotherapy this week. The same course she went through in ’97, when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer (that had metastasized to other organs). She went through chemo to deal with the tumor specks that had spread visibly throughout her diaphragm and perhaps invisibly elsewhere. She’s been getting regular blood tests ever since to monitor the levels of some sort of marker.

Recently, these tests indicated that her tumors were growing again, and after trying an experimental treatment that had intolerable side effects, they decided to go with the same chemo treatment as before. It was scheduled to begin last month. But when they retested her, her marker level (don’t ask me to explain this, I know no details, just numbers) had dropped from 100 to half that. So they decided to wait another month before starting treatment. This week, her score was 33. A baffling, inexplicable result. So no treatment for now.

I don’t know what to make of this. As you doctors know, the 5-year survival rate for metastasized ovarian cancer is exceedingly low, so the fact that she’s lived this long is already a small miracle. And the events of the past few months are no less inexplicable. Again, a reasonable person could call it a miracle.

I guess I’m reminded how small my faith is. Not just of what God can do, wondering whether she can stay well for a long time. But in even what God has done. Because my human logic-oriented brain wants to explain away what’s happened. And you can always find explanations for anything. Maybe it was a series of faulty tests. Maybe something else, who knows. But at some point I need to accept that I wanted something improbable (her healing) to happen, and it happened, and regardless of how that can be explained, whether it can be classified as a miracle or not, it’s an answered prayer, and for that I need to give thanks.

I have to confess that I’ve been cynical about God lately. Just feeling like I hear too often how God’s going to do “great things” and then never actually seeing anything happen. I’m reminded by things like this that God does work in our lives. I need to remember that.

My heart feels for the many friends I have who have lost their loved ones. Even now, I know my mom’s health is tenuous and anything can happen at any time. But even if her healing is just for a little while (and all healing is ultimately only temporary), I have to give credit and thanks where credit and thanks are due. Thank God that His power is greater than my faith.

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