sunday, july 14, 2013.

While Doctor Two is on vacation, I am home and hard at work, researching. I decide to dabble in essential oils and cannabis. The essential oils nearly break the bank, but if frankincense and myrrh are good enough for the sweet baby Jesus, I'm willing to give them a go. Thankfully we know a guy who organically grows cannabis for medicinal use. It is nearly time for his plants to be pruned of excess leaves. They usually just compost the trimmings but the leaves are what we're after and he gladly donates them to our cause. The Music Man ventures out for a day with his shears and returns home with a huge harvest. We spend hours washing and preparing the leaves, mulching them with our trusty Vitamix, and freezing the concoction in ice cube trays. The yield is hundreds of cubes of raw cannabis, far more than I can use, ready and waiting to be added to my daily green smoothie. One of the great things about raw cannabis is receiving the medicinal benefits with a minimal psychoactive effect, as the psychoactive component is activated by heat. No heat, no high... or next to no high.

Three days after the shipment of oils arrives and the cannabis is harvested, we see Doctor Two for a follow up. We talk about oils and smoothies, and explain another creative cannabis application we are trying. He is surprised and amused by our shenanigans, and wonders what on earth even made us think of doing such a thing (answer: the idea came to me out of nowhere when I was pondering something completely unrelated), but he doesn't think any of it will do much, if any, good. The good news is that my last two blood draws were down again (hCG 3672 from the week before, and hCG 3198 from that morning). The results are encouraging, but he is concerned that it's not happening fast enough to be considered meaningful change and urges me to go to chemo. We respectfully decline. He sighs and says that if I won't go to chemo, he'll go ahead and try a second surgery. He is not optimistic but feels we must do something. I am stuck. I don't really want surgery any more. It hardly seems necessary now. I consent on the condition that if my hCG drops to a certain level prior to surgery, we cancel. He agrees. I remind myself that I have only been using oils and cannabis for a few days and you have to do these things for a week or two before you start to see real results.

I am practically in treatment at home. I rub essential oils on my belly, my spine, and the bottoms of my feet repeatedly throughout each day. I place drops under my tongue til I can tolerate it no longer and wash it down with nettle tea. I smell like an apothecary. I walk the lake. I sauna -- thankfully we have one at home. I dry brush my skin. I detox. I do coffee enemas. I juice. I eat garlic. I drink cannabis smoothies and water with lemon. The more I learn about the medicinal properties of the natural things which the earth produces, the more astounded I am by God's provision for humanity. After two weeks I wear myself out with trying. My hCG essentially plateaus (hCG 3015). When will I learn? I'm so busy helping God heal me that I'm neglecting to do the one thing he has actually told me to do: rest. God doesn't need my help. I realize for the second time that I can't save myself, and again I stop trying. I put a stop to the whole regimen and we delight ourselves with burgers, fries, and shakes for dinner.

We head to Southern California for the wedding of a dear friend. Actually, The Music Man originally planned to go it alone, as traveling with a toddler at a time like this hardly sounds fun, but a week before the wedding, things take an unexpected turn...

Two weeks prior, a dear friend of ours sends me a link to an artist speaking about God healing her of breast cancer. My friend admits it is pretty out there but says she feels like she should send it anyway. After the first 5 minutes I turn it off because she's not kidding, it's pretty out there, and as a skeptic I prefer to avoid that sort of thing. So the next night, when The Music Man and I get into a huge cancer fight, I do the only thing I can think of to do: I press play and after several awkward minutes, we sprawl out on the floor and relax into each others arms, and listen to the crazy lady... only she isn't crazy. It really resonates. Many parts of her story sound remarkably like our own.

Days go by and we listened again. The Music Man listens at work while I listen at home. Then we find an even crazier guy on the same site... who is even less crazy. His words get stuck in my head. I can't stop thinking about them. A week before the wedding I wake up randomly wondering if he has a website. After a quick search I discover he is speaking in Southern California the weekend of the wedding, just one town over. I jump out of bed and tell The Music Man I think we should go... who cares if we can't afford it. An hour later we have plane tickets, a rental car, tickets to hear him speak, and someone we trust to watch Little Buddy for the whole weekend! A few days later a big radio-play royalties check arrives in the mail for The Music Man. It isn't enough to cover the trip, but it's a good start. We embark on our journey, somewhat baffled by our own behavior, and with no idea what we are in for. We sit in the back with the other cool kids and skeptics.

It is all pretty out there, as expected, but our hearts bear witness to the authenticity of all that we see and hear. We sing some songs and the speaker speaks. It's different. It's not really our style but we try to have open hearts and open minds. We don't know anyone in the room, and although we introduce ourselves to a few people they only know that we're from Seattle, we have a son, and I have cancer. Saturday, we leave before the event is actually over and make our way to the wedding, but before we go we get a fun surprise.

As the speaker finishes up his talk, he turns to The Music Man and I and tells us all about ourselves, and encourages us very specifically in issues which we have been discussing privately for many weeks. Then his wife, who prayed for me for healing the night before (which is how people there know I have cancer), joins in. She asks if we do something with music, and talks to us about the musical call on our lives, about worship, about us taking a bunch of instruments and going out to the mountaintops and the high places, and worshiping Jesus. That God is going to lead our feet, that he has anointed our feet for the nations. That we are called to go from place to place, to countries and regions, to just worship and pray, to shift atmospheres and release his presence. That we're not necessarily going to see what happens, but God has a purpose and is sending us out for a reason and breakthrough will come through music, and even through dance. The dancing part makes me laugh as I think of The Music Man dancing. If ever you have seen this wonder of the world, you know that there is something so very other-worldly about his movements, his momentum. It's natural, yet unnatural -- it is mesmerizing and an absolute gift. His dance is so full of joy and so compelling that even I cannot resist joining in the fray and I find myself unrestrained, unaware of myself, lost in the music and the moment and the joy of it all... drenched in his sweat and caught up in his reckless abandon. It is contagious.

Then the event coordinator jumps up and joins in the fun. He tells us he sees a psalmists call on our son's life, that God is going to use us as gatherers through music, that the Lord has some surprises coming our way, and that when the woman was sharing with us about music, he heard "supernatural provision". He sets out a bucket and takes up an offering for us and literally fills my purse with handfuls of cash. And later, when I calculate our expenses and straighten out all the crumpled bills, I discover that the royalties check together with the offering is exactly how much we spend on our trip -- right down to the dollar.