A Lesson and a Cure

A Lesson and a Cure“If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” –1 John 3:17

It was the shortest doctor’s appointment I have ever had, but one that I have been waiting and praying for for almost a decade.  The doctor walked into the room, leaned against the counter and said, “You’re cured!”

A year following my cancer surgery in a routine blood test, my family doctor found some elevated liver enzyme levels that required some additional testing.  The results were, “You have Hepatitis C!”

Hep C, long associated with drug users, blood transfusions and outdated blood testing was now a reality.  Did I get it from the surgery or was this something that I have had a long time?  Was it a nick as a squirmy kid at the barber shop with an unclean razor or intermingling blood during a childhood reenactment of Tonto and the Lone Ranger becoming blood brothers?  I’ll never know.

Following the diagnosis, I discovered that the cure rate for my genotype was less than 30% and the treatment was a year of weekly injections and a daily pill regimen.  Along with my doctor, I decided to forgo the treatment and wait for research to develop a new drug that might have a better chance of success.

Eight years later new drugs entered the market.  One of these is Harvoni.  Unlike the old protocol, Harvoni involved taking one pill a day, every day for 12 weeks.  And, its success rate was nearly 100% in my genotype.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” –Psalm 118:1

These drugs are expensive, over a thousand dollars a day, over $90,000 total for the 12 weeks, and after three failed attempts to get insurance to cover it, I was finally approved for the treatment. I began in January and I completed it 12 weeks later.  After a month, blood work showed no signs of Hepatitis C and it was still gone after 12 weeks!

The protocol calls for additional blood work after 3 months and if the virus was still undetectable in the blood, it was considered a cure. Yesterday I received that news.  Praise God!

As I fought back tears leaving the hospital following receiving this wonderful news, I remembered an encounter I had just 24 hours before.

As I returned to work following lunch, I saw a man sitting on the ground, leaning against the wall of the building that appeared to be crying.  He appeared to be in his mid-30’s, was disheveled, and seemed to be in distress.

“Are you alright,” I questioned.

“No,” was his response.  “I have a prescription that I need to have filled badly, but I don’t have enough money to get it. Without these drugs, I don’t know what might happen.”

“Do you have the prescription with you?” I questioned.

“Yes, right here,” he quickly responded.

I reached out my hand and said, “Come, right now and let’s go inside and get this filled.”

“Do not withhold any goods from the owner when it is in your power to act. Say not to your neighbor, “Go, come back tomorrow, and I will give it to you,” when all the while you have it.”  –Proverbs 3:27-28

As we left the drug store, he hugged me, and thanked me over and over.  The prescription cost less than 20 dollars.

Quite the contrast; my $90,000 dollar treatment made available because I have a job, a good health insurance policy, and access to the best doctors and treatment, and this person whose life was in danger for lack of $20 dollars.

Just 24 hours before being told of my cure, God was teaching me a lesson in gratitude, humility and mercy.  He taught me that the best way to celebrate my blessing was to work to insure those same blessings are available to the less fortunate, whether it’s paying for a $20 prescription or making my voice heard in the marketplace of public opinion.

In my lifetime, God has given me two miracles, “you’re cancer free” and “you’re hepatitis is cured!”  I am humbled and grateful for God’s mercy.  If I can ask one more thing in prayer, please Lord, make the next miracle one for him.

And, thank you Lord, for the lesson and the cure!

Best mountains for the most scenic afternoon views

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