It occurred to me that we had folks praying for us on every continent except Antarctica. On Friday, I decided to remedy that. I soon received the following email from the point of contact at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station:
Your email has been passed on to our personnel in Antarctica who will be saying prayers for you and your family.
Here’s what I had written. (I’ve omitted names.)
To Whom It May Concern,
I’m guessing this is the first request of this kind you’ve received, but please bear with me a moment. My name is Jen . I currently live outside of New York City in a New Jersey suburb, and I’ve just had a year for the record books.
But first—my “ask.” I’m writing to request good thoughts, positive vibes, good hopes to the universe or prayer—whatever your personal beliefs call it. (I’m not worried about labels.)
My 35 year old husband has a rare advanced form of kidney cancer with no effective treatment. We discovered this last year when I was 28 weeks pregnant with our first child. We were living with his parents at the time (and still are) as he was unemployed, and I was down-graded to part-time. He had half his kidney, the tumor, and 12 lymph nodes removed. Afterwards, the surgeon said it was a technical success, but his expression appeared grave. The tumor was “curious.”
By this time, I was 32 weeks pregnant and completely freaking out. I had had a perfectly normal pregnancy up to that point, but my blood pressure suddenly spiked, and I had a seizure and nearly bit off my tongue. Within an hour, I had a c-section, and fortunately they were able to save my life and our daughter’s.
She was in the NICU for six weeks, on a breathing monitor for six months, but she is one year old now, and is doing miraculously well. She’s a gorgeous, hilarious, golden child, with the happiest smile. She made friends with all the people on the airplane last weekend when we flew down to X. (What baby does that?)
Anyway, soon after my husband’s surgery, we found out he had this terrible cancer with no treatment. The doctor seemed so pessimistic, it was depressing, but the next two CT scans were clear! We were feeling hopeful!
Then Christmas time, CT scan three. The cancer was back. He was able to be put in a clinical trial that would contain his cancer for a time, but not cure it.
I felt pissed and miserable. All this stuff HAPPENED to us, and I was sick of it. How could I fight back in a creative way? I started a blog called www.100millionprayers.com, and we’ve managed to raise around $70,000 for kidney cancer research for my husband’s specific cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
I also have been lighting up the world with prayer. We have friends and strangers on every continent praying for my husband. Villages in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. Prayer chains from Lima, Peru, up through the Andes and into the rain forests. Cities and tiny towns all over the USA and Canada. Friends in Russia, China and Mexico. I wrote a letter to every discalced convent in the English speaking world—U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand and Australia. Friends translated it into Italian and Spanish and I sent it to Italy and half of South America. Nuns all over the world have been writing me the sweetest letters that they are praying for my family.
It occurred to me that I had people praying and thinking of us on every continent except Antarctica. Will you help me remedy that?
We have the best oncologists and scientists in the world and thousands of loving thoughts behind us. We have so many caring friends, old and new, pulling for us. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I believe there’s beauty and power in all of this mess.
So, please join us, Antarctica inhabitants. Just you and the penguins, I guess. If you would please pray/send good thoughts/ good vibes/ light a candle/ wish on a star that my dear husband will be healed, I will be eternally grateful.
He is starting a new experimental treatment in two days, so this is a very critical time.
With sincere thanks,