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#29 A Time to Kill

With my God-letter, I reached a decision – get radiation treatment.

The very next Sunday in church, I heard the words from Ecclesiastes : “a time to kill.” I felt like that was confirmation of the decision—time to get treatment, time to kill this tumor, kill it with radiation. And here I thought kill meant kill another person. Kill can mean many things. We can kill ugly emotions, kill negative feelings, kill depression, and fear. And radiation can kill my tumor!

Some patients need to have the tumor out of their head. I never felt that way. BUT I did need to know the thing is dead = not growing.

I gathered my pages of information. I knew where I wanted to go for treatment, “a Center of Excellence.” A center of excellence has lots of experience treating acoustic neuromas, whether radiation or surgery.

It all felt so right. Next I had to wait for the HMO answer. I couldn’t believe it. The HMO said NO. Why did the HMO say, “No?” They said no to going out of state for treatment when I could get the same treatment in state. But wait a minute. They don’t understand how rare this tumor is. When something is this rare, it’s important to find a doctor who has treated it many times. One out of 100,000 people is rare. It’s not like treating a common appendicitis.

The more patients a doctor has treated, the better the results. It doesn’t matter if it’s surgery or radiation. Do I want to be the 10th or the 100th patient? Or even the 1,000th? I want the doctor experienced with this tumor. Before every procedure each patient should always ask their doctor – “How many times have you done this procedure?” and “How many times a week or month do you do this procedure?” and “What’s your success rate?”

And I don’t want to hear a hesitant  answer. I want to hear a confidant answer, one that will fill me with confidence.


Readers: Are you shy to ask a doctor his success rate? With important appointments, be sure and have someone with you to take notes. A second pair of ears helps.


Dear God,

I feel like you are blocking the treatment. I don’t understand, but I feel like I should talk to the doctor that they want me to see. Again, I ask for help at this appointment. Help me to hear what You want me to hear. Amen.

A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:3-4

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