Yesterday, Bill had his eighth round of chemotherapy. This has been an incredibly difficult learning experience for us both. Like everyone, we, of course, have family, friends, and loved ones who have been through chemo, and we thought we knew what they were going through and understood how to be supportive and present with them. Then they put a port in Bill’s chest and began to put chemicals, the names of which we cannot pronounce, into his body.

No one bothered to tell us much about the drugs, and no one asked if we wanted them or if we would rather have this one or that one. No one said, “This is one option, but you might do that.” No one suggested that, instead of putting this poison in your body, you might want to consider this. No one said much of anything except, “Your first chemo treatment will be [insert date here]. See you then.”

My youngest brother summarized best how I feel about this: “The difference between a doctor and God is that God doesn’t think He is a doctor.” I’ve spent every night researching what the doctors don’t tell us and trying to figure out what it all means. The frustration is that our insurance company is spending tens of thousands of dollars every other week, but the doctors who are getting the money won’t talk on the phone because “it isn’t billable.” No one seems to consider alternative therapies because, of course, no pharmaceutical company will make millions from them.

I know this is very personal for me at the moment, but it should be personal for us all. As long as healing is FOR PROFIT in America we will never know what is good or right or best for us. We will only know what is MOST PROFITABLE. Do you get the evil of that? Do you get that when healing is a for-profit industry the poorest suffer the most and die the quickest? If Christians don’t passionately care about this what will we care about? I know I’m obsessed with Bill’s treatment, but I think I’m also obsessed with Jesus’ values about the poor.


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Rev. Michael Piazza