Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Life Giving Porridge


"I am sorry, it's stomach cancer." Words after a biopsy said with great delicacy by a fellow doctor, some 30 years ago to the writer of this article in the Catholic Digest. At that time the writer was busy as a doctor in internal medicine on hospital duty.

The words were like being hit on the head with a mallet. That evening at the hospital he watched the Japanese Emperor's Funeral broadcast on CNN. He was the one lying in the casket.

The next day when his night duty ended, he returned home; the whole world seemed to have changed. Everybody he saw on the way home seemed happier than he was at that moment.

How was he going to tell his wife of the biopsy? He wanted to grab the two hands of his wife and pray, it was the first time earnest words of prayer were uttered. He told his wife of the stomach cancer.
"I was not living as I should, was the reason for the disease; I will from now on start living well and I will be healed" these words flowed from his lips as if beyond his control.
He asked his wife to wash the dirt away soaking himself in the bathwater of the tub, his wife's tears mixed with the water. His future hidden by a large rock broke and thru a crevice, he began to see light.

At first, he wanted to go overseas to a famous cancer hospital but finally decided to pick an operating doctor who considered his work as art and with skillful hands.
Waiting for the operation he read many books, watched videos that gave the readers hope. Persons with incurable diseases and with their stories and recommendations on what to do, and eat. He was surprised to see the number of books on the subject. Eating and living correctly he would achieve health.

In stomach cancer surgery, the lower part of the stomach is cut and the remaining upper part is connected to the small intestine in many cases.
But his cancer occurred in the upper part of the stomach, close to the esophagus. He had no choice but to undergo major surgery to completely remove the stomach and connect the small intestine to the esophagus. He doesn't have a stomach or spleen, and only half of the pancreas is left, he is no longer a normal person with five organs and 6 intestines but firmly believed that healthy life activities were possible with only the rest of the organs because of the resiliency of the body.

The operating doctor in the biopsy said that cancer had spread to the lymph glands. He was struck another blow but quickly: What do we do now? Whatever be the case he was determined to regain health. He was asked if he wanted to begin chemotherapy? He politely refused for he felt it would interfere with his natural healing power. Health would come by eating, drinking, resting, and living a life of moderation so that the healing power that the Creator had prepared would be activated.

No matter what the statistics say no matter how bad they looked he would overcome the statistics, even though he felt  he was being reckless he continued to harbor the hope he had from the beginning.

The menu he received was from the United States, no menu for Koreans. After surgery, his wife started making porridge for him. The main ingredients were brown rice, corn, peas, onions, carrots, and dried mushrooms soaked in anchovy broth. The porridge was nutritious and tasty and felt good after eating; it felt like every cell in his body was washed and cleansed. In the past, soft drinks, sausages, bacon, he once enjoyed, lost all their attraction.

After 6 weeks he returned to the hospital and his internal medicine position. Fellow doctors recommended he take his medical disability money and live peacefully taking care of his health but he found the work more satisfying.

After cancer surgery living 10 years is considered to be close to a cure. The reasons for the results are the porridge and his wife's love.

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