When Flu Is Answer to Prayer

by - March 22, 2012

Who prays that it is the flu?

He sat in the doctor's office, and when they siphoned blood into a syringe and mentioned white counts, he couldn't stop his mind from sliding the slope into a time when monitoring every cell in his blood told us how long his clinic days would be. Some days they drew blood twice, occasionally thrice. He hates counting blood cells.

So he prays for flu while they swab his nasal membrane.

I had the flu once, when I was pregnant 12 years ago, and it's not your average cold. It's hardly an answer to prayer.

But it is for Mike, and, really, it's already too late. His mind is back there now, remembering what he longs to forget. Feeling terrible from the flu feels akin to cancer, and how he hates feeling sick.

He doesn't really know how to feel bad anymore. Mike's perfected feeling good. It's a life mission now. He eats well, exercises daily without fail (even with the flu apparently), and guards his sleep. These things insulate him from the past, the pain, and the fight of your life, literally. These are the only things you can do to put comfortable distance between cancer and health. That, and pray it's flu.

Yesterday he pulled out the face masks from the back of the closet, behind the box of leftover syringes we used to use to inject medication to stimulate red and white cell growth. The masked man waded through the neighborhood pollen, the old athlete in him trying to "walk it off."

Later that night, I watch him, agitated, staring at the ceiling at 1:24 in the morning, unable to sleep. I know his thoughts are teasing him.  He is wrestling the onset of a panic attack. That's when I, too, am tempted to slide the slope. I pray silently beside him that he pins his opponent to the mat and wins the match.

Back when he was fighting cancer, there was no mental wrestling, only time and energy to combat the real enemy, cancer. He was too busy surviving to engage in mind games. And that's how I know it's just flu. I closed my eyes relieved, pray Mike rests, and thank God for flu. 

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, ~James 1:2

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  1. Dawn... wow. perspective is a mighty thing. Thanking Him and praying for the flu with you.

  2. Dawn, this is an example I heart so much – so – so very much. A bride who knows her groom so well – to be able to read signals. Us men, we say we can't do that like you women can – but I'm finding out that's not true. It takes practice for us – it comes to you (generally) naturally. But we can do it – I'm learning.

    Also, I translated the book of James once – and I found it awfully interesting that the words, "consider it all joy" – they have a little different meaning in the Greek than in English. In the Greek, the word "all" modifies the word "joy". Every time I read that verse in English I think it modifies "various trials". Meaning, consider all of the various trials as joy. But the verse doesn't mean that AT ALL.

    I'm sorry for taking so long to make a comment – but you've inspired this – so it's your fault :-) - and I needed to be reminded of this - so a double thank you.


    in the Greek when the word "all" is put next to a noun like "joy" it intensifies it. so we aren't supposed to feel regular, normal kind of joy from trials, but the joy that comes from knowing that through any trial we're not alone, and Our Lord is there - and has his hands on the whole sitch.

    That's the kind of joy in trials that people who don't believe God cannot have – it's just our privilege. I, for one, don't grab hold of that often enough. Anyway – sorry for the long comment, it was inspired by you, thank you, and God bless and keep you and your sick – but not SICK hubs, Dawn.

    1. Craig, it's been a long time since I've delved into this verse so deeply. Thank you for the reminder. In my bible I have a note in the margin right here by verse 2 that says,"The joy of the Lord is my strength!" Joy gives us the strength to endure. So glad my ponderings triggered this from you. ... And then your wonderful comment triggered more from me. That's how iron sharpens iron. What we find in the depths of scripture never disappoints, does it? Thank you for this today.


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