Buerger’s Disease – It’s Not About Boogers!

Have you ever wondered why some people do stupid things? Or why, not only do they do stupid things, but they continue to do stupid things? I know that I do. For example, I drive down the road, and when I see that someone is uncomfortable driving when the sun is coming up, I wonder why they continue driving at an increasingly slow pace instead of using those clever little things called sun visors or sun glasses. I especially wonder this when they are right in front of me on the freeway into work.

Let’s face it, we all do things that other people look at us and wonder- “why?” The stunning thing about this question is, often there is no good answer. We may come up with many excuses, but seldom a good answer. Even more stunning is when it leads to some sick disease that slowly erodes the body, only to be met with pure non-resistance. Like, for example, what my biological mother Cay is dealing with.

Let me answer this question before I move on- yes, I said biological- I referred to her in this way because, I was adopted, and I don’t want those of you who know me to get her confused with my mom who raised me. With that being said, I will carry on.

Cay has Buerger’s Disease. For those of you who are inadequate in your medical knowledge and lingo, this is what it is: “a recurring inflammation and clotting of small and medium arteries and veins of the hands and feet.” Now, on the surface, that doesn’t sound so bad. But then as you dig a bit deeper, and look at some lovely hand models that allowed themselves to get this disease and then be photographed for medical textbooks, we find that it is a little less on the not so bad side and more on the disturbing side… For you see, untreated, Buerger’s Disease leads to one fun major complication- drum roll, please- gangrene in the fingers and toes! Hoo-ray for gangrene! (At this point, for those of you who are really really inadequate to the point of being raised in a swamp somewhere, gangrene is when your flesh starts dying and rotting away).

Now upon hearing this, my initial reaction is probably the same as yours: Time to go to the doctor and get treated! However, it is not quite that simple. Or should I say, it is much more simple than that. You see, this disease has one simple cure. Stop smoking. Stop the use of all tobacco products. Do so immediately. Period. As in, there is NO OTHER CURE. Upon being diagnosed, Cay was faced with one of two choices: continue smoking, and therefore keep the finger-rotting fun and eventually have those five appendages removed by amputation, or stop smoking. I know it sounds weird, because you would think there was some other way, but alas, there is not. A simple cure recognized by doctors world wide.

So Cay stopped smoking and all will be fine. O.K., that was actually a lie. If she had quit, I obviously would not be writing this. So far, at this point anyway, she has not put down the cancer sticks and has chosen to live with the pain. All for the love of a cigarette. Most people throw their life away for the love of a woman, or the love of a man, but the love of a cancer stick? The verdict is in, she will eventually lose her fingers if she does not quit, to which I ask, how then will she smoke?

I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that she is still lighting up. But then, I must look in the mirror and ask myself this: If I were in her position, would I be willing to quit? Yes, she has many excuses, to which I think are all stupid. But would I quit, or even be able to come up with a better excuse? Let’s face it, I am no genius at keeping myself on the straight and narrow of anything. I constantly take two steps forward and then ten steps back. In case you are wondering, those ten steps are running steps.

We constantly go down this path of stupid. I think it may be in our nature to do so- as was once said a long time ago, it is our sin nature. I don’t know about you, but when I look in the mirror, I see the same symptoms running through me- you could call it a “spiritual” Buerger’s Diesease. I have the answer- the cure is simple. Stop sinning. Stop doing stupid things that get in the way of my relationship with God. In doing so, God will take over and heal me from the gangrene and restore my soul.

Every day we are faced with choices. Will we choose that drag on that charcoal-enhanced sin? You know, the one in your personal life that is turning your spiritual lungs black? The one that keeps us from being able to fully breath deep the breath of God? Here is reality: sin slowly rots away our soul, from the inside out. If left unchecked, God will have no choice but to amputate- a process that will hurt us badly, and will result in us losing things that we do not want to lose. But at the end of the day- it is our own choice. It is time to stop leading a lukewarm life. The root of our sin is selfishness, and no excuse will change what we have done or make it better. The only thing, the only cure to our sin disease that hinders us is to stop sinning, and let the cleansing blood of Christ flow through us and over us in it’s healing power.

Personally, I think I want to avoid the surgeon’s knife- I like my fingers. I suggest you do the same…