God provided a new friend for me today. In God’s kind providence I was privileged to meet, via internet and telephone, a pastor from North Carolina named Jonathan. I am excited about this friendship for what we have in common. We both have a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus.
Barrett’s is found mostly among sufferers of GERD (acid reflux disease), like Jonathan and myself. More importantly, and frighteningly, Barrett’s is a high risk condition for Esophageal Cancer, which is not exactly the best cancer to have.
I was diagnosed with Barrett’s in April of 2009 while Jonathan was diagnosed in January of this year. Unfortunately for me, my one year follow-up visit this May revealed that my Barrett’s has progressed (not progress in my opinion!) to low-grade dysplasia. I get to return this Fall for another upper endoscopy with the potential for treatment following.
If you followed the links above, you probably will understand while I have recently been willing to make rather drastic lifestyle changes (diet, supplements, lose weight, etc.) in order to decrease the risk (I hope and pray) of developing cancer.
Up to this point in this journey, I had not met anyone who also had this condition. But through a Facebook support group page, I came across Jonathan, googled his name, and called him up today. We discovered we even had a mutual friend, from my college days and Jonathan’s seminary days.
After sharing our stories and fears about Barrett’s and discussing various lifestyle changes we switched gears to theology for a few minutes prior to closing out our phone call by praying for one another.
As I hung up with my new friend I thought of Paul’s words as recorded in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4…
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Although I would wish this with no one, I am thankful to God that I now have a friend who knows what I am going through, can encourage me, and to whom I can return the favor.