A sigh of relief

That sound you just heard was the collective exhalation of breath by Kate and her ground crew. The analysis of the scan on her tumours has come in and it is good news: shrinkage of the nasty things all around. The doctor is pleased with the progress; everything is trending in the right direction.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers. They make a tangible difference in our lives.


43 Responses

  1. Phillip Luke Sinitiere

    The other sound you heard was the collective cheer from friends in Houston. So happy to hear the positive news!

  2. Prayers of thanks and praise ascending all day long, and through the night!

    • Praying for you and your family – also sending hugs.

    • Awesome news. I just read your article on the diagnosis. Keep keeping on. I know it’s not easy. Keep taking that one step at a time. May God continually guide you and the doctors for the right path to take and right medications. May His will be done.

  3. Thanks be to God…Grace Bible Church, Winnipeg continues to pray for you and your family, especially Ken & Els.

  4. Excellent new, Kate and clan! We live in an age of miracles, and you are one.
    Hope the treatments have gotten easier to take, or you’ve found some ways to endure them. I’m sure this news helps mentally, physically, spiritually and every other way.

  5. Here in Rockport TX at our church away from home, I received many smiles tonight from people who had read the GOOD news about the scan reports.
    I am so thankful that God has His people every where in place
    who are Kate’s prayer warriors day and night.
    We are encouraged by the good news dear Kate, Toban and Zach
    May God be praised.
    Wishing you courage as well as joy.

  6. Wonderful news!!!!’

  7. Jane Hawthorne

    The MACP class of 2013 speaks of you regularly as our favorite church history professor and prays for you even more regularly. This is good news indeed! Thank you for your informative updates and moving reflections. With are with you.

  8. Jane Hawthorne

    WE are with you.

  9. Lifting you up in prayer with recognition that our Chief Physician, the Lord will continue to restore you anew!

  10. Renee Aubuchon

    Glad to hear that you got good test results! Sending prayers for your health! (I read an article of yours on Facebook and did a search to see how you are doing, hoping things were going well for you.)

  11. I picked up a NY Times this morning at Starbucks and read your story. How utterly moving and inspiring. I lost my first wife to breast cancer over 22 yrs ago. You are in my prayers already.

  12. Martha Pierce

    Just read your piece in the NY Times. I am quite speechless and in tears. I will pray for you tonight at our healing prayer time at St. James’ Madison Ave, NYC and put you on our prayer list with your permission (please let me know if this is okay ). Your courage and your faith are commendable. And your desire to unmask and display Jesus as he truly exists in this very moment in our lives is phenomenal. Live in him in your pain, your sorrow and in all that you are. And bless you always and forever.
    PS your news is quite wonderful!

  13. Jan Malcheski

    I am sure all the thousands who also read you piece in the New York Times all wish you well. It is also intersecting and sad but still somehow hopeful (as your piece was) that so many replies on this blog could very well be taken as part and parcel of a “prosperity” influenced faith, demonstrating your thesis, as well as its antithesis. But who has time for such abstractions when you are fighting a terrible disease? And improving. “God Grant You Many Years” as the Orthodox like to sing.

    • Good post. My goodness, who doesn’t hope for the very best outcome for Kate. The faithful have an advantage over people like me in that they can take some measure of comfort from the thought that through their prayers they have the ability to actually do something to help to cure her. If the Almighty determines what happens, and He has decided on a certain course, will your prayer cause Him to change his mind?

  14. Just read the NYT piece, and as a doctor who has mourned too many deaths, a missionary working in Africa where the prosperity gospel has taken a destructive hold, and a mom of two Duke students, I want to say bravo, keep speaking truth, and don’t stop writing. You sound like Habbakuk and David and Job … And Jesus. We need your voice. Thanks.

    • Loved her article. I am 78 now, when I was an Asst pastor in California,,in the 70’s we had a Missonary from Africa ,I asked him how the believe and receive Gospel worked in Africa, he looked at me and said, it doesn’t.

  15. Your article in the times is wonderful. And the news about your scan even more so. My own personal answer probably is not in your ballpark, as I am an atheist and believe there is no reason. I also believe in grace, gratitude and oneness. While I cannot offer prayers for your recovery I most definitely will hold you in my thoughts and will care about your recovery. Thank you for you abundant courage.
    Ian smith

  16. Praise God from who ALL blessings flow! I will share with the MACP Class of 2014.

  17. Hi Kate. I just read the NYT article and wanted to say hello. I’m in treatment for lymphoma (diagnosed just a few months ago). I’m an atheist and natural foods enthusiast so I can really relate to the irony (and the kale salad comment!). How can someone get cancer after spending years railing against carcinogens in the food supply? It’s the same damn thing: a misguided belief that we have much control over anything at all. We can do our best (be it prayer or superfoods) but our only real hope is making the best out of whatever time we have left before we die of cancer, a drunk driver, or choking on kale. Here’s hoping for many years of faith and/or kale for us all. Best of luck to you.

  18. Hello Kate – Like others, I was touched on several levels by your piece in yesterday’s NYT. Just over 20 years ago, when my wife and I were 45 with 2 young children, what I thought was lower back pain was diagnosed as kidney cancer. In those days the prospects were grim. I recall praying alot, mostly to live long enought to see our children off to college. I did and am now a grandparent. I also have sought to help others as a member of the board of directors of the Kidney Cancer Association. My sense is that advances in treatment now provide a sense of optimism, which when added to your age, faith and family support suggest a good outcome which will leave you with a unique sense of life.

    Take care and continue to tell your story.

  19. Paula Van Houten

    I just read your NYT piece. Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. For me the most important point you make is the blurring of distinction between gift and reward. Without understanding that, how can one give or receive unconditional love? As a teacher, I see too many children who learn that “love” is conditional. Parents, teachers, all people of good will, may we all strive to love unconditionally as God loves us! Kate, please know that you are now being prayed for in Los Angeles, too.

  20. Dear Kate, I read your NYT article. I was touched by your your courage and your wise and gentle words. God bless you, and grant you a full span of years.

  21. Kate’s story in the NYTimes made me cry and laugh. She writes beautifully and honestly, and I’m an incredibly sceptical reader so that’s saying something. These sentences in articular spoke to me:
    – “Cancer requires that I stumble around in the debris of dreams I thought I was entitled to and plans I didn’t realize I had made,” AND
    – “At some point, we must say to ourselves, I’m going to need to let go,” AND
    – “I can’t help noticing the brittleness of the walls that keep most people fed, sheltered and whole. I find myself returning to the same thoughts again and again: Life is so beautiful. Life is so hard.”

    Kate, as a Christian, your story has inspired me to look at God. I pray that He strengthens you to be able to look at Him all your time on this earth until you are able to see Him face to face.

    With love,

    • The article was so well written. I read it out loud to my wife and we cried and laughed. It appears that we are not alone in our experience. We will pray for you and your family. Thank you for having the courage to share your keen insights with the world.

    • Don’t rush in seeing God face to face ! Seems like he/she might be eternal, so he/she can wait a bit longer 🙂

  22. I just read your powerful New York Times essay essay and immediately had to know more about how you were doing. I am so very happy to learn that the medical news is encouraging! I am a psychologist (a Duke PhD) and feel so terribly sad–and sometimes angry– when clients in physical or emotional pain tell me, usually with resignation, that “things must happen for a reason.” Sometimes I wish I could give a sharp retort similar to your husband’s! But I have to challenge that self-destructive belief in a gentler way. You have now joined the wise, compassionate voices whose alternative message I will be able to share with my clients and with others who suffer–all of us, sooner or later.I thank you for your intelligent and wise words. Please accept my deepest hopes (and, yes, prayers) for strength and more good news for you and your family.

  23. Greetings, Kate. I am a Canadian biology professor on sabbatical in Namibia, Africa. I just read your article in the NY Times, and actually had to collect myself afterward. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Methodist and share the “skepticism” (if you will) about the prosperity gospel. One thing I do note down here is that that particular orientation is very, very common among the African churches. If, as I hope and, yes, pray that you are restored to health, you might want to look at the particularities of it in this part of the world. I’d love to join you and be your research assistant. Please accept my sincerest gratitude for you sharing your story, and my best wishes to you and your family.

  24. As a long term survivor of being HIV positive and someone who lost one of the most truly wonderful people in the world to the same disease nearly 33 years ago, I have to come down on the side of “luck”

  25. Suzanne Mcclean

    Thank you for your article. My husband, although devastated by his diagnosis of pancreas cancer, received treatment for three years. He was a scientist and a lawyer so he knew a great deal. He was clear in his decisions along the way and we respected these decisions. He was patient, kind and generous his whole life….. the best non-church gowing Christian I have ever met.
    Rock on Lady Canuck!!!

  26. Kate, we were both students at Duke Divinity during the same years- both MTS, as I recall. You were then and are now a bright light, and I’m glad our paths crossed, even briefly. I pray for you as I think of you, which is often.

  27. Elizabeth Schar

    Thank you for this gift you gave us!! Thoughtful perspective and sharing on this puzzling part of faith. My Bible study group is studying prayer and this week we are focused on unanswered prayer. Your words are so helpful as we seek to understand. We pray for you and your family and friends. Gratefully, Elizabeth

  28. Raymond Voigt

    Thank you for your NYT commentary. I deeply appreciated your honesty and openness about your faith and illness. I’m happy that your treatments are showing promise and I’m grateful for the advances that medical science has made in treating formerly intractable conditions. I once was a believer, while not a “prosperity” Christian, I thought there was a link between faith, happiness, and fulfillment.
    In my late twenties, in the wake of a failed love, abortive academic pursuits, and a near fatal auto accident, I had to reassess my priorities and whether faith was a positive part of my life. During that period, I learned to appreciate the kindness of the medicos, therapists, co-workers, and friends who aided me in my three year recovery from my injuries.
    Rather than seeing the “brittleness” of the structures of human kindness, I found myself in wonder of the web of connections that we make to care for each other and make the trains run on time.I began to understand that faith in gods and resultant magical thinking hurt my decision making process, steering me away from love and living authentically.
    Within five years of my accident, I’d graduated from Harvard night school, found a new career, married, and had a baby son to care for. Not because of faith, but because of hard work, will, and with the love I let myself live. I still know how fickle chance and circumstance can be. My family has been facing health and money challenges in recent years, but we’ve made progress.
    I don’t expect miracles or that the economy will always reward my work. Prosperity is a combination of chance and choices, not faith and a god’s favor. I wish you well and hope you continue to recover and grow. You’re a great writer with lessons to teach your fellow faithful.

  29. Alex Williams

    What beautiful responses – from so many different perspectives. I just read your NY Times article and wanted to check up on you also. As a doubter, I think Ian Smith said it all for me in his reply, but I’ll pray for you and your family too, just in case.

  30. Hi Kate,

    I only just learned of your story. Oddly enough I discovered “Blessed” right around the time you were diagnosed. I am hoping to do a PhD in the prosper gospel and your work in the near future and found your worth compelling and exceedingly valuable. Thank you for your efforts to distinguish truth from error, always salting your words with grace.

    I pray for much grace on you and your family in your suffering and will plead before the Lord that He would heal you.

    I am thankful for this recent report of progress. May it increase abundantly.

    Grace and peace.

  31. Wow. I, too, just read your NYT piece and was compelled to “check in” on you. As others have pointed out out, the article is beautifully written. What struck me more, however, is the delicate kindness and lack of judgement or bitterness you express toward “the blessed”. I am terrifically relieved to hear of your progress and very much hope it continues. Reading the other comments here reminds me that God made most people with so much darn goodness. And as I wait for my son to finish basketball practice, I say a prayer for you and your young family and realize the night sky is breathtaking.

  32. Kathryn Bowler

    Entitlement to a disease- or disaster-free life is a myth we all want to perpetuate, don’t we? Your NYT article is beautiful and simply lays the real truths bare in the most literate and exquisite way, (using words that only the rare and beautiful bird, Kate Bowler, could put to paper.) Proud and humbled to know you…

    With so much love and respect, I think of you every day, Kate.

  33. I just read your NYT piece. I’m moved by your faith and godliness. Thank you for sharing your heart and letting me see what a picture of what it actually looks like to live the Gospel.

  34. Thank you for your recent NYT opinion piece; as a former pastor in Mennonite Church USA I was struck by your observations on how the prosperity gospel had managed to penetrate so deeply into the marrow of a people once deeply committed to simplicity. Sadly, I was unable to see this change until I left “the fold” behind, but see it now among the Brethren where I serve. Thank you also for the reminder that “the kingdom of God is not yet”; I have been walking with a parishioner and family through the onset of dementia, and family members are apt to complain about the unfairness of it all, since Dad had always given so much to the church. It is hard for them to understand that not all things make sense; that a fallen world will produce unfair outcomes, yet Father God still loves, cares, and abides, dementia or no. I think I will share the link to this piece with them. May the Lord keep, strengthen, and abide with you and yours.

  35. Linda Reyes

    Dear Kate:

    I am so very happy to find this blog and to learn that you are doing well. I send love to you. I continue to pray for you daily and thank God so very much for you in this world! Linda

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