Some of you may have seen a recent interview with Kate in Christianity Today http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/february-web-only/kate-bowler-on-dying-and-sure-hope.html or read her piece in the New York Times. Many comments on these articles have described her as “dying from cancer” but Kate thinks that a better description would be “critically ill with cancer”. This change does not reflect some sort of unreasonable optimism or assumption that she is being cured by her treatment; it is rather a more accurate description of a state that she will be in for the foreseeable future. This was made clear in a talk Kate had this week with her oncologist at Duke Medical Center: doctors do not foresee a cure.
The hope that the immunotherapy and chemotherapy she is receiving offers is that she will not die from her cancer but that that her disease eventually will be manageable. The analogy is one with HIV or diabetes – a condition that will not go away but which will be contained with medication and allow something approaching a normal lifestyle. At this moment Kate is walking toward a chasm, over which a bridge has not yet been built. We live in hope that this life-saving construction will appear and, as always, covet your prayers for Kate and her family.