Two weeks ago I accompanied my husband, Tobias, attending the KlarText Prize for Science Communication award ceremony in Heidelberg.
The Klaus Tschira Foundation (established by physicist Klaus Tschira, co-founder SAP AG), awards a prize to six researchers who have written a generally understandable article about their doctoral thesis.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tobiasmaier/ Tobias himself is a molecular biologist who then moved from research lab to science communication. Now, he trains scientists the practice of informing, educating, sharing wonderment, and raising awareness of science-related topics to the public.
::: LEARN TO COMMUNICATE
Like science communication, prayer is not about turning God into the cosmic ATM, but
it’s about communing with God.
I see that the characters in the Bible don’t pray with hasty words nor empty phrases, but their prayers are effective, genuine and real.
The book of Psalms taught me how to pray, how to commune with the Holy Father, especially in times of grief, of fear and pain.
::: SORTING OUT EMOTIONS
The other day I called my friend in Jakarta who was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer. Her sister told me that she’s constantly feeling fear and sadness.
When fear and anxiety collide, it can destroy a human being. It’s important to respond to it the right way.
I remembered 2 years ago there was a moment when I was scared about my final days and death. I feared the unknown and not being in control.
Until I dared to talk about it to Tobias. I learned from Tobias that the medication now is advanced and the medical care team won’t let me suffer inhumanly during my final days. Furthermore, I wrote a living will, a legal document in which I specify what actions should be taken for my health if I’m no longer able to make decisions for myself in my final days. It’s notarized, and Tobias and my doctor have it.
By doing this, it helped me to free myself from the quicksand of fear.
When I go through times of tragedy, stress, fear, and stuff that happens inside me that I don’t even know how to name it, I fight it.
I fight it by sorting through my emotions: what cause it, what is the effect, how does it relate to my view of God, my view of myself and other people.
That’s why we call ourselves “cancer warriors”, because we’re not only fighting this disease physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
In my journey of living with DIPG, I learned expressing my emotions, not to deny them, and not to let them overtake me.
::: POURING IT OUT
After I sorted out my emotions, then I just poured out the whole mess in God’s presence.
This is how I begin my prayers: with how I feel.
I tell God my problems and issues. Then I refer to how God has proved His faithfulness in my life and in the history.
This is not a self talk, but it’s a raw boldness talking to God, and proclaiming His salvation.
::: PRAISE OVER PROBLEMS
This month, 2 DIPG-Adults Warriors passed away. My heart is broken. I only knew them from Facebook, but they’re special to me because we somehow understand each other, we fight the same disease.
I know that I may never see the full answer to some of my prayers and those anguished prayers. Even I sometimes wonder where He is in this difficult time.
These past 2.5 years I have endured:
1 brain surgery (biopsy)
1 belly surgery (PEG-Tube)
6 weeks of radiation
3 weeks of re-irradiation
Blood draws every 2 weeks
High dose corticosteroid
Countless chemo pills
18 chemo drips
Physical pain and disability
Unpleasant side effects.
But, at the same time I have experienced:
Being loved authentically by Tobias
Being uplifted by family, friends and even strangers
Smiling and laughing everyday
Sleep well with no worries
Traveling a lot
Becoming a writer
A change of heart and mind by grace
And so on, countless blessings in my life.
This gives me the anchor to hold on: God is good. Based on my life experience, it’s not a naive statement.
In my journey of pain and grief,
I’ve experienced His goodness.
My journey became a journey of joy. Therefore, I am able to praise God on the other side of my suffering.
Even though I am going to the dust of death, I know that God’s mercy and commitment to me reaches beyond the power of death. Death is not the end, it’s the beginning. This is my hope in Christ.
I am not perfect.
I know my flaws and my failures,
I know that I need forgiveness,
and I know that I have it.
Therefore, I confessed.
This is the Christian confession: it’s not about feeling guilty, it’s not a pity party for the mess I’ve made. But it’s the confidence from what Jesus has done for me, that the cross and resurrection happened, forgiveness is available for me. It has transformative power to heal and to change me.
Then confession becomes a pathway of freedom, joy and life.
::: WAY OF LIFE
Prayer is like the steering wheel, not the spare tire.
It is the crucial part of my relationship with my Holy Father. It declares that my trust is not in myself but in Him. I need His strength and blessings for what I do.
And I realized one thing: When you love someone, you want them to discover the power of prayer.
you maybe in the middle of happy go lucky,
you maybe in the middle of pain and grief, and wrestling with the doubt.
Allow yourself to pray.
God is inviting you not only because He cares,
but also because He has actually done something about it, through His life, death and resurrection
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Hebrews 4:16 NLT
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
::: UPDATE ABOUT ME
2 Years 5 Months Post Biopsy
Midline Pontine Glioblastoma/DIPG Grade IV
On Wednesday, October 23rd, I received the 18th round Avastin.
I will spend next week in Barcelona accompanying Tobias’ business trip. And many more trips until the end of this year. Hope that I’ll stay fit to travel.
My symptoms are pretty much the same.
Please go to http://titien.de/my-medical-history/ for more details.
Thanks for keeping me in your prayers 🙏
PS: Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing my posts.
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