Last weekend, my heart broke when I learned about the death of a man who had been my doctor for many years. A dear friend shared the shocking news with me at church on Sunday, assuming I had already heard. The doctor had been my primary care physician until insurance changes dictated I find a new one. My friend, also his patient, explained our doctor had recently died of cancer. How could that be? He was a "young" man not much older than myself. With a heavy heart, I went home that afternoon and crossed off a long standing item on my "to do" list. Not because it was done, but because I waited too long to do it. With regret, sorrow and sadness I erased the item on my list: send a thank you to Dr. Nusinow.
Dr. Nusinow, an internist, was the doctor I went to when pain, swelling and stiffness began in my joints several years ago. (Read my post Even in Darkness Light Dawns) I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (R.A.) And as God would have it, my doctor just happened to specialize in Rheumatology. This man was God's gift to me as I walked through a very long, frightening and difficult season of my life. Not only was he knowledgeable about my illness, he was also well read and up-to-date about the latest information, new treatments and nutritional alternatives. Dr. N. was patient and supportive with my desire to use the least aggressive drugs and the lowest possible dosages. And since he suffered from a disease that caused him enormous pain too, he possessed extraordinary empathy and compassion.
After a long season of suffering, God began to heal me (see the link above.) Dr. Nusinow was astonished at my improvement as the pain subsided, the swelling went down and my blood work returned to normal. At each appointment he examined the joints on my hands and feet and asked me, "What are you doing?" And everytime, he was curious about how my faith, prayer and meditation factored into my recovery. During each exam, I tried to squeeze in succint answers about memorizing Bible verses and mediating on them, or about my prayers and the prayers of others on my behalf, or how I believed God did a miracle. Then he would send me off saying, "Well, whatever you're doing, keep on doing it."
The deadline for the insurance change approached and I knew my last visit was near, so I wrote myself a note: Send a thank you to Dr Nusinow. I wanted to let him know how much I appreciated the excellent care, attention to detail and compassionate concern he gave to his patients. I wanted to let him know that God used him not only as a great doctor but to help me through a very frightening time in my life. And, I wanted to answer his question and let him know the whole story about the lessons I learned as I suffered with R.A. and the experiences I encountered as God began to heal me.
I thought I had more time. Lot's of time. But now, I deeply regret that the item on my "to do" list, send a thank you to Dr Nusinow, will never get done. The weight of it is heavy, like unfinished business. Each week, I pray about the post I should write. I realize this post may be more theraputic for me than an encouragement for you. But as I close I can't help but wonder, is there something on your "to do" list that you have been putting off? Is there someone you need or want to tell thank you or I love you or I'm sorry or ...? I encourage you, please don't put it off another day. Ask the Lord if there is anything at the bottom of your list that needs to be moved to the top. I don't want you to feel the regret that I do this week of waiting too long and now knowing it's too late. Proverbs 3:27 says, Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.