This fascinating account of a miracle, researched by the Vatican as a road to sainthood, can show the power or prayer or, in my opinion, the power of positive thinking that helps us increase our own immune system to fight off disease. It should not be the only weapon in our fight against disease but it cannot hurt to add it to our disease fighting arsenal.
Here is an excerpt:
By September of 1998, Audrey Toguchi needed a miracle. An x-ray had revealed three wispy masses in the retired schoolteacher's lungs: metastases from a tumor originally found near her hip. The doctors told her that surgery was impossible, and that chemotherapy might extend her life a few months at most. Her surgeon, Dr. Walter Chang, told her there was nothing he could do. The cancer would take her life.
Declining the chemo, Mrs. Toguchi turned exclusively to prayer. She had been deeply devout and prayerful from an early age. Throughout her life, she had prevailed on the Holy Spirit, or the Blessed Mother, or Saint Joseph, or many other saints for help in matters great or small: during her exams in college, which she was the first in her family to attend; or much later, when her husband was ill; or most recently, the time she had to negotiate with a rude contractor. She said her rosary three times a day and never missed a weekend mass at St. Elizabeth Church, her vibrant congregation in Aiea, the Honolulu suburb in which she lived. Her whole world was prayer, she’d say.
That piety ran in the family. Her sister Velma could rustle up prayers around the diocese the way a deft canvasser turns out votes, and when she had learned of her sister’s illness, Velma had called upon the nuns of Regina Pacis, the retired priests of the St. Patrick Monastery, and the children of Kapahulu Pre-School. She also phoned a Sacred Hearts priest she knew named Father Christopher Keahi, and asked him for advice. Father Keahi suggested that Mrs. Toguchi might pray to Father Damien. Who better, he suggested, than this man who had loved and cared for afflicted Hawaiians?
The idea resonated with Mrs. Toguchi: her own aunt, uncle, and grandfather had all been banished to Kalaupapa. And she could still remember the day when she was only eight years old and Damien’s coffin was paraded down 4th Street in Honolulu, passing many tearful observers on its way to the wharf, and then to Belgium. She never forgot how he had earned the people’s aloha, their love.
She eagerly told another priest, her longtime friend Dan MacNichol, of her plan to visit Molokai. After they spoke, Father MacNichol, who had seen terminal patients in denial before, got out his calendar to see if he had time next month to perform a funeral.
Then something remarkable happened. Upon her return to Honolulu, Mrs. Toguchi’s doctors noticed something unusual in a follow-up x-ray. It appeared that her cancer—her vicious, aggressive, metastasized cancer—hadn’t spread at all. In fact, looking closely, it seemed to the doctors as though one of the masses had become smaller. Another x-ray the following month showed all three masses were shrinking, and one the month after that showed them smaller yet. Finally, an x-ray in early spring showed her lungs to be completely clear. “She appears to have had a spontaneous complete remission, which is unexplained and thus far durable,” her oncologist noted in a report.
As word spread from one member to another of Mrs. Toguchi’s team of doctors, no one could explain what had happened. It was simply unheard of for someone to survive a pleiomorphic liposarcoma with lung metastases.
“I don’t know how you did it,” one of her doctors told her.
But it hadn’t been her, Mrs. Toguchi explained serenely. She had had help, she said, from above.