Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe

I had to take a little break from some of my more theological reading. I've been trying to read a fairly weighty book called Reign of the Servant Kings. It's a "study of eternal security and the final significance of man." Yeah. After the first chapter my brain felt like it was going to explode. I'm also wading through a book called The Sacred Romance. I'm having a tough time with this one as the writer (John Eldredge) tends to be a little flowery in his writing style - not my thing, but there are a few nuggets of gold here and there.

I guess one aspect of being slightly ADD is that I tend to read multiple books at a time. Strangely, I can do this without losing my train of thought. I purchased an interesting book at Barnes & Noble last weekend called Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Furlik, MD. Furlik is one of only 200 women neurosurgeons in the US. She's young, incredibly smart and a very witty writer, too. I read the book in just a couple of days and really enjoyed it.

There were several interesting aspects of the book. I loved the technical aspect of the book. I felt like I was learning something new about an area I knew very little about (the brain). I enjoy all things medical - maybe I should have been a physician - and having been a pharma rep (as well as being married to someone in the pharma industry) I feel well-acquainted with the medical industry. I was also quite amazed at a closer look at the human brain and all that it can do. What an amazing "machine" it is! It surprises me that someone who is so intimate with this incredible gray matter could not believe in SOME type of higher power.

In one of the chapters, Firlik describes 2 patients who both have AVMs or arteriovenous malformations. One type is a "handshake AVM" which is generally not good and called a "handshake" because all the neurosurgeon can offer as you walk out of her office is a "handshake." One of the patients chose to have the operation to remove the mass and didn't fare well (not surprising). Another patient chose to do nothing and live with knowing that it could end her life at any time and did surprisingly well with the mass continuing to grow in her brain. Here's a quote about that that I found very interesting:

"It's clear that the brain can accommodate quite nicely to the overbearing presence of a malformation, but can the mind be trained to accommodate just as well? When inaction is the best action, how do you prevent fear itself from becoming an illness? Does the fear simply wear out, or does it have to be forced out?"

Very provocative, huh? You see if you have to live with something that you know can grow so big that it can take your life at any time, would you be willing to do it or would the FEAR of that growth taking over your brain be a greater disease than the growth itself?

Maybe I live too much in the world of "what if?" sometimes (too much of the time). I'm not very good at resting in the security of God's sovereignty. I tend to be a person of action who likes to take matters in my own hands. I know this is deep-seated for me and goes back to a childhood of living in a totally dysfunctional family. I think I am better at "resting" than I used to be, but I'm still not there and I'm thankful that God isn't finished with me yet. My gray matter has more training.

"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?...So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:27, 34


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