By Dr. Keith Bly

Today, I go to the operating room. I have an excellent neurosurgeon who specializes in operating on precisely my type of brain tumor. Alongside him will be the best team of anesthesiologists, nurses, radiologists, pathologists and other health professionals, taking care of me at the premier cancer treatment center in all the world. My family and friends are with me.

I will wake up later this afternoon still halfway under the groggy fog of anesthesia, move my left arm and leg, report to the nurse about my latest gas passings, futilely beg to have my Foley removed, say a few inappropriately amusing things, then select items from the most exquisite menu of clear liquids offered anywhere.

It seems that after almost a month of Listening to Your Prayers, Having a Reason for Everything, and Working in Mysterious Ways, the Answerer of Prayers has gotten me squared away perfectly today. He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands and probably needs to move on to other things.

So don’t pray for me today.

Pray for all the little kids with cancer, who haven’t yet lived 5 or 15 years, let alone 45, and are experiencing much more misery and pain, or enduring more difficult treatments for more serious conditions than what I am undergoing, with little to no understanding of why.

Then pray for all the healthy kids that they never have to experience any of these things. The Answerer of Prayers will have a little extra time to take care of that, if you don’t pray for me today.

Pray for all the kids who got hurt in accidents with cars and guns and hammers and lawn mowers and swimming pools and knives yesterday who are in hospitals all over the country today in pain and barely clinging to life.

Then pray for the millions of otherwise happy, healthy kids that they don’t have accidents like that tomorrow, or the next day, or ever. The Answerer of Prayers can give some additional attention to that, if you don’t pray for me today.

Pray for all the kids who are being beaten, molested or neglected and have nobody to protect them, or whose protectors have become their daily living nightmares.

Then pray for all the happy kids in good homes, that they don’t fall victim to such abuse or become enticed by trusted adults who are predators in sheep’s clothing. The Answerer of Prayers will have more time to keep them all safe, if you don’t pray for me today.

If you nonetheless feel compelled to pray for me today, then instead please pray for Amy, Cameron, Justin and Charlotte, that they will have the strength to endure whatever inevitability the Answerer of Prayers has planned for me. I prefer the extra good juju be set aside for them, “just in case,” rather than spent on operating room distractions.

I have already been placed in Good Hands, so don’t pray for me today.

Dr. Keith Bly, the Residency Program Director at UTMB Health Pediatrics and a pediatrician at UTMB, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Before his surgery, Bly, who has co-authored a column on children’s health for The Daily News for years, sold tickets for a chance to snip or shave some of his hair off as a fundraiser for The Rainbow Connection Camp for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders, where he is camp doctor. He posted this note just before his surgery.
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The Rainbow Connection is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that supports children who have been diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders and their families. It is a 100 percent volunteer organization and is funded solely through fundraisers, grants and general donations. For more information visit www.rccamp.org.