Here Comes Princess Leia
And Her Laser Beams
Dear Friends —
Advent is upon us. A time of expectation, and patience, preparation, and darker days, and the promise of light. Hope, most of all.
For me, it’s also time to welcome a new character to this story. Let’s all welcome Princess Leia (Dr. F), a most talented radiation oncologist from UCSF. Princess Leia has a sparkly resume — medical credentials from all kinds of impressive institutions. But what I love most about her profile is that she describes herself as a mother, foodie, hiker, and traveler. Just right for our story.
In addition to her skills in the kitchen and on hiking trails, Princess Leia is a radiation oncologist, which is fancy pants talk for a lady who knows how to use laser beams.
And what story is complete without laser beams?
When we last checked in I noted that activity in my lung is a bit of a mixed bag of goodness and some complexity. I have a series of itty bitties, and most seem to be more or less dormant thanks to Moxie’s good work. But two itty bitties have managed to outsmart Moxie and they continue to grow a smidge. So I asked about finding a way to get at them, and through a series of consults, Princess Leia and I had a chance to compare notes a couple weeks back.
She’s all in. As it turns out, she’s a sharp shooter. Where surgery is too invasive, she steps in with her laser beams and her aim is true. Who among us wouldn’t trust Princess Leia with her blaster?
So my advent season will have a bit more spark than in previous years. I’ll have three rounds of treatment, which I’m told each lasts for a couple of hours. Will it hurt? Nope! But what about the side effects? As best I can tell, some patients have a little fatigue and random quirky things. They also asked for my music preferences for the Pandora play list while Princess Leia does her thing.
I get it. Why on earth don’t we just have them include a pedicure and simply call it a spa day?
If all goes as planned, I’ll have three treatments in December to get at Itty Bitty #1, and then another series of Princess Leia laser beams in January for Itty Bitty #2.
Then we’ll scan again and sort out what’s what for the next chapter of the climb.
Until then, the days of advent invite us all to a time of sacred waiting. If you’re like me, whenever I have time to wait I often end up glancing at my phone, or daydreaming about not waiting.
But this advent, my intention is to savor the waiting, instead of squandering it. There is something gorgeous about that time before, those moments when the story is about to turn.
Those moments are when I think we might be most alive. It’s where our greatest expectations lock arms with our most stubborn optimism. That moment when the movie trailers end, the lights dim, and you look over at the person sitting next to you, and you think “Yes, I’m so glad I’ll experience this story with this soul — a kindred spirit who might see all of this the way I do.”
Even more, it’s that stirring of the heart about to wake up, knowing the story is on the brink of something new, despite all the odds.
The gospel writer John captured this moment this way, when describing the coming of the Messiah:
Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
This advent, we all have an invitation to draw closer to the waiting, to look for the light, and here’s the best part: To be the light.
We will blaze out of the darkness, each and every one of us. As bright and as brilliant and as miraculous as Princess Leia’s beautiful laser beams.
This is the Light to live by. Its aim is the most true of all.
What could be more hopeful than that?