Tonight I’m watching an intriguing TV drama called “3 lbs”, about a neurosurgeon and the neurology team at a hospital. They are removing the tumor-ridden connecting neurons between the two hemispheres of a woman’s brain. In the story line, because she is pregnant, she is unable to undergo the chemotherapy or radiological options. After the surgery she is having to relearn coordinated movement and thinking, learning how to live with the right and left brain integrative function absent. It is an interesting solution to her dilemma, a sacrifice for the benefit of protecting her unborn child.
I was telling a friend today about a time ten years ago when I experienced mania and psychosis. I described it to her as I had described it to my counselor back then: it was as if a central processor between the two hemispheres of my brain that provided a modulating influence, had come undone, had unwound or simply ceased to exist. What had been, in a healthy state, a figure eight way of viewing my brain- two loops with a well connected and regulated intersection in the middle- had become an Indianapolis raceway oval. Thoughts were racing around the track with no moderating middle ground. It was difficult dealing with my thought processes in that state- hallucinations, delusions, obsessive thinking….. Time, counseling, prayer, and Christ’s healing eventually restored the proper “figure eight” structure to my thought pattern again.
In “3 lbs.”, the patient finds that the two parts of her brain seem to have different opinions on some things- her intuitive side at odds with her logical side. Her altered physiology makes it very clear that she is at odds within her own mind. In the case of the patient, because of her unusual adeptness with language in her non-language hemisphere, they decide to go back in and remove the remainder of the tumor in the left hemisphere, permanently damaging her ability to speak in the process, but saving her life and assuring that she will live to see her baby grow up. Again, she chooses personal sacrifice on behalf of her child.
The Apostle Paul felt conflict in himself when he said, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7: 15-25)
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have the sinful part of ourselves excised? Paul experienced the same desire.