The surgeon can cut the abnormal cells out. The medicine can eradicate the offending germs. We may be declared "cured" of our disease. We may be told that our disease is incurable. And then we are left to heal.
Healing is the restoration of wholeness. This process is more meta physical than physical. We have all known people who have been cured of a disease, yet continue to be affected by it in every aspect of life, every day. This person may be cured, but may not be healed, if the disease process persists in negatively impacting life and relationships. Conversely, a person may be dying, unable to be cured, and in that process may have found a new level of peace, an honest and loving way to relate to him or herself and those around that may represent a spiritual or emotional healing that had been previously lacking.
Western or modern medicine is very geared toward healing. We run tests, take x-rays, give drugs, and perform surgery, all in pursuit of a cure for disease. We are better and better at it all the time. Our life expectancy is at an all time high. I'd like to see the medical community start to acknowledge the possibility of participating in the healing process. I'd like us to begin to recognize that curing a disease isn't necessarily a victory and that death is not a failure.
In working together toward healing, doctor and patient can respect each others wisdom, education and experience. Information can be shared. Deepseated fears can be addressed. Heartfelt wishes can be expressed and regrets let go. Sounds ideal. Let's be realistic in that doctors may just plain not have the time to embark on this journey of healing. This may be where complementary care comes in. Healing can come from a friend or relative, a counsellor or clergy member. It can be embarked upon by engaging the services of a homeopath or energy worker, massage therapist or reflexologist. Part of the healing in these practices comes because you, as the patient, have chosen this modality. It is not prescribed by any authority. It is given more power by the fact that you chose it.
Good rest, good nutrition, healthy exercise, prayers, meditation and some good hugs can go a long way in completing the task that we begin when we set out to cure disease. The task is not complete without the healing that comes from our amazing minds, bodies and spirits.