December 2009


Starting my second day in the hospital, I didn’t have any side effects (like hallucinations) yet . . . thank you for continuing to pray in that regard. Actually I just wanted to share another “miracle,” one that I’ve already highlighted in the past; but it’s a rather big one that totally encourages me and my wife.

Before I was checked in yesterday, we met with my medical oncologist, Dr. Ryan; I asked him about the “calcifications” that they had noticed in my tumor. Now, he was still rather guarded, that’s his approach, but he said that “yes, there are calcifications throughout the tumor; and what that means is that the tumor has been dying from within.” What! Did you all catch that? Furthermore, when I had my last biopsy, the radiologist showed me the tumor on the screen; he pointed out that approx. a 20% edge of the tumor is calcified (along with the spots throughout that Dr. Ryan spoke of). What makes this amazing, and I’ve shared this before, is that my kind of sarcoma (desmo-plastic) should not do this. I don’t want the significance of this to be lost on you. My tumor, by definition is a fast growing tumor that typically spreads rapidally throughout the abdominal region. In other words, what is indicative of my kind of tumor is not what my tumor is doing at all! My tumor is self-contained, the fact that it has calcifications fits with the patterns of a “slow growing tumor,” and it is operable.

This is amazing, this is the LORD! This means that He has had His hand on this thing for along time, who knows how long — except Him. I share this because it totally encourages me, you see, if the LORD hadn’t done this with my kind of tumor, my chances of survival — statistically anyway — would be very low. To me and my wife, this is a huge testimony to my wife and myself; it provides great encouragement for my overall prognosis, that the LORD is doing something else through this (other than “taking me home”), and that He has a future and a plan for “me and my family” (and in fact all of His children).

Again, thank you all for the prayers, they are what God works through; His people . . .

P.S. pray for pastor Matt Chandler, he just started his treatments for his brain tumor.

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We’re sitting in the hospital, the oncology wing; snow is falling just outside the window, it’s beautiful, especially if I pretend I’m not sitting on a hospital bed with IV dripping. Actually at the moment I am being “pre-hydroed,” until about 7 or 8 pm, when the chemo will start dripping. Please continue to pray that I won’t experience any adverse reactions to the chemo (including hallucinations and/or confusion); if I’m going to I will tonight — the docs say the chances that I actually will are remote (but I can also still get nausea, which I would also like to by-pass, of course).

I know the LORD is working, and He has done so many “miracles” my wife and I can’t keep count; let me share a small one (a “big one,” they all are). The laptop we are using at the hospital doesn’t normally have “sound” (there is something wrong with the software, I think, I’ve tried to fix it, I even worked on it before we came in, and couldn’t get it to work, this has been an ongoing problem with this computer) — the speakers don’t work on the computer — anyway, I asked the LORD to let it work (last night) while we were here at the hospital (I forgot I asked Him to do that); my wife turned on the computer when we got here, and I looked down at the “speaker icon,” and the little “red x” was gone (which indicates the speakers are out). I asked my wife to turn on the sound on her game (“Farmville”), and what do you know, it worked. This is totally exciting because I like to listen to sermons on-line, and the LORD has met this “need.” What an awesome God, I will not be surprised at all if when we live here this Saturday, that the sound will be out again once we get home. It is these kinds of “little miracles” that the LORD has been using to reassure me/us that He is totally here, and totally in control; that He is going to literally walk with us through this “fire” (He has not left us as orphans). What an awesome God we serve!

One other thing on this computer thing, I like it when the LORD does “miracles” on technology (let alone my body 😉 ); I just find it so ironic, when for many folks technology has the “tower of Babel effect” — viz. the effect that ignobles man into thinking that “man” can do anything (that they are God, after all “look at all WE can do”). Anyway, as I type on this computer right now it’s amazing to think that God has even humbled Himself to the point of caring enough even about something as “small” as this computer; so that He is willing to be the “IT” on our little laptop — “that’s my King, do you know Him?” 😉

I’ll continue to post updates as the week unfolds . . . thank you for the prayers everyone!

Okay, game time! I go in tomorrow morning (12-29) for my second cycle of chemo. It is a 5 day stint, with the possible side effect of hallunications (15% of the patients). Please pray that I will not experience this side effect, and that I will come through this cycle as positively as the first cycle. We continue to appreciate your guys’ prayers. I will try to be more regular in posting updates here; in fact I’m going to try and do a day by day accounting of the next 5 days — I’ll be blogging my chemo 😉 .

One more point. I’m trying to look at this as if I’m a soldier in the Lord’s army (because I am); and that this season for me and my family is like intense “special forces” training. Our special forces, in our armed forces, go through months of intense training which includes: mental, emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual (depending on the soldier) training. These men are forced to shave their heads (high and tight), and submit to external forces out of their control; that is if they want to be part of the military’s program. I see myself and family in a situation like this, only of a greater magnitude. In my case it even involves that I have a “shaved head” 😉 . Anyway, it helps me to keep this perspective; I see the Lord doing something that requires this, for training purposes.

Thank you all for the prayers and support. Check back regularly for updates . . .

We had a great Christmas, in fact we’re still at my mom’s house in Yorba Linda, CA. We just had a belated reception for my brother and his new wife, it was a great time, and we had many family members and friends show up that we haven’t seen for years. After the reception we had we went for dinner, and further enjoyed ourselves; the prayer support from just my family is amazing — let alone all of you guys.

To be honest I am really really sad at the moment; we leave for home tomorrow morning (it’s a 2 day drive) at 9 am. I get admitted for my next cycle of chemo at 9 am on December 29th (Tuesday). This will be a 5 day in-patient experience, and I am really dreading it. There is 15% chance that I could experience hallucinations from this chemo (which is why this is going to be an in-patient stint); the odds are in favor of me NOT experiencing hallucinations, but if you could keep that aspect of this next series in your prayers — that I would not experience hallucinations — that would be much appreciated! My attitude is not at a high point at the moment; I’m only at the beginning stages of my treatments (still 3 cycles to go before surgery, Lord willing), and I’m already growing weary (my hair has already started to fall out — which includes my facial and head — so I’ve totally shaved my head [bic razor] and face).

We are totally trusting the LORD, but to be frank, I just want this to be over with! I want to get better, and I know the LORD, if He desires, can just totally eradicate this cancer from my body; apparently He hasn’t so desired as of yet (although I would say that since my first chemo I’ve already noticed some physical outcomes that would lead me to believe that my tumor has already begun to shrink a bit). Just pray that my wife and I will continue to live one day at a time (Mt. 6), and that we will find our sufficiency in the grace of Christ. I’m exhausted at the moment, even though physically, by God’s grace and your prayers, I am feeling just fine. It’s just the realization that we have quite the road ahead of us still; and I really don’t want to travel down it anymore, I just want to move on from this season (even now) — I want to be cancer-free (and I know that will happen some day, even soon, but I am impatient at the moment). As you can see, I need prayer; I “know” exactly what my response should be — I’m just weary at the moment, so I cry to the LORD (please join me).

You guys are the greatest! In Christ,

Bobby

P.S. I just love my family (parents, brother, sister, and their kids), and I can’t stand to know that as we drove away from them tonight, that the next time I see them will be after we have gone through 3 more cycles of chemo; and then surgery, and maybe more chemo (they all live at least a 1000 miles away from us). Anyway, I’m just being a bit melodramatic tonight, I’m just sad . . .

The further away I get from my first cycle of chemo the better I feel; in fact I have been feeling relatively well the whole time, and I know it’s because of all your prayers. We are going to be going to Southern California, to my parents, for Christmas. I will be getting my blood count checked tomorrow morning right before we leave, to make sure I’m not too neutropenic (immuno-deficient). My blood count should be pretty good by now (I’m feeling pretty strong, last time I had it checked, Wednesday, it was at its low point); please pray our trip is good, and I remain healthy.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, what a time to remember the great truth of the Incarnation, the coming of the Savior to the world; the one who has overcome this world! As we remember His first advent, let’s not forget what that means; that there is a second advent, I wonder what celebrating Christmas will be like in heaven (I’ll bet we’ll be able to call it Christmas 😉 ).

Again, I just wanted to say thank you to you all for your continued prayers and support; they have most definitely been carrying us through this season. I also wanted to lift up a few others who are struggling with cancer, so you might lift them up in prayer too:

David Wayne (JollyBlogger)

Michael Spencer (iMonk)

Matt Chandler (young pastor)

My cousin, Debbie (tongue cancer)

My Mom’s friend, Carolyn (lymphoma)

My Uncle Glenn, (Thyroid cancer)

Please keep us all in prayer this season! I’m confident the LORD is going to, and has touched my body; and I’m praying that he will touch and heal all of the bodies I mention above. Prayer is powerful, and we’ve seen it work in ways that we never have before; keep it up you guys! Love you all . . .

Merry Christmas

P.S. My next chemo starts 12-29 (this cycle has the side effect on 10% to 15% of the patients of hallucinations, please pray that I will be in the 85% that this side effect doesn’t effect).

Still here. Just in the recovery time before the next cycle of chemo. I’ve been feeling relatively well, my gut is a little upset, but not bad! I have a full appetite, which is good. We just continue to thank the LORD for your guys’ continued umbrella of prayer support, as well as the amazing financial support (we are working on thank you letters). The Lord’s provision is super-abundant, and you guys are definitely apart of that superabundance.

Please pray that my perspective would stay eternal; it’s easy to start having pity-parties and stuff, and that’s just not good (for a multitude of reasons)! The love of Christ in you guys is going to carry us through this season; and maybe later when we are “up” we will be able to be apart of God’s abundance for you when you’re suffering (cf. II Cor. 8–9). We are totally humbled by God’s grace at work in you guys right now (and in us). We are hoping that we will be able to go to California for Christmas (to my parents), please pray that my blood count will be recovered enough to make that trip possible — I get my blood taken tomorrow.

Thank you guys, I’ll keep you posted.

I am going to try and start posting a bit on Evangelical Calvinism again over at my original blog The Evangelical Calvinist at the blogger account. I think it might do me some good to focus some of my writing on something other than cancer. I’ll still be posting here, of course; but I just wanted to give a heads up on the other blog.

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