March 2010

Some exciting news! We went to the cardiologist yesterday, and he said that my heart function is in the normal range; and that the minimal damage that was done will completely heal up (I’m on some medicine to help it do that more quickly), so this is great news! Then today, even better news, we saw the surgical oncologist (who is awesome), and he has decided that it is time for surgery; he’s going to finally take the tumor out! He is confident that he can get it all, which will require that he remove my right kidney. So I will have one more cycle of chemo, tomorrow (Thursday, it’s just for one day), and then I will have about 5 weeks to allow my body to regain full strength before we go into surgery on May 6th. Please continue to pray that I will regain full strength (I’m still recovering from my last stint in the hospital), and that the surgery will be a complete success — i.e. that the cancer will be gone and never come back again!!! Just a quick update, I wanted to let you all know that your prayers are definitely working, so keep them up! Thank you everyone . . .

P. S. I’ve always liked this picture, this is what I expect and more during the surgery. I know the LORD is ever present, and that He will be guiding the surgeon’s hands. It’s also exciting to know that the timing of this whole thing has been providentially set in place by the LORD; in other words, May 6th 2010 has always been the date the LORD knew that He would be removing cancer from my body. It is an amazing thing to think about the LORD’s total control of everything that happens; as it says in scripture: “He knows all His works from eternity.” I am so happy to know that I am in His big hands which no man can pluck me out of, this is comforting heading into a surgery like this (it’s comforting in general)!

Please continue to pray for my full recovery, I’m still feeling weak from my last experience in the hospital; but I am gaining strength each day, it seems (slowly). Also I wanted to clarify on my heart condition, while the function apparently  has weakend a bit, there are no side-effects associated with it (and I don’t need medicine for it).

Today: I go and see a cardiologist, pretty much as a precautionary measure since my heart function seems to have weakened (he’ll be able to better clarify what’s going on with that). Please pray he gives us good news today (encouraging), and that I will be calm (I worry about everything, unfortunately).

Wednesday: We meet with my medical oncologist (Dr. Ryan), just for a check-in; and an update on my treatments (like how much longer) [this is at 9:30 am pst]. Then, and this is important, we meet with my surgical oncologist (Dr. Billingsley) to find out when he’s going to do surgery, and take this sucker out of me [this is at 10:15 am pst]. Please pray that he says that surgery will be very soon, like within a few weeks or a month; I am ready to have this thing taken out of me.

I know the LORD is the one in control, so please pray that the LORD says it’s time to take the tumor out of me; and also pray that when they do take it out, that that’s it! That I will be cancer free from that day forward, for the rest of my life (I believe that to be the case, but please pray in that direction).

Thursday: I am scheduled for my 7th cycle of chemo (it’s only one day). Please pray that the chemo will continue to be effective, and that I will not have any side-effects from this one. Also pray that I will be back to full strength before Thursday, so that I can hit the chemo on solid ground!

Please pray for peace and strength for me and my family. The enemy has been attacking me like never before, especially being physically down like I’ve been; he’s been beating me up with the idea that I will never get better, that I have permanent heart damage (even though the docs have said the contrary), that I’m going to die. These are the kinds of lies I’ve been struggling with, so please hold me up in prayer, that I won’t give into such thinking; and that God’s truth, instead, would overflow with greater force, and that I would just believe His Word to me (that I will recover, that I am going to live, etc.)! Thank you everyone, I’m really starting to feel like I can’t handle this anymore; so I appeal to you to hold us up in prayer through this season, and I know we will rejoice together as we get through this season together! Amen!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, so here we go. After my last cycle of chemo I had to go into the hospital and receive 6 units of blood. While there I experienced some complications, I developed what they call “c-dif” (which is bad diarrhea), pulmonary edema (they over-hydrated me), fevers, couldn’t really eat because of a really bad mouth sore (so I lost alot of weight), and apparently my heart function has weakened a bit because of one of my chemos. Please pray as I recover right now, that the Lord would be my strength, that I would gain weight quickly, that I would be restored to full strength over these next few days. I am weary (understatement) of this season of life, please pray that the Lord would hurry, and just bring us through this season really quickly!

I have definitely hit the wall, even though the treatment has been very successful, as far as the tumor shrinking, this whole thing is taking a toll on my body (and family); we are ready for surgery, ready to have this tumor and cancer out of my body; please pray that the Lord would see fit to allow that to happen soon! We meet with the surgical oncologist this upcoming Wednesday, it’s really his call as to when the surgery happens, please pray that he thinks its time (according to the Lord’s timing). Once the surgery happens it will feel like we’re on the other side of this whole thing, and so we look at that as a turning point in this process; which is why we look so forward to it (I know once this happens the cancer will be gone, and then it will just be a matter of healing).

Anyway, hope that helps you all know how to pray, thanks everyone!

P.S. Please pray my heart function is fully restored (they are going to quit that particular chemo drug), and that there are no long term side effects from the treatment that we’ll have to live with in the future. Thanks, love you all . . .

I wanted to share a special prayer request for a guy name Michael Spencer aka the InternetMonk. He was diagnosed with cancer about the same time as I was, but his prognosis has been much different than mine. I was just reading his daughters blog, and here’s what she has to say about his prognosis (which I was unaware of until I read her blog):

. . . We found out a couple of weeks ago that he has 6-12 months to live, so it was all I could do not to picture him in that casket and my family organizing the funeral. It’s a reality we will face most likely within the year, and it was heavy on my heart. (taken from here)

I think he has colon cancer that metastisized to his brain and other places. I’ve been praying for him almost every day since I found out, he runs a very popular theo-blog, and has a big impact on many folks (I’ve read him off and on for years). The prognosis doesn’t sound that good, but please pray that the LORD would show Michael and family mercy; that he would get to stay around on this earth for awhile longer, that the LORD would just heal Him! And beyond that, that Michael and wife Denise (and the whole family) would just experience the peace and comfort of Christ that they never have before; a real tangible touch of the LORD’s hand! Thank you everyone!

Still recovering from my last cycle, thank you for the prayers! This upcoming week is an important one. I am scheduled for a CT scan on Tuesday, and then we are meeting with my surgical oncologist — Dr. Billingsley — and medical oncologist — Dr. Christopher Ryan — on Wedneseday (to find out the results). This could be it, in other words I could be having surgery within a couple of weeks; please pray it’s time for that (this chemo is beating me up at this point — although I’m doing relatively well). Please pray that it has shrunk alot, so that there will “clean margins” when they take the tumor out (i.e. that they have no problems removing the whole tumor and are able to remove all the surrounding/suspect tissue where the tumor has been growing — this is important). Also I am hoping to avoid losing my right kidney, which if the tumor shrunk enough I think we’ll be able to achieve.

Anyway, please pray all goes well this week (I really want the surgery); I potentially could be “cancer-free” in a couple of weeks, the second that last snip of the tumor takes place. My belief, from the LORD, really, is that once the cancer is gone, it’s gone! Once they take it out there will be a recovery time of about 6 weeks (before I’m fully recovered from the surgery); at which point (if not a little sooner) they will resume a few more cycles of chemo. We certainly need your continued prayers, this is definitely a trial; and it’s a season of life I’m/we’re ready to be done with. Thank you everyone so much for how you all have been sticking with us in prayer and with other support; I know looking back this will be an unforgettable season of life that you all will intimately be related to!!!

Just started my 6th cycle of chemo today, of my two different cycles this seems to be the harder on my body; please pray that the LORD would totally minimize the side effects of this chemo cycle (that I wouldn’t have any), and that He would just continue to be the strength who carries us through each of these days. The further we go into this the harder it gets, the chemo definitely has a cumulative effect and my body is starting to feel it; which makes an impact on my mental and emotional state as well. Please pray that the LORD would just intervene in every way so that we would experience His peace that surpasses all understanding. Also pray that this will turn out to be the last cycle before surgery; they are going to do a CT scan after this cycle to see the progress that has been made, please pray that the chemo has been effective and that my tumor has completely shrunk.

I just want to say thank you for all your continued prayers and support; I am so glad that you all are out there, we wouldn’t be making this without you all! In Christ . . .

P.S. Please keep my family in prayer as well; my wife has been totally amazing, I totally see the LORD in her, there is no way she could be doing what she is doing withouth Him which is a total testimony of God’s work and love in her life. Likewise, our kids definitely have the peace of the LORD at work in their loves; and their simple trust in Jesus to take care of Daddy totally encourages me, I know the LORD will and is honoring that simple faith (but please pray that they would be protected from any fear that this situation certainly has the potential to provide).