Well, where to begin. For the last three weeks I have been under unusual stress. I had to up my medication because my anxiety level was through the roof. I had an imminent feeling that another shoe was fixing to drop. I knew I had a team of prayer warriors scattered across the US and some in Mexico. I knew that God was in the healing business. But I also knew that obedience to Him sometimes meant things that were less than pleasant to think about. Just ask Job. I knew from the time I was diagnosed that there was a real possibility that this cancer would punch my ticket. I had struggled through the realization that I would miss seeing my little girl get married, my son graduate from college, grandkids, the time I wanted to spend with Lori. I knew these things would be devastating to miss, but if that was what it took to be faithful to God I was prepared to miss those. God would have more amazing things for me. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:2 ESV
So, I have prayed for strength to be faithful to what God wanted me to do. I have asked others to pray the same prayer. Time after time I have talked about suffering well. I truly felt that is what God wanted me to. To be an example, a reflection, a way for others to see Christ through me and through this situation.
This week I went to CTCA for a PET scan and was truly expecting to hear that other shoe drop. I had heard it before. “Alan, this regimen is not working. As a matter of fact, the cancer is spreading.” I fully expected to hear it again. The PET scan was at 10:00AM and our ENT follow up was at 12:30PM. The PET scan, of course, went by uneventfully and then it was time to wait. I tried to not let Lori see what I going through. I was tied in knots. Almost in tears at times. As we waited on Dr. K., our ENT we chatted a little. When he came in it was obvious. He had a smile from ear to ear. Some of the “cancer” that had lit up on the April 4th PET scan was associated with the fistula that is on the left side of my neck. Since the fistula is healing, that activity was gone. However, the cancer on the right side of my neck was gone, too. The cancer on the carotid artery on the left was gone. The cancer behind my breast plate was gone. The cancer in my right lung was gone. The cancer in the lymph nodes under my arms is gone. I do have two light spaces, one on each side of my neck. The cancer is in an all out retreat and I could not be more ecstatic. The Great Physician (Jehovah Rapha) has shown His hand in my situation.
Honestly, coming from our ENT, Lori and I were a little skeptical about the news. Lori would ask about the cancer on a certain spot, he would grin and say “what cancer?” It was just so hard to believe. But after we met with Dr. D., the oncologist in for Dr. R., we felt so much more confident. She was able to pull up the April 4th PET scan and compare it directly to the PET scan from yesterday morning. The difference was unbelievable; undeniable; incontestable; incontrovertible. On April 4th I was lit up like a Christmas tree, yesterday you had to lean into the monitor to see the two little dots on the screen. She even mentioned removing my peg. Yahoo!!
I don’t really know what this means for us in the mid-term. However, short term, we stay on the Gemzar and Erbitux. Long term seems a lot brighter now than it did a few days ago. Next week we get to talk to Dr. R., our team leader. We will find out for sure then what the next few months will hold. Needless to say, it will have a completely different feel to it.
I woke up this morning and felt like crap. It was the most I have felt the side effects from this chemo regimen. But it means very little. I know the this is the “Kung Fu Chemo” we have been praying for. So when I feel the side effects, I know that the cancer is feeling it, too.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 ESV
Thank you, Lord for the strength to remain steadfast. You have blessed me and my family beyond our wildest dreams. I pray for those that have seen You through Lori and I and through our circumstances. If I have planted a seed, I pray for someone Godly to water and harvest. As we continue to fight the cancer, please help us to continue to spread your Good News to those we meet, to share Your comfort with those that are hurting, and praise Your name with those who know You, trust You, and obey You. Lord, You know more than anyone my faults. Help me overcome those to be a better parent, husband, son, and friend.