Let me begin by apologizing for the rather extended delays between blog posts over the past number of weeks. I was reluctant to give any general information out about the situation that we have been personally confronting with regards to my health until we knew what all the facts (medically speaking) were so that no unnecessary confusion or stress would be compounding the situation. We now have that information and here’s a brief summary.
On February 27th I was advised to get a CT scan of my lung cavity because a week before that an orthopedic doc who was helping with my shoulder, caught some unusual and unforeseen nodules on my upper left lung.
It turns out that these nodules were rather widely spread as revealed by the CAT scan on Thursday, February 27th. The next two months were very much a roller coaster of “good news and bad news” but the best medical and scientific minds in our area seem to agree that somehow lung cancer was seeking to invade my body. We have excellent hospitals here in our area and UPMC is one of the leading research facilities in cancer care in all of Western PA.
However, when they determined that this was a serious and aggressive type of cancer, before I just simply made a decision based on their diagnosis, with the help of my son David, I arranged for three outside opinions, the two most promising from Johns Hopkins and a personal visit to the MD Anderson Cancer treatment hospital in Houston, TX. (This is perhaps the most highly regarded facility in the country.)
What this all boiled down to was that all of these institutions agreed that it is a pretty rare case when a non-smoker and an active adult with no symptoms regarding lungs is attacked with a cancer that’s originating from the lungs and not any other organ. It’s ‘good news” that it has not spread to other organs, but it does make treatment of said disease less able to be targeted and thereby more difficult according to latest treatment protocols.
Therefore, with much prayer and great support from family and numerous local friends in the body of Christ, we determined to trust the Lord as He seemed to be leading us to receive treatment right here at the North Hills Passavant Hospital (originally founded by my great-great grandfather) and only a little over one mile from my house.
I was assured by all of the other institutions that their “standard of care” would be exactly the same and would be likely much more tolerable living at home and staying close to people that I love and care about.
This has proven to be incredibly reassuring and allows me much more time to focus on what I need to do for myself, but equally important, what I need to do for others to help bring encouragement, release and healing into their situations as well.
When something like this happens that is entirely unexpected and virtually unexplainable, this is when our personal relationship with Jesus becomes incredibly real and relevant throughout each and every day. On my left arm, I have piles and piles of diagnosis and medical research, evaluations, counsel and so forth. These are facts for the most part, not just observations. HOWEVER, on my right arm I’m accumulating all the words from the Lord, the scriptures, the incredible words of encouragement and support from that original group of 50 or so friends that I had to communicate with. Their day-by-day signals of unsolicited revelation, worship, or simply just a word of LOVE, has continually drawn me back to who Jesus is and how He has changed us all so dramatically from being self-centered to learning how to be other-centered.
I’ve even discovered that when something like this happens, people that may not even know Christ as we do seem to become more open, caring and engaging than most any other time I’ve known them. What open doors this presents to share the source of our confidence and strength in the person of Jesus!
And so in the coming weeks I will be undergoing cycles of treatment using the most reliable and proven drug therapies, along with a continued and improved healthy diet and as much exercise as my body will sustain without creating any problems!
Carol has been a wonderful partner in helping us prepare for this and I’m glad to report that my first day of treatment, just yesterday, went very smoothly and so far I’ve had no side effects.
If you have a need and would like me to pray with you we’ve set up an additional email connection under the name firstname.lastname@example.org Send a note to that site and I will pray for you and hopefully respond to you at a personal level.
I hope that all of you find some encouragement in how faithful and sustaining the love of God is in a time of rather profound personal need. It’s an honor to know that so many of you take time to read this space and likewise know that your thoughts and needs are important to me. May you receive strength, boldness and courage to go forward, empowered by the Holy Spirit who lives within you!