I really don't like cancer. Never would I have thought that I would be sitting here typing blog posts about it at my stage in life. Although it, along with treatment for it, has wreaked havoc on my body, it has also brought change in my life for which I am extremely grateful. But, it is easy for me to talk about it like that, when I am talking about my own cancer. It is way more difficult to have that same "blessing" attitude about cancer when it has reared its ugly head in someone you love.
The wonderful man pictured above is my dad. He is a man that is on fire for Jesus and is one who I believe has many more years of "mission work" ahead of him. He was diagnosed with a rare malignant ulcerated stromal tumor (also known as G.I.S.T) a little over 4 years ago after he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance vomiting blood. It was such a scary time for us, as Luke was only about 7 weeks old, and we were about 7 hours away. But, we drove up as soon as possible, and were able to witness God's amazing healing power in his body. For those of you who do not know my dad, he really is somewhat of a medical miracle. Time after time, he is afflicted with disease paired with poor prognoses (congestive heart failure, rare cancer), yet, through that has shown that "statistics" truly don't matter to God. When He has a mission for you to complete, He is going to allow you to complete it. And, when you journey to complete that mission, He has given you new testimony to share because of the difficulties He has allowed. He is the author of our lives and knows and designs the beginning and the end. Well, I am here to ask for prayers from the same prayer warriors who have prayed for me. He had a endoscopy, colonoscopy and CT scan last week that revealed recurrence of the rare cancer he was afflicted with 4 years ago. He has a tumor the size of a ping pong ball on the underside of his stomach, and it has metastasized into his liver (they call this distal recurrence). Of course, our prayer is that the surgeon can surgically remove all of the cancer and that my dad is completely healed. My dad has a hernia surgery scheduled with the same surgeon that would remove the cancer for January 22. At my dad's pre-op appointment with that surgeon on Tuesday, he is going to ask if he can have the surgery to remove the cancer instead. Please pray for wisdom for all of the physicians involved in treating my dad and this extremely rare cancer!
On another note, I have a regular appointment scheduled with my oncologist on Tuesday. Since it has been over 4 months since my last PET/CT, I am guessing she will want to schedule another one. Just as a reminder, my oncologist told me at my last appointment that my chance of recurrence was around 30%. She said that most patients (80%) who have recurrence, experience it within the first two years post diagnosis. This "two years prognosis period" for me ends on September 14, 2014. Another 10% experience it within years 3-5, and the remaining approximate 10% experience it within years 5-10. She said that if you go 10 years without recurrence, the cancer is very unlikely to return. I have to keep reminding myself that God has this all under control. Satan has really been trying to plant negative thoughts about recurrence into my head. I continue to have weird symptoms pop up, which I tell myself are all related to the many surgeries I have undergone related to reconstruction. But, every once and a while, a thought such as "I wonder if that could be a new cancer" pops up (followed by me conducting a little internet search on the symptoms). It is sometimes difficult to know which symptoms to act on and bring up to my oncologist and which was to just let go. Sometimes I wonder if I am becoming a bit of a hypochondriac due to the feeling the symptoms. But then again, I was feeling like I was perhaps being a bit of a hypochondriac just prior to my diagnosis, as I continually expressed strange symptoms I was having to Drew. So, what does one in my situation do? Pray. Spend more time in the Word. That is all I can do. Everything else is truly outside my control. I am eating well. I am feeding my body with nutrients instead of junk. That is all I can do. I can create a list of my weird symptoms and notify my oncologist at my regular appointments. If a more severe symptom occurs in between appointments, I can call her office immediately. Other than that, I firmly believe that God doesn't want me to waste the time I DO have here on earth dwelling on cancer. He wants to move beyond cancer. He wants me to serve and love others as I have been served and loved. He wants me to train these kids up in the best way possible, so that they know Him and their purpose. Will you please pray with me that the cancer stays away (never to return) and that I can win this mind-battle over Satan by moving beyond cancer? Thank you so much, prayer warriors! We are going to win this battle!