Please forgive another health update. This is my easiest way to communicate with people who have questions and to make sure everybody understands what’s going on in our lives.
Last Friday afternoon I received my official diagnosis—Hodgkins Lymphoma. Until that phone call, I was preparing for the real possibility of an early passing, while simultaneously praying that it was Hodgkins. Hodgkins is considered to be one of the most curable forms of cancer. The road ahead will be a different one for sure—especially the next 8-10 months. A lot can change along this journey, but it appears as if God has ordained a trial for a season, and then after that, a healthy future.
We had our first appointment with our oncologist on Monday morning. The doctor believes, based upon initial tests, that I am at stage 2A. That’s considered early. I have approximately 8 or 10 tumors in my upper body (give or take a couple.) This cancer is not aggressive, so the doctors are not in a big hurry. (I’ve probably had this for a year or more.) These tumors will respond to chemo and radiation, and no surgery will be required.
My doctor wants to do a range of tests. Several of them are to confirm the locations of the disease and the certain stage. A few of the tests are simply to clear me to endure chemo. These test will take about 3 or 4 weeks. Shortly after that, doctors will prescribe a treatment plan. Every case of Hodgkins Lymphoma is different, and many variables are taken into account when determining treatment. Doctors want to attack the cancer in a way that will have the fewest long term risks.
I should be starting treatment by Mid-November, and they will last for at least 6 months. I’m praying my body will respond well and be able to stay connected to ministry and life as much as possible. If treatments could wrap up in the late Spring I would hopefully be strong and healthy to participate in ministry events this summer.
Personally, other than being a little fatigued, you wouldn’t know that I’m sick. The past two weeks have been really strange emotionally. Friday’s phone call changed a lot of our thinking. Last night, Dana and I sat at dinner and talked through the last few weeks. Through tears, we each shared all the plans we were both making in the event of my passing. That was when we both realized how intricately our hearts and minds were preparing for the possibilities ahead. I am willing for this trial to be whatever God wants it to be, but at this point we are planning for survival.
One thing I told Dana last night was how I have thanked God for cancer many times in the past weeks. I gave her about 5 of many reasons I will soon share as to why I’m thankful for this. God has truly cradled us in His arms and blessed us abundantly through it. Regardless of the outcome, I will be grateful and will rejoice in Him. The first night we knew about this, something significant happened in my heart as those audible words came out of my mouth for the first time—”God, I thank you for cancer.” If you have a trial—be sure to say thank you to God for it. It will certainly change your perspective.
So, that’s the news. Our family is well—probably much due to your prayers! God has given great grace and peace. The days ahead will involve some weakness, some sickness, some suffering, and probably more struggle than I know, but the prognosis is almost certainly survival. Pray for my family over the coming months. Pray that these tests will go well. Pray that I will respond well to treatments. Pray that long-term side effects will be minimal. And most importantly, pray that God will fully exploit this for His purposes, and that I will consistently be His vessel for His use.
Thanks for reading and thanks for praying!