This past Monday I had my third CT scan, which assesses the effectiveness of my treatment. In short, the news was very good.
To put it in military terms, we have beaten the enemy back, but the war is not quite over yet. In fact, there may still be some battles and skirmishes left to fight.
What partly got me thinking in military terms recently is that Elizabeth and I watched the movie Hacksaw Ridge last week—the first time we’ve been able to go to a theater together since Pippa was born! The film was excellent in quality, incredibly gory (okay for me, but not for Elizabeth), and over all very inspiring, especially faith-wise, for those who face impossible situations.
Speaking of impossible situations, I want to share more about my medical results. The scan showed that things were as good as in August, and even slightly improved. Here are some highlights:
-No evidence of cancer in my bones. “They will appear abnormal on scans probably all your life, but there is no cancer there,” the doctor said.
-As to the tumor in my liver, which has been the source: “It has a noticeably dark and dead look,” my doctor said. “I have to think that it is well treated.” The spot has decreased in size since August, but it is hard to say whether the cancer is completely gone.
And that is why I am still wary to plant a victory flag. I think God alone will be the one who gives us confidence when we should do that, but that day is not yet today. There is no cancer currently showing up in my blood, but I don’t want this enemy to become like Saruman, who appears defeated in the second Lord of the Rings movie, but then gathers strength and attacks Middle Earth again with a vengeance in The Return of the King.
Which is why I still have some battles and skirmishes to fight. My hope and prayer is that we can vanquish this cancer completely.
Because they are not sure which of the three parts of my treatment is responsible for the success, I will have to continue with chemo. My heart sank when I first heard this news on Monday. So far I’ve lasted for 21 rounds of treatment, and I would like to have been done months ago, as every week it gets harder and harder with the side effects like fatigue and nausea. How much more must I endure?
At this point, I have no idea. I do know there is a ceiling to how much a person can tolerate—the toxicity builds up and starts poisoning the body. If you push beyond a certain level, you risk irreparable side effects. And so, I think one of two things will happen:
- I will have to stop because my body can no longer handle it
- God somehow tells me to stop, plant a victory flag.
The good news is what God had already done. As my doctor has said, “we are no longer operating out of the textbook here,” as there could have been no way to foresee the type of positive results that I am getting. It defies most medical explanation and I am thankful.
Let me not, even for a minute, suggest or imply that I am any of the reason that this treatment has been going as well as it has. God alone is doing it and will continue to do it, if it pleases him to do so. He is certainly using the Avera Cancer Center and He has kept me strong in mind and body. But the credit is ultimately His!
And for those of you who have continued to lift us up in prayer, I do know that God is hearing and responding to your prayers. Please keep interceding for us!
-That God would continue to give me the strength to endure more chemo, or make it very clear when I should stop
-That God would indeed completely vanquish and eradicate this cancer and that my health would return sooner than later!
-That He would keep me from permanent side effects
-That this miracle would continue, and that God would get the full glory and credit as the story unfolds.
I look forward to the day when we can wave the flag of victory. By faith, that day will soon be here. But not quite yet.
P.S. These verses, sent from a family friend this past Sunday, greatly encouraged our anxious hearts. “‘O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage,’ And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” ~Daniel 10:19