We Will Overcome
Here we go again. Another year of living and pursuing the hear of God when all of sudden, boom. Bombshell explodes in our face. I thought the surgery, as bad and difficult as it was, was going to eliminate the disease from ravaging and destroying my body? So, what do we do now? All of the procedures and surgeries and prayers haven’t worked? How is that possible? What else can we do? Is there anything else or just a timetable to live given by these oncologists? How am I suppose to feel? What is God doing? Where is He?
These have been some of the thoughts infecting my brain and heart over the last 11 months. We initially discovered increasing AFP (alpha feta protein) numbers in my blood back in January, which for those of you who don’t know is the same month that I was originally diagnosed with testicular cancer stage four in 2006.And here we are almost seven years later battling the same thing. Over the course of these last seven years we have endured much for the sake of life. Nothing has changed but the fight is getting old. I was instructed by my oncologist to have my blood monitored monthly and we would keep an eye on the numbers and watch for these “spikes or jumps”. In October we were informed that the numbers increased to 500 after slowly increasing in increments of 15 or less for nine months. The news of a jump 10x was it was sent shock waves throughout our family and friends. It was another opportunity to be comforted in the trials we all experience in this life, just like the word of God says in James. This was especially hard to find joy in because I have a son and wife that mean more to me than I ever dreamed possible. My little family is an incredible gift that I have been blessed with and I want to grow old with her and be a great-grandfather to Tristan’s children. The thought of not witnessing this was too much to hold and I cried out to the Lord daily. I know He heard me and has been with us through this since the beginning. It is not His plan to cause cancer so I can find Him. It IS His plan to prosper me and my family. It is His plan to give us hope as a foundation of life. This is what we believe about our God. Never failing and never leaving and always fulfills His promises, like Tristan.
The week before Thanksgiving I had blood drawn again, just like each month since January. Everything seemed normal, so much so that I showed new pictures and videos of Tristan to the nurses like I do every time. After we stuffed ourselves and soaked in hours of quality family time, we returned home and started the new week like every week. Bombshell. I received a phone call from my oncologist Monday and he told me that my numbers had increased to 7,500, which is 14x higher than it had been previously. That is the largest jump in a six week time we have ever had. That’s over 1,000 points per week. Not very encouraging and on Monday nonetheless. So he ordered a pet scan, which I have never had, for Thursday morning. Something new to add to my medical resume.
We got the scan results, well Lindsay checked them at work, the same day and it wasn’t good. The scan revealed over 20 tumors on my liver alone and activity showing up in my upper and lower abdomen. This is nearly impossible to grasp when it shocks and surprises and temporarily devastates your heart. There have been many times where we have received bad phone calls from doctors and news that hurts the heart. But this felt different. Having been through numerous chemo regimens and surgeries and trying various diets and millions, literally, of prayers it just hurts.
The level of uncertainty that plagues this family is unbearable at times. The only constant we have is Jesus. Through all of this He has never left and always comforted us. It is hard to find Him sometimes due to all of the garbage in front of us at times. We know that we will overcome this obstacle like all the rest but it is just a really big one. I am graduating in a few weeks with my college degree and everything is trying to stand in the way of an achievement that is 10 years in the making.
We have scheduled an appointment at Duke University next week to meet with an oncologist that I met with before the surgery two years ago. In all honesty, we have no idea what to expect from this appointment. It is a little hard to stay away from the “what if’s” and “why’s” but when we are with Him those questions fall away.
We have learned over the years that we must go to Him when things here are not looking good. The stress and anxiety and fear and frustration and anger are all left behind when we go there. That place with my Father is the safest place for me. The more trials and tribulations we encounter are nothing more than opportunities to see Him face to face, which means I will be like Him. That is all I want, just like a child, is to be like Him. My son mimiks everything I do and this is the vision and goal for my relationship with God. That relationship is the lifeline and foundation for everything in life.
We will make it there. And even in death, we live. Part of me longs for Him but part of me doesn’t believe my plans and purposes are incomplete here.
We appreciate all prayers and will continue to inform everyone of progress and decisions we make for my little family.