No news was good news
It’s been almost two years since I last said anything about my health. It’s been a very good two years cancer-wise! I’ve mostly felt like myself, and have had a lot of the benefits and blessings of cancer without many of the drawbacks. God has been growing me and giving me a greater appreciation for my life. I have come to see Him as more magnificent, more loving, more powerful, and more gracious than I thought before.
Every few months I went in to get an MRI to make sure the tumor wasn’t growing and I’d thank God for the life He’s given me. There was something healthy for my heart to have this regular reminder of my mortality. I felt like I had a new lease on life every time I drove away from another appointment with my oncologist with an “it’s not growing” report. The radiation did its job and I haven’t suffered many side effects. The tumor even shrank some from the radiation. I meant to write a post about that but never got around to it. God has been so gracious to me over the last couple years.
So now I’m writing because my most recent scan brought some unwelcome news. It appears my tumor is growing again. Last week I had my regular MRI but instead of “it looks good” my doctor was concerned by what she saw. A spot that looked like typical radiation after-effects had grown and changed, and it looks like tumor growth. Several other doctors and one other test affirmed my doctor’s suspicion. It looks like my tumor is growing again in a sensitive spot on my corpus callosum. That’s the part of your brain that joins the left and right hemispheres together.
Here’s what’s next
We spent some time looking into our options and the best one is for me to start chemotherapy again. I’m starting this upcoming Monday on two chemo meds that are different from the one I used before. They’re considered “well tolerated” so the hope is they won’t do much more than make me tired like the last one did.
The plan is to start with 3-4 cycles of chemo (each cycle being 6 weeks) depending on how it’s working and affecting me. We’ll get very frequent MRIs to see how things are going. That’s basically it. I’m going to keep working as much as I can.
Here’s what I know
This is a bit of a surprise, but not a shock. I expected at some point I’d get a scan like this. I hoped it would be later, I just actually started to believe it might be much later. Through this entire journey though, what is being solidified in my heart and mind is this: God is good. These are words I’ve said most of my life, but they carry such greater power and dimension than they used to.
I know this is already a bit long so I’ll wrap it up. I know I get long-winded. But I want to share a couple passages from Scripture that God used to encourage me in the days leading up to my scan. I didn’t know this was coming, but these are the truths God was cementing in my heart to prepare me for this next chapter:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”James 1:12 (ESV)
…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or do that.’James 4:14 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls… Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:3-9, 13 (ESV)
I believe these words to be true. My hope is fully set on Jesus. I have an imperishable, unfading inheritance waiting for me. It is only because of what Jesus did that I have anything good, or that I can face this next chapter with hope. I want to stay, I want to be healthy, I want to be here with and for my family. But my hope is not in my health, it is in my Savior.
The hardest part for me, right now, is trusting Jesus with my family. I want them to see Jesus the way I do…to see Him as more beautiful than I see Him. I don’t want them to walk through heartbreak and pain. But I know these things reveal God’s graciousness to us in new ways.
If you pray, please pray for the treatment to work with minimal side effects, for Janelle and the girls to find hope in Jesus, and for God to be glorified through my story.