Health Update: Starting Treatment Today

Family, Health Updates

As you may know, I was recently diagnosed with Grade 2 Olingodendroglioma, a kind of brain cancer. After my diagnosis, the next step was to figure out what kind of treatment to use to try to beat it. I’ve decided on the treatment, and am starting it today. In this post I want to share a little info on the treatment and how you can be praying, if you’re the praying for me type. Here’s what the road ahead looks like, for now.

My treatment: Chemotherapy

The treatment I’m starting is Temodar (Temozolomide), a kind of chemotherapy. Because I am a baby who is scared of needles, I was happy to learn Temodar is taken in pill form. I’ll take pills in the evening for five days, then for about three weeks I won’t take any pills. Week 3 I will get a blood test to check how the Temodar is affecting my blood/immune system, and Week 4 I’ll get another test to make sure I’m strong enough to start the next month of chemo.

Temodar is considered “well tolerated,” which means while it has side effects, they tend to be more tolerable for most patients. Of course you never know what the side effects are going to be for a particular person, but I’m hopeful. My doctor said the most common side effects are nausea, constipation, and fatigue. One thing about chemotherapy is that it is basically flooding your system with a toxic attack that is meant to kill the cancer, but the chemo doesn’t differentiate between cancer or healthy cells, so it can do a lot to you. At the least my immune system will be weaker while I’m on chemo, but we don’t know what other side effects I will have.

That’s no fun, but when it comes to ways to treat cancer effectively there aren’t many options. The side effects of chemo are worth enduring if it means effectively treating my cancer. I will say that I have done the research and reading, and decided this is the treatment path I am taking.

While I’m on chemo I will get MRIs every two months to see how the tumor is responding. The hope is that the tumor will shrink and eventually completely go away. If that happens I will get regular MRIs to monitor if/when the tumor returns. My understanding is that this kind of tumor almost always comes back eventually, and if that happens then we’ll start treatment again.

If the tumor does not respond to the chemotherapy we will likely look at radiation options. It would be great to avoid that because the side effects of radiation can be worse, and because of where the tumor is in my brain radiation is much more likely to affect me negatively.

What to pray for

If you pray, and you want to pray for me, please pray for these things:

  • Complete healing. I believe God can heal me, and I want to pray for that. Even if He doesn’t, I trust Him.
  • For the chemotherapy to work.
  • For me to experience minimal/no side effects from the chemo.
  • For me to have a healthy appetite, and an appetite for healthy things.
  • For my family: Janelle, Belle (9), Juliette (6), and Fiona (4). Specifically, for them to experience the love, grace, and provision of God in a way that grows their trust in Him.
  • For my daughters’ salvation.
  • For God to use my cancer to bring Himself glory and attention, that more people would see how good He is through this.

Thank you all so much for your love and prayers.

42 comments… add one
  • Lynette Link Reply

    Thanks for the update and yes, I am the “praying for you” type. Started the day I heard about your tumor and will continue…..
    To God be the Glory, great things He has done!!! AND will continue to do.
    God Bless you, protect you and continue to give you PEACE and strength.

  • Candi Comandao Link Reply

    Your in my heart and prayers today as well as your precious girls❤ Lord God Please, speak to this cancer and remove it all and every trace in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, whose stripes we are healed!! Praise your Holy name Father God!!! Thank You

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks Candi, I really appreciate your prayers for my family and me.

  • Carol Link Reply

    You and your family will be in my prayers, and will specifically pray for your healing .

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thank you very much Carol!

  • Thank you for taking time to give everyone who cares about you an update. You and your ladies are in my thoughts & prayers.

  • Cathie Link Reply

    Began praying when we first heard of your cancer. Continue to do so and your are on the prayer list every week at Crossroads Grace Community Church here in Manteca. Thank you for being specific in the prayer requests. You are much loved, Jackson.

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks Cathie! I feel the love.

  • John and Ann Dutra Link Reply

    You, Janelle and the family have been in our prayers since day one. I was just talking with Cheryl Cook-Callio Saturday night and she was asking about the treatment – so I am sharing this with her. Praying for all your concerns and needs and always available to help with anything for the family. Love and healing, John and Ann

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks John and Ann, for your love, prayers, and support these last weeks.

  • cathi brown Link Reply

    Thanks for the update and letting us know exactly what to pray for for you and your family Pastor Jackson!! And thank you for continuing to bless us even as you go through your own period of need. Love and hugs!!

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thank you Cathi, and thanks for last night’s dinner!

  • paul Link Reply

    Love and prayers for you and your girls-

  • I have been praying for you and your family and so does our MC family. I have been there and done what you just started doing. God is good! I’ve been in remission for almost 5 years now. Ryan told me to trust God and I did and it helped me tremendously. Praying that God will give you strength and energy to handle the treatment. Yes, your immune system will be weak so stay away from sick people. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thank you so much for your faithful prayers, Ester.

  • John A. Dutra Sr. Link Reply

    My friend in Christ, as you have taught many to do, I thank the Good Lord everyday for His Grace and unconditional love. It has always been comforting to me to know that He is always at my side, even doing periods in my life when He tested my faith.That was true when I was required to go through by-pass heart surgery, first at 45 years of age and again at 55. I had many friends in Christ praying for me and I, like you , was always very grateful for their kindness. I did not know what was in store for me but knew that almighty God had a plan for me. The doctors advised me that I had a 25% chance of not living through the surgery but nevertheless encouraged me to go thru with the procedure. Although I was scared, I had faith in the Good Lord and my doctors and prayed, that whatever the outcome , that the lord would give me the courage to accept whatever He had in store for me. I am now eighty years old , celebrating 59 years of marriage to an extra-special loving wife, the father of 5 wonderful children, 13 exceptional grand children, and 3 extraordinary great grandchildren .I now know that His plan was for me to be family man and with His help allowed me to become exactly that.. I know in my heart that he has a plan for you and as He had for me. His plan for me turned out to be a monumental blessing. My faith tells me that He has a like plan for you. Like other friends that are praying for you, I and my entire family are sincerely doing this same for you and your family. You have directed many to Christ and He will not forget that you have been His unselfish servant. As you have rightfully taught so many, regardless of the circumstance, take comfort in knowing that the Good Lord is with you and loves you as He loves all who put their faith in Him. God Bless you my friend……..John A. Dutra Sr..

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks for sharing your story, and for the encouragement, John.

  • Brian and Jocelyn Love Link Reply

    Thank you for the update. You and your whole family are in our families prayers Pastor Jackson!

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thank you Brian and Jocelyn!

  • Lisa k Link Reply

    Praying for you Jackson, today and every day. Thank you for the updates, which keep us connected to you. And, of course, you keep on teaching. Take care. Hope to see you soon.

  • Adrienne Link Reply

    Thank you for the update. Praying for healing and for your sweet family during this process.

  • Sharon Link Reply

    You will be in my prayers for peace, strength and great resolve to take one day at a time. God is so good, and hears our prayers. As a caretaker, I will definitely pray for Janelle’s strength and for your precious daughters!

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks Sharon! I know you have unique perspective that will bless Janelle and the girls.

  • Deborah Joy English Link Reply

    Jackson, thank you for sharing this very real, very personal part of your life with us! We will be praying for you and consider it a blessing and a priviledge to do so. I believe that God can and wants to heal you.

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks Deborah! I’m grateful for your prayers.

  • Deborah Link Reply

    Praying for you, Jackson…keep your faith up, and keep trusting God! My mom had 5th stage lymphoma 11 years ago, and she was in her 60’s then. While doing her chemo, she became so weak, and she’d get fevers all the time because her immune system would just go flat – but she never ceased to keep trusting God, and praising Him, loving Him, and giving thanks. After a year of chemo, she was finally able to slowly get back on her feet. This was in Singapore, Jackson. A year after her chemo treatment, her Dr gave her the green light to move to the States to be with us! She’s been here in Fremont ever since. You know what? She’s 76 now, and she’s still making her weekly trips to Costco, running her daily errands to Lucky’s and what-not’s, goes for PT a few times a week, goes for her routine check ups, dental appointments, attends Bible Study, goes to church on Sundays, attends her grandkids’ special events or basketball games, you name it! What I’m trying to say is, YES, GOD CAN AND WILL HEAL YOU COMPLETELY! There is much hope, and I hope you’re feeling encouraged.
    My family will be praying for you as you embark on your chemo treatment. Take care!

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Deborah, thanks so much for sharing your Mom’s story (I am so happy it worked out the way it did), and for your prayers!

  • Lenny Link Reply

    Jackson I have never met you ,but if your anything like your dad ( Jon) you will make it……. i don’t pray alot but I talk to God all the time . I will ask him for help in your recovery…. stay blessed my friend….

  • Michelle & John Mathews Link Reply

    Thanks for sharing so openly, Jackson. Just wanted you to know that the Mathews family loves you and is praying for you and your family. ?

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks Mathewses! I miss you guys!

  • Tory Kennedy Link Reply


    You and your beautiful family are in my daily prayers. Your unwavering faith is a beautiful and powerful testimony that I know will be used for His glory. We love you and are here for you.

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thanks Tory! I hope you and Ian (and the kids) are well!

  • Gordon Link Reply

    Jackson, thanks for your continual updates and encouraging sharings on this blog. Will be continuing to pray for you and your family as you start your chemotherapy!

  • Jacob Eapen Link Reply

    Shirley and me having been praying for you as well as for my sister Mary everyday to win battle with cancer. Let all showers of blessing and healing be with you and the family.

    • Jackson Link Reply

      Thank you for your prayers, Jacob. I will pray for Mary too.

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