Today I went to the oncologist for the first time since chemo. She gave me great news! The oncologist said that usually if chemo is going to work it begins after the first chemo treatment. Since my back pain has decreased and my appetite has improved she feels the chemo is working. As a result, she is increasing my chemo dosage for this week. Your prayers have gotten me through my first round of chemo and I want to thank you. Please continue to pray for more improvements.
Finding out you have Cancer is a terrifying experience. If you ever have a family member or friend awaiting results from blood work or biopsies go with them to the doctor. They will need comfort, encouragement and someone to drive home if the news is bad. Three years ago my doctor called me on a Saturday and asked if both my wife and I could come into his office to review my test results. I then asked what time he'd like to see us assuming he meant Monday, but he said it couldn't wait and to meet him at his office on Sunday. At that moment I knew it was bad. This left me with 24 hours to assume the worst. That Sunday I found out I had prostate cancer and then had to wait weeks before seeing the oncologist in Houston. In those weeks, my spouse and families life became mine and fear set in. I started having thoughts like was it in my lymph nodes, was it in other parts of my body, was I going to live or was I going to die.
For the next three years I went to MDA every few months for blood work to insure I was still cancer free. While waiting for your name to be called you are sitting in a room filled with cancer patients. When surveying the room you see people in all different stages of cancer holding their families hands hoping for good news. While I would wait fear would overwhelm me. I'd see these good people and wonder how I'm any different or better than them. Would it be my turn next? I'd pray and because I'm strong (or so I thought), I'd shake it off.
Three years later I end up with stomach cancer. I began this journey with doctors assuming I had an ulcer. To be sure, they ordered an upper and lower GI. When I woke up from the test, my friend told me the doctor found a suspicious tumor. I then had to wait 5 days for the biopsy results. Those days were filled with worries like, will I see my grandchild graduate, will I see my son get married, will I meet my other grandchildren and the list goes on and on. That Thursday I met with the doctor and he told me I had stomach cancer, cancer in my esophagus, and a cancerous ulcer. He made comments like, "You need to go to MDA so you can feel comfortable that you got the best care you got." To me I felt like he was saying you don't have a chance but go to MDA to make you feel better. I could tell by the look in his eyes I was in trouble. MDA got me in within 2 weeks which is fantastic, but 2 weeks to a person with this type of worry is a lifetime.
I then met with the surgeon and he said that he was hoping to be the person that could help me and solve my problem but he couldn't. The disease was life threatening and had left my stomach and infiltrated my lymph node system. He said my only chance was to meet with an oncologist and see if chemo was an option. I stayed strong but inside I was numb and my family around me was devastated. The ride home from Houston was long and I was forced to call the rest of my family in the car. Both children were hopeful and thought I was tough enough to beat it. By the time I got home I was in a lot of pain and knew that if the cancer was causing this much pain it must be life threatening. I spoke with my brother about getting my affairs in order and would need his assistance. When I got out of the car his advice was to get right with God and I agreed. During this time you are stressed and find yourself praying for a miracle often.
I was thankful that MDA got me in to see the oncologist 5 days later.The oncologist said that without chemo I had 6 months to live but with chemo the future was unknown. Chemo could add days, weeks, months, years, and decades depending on how my body responded to the medication. As you heard today, the oncologist feels chemo is working.
I've spoken with other cancer patients and they have all had the same worries and fears. You don't understand the fear you feel unless you have had cancer yourself. Some people tell us to just not think that way and it's impossible. Others say God has a plan. I agree God has a plan, but it's still scary because his plan may be different than mine. In my opinion, it's normal to worry but each day it gets easier to deal with these fears as I get closer to God. The more time I spend with God and take time to listen to Him I feel these fears slipping away. I know that He is in control and I trust His will for me. With that being said, I know that the worries will creep back into my life, but I'll turn them over to God. My family must be consumed with similar fears, but I want to remind them that God has a plan.
"Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles..." 1 Chronicles 16:11-12