Cancer Scare: Entry Two

March 4

The week had been uneventful, if you don’t count the searing sensation of pulling internal stitches each time I sat down or stood up. Cheryl left Wednesday morning to be with Karisa during the birth of our third grandchild, Tegan Margaret Smith. Without a doubt, the worst part of this week was not being able to be with Karisa on the day of Tegan’s birth (Thursday, March 3) and that joined with regret about causing her stress. My brother-in-law, Mike Landers, drove up Wednesday evening from Woodstock, Georgia to assist me. He was a big help. The next day he drove me to the seminary for my afternoon class. My sister, Shirley, came up from Woodstock that evening and stayed with me until Sunday evening.

I didn’t hear from my doctor so I called his office at 3:00 P.M. on Friday; I was told he would call me back. I took a nap late that afternoon. Shirley awoke me at 6:00 P.M. for me to talk with Dr. Thacker who was calling. He had gotten a preliminary pathology report. I had seminoma, but they were not certain of the sub-type. It was definitely not lymphoma. Seminoma usually presents itself around the age of 40. Mine was an unusual case that was requiring longer to examine in order to determine any abnormalities. He would call me during the next week when he received the final report. Typical treatment for seminoma would be radiation of the lower abdomen and pelvic area without any chemo. This type of cancer responds well to radiation.

He released me for travel to Wheaton when I felt up to it. His staff would schedule a CT scan for early the next week. I was relieved but also disappointed. I felt God had acted in the diagnosis, seminoma and not lymphoma. But the calm certainty was waning.

When I took the phone call I discovered my brother, Jimmy, and his wife, Iris, were up stairs. I knew they were coming but I wasn’t certain of the hour. They stayed until Sunday morning. We had a great time talking, playing games, and putting out hay (I supervised, Shirley drove the tractor, Jimmy ruined his shoes).

March 7, 2011

Jimmy and Iris left late on Sunday morning after we put the hay out; Shirley left late Sunday after doing the laundry. I was alone for the first time since my surgery. I slept fine during the night except that I awoke around 6:00 A.M. with some discomfort. While I waited on the Advil to kick in, I watched a little TV. I went back to sleep and awoke around 8:30. I decided to drive up to Wheaton. The trip was challenging. I thought briefly about turning around in Knoxville. In Louisville it crossed my mind I might have to call Cheryl and Johnmark to meet me in northern Indiana, but with some seat adjustments I was able to drive to Wheaton. It was worth it. Tegan is priceless and it was a great relief to see Karisa; she is a great mother.

March 8, 2011

Thoughts on Having Cancer

I have three goals for dealing with my cancer. The first goal is complete deliverance. I want to be healed and live a long and productive life. I want to see my grand-children grow into mighty servants of the Lord and their children born with the favor of God upon them. I want to die from something other than cancer. I believe “divine healing is provided for all in the atonement.” Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave. But I know that victory over death requires being joined to Christ in His suffering and death. The path to healing passes through the valley of the shadow death and self denial.

Second, I want to be a faithful servant of Christ is this battle with disease. I want to be a witness to Him in the manner I face this trial. I want to live life to the fullest even as I face my own mortality. I pray the joy of my salvation dances on the table top of my soul even as I fight the fight of faith. I want others to know there is a living hope and an eternal glory hidden in this vessel of sod.

Third, I want to milk it for all I can. There has to be some set of perks for having cancer. How about bonus AARP discounts for those with a confirmed diagnosis? They could put a special logo on our membership cards. A “no waiting” line at Disney World seems reasonable? And I already sense fatigue rising and falling on the schedule of faculty meetings. Just think about all the cool things I can purchase for myself without having to justify them. (I am going to miss those creative juices that flow when I am building the case that I need something I really, really, really want.) A Goldwing may never be a necessity, but I can now see one in my future.