Next blog update will TRY to be posted by Saturday, January 26th, at midnight.
Hello again everyone! 15 weeks down, 3 to go! I received my final chemo treatment this past Thursday! To commemorate the moment, the doctors and nurses from the cancer center gathered and had a “gong” celebration for me. There was a large gong that they put outside and let me beat it with a hearty victory *thwap*! It was much louder than I thought it would be, but it felt good to “ring” in the next stage of my battle. While it was a victorious moment, the day I’m really looking forward too is still several days away… The day I’m feeling better again AFTER that last chemo! I’m predicting it will be the normal 8 to 10 days of feeling rough, stomach issues, metal tasting mouth, etc. But, this should be the last time dealing with this! Yea!!! So, what is next? Well, for starters, I’m going to keep this blog going with weekly updates until I am officially in remission. Here is a timeline / important dates that I know of so far:
- February 1st – Return to work. I have continued to pray over this, and God has not given me any reason I should not be able to return to work.
- February 3rd – PET Scan. This scan will let us know (1) if the lymphoma is gone as expected, and (2) if the spot in my stomach is still there.
- February 7th – Meet with Doctor to go over scan results (in the afternoon). This will be a huge day, and I would appreciate everyone’s prayers on this day.
- Best case: Lymphoma gone, spot in stomach gone, all that is left is radiation (currently estimated to last 4 weeks).
- Medium case: Lymphoma gone, spot in stomach still there. This would require a biopsy of the spot in my stomach. I’m not sure if this is in tandem with radiation or how the timeline would work. I’m not going to worry about it now. I think the spot will be gone :)
- Worst case: Lymphoma still there, possible extra cycle of chemo needed. The doctor and I are very optimistic that this is extremely unlikely.
After February 7th, I’ll be able to post the results and provide more of a finalized timeline to official remission. We are close, and the hard part should be behind me. I’m very optimistic that God is going to help me finish this battle with the same strength he has given me during it.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You so much for helping me get through the last chemo infusion! Today was the last day I had to take the prednisone also! As each day passes, I see that I am one step closer to remission and having this battle behind me! You have given me such awesome strength, encouragement, support from others, etc during this battle. I cannot thank You enough. You have shown me and given me a true testimony of Your love, mercy, and grace. Help me to continue to share this testimony with others, and put people in my path that I can help encourage with my story. Whether they are a lost person, and I can help point them to You, or whether they are saved, and just need reassurance that You are with them, I’m happy to help be Your hands and feet in whatever way You need me. Please continue to be with me as I prepare to head back to work in 10 days, and please oversee the PET scan on February 3rd. I have complete confidence You are in control of the results. Thank You for everything, amen.
Next blog update will TRY to be posted by Saturday, January 19th, at midnight.
Hello again everyone! 14 weeks down, 4 to go! This has been a really good week for me. I have felt like my normal self. My mind has not been foggy, my appetite is normal, and I have not had any stomach issues. My next (and LAST!!!) chemo is this Thursday, 01/17/19. I have been praying about when I should go back to work. Should I wait until the next PET scan is done, and they confirm no more chemo is needed (and that the spot in my stomach is gone)? Should I wait until I have done some radiation treatments and see how my body handles it? Right now, my plan/goal is to return to work on February 1st. I should be feeling well from my last chemo by that time. Also, the doctor has told me that usually the radiation for lymphoma does not impact people much. They only need a low dose to do what needs to be done. The most common side-effects are redness in the treatment area, and general fatigue.
At the last prayer meeting at church, I asked the church to pray that God would give me wisdom on when I should return to work. My biggest concern is that I go back too early, and I wind up needing more treatment, and have to miss more time. The reason to go ahead and go back is that I’m having to burn vacation time to keep a full paycheck at this point. Plus, a lot of what is to come is a waiting game (waiting on test results and such). Again, my plan/goal is to return 02/01/19. But is this God’s plan? I talked with my pastor afterward, and he gave me some good advice. He said (paraphrased), pray for God to reveal to you if returning on 02/01/19 is okay. Don’t tell God I’m returning on 02/01 and ask Him to bless my decision. After all, it is not our place to tell God what the best plan is. He knows the future, and He alone can tell us the best plan. With all this said, I would also like to ask my fellow blog readers to pray for me on this decision as well. Pray that God will let me know when to return.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for a very good week. You have shown me this week that there is clear hope and light at the end of this battle. I see no reason why I won’t be “good as new again” once blobby is officially in remission. I pray that You would give me wisdom in the coming weeks to know when to return to work. I pray for this last chemo treatment, that everything will continue to go smoothly (no new side-effects or surprises). Thank You that You are omniscient, and that You have given us the Holy Spirit to help us discern Your will. Only You know what the future holds. Thank You for all You do, amen.
Next blog update will TRY to be posted by Saturday, January 12th, at midnight.
Hello again everyone! 13 weeks down, 5 to go! I’m just now starting to feel 100% after the latest chemo regiment. This time it took a full 10 days before I’m feeling normal. It seems this number of days is growing with each chemo infusion, but luckily I only have one more infusion to go! I’ll go out on a limb and say I may need 11 or 12 days to fully recover from the last chemo, but I’m okay with that. That chemo is scheduled for 1/17/19.
I had the opportunity yesterday to do the devotion at my kids Upward Basketball games for the players and their parents/grandparents/guardians etc. I had to do it 4 times at the half-times of various games (broken up by age level). If I had to estimate, I was able to do this in front of 200 people. Rather than type out a whole new update for the blog this week, I thought I would just post the transcript of the devotion I gave. I will say this, I’m so thankful that God is already giving me opportunities (in addition to this blog) to tell my story and point others to Christ.
How is everyone doing today!?
Let me start by asking you all a question. How many of you have practiced over the past few weeks before showing up this morning for the game?
What are some of the things you practiced?
So, the reason why we practice is so that we are prepared for the game.
Just like taking a test at school… you have to prepare. You do this by doing your homework and studying.
Even as an adult, I like to be prepared. I have extra food in my basement in case we should get a big snowstorm and I can’t get to the store for several days. I have a generator in case I should lose power for several days. There was a time when I thought I was prepared for anything.
However, last August, something came along that I was not prepared for. I went to the doctor thinking I was having a heart attack. After doing a series of tests, I was told that my heart was fine, but instead they found a mass in my chest the size of a 12oz Pepsi can. I was then diagnosed with a cancer called non-hodgkins lymphoma.
It was at that time I realized nothing could have prepared me mentally or physically to be told, at the age of 32… that I had cancer. However, I thank God that I was SPRITIUALLY prepared. You see, many many years ago, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal savior. Having the Holy Spirit living within me has given me strength and confidence as I have navigated this trial. Today, I have completed 5 of 6 chemo therapy treatments, then I have 4 weeks of radiation, and by March, the cancer should be in remission.
Now, I’m not here today to focus on talking about me. Rather, I want to tell each of you how you also… can be spiritually prepared…
You see, God gave us instructions in His Word, that we call the Bible. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Can anyone tell me what sin is?
That’s right; sin is all the bad things that we do. Romans 6:23 says “for the wages of sin is death”. The word wages means payment. So what the bible is telling us is that we have all sinned, and the payment for that sin is death. Luckily, Romans 6:23 does not stop there. It goes on to say “but, the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”.
The gift of God… What is this gift? 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” John 3:16 says “for God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
You see, the Bible tells us that Jesus died in our place for our sins. However, He did not stay dead, but rose again 3 days later. It also tells us that “whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. The word whosoever means that this gift is available to each and every one of us.
So, let me summarize all of this. In order to become spiritually prepared… in order to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal savior… you must first ADMIT that you are a sinner. You must BELIEVE that Jesus died on the cross in your place… for your sins, and that He rose again on the third day. And you must CONFESS this with your mouth. This simply means you must pray and tell God you believe.
Let us pray.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for each and every person that is in this gymnasium this morning. I pray that if anyone here has questions about what we have discussed, or wants to better understand what it means to accept Your Son as their personal Savior… that You would give them the courage to come talk to me… talk to one of the coaches… or talk to the pastor. I know any of us would be glad to sit down with them and walk them through the scriptures, showing them what it means to be saved. I thank You Lord for helping me with my cancer fight. I pray that if anyone here is going through a trial of their own, or if they have a loved one that is going through a trial, that You would give them strength and encouragement today. I pray for the safety of the players as we continue to the next game. Thank you for all that you do, amen.
Next blog update will TRY to be posted by Saturday, January 5th, at midnight.
Hello again everyone! 12 weeks down, 6 to go! I received chemo infusion 5 of 6 this past Thursday. This one is hitting me slightly different then previous ones. This go round, I have been extremely tired. I have been sleeping off and on between 14 to 16 hours a day. The odds of me staying awake until midnight tonight seem very low. However, looking at it with the glass half full, the odds of me being awake at midnight are likely high. The reason being, I seem to sleep for a couple of hours, wake up for an hour, repeat. My mind has been foggy this time also… like I’m not able to focus on anything. My wife has been super supportive and is taking care of all the daily tasks while I’m just floating along in my fog. Thinking back, this is similar to the very first chemo cycle. I don’t know if I fully understand how all the side-effects correlate, and why some are stronger than others depending on the chemo round… but one thing that has held constant is that after 7 to 10 days, I seem to be fully back to normal. That should put me feeling good again by this weekend. The metal taste in my mouth has not been that bad this time, but my stomach has been quite unhappy.
Looking ahead, we all have a new year in front of us. I’m not big on new years resolutions, because honestly… I never stick to them more than a day. I’m going to simply say that my goal for 2019 is to finish my cancer battle with the same optimism I had when I started, and that I have had throughout. We will finish chemo 6 of 6, we will address the spot in my stomach if it shows up again on the PET scan in February, we will get through the radiation portion of treatment, and Blobby will officially be in remission. God has clearly been watching out for me and helping me through this storm. I have no doubt that He will help me finish the race strong. I pray that any of you reading out there, who are going through a storm of your own, that you too, would lean on God for comfort and strength. We don’t have to fight alone.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for a wonderful year. Did things go the way I thought they would this year? Not exactly. However, that is the beauty of Your providence. You see the beginning and the end. You know what we need, when we need it. Romans 8:28 reminds us “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Thank You for the lessons You have been teaching me through this storm. Help me to look back on this blog periodically in the months and years to come to remind myself how great You are and what You have brought me through. I look forward to another year, and seeing what You have in store for me. Amen.
Next blog update will TRY to be posted by Saturday, December 29th, at midnight.
Hello again everyone. I have now been late updating the blog three times in a row! Don’t worry though, I have another excuse! This time, another family from our Church invited us to go with them to the Billy Graham Library on Saturday. Time got away from us, and by the time I got home, it was close to midnight. Church followed the next morning, then a sleepover at my parent’s house so we could celebrate Christmas with them on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas day with my in-laws… Needless to say, I’m just now getting a chance to sit down and focus. I’m always thankful for the family time around Christmas, but I’m also thankful when it is over and I can just sit. We don’t have very many plans the rest of the year, since my next chemo is Thursday (12/27/18), and if the pattern holds, I will feel pretty lousy for the next 8 to 10 days. This chemo will be number 5 of 6. We are so close! The last chemo will be on 1/17/18. (Side note, on the official week count, we have 11 down, 7 to go to get through the last chemo, and the following recovery period).
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone the true purpose of the season. It is not about getting presents. It is about the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to this earth to redeem us. Please make sure to read Luke 2 this season and focus on what is really important. Also, I’d like to mention one thing about the Billy Graham library. I didn’t really know a whole lot about him going into this. I obviously had heard about him, but never really took the time to understand who he was, and what all he did in an effort to spread the Gospel. Going through the tour at the library was very interesting, and I was impressed that the focus stayed entirely on God and Salvation, not on Billy himself. As you went room to room, you were presented the entire Gospel message, and given a chance to respond at the end. It was truly awesome. Also, this may sound weird, but for me personally, I have found a trigger that always seems to indicate the Holy Spirit is present and moving in a situation. It is when I get “goose bumps”. There have been numerous times where I have been listening to a preacher, or attending a revival, praying, or even just driving in my car listening to Christian radio, and I will get goose bumps… and it is as clear as can be that the Holy Spirit is talking and moving in whatever the situation is. It’s hard to explain… hopefully you all can relate to this type of feeling in some manner… Anyways, while going room to room in the tour, I have never had so many goose bumps/chills/etc in my life. I am 100% confident that even after Billy’s death; God is using that library and tour in a mighty way to continue to bring people to Christ. If you ever get an opportunity to visit the library, I strongly recommend it, and parking and admission is free.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the busy week I have had. It helped keep my mind off of my health. It was great being able to be with my family for Christmas celebrations, and be with friends from my Church family to go and see the Billy Graham Library. Thank You for continuing to use the Library as a means to spread the Gospel. I pray that many people will go to visit it and that if they don’t know You, that the Holy Spirit would draw them to you I could clearly feel the Holy Spirit moving in that place. Thank You Lord that You are not slack concerning Your promise, that You are longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for our sins, that we could be saved. Thank You for His resurrection, and for sending Your Holy Spirit to indwell within us. You are an awesome God. Amen.