Still in the Palm of His Hand
As many of you know, we met with our oncologist on Friday to go over the results of the CT scan to see if the tumor is leaking fluid (remember the stick-a-needle-in-my-belly procedure?). Turns out that the CT scan revealed ... well ... no change. The tumor is still there, it hasn't moved or grown, my pancreas isn't inflamed ... in fact, it looks remarkably similar to the CT scan I took about a month ago. Which begs the question - where is the liquid coming from? Between Tuesday, when I had the paracentesis, and Friday, when we met with the doctor, my abdomen had filled up again.
The doctor thinks that the cancer may have spread to the peritoneum, which is a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and damaged it enough to cause it to leak. It wouldn't be detectable by the CT scan; in truth, the only way to verify it is surgery. So, we're dropping one of the drugs in my chemotherapy regimen and adding a new one; one that was recently approved for pancreatic cancer patients. It's actually been around awhile, initially as a treatment for breast cancer, but has proven effective at pancreatic cancer as well.
As you read this, you might be thinking "this doesn't sound good" or you might be saddened at the prospect that the cancer might be spreading. You know, we spend a tremendous amount of time in our lives trying to avoid disappointment, tragedy and heartache. They are givens in this fallen world and, to a large extent, we do succeed at avoiding them. We try not to speed or text when we drive and we try to make wise choices. Still, the abundant life isn't defined by how well we avoid disappointment, tragedy and heartache; it's defined by how well we react to them. Instead of asking "What now, God?", the question I ask is "How might You be glorified when I'm at this breaking point?"
On Friday, we spent some 'hangout' time with my son and his wife. We haven't seen them in awhile because of the busyness of life but when he asked just to hang out, I realized how much I miss them and need to spend time with them. God has given me this son and this daughter and I will cherish the gifts He has given - for His Glory.
This Saturday, I did the benediction at a friend's wedding. The couple's children were there so the prayer was intended to include the family as a whole. Getting ready beforehand took both Gail and myself since my abdomen was in full distention and afterwards, I was physically exhausted but during the prayer, my voice was strong, the prayer was a little longer than your typical benediction and many commented on it during the reception. For His Glory.
After the wedding, I spoke with another long-time friend who I discipled back when I didn't know what discipleship was. He expressed his thanks for the impact I brought into his life. He's become a tremendous husband and dad ... there is hope ... even for Sooner fans. For His Glory.
Gail and I continue to be blessed by the generosity of friends; I am still surprised when unspoken needs are met with tangible gifts. For His Glory.
My mind now focuses on the upcoming expedition to Israel which I know will be physically taxing but spiritually uplifting. There is a medical component so I'll be surrounded by doctors and nurses. There is an evangelism component which I fully intend on participating ... at least for one day. My own doctor had no problem with me going into the emergency ward in Jerusalem if a paracentesis is needed; the medical facilities there are as good as in the States. God has laid it all out and allayed Gail's fears; this expedition will be for His Glory.
My cancer remains a poor excuse and a weak obstacle not to commit myself to the role He has given me in building His church. For His Glory.
Please pray that:
In the Palm of His Hand,
- I continue to walk in truth; it brings Him joy;
- the new drug that I'll be getting at 10:30 this morning will be effective;
- the second paracentesis I'll be getting at 1:30 this afternoon will go well;
- that Gail and I will be wise during some decisions we need to make;
- that I remain in awe of what He has done through my family and my friends.
In the Palm of His Hand,