12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

The Good, the bad, and the ugly (and the beautiful) of the Oncology visit

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The Good
Our oncologist is very knowledgable and aggressive. He’s given me a lot of helpful information. More importantly, he’s gotten aggressive about getting me into treatment.

In order to get me a port for the Chemo and a feeding tube for nutrition, he’s pulled some strings to get me into see a surgical oncologist, a specialist beyond general surgery. General scheduling would only give me a date to see him a week and a half from now for a consultation. Our oncologist spoke with him personally and got me in to see him on Monday, a week earlier.

In the meantime, I’ll be attending Chemo Training tomorrow, a PET scan will be scheduled soon, and the port/feeding tube surgery soon thereafter. As soon as the port is in, Chemo will start within 24 hours.

The Bad
The cancer is Stage IV.

Take a breath. We had to. Turns out that, while earlier stages are clearly better, Stage IV does NOT mean “you’re about to die.” That is, apparently, a misunderstanding among the common culture.

The Oncologist basically told us that staging exists to compare studies to one another (Study A treated more Stage I patients than Study B, who had more Stage IV patients, that helps explain some of the successes of Study A) and that staging helps explain whether the cancer is operable. Stage IV means it has spread and is not, at this time, operable.

That’s not to say that it will not be operable in the future. If the Chemo is very successful and kills what has spread, they can operate on the original tumor. The Doctor made sure to tell us that is rare, but could happen. Obviously, we are praying for that, among other things.

The Ugly
Where has the cancer spread? The Liver. The doctor stressed that this is not liver cancer, but esophageal cancer that has moved to the liver. The way he made that sound, I inferred that it was better.

MD Anderson?
After talking with my Oncologist, MD Anderson, and my insurance company, I basically had a choice: Go to MDA in 2-3 weeks (or more, depending on insurance) or start treatment within the week. I chose to start treatment. MDA is not off the table. If things aren’t going well, after my first round of Chemo, or at any point in the future, I can apply for the referral and go from there.

The Beautiful
I have been encouraged and supported in many, many ways. God has been ever near me and I am so grateful. More than just sensing the Presence of the Holy Spirit, I have seen the practical answer to prayers in guidance, help in times of need, relief from pain, answers to questions, and promise of provision.
Both JD Young, where I work through the week, and Redemption Tulsa, the church I helped plant and pastor, are both going to continue to support us through this time. Donny Rockwell is being installed as an Elder this Sunday and will take over teaching duties for me for the immediate future.

I’m amazed by God’s provision.

Here’s a very real example: I spent last night in the ER. I had some extreme pain and dehydration. The first crew was pretty casual while working on me and not really doing anything for me. I started praying, “God, send me a healer. I need a healer right now.” In walked a nurse with a focus and kindness that weren’t present in the others. She was soon followed by a seasoned ER Doc who put things in motion quickly. I asked for a healer. I got two.

How you can pray

  • Pray for wisdom as we try to get my nutrition and pain management under control.
  • Pray for a swift process into Chemo.
  • Pray for the Chemo to work powerfully and quickly.
  • Pray for my body to handle the Chemo with strength and endurance.
  • Pray for my family to handle the pressures of all that this journey will entail.
  • Pray that I will continue to grow in my faith and that my testimony will be strong.

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

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