Monday, May 28, 2012

And then came Cancer

Wayne Watson wrote a song in the 80's (maybe early 90's) called "Home Free." I'll post the lyrics at the end of this blog post, but want to share with you one line to begin:

You know pain has little mercy
And suffering's no respecter of age, of race or position

Every person I know has had their life impacted by cancer. Our first close encounter with cancer was when a friend was diagnosed not long after we were married. Don and Nancy Hollis had been the teaching leaders at Bible Study Fellowship and something of a second set of parents (you know those folks who are like an aunt & uncle but no blood relation) to Phil before I met him. They soon became as dear to me as to Phil. Don lost his fight with cancer in the early 90's. While we were living in Africa in 95-96, my Grammie was diagnosed with oral cancer (never smoked and rarely drank) and lost her battle in 96 just days after we'd arrived back in the US. I was able to speak with her once before she went to be with Jesus. 

In 2007 cancer came calling in a big way and has not stopped knocking at the door. Phil's dad, Bill, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Following a few rounds of chemo, the doctor performed surgery. Bill's body was not strong enough to handle this, it seems, as he developed pneumonia and within 3 weeks was gone: February 1, 2008. In late December of 2009 my dear friend Kathy felt a lump in her breast. After months of tests and struggling with insurance companies (then discovering she had NO coverage), she had a mastectomy in May of 2010, followed by months of chemotherapy, then radiation, and an entire year of herceptin treatment. Kathy is our survivor! Just a couple of weeks before Kathy's surgery our mutual dear friend Linda was diagnosed with stage 4 endometrial cancer. Same song next verse: Surgery, then months of chemo. Sadly, Linda developed an infection just days following her final chemo treatment. We said our goodbyes to her on Dec. 1, 2010. 

In December of 2010 an online friend, Katie, who had such a sweet spirit that no one felt like they knew her only on the internet, was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer. She fought the odds for many months, but late in 2011 we also lost her to this dreaded disease. This year my friend Debra went through chemotherapy for a gastric type cancer and is now cancer free!

Cancer, like the suffering mentioned in the song I posted, is no respecter of age, race or position. It doesn't strike just the lower class. It doesn't hit just the old. It isn't a white man's disease or a middle eastern condition. Great leaders and tiny children have been diagnosed. I've been in the "friend chair" in the chemo room and see that the only connection these people have is cancer. While it is a murderer, for those who will allow it, cancer can be a means of drawing people together. Those how have been through cancer have been changed and can connect in a way that the rest of us can only sit back and view. 

Until about 2 months ago my little family of 4, while having been exposed to too much cancer for a lifetime, had not been diagnosed. Then, my husband Phil felt a funny spot on his tongue. He thought he had bit his tongue, but the spot did not go away. He saw his primary care doctor who didn't know what to think of it. Another doctor came in and could not diagnose it, but knew it did not look good. She sent him to an ENT to have it looked at. He saw the ENT on a Monday and had a biopsy. By Wednesday we had the news: this was cancer. On Friday we were in his office making plans. Phil had a PET/ct scan on May 9th. The results were negative, which, while not perfect method of diagnosis, gave an indication that the cancer had not spread. The biopsy had shown this was at stage 1, which means it was caught VERY early. Praise God for that!

On Tuesday, May 22nd, Phil had a section of tongue removed (a slice off the side) as well as a large incision in his neck to remove lymph nodes for pathology. We are now waiting on path reports to see if there is any cancer in the nodes. As the doctor told us in the hospital, "I do not have microscopic eyes so we will wait to see what the lab reports show."

I will write about how Phil is doing in a different post. For now I just wanted to let you be aware of what is happening. Interestingly, this is "Help Whip Cancer" month with Pampered Chef. I have done nothing with my business this month. I wanted this to be the year I raised a lot of money for the American Cancer Society. But then came cancer...to our house...to my husband. And we are trying to whip cancer here. Of course, the greatest weapon we have is the Lord and we beseech Him to heal Phil. We know that is long as there is life there is hope and we trust that He is still able to heal. I have an entire post in my head on this topic, but I will spare you the details for now! Suffice to say we are not "name in, claim it" people, but do believe the Lord is able to do what He wills. 

I GREATLY REJOICE that my friends Kathy and Debra have been given an extension on this life. I still grieve those whose lives were cut short by this disease. Yet, I have this hope: those who knew Jesus in this life are FREE OF PAIN and in His presence now. We grieve because we miss them. They are complete and healed in the greatest way ever! One day all who have trusted in Christ as their Savior will be healed of all pain and suffering! So I leave you with the words of the Wayne Watson song, "Home Free."

I'm trying hard not to think you unkind
But Heavenly Father
If you know my heart
Surely you can read my mind
Good people underneath the sea of grief
Some get up and walk away
Some will find ultimate relief

Chorus
Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh Ive got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free

Out in the corridors we pray for life
A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young
It's sad but true
And while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is with you

You know pain has little mercy
And suffering's no respecter of age, of race or position
I know every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
Oh Lord, not mine, but Thy will be done

Let it be...

Chorus
Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh Ive got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free

Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing gonna be Home Free
Home Free, oh its more than a feeling
At the ultimate healing
Gonna be Home Free


source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/w/waynewatsonlyrics/homefreelyrics.html

2 comments:

Christyn said...

Prayers to you and your family. I have read some great things about cancer treatments if you would like me to send them to you. :)

Peggysuez said...

Hey sweetie! Been praying and thinking about that path report you're expecting. Also was thinking about just how often cancer has crossed your path and what a good friend you have been to those suffering from this malady. Won't stop praying. Regardless of the outcome God is good.