Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Divine Appointment

We were in the shuttle on the way to our appointment with the oncologist. Because we had to wait ten minutes for the hotel shuttle to arrive we were barely going to make it on time. Another couple flagged down the car as we were about to pull away.
“Oh-oh,” I thought. “We are never going to make it.”
“Do you mind getting in the far back?” the driver asked, as Jim got out to offer the lady the middle seat. The man climbed in back with Jim. “We’re going to the pulmonary pavilion at MD Anderson,” the woman said to the driver, as she climbed in next to me.
“Are you going for treatment?” I asked after introducing myself. “This is our first time here,” she explained. “I was diagnosed with lung cancer in December.”
“My husband has lung cancer,” I told her. “We’ve been coming to Houston now for seven years. I know how scary it can be at first, but it gets better.”
She started to cry. “Six weeks before the doctors told me about the lung cancer, my husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig Disease. Then the lung cancer. The doctor said it is in both lungs and inoperable. That is why we came here for a second opinion.”
Talk about a double whammy. Two terminal diagnoses within two months. We told them about Jim’s grim prognosis and the miracles we had experienced. They gave us their e-mail and we added them to our f.a.i.t.H. list.
I well remember those first days when we prayed to meet someone who would lift our spirits, listen to our story, or just give us a loving pat on the shoulder. Someone who could say, “You are going to be OK. You’re not alone.”
We watched as they walked into the building, holding hands, hopeful that MD Anderson could give them at least one miracle.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Modern Miracle

I don’t know what to say. After seven years of ups and downs, seven years of living with cancer and all that goes with it, Jim is cancer free. The giant has left the house.

In October the oncologist told us there was no sign of the cancer in the bone or the malignant pleural effusion that we have been treating since March of ’09. He called it a miracle saying that there was no medical explanation for the absence of the malignancies. But somehow I couldn’t grasp the magnificence of the news. This time it was different. I got it. I want to shout the good news from the rooftops and sing praises to His glory.

Dr. Rios is not quite sure where we will go from here. He has a “gut feeling” that what Jim needs now is rest and a rebuilding of his immune system. There are some new drugs designed for this very purpose that he wants to research. Jim’s body has taken a beating over the years from the aggressive, toxic chemotherapies, the radiotherapies, and the surgeries. He wants us to undergo some testing (can be done in Memphis) to determine the status of the immune system, assess the collateral damage that has been done, and build from there. He will let us know in a few weeks how to proceed. But NO MORE CHEMO, no more planning around treatments and scans—although I’m sure scans will still be part of our lives, I’m not worrying about it tonight.

There is more to the incredible story—people we met today and yesterday just starting down the road we’ve been traveling, the responses of our physicians, people who have read the book and been encouraged. I will have to write another book for those who don’t know how the story ends. Our cup is overflowing and I can’t wait to tell anyone who will listen about the faithful, loving God we serve.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus through all ages, world without end. Amen.”