Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Full Recovery!

Yesterday was quite a day for me and all our family. It was my fifth chemo treatment (that leaves only one to go) and the day I would receive my latest scan reports from my oncologist, Dr. Murphy. He came into the exam room with a big smile on his face so I was hoping that meant good news. The news was not only good, it was great.

Dr. Murphy explained there were four levels of response to the treatments I have been taking that range from no recovery to full recovery. He quickly told Patti and me that I was a full recovery patient. I asked him if that mean I was cured. He said we could only use the word cure after time has passed. There will be additional scans in the future to monitor things, but we fully expect to be able to use the cure word one day. For now he says I am in full remission, no cancer cells anywhere in my body. Furthermore he stated that many full recovery patients do not ever experience cancer again in their lifetime. So the news couldn’t be much better!

After just a few minutes short of five hours of chemo the nurse came in to tell me that my potassium was extremely low, 2.9. If you have followed this journey, then you might remember that low potassium is how this entire journey began. So now we will go back and give this some attention once again. Small potatoes compared to where we have been. Right now I am taking some strong potassium supplements to build the levels back up once again. So you might keep praying about this one for us.

I will be preaching for the next three weeks and then taking off for about five weeks to simply rest and let my body begin to rebuild its immune system - and maybe even grow a little hair.

Words cannot express my thanks to the thousands who have prayed for me and our family. I have had a great medical team, but the Great Physician has been in charge all along. I believe that I have been and continue to live out a miracle. We have seen the hand of God in so many ways and experienced His mercy, grace, and faithfulness on a daily basis. It has been a life-changing experience. I would not have chosen it, but in all truthfulness it has been the best season of my life. I pray I will be a good steward of all that God has done and continues to do in me as a husband, father, and pastor.

Patti has been my rock through this whole experience. She is one of the strongest women I know. Matt and Carrie, Derek and Tori, and my sweet Hope have been wonderful companions through this journey. I love them all more deeply than I can express.

To my church family, The People’s Church of Franklin and Spring Hill, Tennessee, I thank you. No pastor could have been more loved and prayed for over these past months. You are the best, and it is a joy to be your pastor. To friends who have written cards, prayed prayers and expressed love in a myriad of ways, I am in your debt. I would consider it an honor to serve any of you in any way I possibly can. I will keep this blog going on a regular basis and hope you will visit frequently. Hopefully the subject will change, but the relationships and community that has been shared here will only increase. It is good to be in full recovery - thank you Lord!



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010. I've thought about this date for months now. I've known it was the date of Parent Child Dedication service at TPC since well before I had Lillie. I've known it was the day after Sophie's play in Atlanta since her school schedule came out last August. For months, I've known that, once again, Mother's Day and Dad's birthday were landing on the very same day(the second weekend in May can be an expensive one in our family)! I've known that May 9 would be an overwhelming day for our family for quite a while now.

But only in the past three months did I half-dread May 9, 2010. Since we had just been through my aunt dying of cancer only four months after diagnosis, I wondered a little over three months ago if we would be celebrating Dad's 59th birthday. I wondered if he would ever get the opportunity to spend much time getting to know his newest grandchild and whether he would live to see her dedicated to the Lord. Then after I felt like he might live, I wondered if Dad would be too sick to participate in the dedication service. I wondered if Lillie would be the only of my children that wasn't dedicated in a service led by my dad. I was overwhelmed with questions.

Watching Dad holding Lillian Hope on the stage at TPC on May 9, 2010, we were definitely overwhelmed, but this time overwhelmed with gratitude. We were grateful for all the precious celebrations of the day. We continue to be grateful that all signs point to healing in Dad's body. We are grateful that he has been relatively strong throughout this journey. Again, we were grateful for the opportunity to celebrate life - mothers, babies, and birthdays. Most of all we are grateful for the faithfulness of our God who has sustained us throughout this journey. All celebrations are a little sweeter this year, and while we are learning that every day is special, we were particularly thankful for May 9, 2010.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Celebration Continues

Thank you so much to everyone for all of the prayers and encouragement to dad and our family. We are overwhelmed by all the love that is being shown to us. The last few days have been wild. We are all still processing that there really is a light at the end of this tunnel. We feel so blessed that dad has been healed. In the words of my sister, Hope "only God". We are grateful to his wonderful doctor and nurses, but we are most grateful to the Lord- the great healer. Thank you to all who are celebrating with us.

News Channel 2 wanted to get in on the celebrating, so they joined dad today on the golf course. See the full story here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Celebrating Life

We are celebrating life as we walk this journey with my dad! Though Sophie spear-headed the coloring of Tato's head, the entire family joined in the fun! Patti-Grams even put the finishing touch - a red lipstick kiss - on Tato's forehead! Though we were a few days before the "official report," we were also celebrating Dad's good doctor's report on Friday. The "official" report came in yesterday, revealing "no signs of lymphoma!" Thanks be to God! We couldn't be more thrilled or more thankful! Though he must continue his treatment, we are hopeful that the Lord is using the doctors and medicine to bring about Dad's complete healing.

Our hearts are singing! We will not be silent! O Lord our God, we give you thanks forever! Psalm 10:12

Good News; No, Great News!

Last Friday I went in for my CT Scan prior to my third treatment, which took place on Monday, April 12. Dr. Murphy spent a few minutes with me looking at the scan and said he would see me on Monday and that I could expect a good report based on what he could see. Well, l left on Friday, trying to interpret what would a good report would be exactly.

Fast forward to Monday morning, April 12, the morning of my third chemo treatment. Patti and I went into the exam room where they access my port and then waited for the doctor to come in. Dr. Murphy came in holding two pieces of paper which I assumed was the report. He began by telling me that in the scan he had discovered I had a small kidney stone (which was news to me), some calcification in the aorta (also news to me), spinal canal stenosis (which was not news to me), and then the biggie, no evidence of lymphoma (which was the best news I have had in months). Well, Patti and I were somewhat stunned for a moment, to say the least! No evidence of lymphoma, after two treatments.

So I went into high gear with the next question, wondering if this meant I was finished with chemo. No, I have to finish the protocol (three more treatments to go). After treatment four and before treatment five, I will have another nuclear PET Scan. Dr. Murphy said that if no cancer appears at that time there would be a good chance that I will never have to deal with this again.

While I am grateful for a gifted and dedicated physician, I am even more grateful for the Great Physician. I believe that what is happening in my life today is the result of the grace of God and an army of prayer warriors around the world. We have been carried by your prayers, love, and support. I want to ask you to not stop praying at this point. All the news is good, but let’s keep praying until we cross the finish line. Please know that God’s mercy is renewing us every morning. To God by the glory!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Post Easter Report

Several weeks ago I was wondering if I would be able to speak on Easter Sunday 2010. I was looking at the different alternatives before me, unsure of where I would be at this point in the journey. As it turned out, yesterday was a great day for me. I spoke in the Saturday evening service, attended a community sunrise service early Sunday morning, spoke in our two morning worship services, and then attended an afternoon service with our friends at Strong Tower Bible Church. I had good energy throughout the day and slept well last night.

I even felt like playing a little golf this past Friday - didn’t finish the full eighteen but played most of it. I loved being outdoors and spending time with close friends Dave, Ken, and Scott. Now I am going to take a couple of days and go down to The Master’s for the Wednesday practice round and par three tournament.

So how am I feeling and what is going on with the lymphoma? As I mentioned, I am really feeling pretty good. I will have a scan on this Friday, April 9 and hopefully that will tell me something about the progress of the treatment. My next chemo treatment is scheduled for Monday, April 12. That will be the half way mark of the six treatments. Obviously we are all praying for a good report and continued strength.

I had a strong reaction to one of the drugs after the first treatment that continues with me even now. I broke out on my torso, arms, and legs with a terrible rash. I spend most days itching and try to fight the natural instinct to scratch. I take Benadryl at night and use a topical steroid, but it is still very annoying. So as you pray, you might add this to your prayer list. That’s about it for now; I will post again after I get the scan report on Friday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Williamson AM Article

Here is the article by Harriet Vaughan from this morning's Williamson AM.