We were overwhelmed to see that over 150 people let us know (via facebook) that they were praying for my family and me yesterday. That was as big of an angel hug you could ever ask for. It is amazing and miraculous to know that God shows his love in such big ways as you take this kind of walk with Him.
Exactly one year ago today I was awakening in the recovery room screaming and acting quite unruly. I want Dr. Mappin, Dr. Aaron, Dr. Hunis, Dr. Funke, Dr. McCloughlin, Dr. Dean, and all nurses and technicians to know today how much I appreciate them for skillfully taking care of me in a timely and knowledgeable manner.After my surgery I was in the hospital eight more days.
The Mayo Clinic gets accolades from me as well as they studied my tumor smears to find that I have neuroendocrine cancer.
With the lobectomy, they removed the primary tumor along with affected lung tissue and lymph nodes. The remaining tumors (2 in my spine and 1 at the top of my femur) are shrinking and are successfully being managed. I became the tumor “star of the week” as such at Self Regional Healthcare Cancer Center because neuroendocrine tumors are very rare and though most in the oncology field have heard of neuoendocrine tumors, very few have treated patients affected by them. I was technically diagnosed with stage 4 neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung. I am the first person in Greenwood County to receive this diagnosis.
I feel quite honored that God chose to gift me with this disease. Dr. Hunis told me that I was an open, blank book for him and that there was no chapter in the medical books that described a case specifically like mine.
You see, this group of professionals in Greenwood now have a cancer patient to evaluate and treat in new ways. I am the person God chose to teach them so they can save more lives in the future. Dr Hunis has called his professors , and other colleagues and has spoken with doctors around the world about how to treat me. God used me in a way I would have never thought I would be proud of.
I have had a good role model though.
One person has taught me that a medical diagnosis can be a gift and blessing. That person is my wife Joy. She has said for many years now that God , in His sovereign wisdom, chose her to have multiple sclerosis so she could teach and counsel others. She has helped numerous people worldwide learn how to accept and cope with their autoimmune diseases. Yes, Joy calls her diagnosis “A Gift.” She cannot stand nor walk. She has a bladder cath, and she cannot sit up on her own, yet she uses her creative mind and teaching skills in great and effective ways. I am honored and blessed to be married to someone like that, and she feels the same about me. A very large percentage of married couples break up or divorce when a life-changing diagnosis like this comes along.
Our son Anthony and his wife Jennifer and our three grand boys Jarron, Tabor and Hewson have been so supportive through our daily struggles, We do it all together as a team.
Anthony battles ankylosing spondylitis. His spine and hips are fusing, as are his sternum & ribs. He is in pain daily. He too uses his disease to teach and work with others as a musician/ songwriter / producer with a passion for ministry and nutritional counseling. Anthony and his family have been right along side us through this new challenge.
Knowing that the warmth and comfort of God is with us and is using us in a most positive way sustains us.
We have received prayers and gifts from family, friends, and strangers. God has taught us so much in this journey. And we in turn want to change lives and help others through many outlets.
The miracles that have come our way over the last year are astounding. We have received new appliances, food, and financial support to allow us to keep our home another year. Our dear neighbors and family have taken care of much of our shopping and errands. We have a church ministry that will soon be coming to repair things around the house. This past Christmas we went to pick up our large layaway to find out that our balance was a penny. A “K-Mart angel” had paid nearly $500 for us to have a great Christmas. We tried to guess who would have done that for us. We realized that any one of our friends or family members would have done that…but knew plain and simple…it was an angel.
Our family has learned to walk daily with the Warmth of Jesus, the Power of God, and the Mysteries and Miracles of The Holy Spirit.
God has a gift for you. It could be a new car, a swimming pool or…
it may be a diagnosis of a disease and the grace & faith to face it head-on.
Whatever your gift… recognize it.. discern it… and accept it. Once you have done that, then you will know exactly how to use it.
Receiving a gift is like getting a rare gemstone; any way you look at it, you see beauty refracted. Proverbs 17:8 (The Message)