Tuesday, May 31, 2011


On Wednesday, May 18th, I came home from work, changed clothes and went out for my usual bike ride. I had done a couple of laps around the neighborhood when I realized that I was breathing easier that night. As I continued on, seemingly out of nowhere, I heard the same voice that had told me that I was in for a long hard battle say, "The tumor is gone." A week later, with those words echoing in my head, I once again slid into the machine for my CT scan.

The next morning we were again in the examining room waiting for my entourage to enter. Now that I am in the clinical trial, I have been seeing four people at each appointment: two research assistants, the physician's assistant, and the doctor. I have jokingly begun calling them my entourage. Finally, one of the research assistants came in to pick up my empty medicine bottles and research survey. He then handed us the reports from radiology for the x-ray and CT scan and left. They were waiting on the report for the MRI that I had done earlier that morning. He left, leaving DeLayne and me to read through the reports. As we read the reports, we noticed that they mentioned the fluid and scar tissue in my lung, but nowhere was there a mention of the lung tumor. These were the first reports that have not specifically mentioned the presence or the size of the mass in my lung. Could it really be gone?

Finally, three of the four people entered the examining room. We were still waiting on the doctor, but the physician's assistant told us that all of the reports looked great and that there was "No Evidence of Disease" (NED). She then asked if we had any questions. I asked if the absence of any mention of the tumor in the reports meant that it was gone. We were told that sometimes radiology does not mention the tumor, and that it all depends on which radiologist is reading the test results. She further explained that NED does not necessarily mean the dead tumor is gone; it just means there is no evidence of "active" cancer and that this is as good as it gets for lung cancer patients. The medical profession will never say a lung cancer patient is "cured." The three of them left, and, once again, we were alone to wait for the doctor.

After a few minutes, my doctor entered the exam room. He told us that the test results and the way I said I am feeling were all very encouraging. He asked what questions we had, and we repeated the question about the tumor. He then told us that due to the damage done to my lung from the radiation treatments and the cancer, it was very difficult to tell. This led us to ask if my lung would ever recover. He told us, "No," and that, "Performing radiation on any portion of the lung is essentially like removing that portion of the lung."

I will admit that those are not words that I expected to hear from the doctor. I still believe that I will be completely healed, and that includes my lung returning to a fully-functioning lung. After a few days to think about it, my interpretation of what the doctor said is that we have now determined the limits of what medicine can do for me. That means from here on, any improvements to my lung will be 100% God-given miracles.

The story of the man with the withered hand that Jesus healed in the synagogue has been on my mind (Mark 3:1-5). I am very thankful and blessed by what God has done for me this past year, but if He can heal a withered hand, He can do the same for my lung. We may have found the limits of medicine, but there is no limit to what God can do.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wet Feet

Thursday, May 26, will be my twelve-week check-up for the trial medicine. It is hard to believe that twelve weeks have passed already. I am somewhat excited about this visit because in the reports that I have read on the medicine, twelve weeks is when they have seen significant changes in tumors. Some patients have even seen their tumors completely disappear at this point. As is my habit, I have begun to prepare myself mentally and spiritually for my check-up next week.

The story of the Exodus has been on my mind the past few days. God had parted the Red Sea for them to escape Egypt and Pharaoh's army. God provided for their every need on their journey through the desert for forty years. However, they still had doubts and questioned God. I am sure they had to be asking, "How much longer could this go on? When will we be allowed to enter the Promised Land?"

Although it has not quite been a year since I was diagnosed, I have found myself comparing my journey to that of the Exodus. God has parted the waters countless times to give me safe passage through troubled waters. He has met my every need in ways that I have never imagined. However, I have been asking, "Will next week be the week that I enter into the promised land of complete healing?"

To finally enter the Promise Land, the Israelites had to cross the Jordan river. Only this time God required some action from the people. The priests were to carry the ark of the covenant into the Jordan. Once all of the priests had entered the river, the water would stop and the people would cross on dry land.

God has used the story of the Exodus and entering the Promised Land to teach me that He will lead you through the wilderness, but to get from where you are to where God desires you to be, you have to be willing to get your feet wet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chasing Dreams

We parents have dreams for our children. We start building those dreams from the day they are born. They typically include doing well in school, going on to college, graduating, and starting a career. Somewhere along the way they will meet the right person and get married. Then one day, we realize that the dreams we have for our children are essentially the lives we have lived. There comes a day when our dreams and our children's dreams no longer travel the same road. Although we have worked to get them out of the nest, suddenly they have climbed out on the branch by themselves and are ready to spread their wings and take the leap on their own.

That is how it has been with Chad. He was doing pretty good living my dream and was within months of graduating from college with his Mechanical Engineering degree. A job was pretty much lined up, but he had other dreams to chase. One afternoon last October he called to tell me that there were a couple of bike teams that had shown an interest in him. They had been discussing things, and he had consulted with one of his teammates, and both teams looked like good opportunities. During the call, I sensed there was something he wanted to ask, but he never did.

As I laid in bed that night, I thought of what Chad had not asked. He wanted to know how I felt about him pursuing cycling after graduation. Honestly, I had mixed emotions about it all. I hated to see him walk away from a good job, but I also wanted to see him pursue something he has a passion for. When I woke up the next morning, I had the answer. I did not want Chad to ever have to wonder, "What if?"

Later that day I called him and told him that now was the time for him to go for it. I did not want him to grow up and find himself in the situation I found myself in: That being fifty years old with cancer and wondering, "Would I ever get to do the things I had put off for so long?" Cancer has taught me to chase the dreams while they are fresh.

Chad now lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and is living his dream. He is criss-crossing the country racing his bike while chasing his other dream of becoming a pro cyclist. I have no doubt that he will make it.

If you want to know more about the life of a cyclist, Chad has a blog at: