Thank you for your prayers and for your comments on the blog, your emails, your cards and calls. You have been a source of deep encouragement for Susan, me and the children. We are grateful for your support and friendship.
We met today with my oncologist/hematologist at IU Med Center. The pathology results were back from the Nat'l Institute of Health as well as the latest testing at IU. My diagnosis is diffuse large b-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is one of the more common forms of lymphoma and has a standard chemotherapy treatment protocol. This is much better news than the original diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and certainly is better than having some rare form of lymphoma where the treatment would be less clear. Thanks be to God for answering our prayers.
The bone marrow biopsy revealed no detectable cancer in my bone marrow or blood. Further, the PET scan revealed no detectable cancer in any other tissue besides the pancreas and the mediastinal area in my chest. Again, thanks be to God for answering our prayers.
While the disease will be staged as IV because it has spread outside the lymph nodes, my prognostic index is still fairly good. In fact, the doctor indicated that my situation would suggest an 80% "cure rate" is possible should they be able to kill all the cancer during this first round of chemotherapy.
I will be starting chemotherapy next week (no surgery and likely no radiation required, another answer to prayer!). I will have six cycles, one every three weeks. The side effects are problematic with this therapy (R-CHOP), so please pray that it will kill all the cancer cells, but that I will also tolerate the side-effects.
Remaining cancer free for two years will be an important hurdle; however, the "cured" label will not be used until five years of being cancer free. I am in the Lord's hands in this regard, but I can assure you we plan to follow this plan of attack and win.
We have been so encouraged by the testimonies of how God is meeting different people who are praying for me in unique ways. If you are so moved, please continue to share how the Lord God is working in your life in specific ways as you pray and reflect on what he is teaching you.
I will close with a passage of scripture that our family has been meditating on that has aptly described our situation and also provided a spiritual roadmap:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
(I Peter 5:6-11)
In Christ alone,