Out of all the words I have ever spoken to my wife, these may have been the hardest yet. On Tuesday, August 20, my Pulmonologist’s PA told me I needed a CT scan immediately. I had been dealing with fluid on my lungs and pneumonia that seeming would not let go since the first of July. As I argued and said I was tired of writing checks to doctors, getting x-rays, and feeding hungry vampire phlebotomists, she simply said that I HAD to get the test done.
As it turns out, the multiple doctor visits and repeated x-rays uncovered at least 2 malfunctioning lymph nodes. On Thursday, by using the scans as a type of flipbook, you could see the tumor spreading out towards my lung and encroaching upon my windpipe. Then, he said we needed a bronchoscopy, a PET scan, and some oncologists. My doctor proceeded to empower his staff to get it done. I saw three total strangers throw themselves into getting everything he asked for my care. I am forever grateful to the Statcare people in Knoxville. They not only got me the PET scan with half a day’s notice, but they also did it in one of the most advanced facilities in the region. It was read that afternoon and they conveyed it to me by 3PM. Rarely, has a phone call ever been so frightening as they summarized all the rest that is going on in my body. They have booked me a “crack” team to do the biopsies on Monday and will have a pathologist in the surgical room to examine the samples right then.
They went after the oncologist that no one could get into and would be months to see if I did get on his list. They said I should pick an alternative cancer doctor. I told them I didn’t have another name. By noon on Friday, waiting under a warm blanket with my body full of radioactive dye, they called and said I had the appointment with the man no one could get into and I had no chance to see on Tuesday morning at 8AM.
We have spent these past days telling our family and others of our news about my aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I feel like I have made more people cry than at any time in my life combined. Today, our church learned of what was in our path. They cried too.
Tomorrow, I will take a good nap and wake up with a sore throat for a biopsy. Tuesday at 8AM, we will start the rest of our journey together.
We are simply overwhelmed by the love and outpouring of calls and messages from people in the states and around the world. We cannot thank you enough. Thank you for praying. To all of those we did not get to contact personally, we hope you will understand. It was just impossible to contact all of those we love who mean so much to us.
Our new family motto is that we will “Love Jesus, Trust Jesus, and Live for Jesus.” Regardless of this outcome, I don’t want to waste this cancer. If this is the next thing I do for Jesus or the last thing I do for my King, I want to do it well. Please pray that we glorify God in the next stage of our adventure.
Our children, in particular, need your love and support. Our church is hurting mightily tonight as well as our extended family. Andrea and I are in the chaos of the storm, with emotional waves of all kinds tossing us about. With every deluge of fear, doubt, confusion, and the nagging sense of future loss, we cling tightly to the God who is greater than our storm. ~Rodney