Monday, October 10, 2016

Home for the feast!

Neither the surgeon nor the medical staff disappointed me this Thanksgiving.  OK, so I didn’t get to have Thanksgiving in Manitoba, but 48 hours after slicing me open, they were sending me home!  I teased the doctor that soon he’d have it perfected to an out-patient surgery.  :-)

And, to top off the weekend, my wife (with some help from the kids), put on an awesome spread for Thanksgiving.

Now I’m sleeping my way back to health, and the best part is I’m doing it at home.  Life is good.  God is good!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Thanksgiving

I admit that I had hoped for a trip to a concert in California or at least a road trip to Manitoba for Thanksgiving, but it seems I’m destined to take another trip to the Foothills hospital, instead, to spend the long weekend being thankful for our wonderful medical system.  Yep, more cherry-picking is at hand, so the plan is that they’ll take another piece of my lung this Friday (October 7).  Hopefully it will go as smoothly as last time, but there are no guarantees.  Still, given the most recent doctors’ visits, I believe we have cause for confidence and optimism.  :-)

A pastor friend of mine recently quoted a Bill Gaither song to me:  “Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.”  Yep, I’d like to think I’m learning to trust Him more every day.  That also reminded me of another song by the Gaithers.  A lot of the performances I’ve found on the internet don’t do much for me, but I LOVE the lyrics, particularly the chorus!  I think they describe my feelings fairly accurately.
God sent his son, they called him Jesus,
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives.
[Chorus]
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know he holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives


Until next time,
Brad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September, 2016

Well, we’ve had a very nice summer (weather notwithstanding), including numerous road trips and activities.  We’ve all managed to keep our minds mostly off of the big “C”.  But, now it’s September and time for three of the four people in our home to go back to school and for all of to resume our “more normal” lives and schedules.  For me this new normal now includes check-ups at least every three months.  Whereas I’d had a PET scan approximately three months ago, it was too soon after the surgery, so there was nothing really to report.  So, last week I had another PET scan, and today was the day of the follow-up doctor visit.

Those of you that know me well enough know that decision making is not my strong suit.  Sue often describes it as non-committal.  Well, apparently I can’t really commit to cancer, either.  I can’t get rid of it, but I can’t get a full-blown case going either.  I suppose, in this case, that may be a good thing. :-)

The oncologist said that there was another tumour in the lungs.  It was small and still not lighting up the scan in any alarming way.  However, considering how healthy I seem and how easily I handled the last lung surgery, he suggested we follow it up (i.e. probably more cherry picking).  So, I now have a follow-up appointment with a thoracic surgeon next Monday.

The more interesting aspect of the visit with the oncologist today was something both Sue and I sensed:  somewhat of a change in tone.  First of all he was downplaying the tumour, and then he said “we’re nowhere near the point of needing more chemo” (or something to that effect).  Before today he always sounded like more chemo was either imminent or not worth it.  Then Sue said something about how we were happy for a bit more time, to which he replied something to the effect of “I still think we can hope for a long, healthy life”.  Well, given our previous experience with this oncologist, those were pretty amazing statements – he’s just always been much more pessimistic.

So, whereas the news is not all good, it certainly isn’t bad, either.

Anyway, now you’re all caught up. :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

OK, God, Back To You

When I started this cancer fight nearly three years ago, I said there were three possible outcomes:  1) God heals me “naturally” (i.e. through the medical process), 2) God heals me miraculously, or 3) God takes me home to be with him.  Well, the likelihood of #1 seems to be decreasing.

As you likely know, I had surgery two weeks ago in which the surgeon removed a piece of my lung and subsequently reported that it was cancerous.  Yesterday we spoke with the oncologist.  I’ll do my best to relate the way he put it, without making it sound too good nor too bad.  Basically he said that the cancer is back, as demonstrated by the piece they removed.  That means that the medical attempts to cure me seem to have failed.  Going forward, the medical attempts would simply be to lengthen my life or improve the quality of it.  If another tumor appears anywhere within a year, that would be particularly bad and there might not be anything worth doing.  If it takes longer than that, then more chemo and/or more cherry-picking might still be an option.

So, the news is not really as good as we’d have liked, but I don’t see it limiting God in any way. :-)

Besides, after the Christmas our family had, I had been thinking of Luke 2:29-30 back in January.  Yesterday I was reminded of that, and perhaps that is His plan for me. :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Perspectives

So, we got the results back from the chunk they cut out of my lung this time, and it turns out that it was cancerous.  It certainly would have been nicer had it not been, but it wasn’t unexpected.  At this point, of course, we don’t know what the implications are – I see the oncologist on Friday.  However, this conversation might provide some insight into the different feelings at our house:

Sue:  “That’s your fourth cancer diagnosis in three years.”

Brad:  “Yeah, but they cut it out so it’s not there any more.  They said they couldn’t see any other cancerous material.”

Sue:  “Sure, but when they finished the surgery on your mother that June, they said they’d gotten it all as well.  We buried her before Christmas.”

Brad:  “Well, that was a different kind of cancer.”

So, as you can see, there aren’t right or wrong thoughts/emotions, but certainly different ones.  Fortunately we both agree that God has it all under control. :-)

Anyway, as I said, I see the oncologist Friday and hopefully we’ll have a little more information about what the future holds after that.  Thanks again for your continued thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, April 09, 2016

What was that? A Mosquito?

I’ve had stubbed toes that bothered me more than that surgery!  I’m assuming all your prayers hurried the process.

OK, maybe I’m getting carried away, but seriously, that was the easiest one yet by far.  From the time I was admitted to the time I left the hospital:  48 hours!  I was up and walking around the ward just a few hours after the surgery.  In the entire 48 hours I was in the hospital, I don’t think my pain ever exceeded 3/10.  I only used the morphine pump on two occasions:  1) when the physio nurse recommended I do so because of some of the things she was about to put me through, and 2) when the nurse recommended I do because she was about to pull an eighteen inch tube out of my chest. In retrospect, I’m not sure I’d have needed to for those either.  I guess I’m just getting to be an old pro at this. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad! :-)

Anyway, I’m home and feeling (relatively) fine.  I still have that groggy post-general anesthetic thing going on, but that’s about it.

So, as I understand it, I should find out in a week or two whether that growth was cancer.  However, it seems life will go on quite normally again for a while.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Life is Good; God is Good

I’m writing this from a place that fills me with anticipation:  a departure gate at the Calgary airport.  Yes, I’m a lucky guy!  I’m on my way to San Francisco.  If you’re like me, you’ll likely get a twinge of jealousy because, despite the fact that the trip is for work and I know I’ll drop into bed exhausted from the conference every day, the conference is not in Calgary or even Alberta.  J
 
We’ve just spent a WONDERFUL Easter weekend with my sister, her family, and two young women from Nigeria.  In addition to lots of movies, it included a trip to Banff/Lake Louise – how can one go wrong?
 
So, you can be jealous of my Easter weekend and my trip to San Francisco, but you’re less likely to be jealous of what happens after that.  I get home from San Francisco on Sunday, get blood work done on Monday, and then into surgery on Wednesday.  It’s an exciting spring!
 
Unfortunately, last night our kitchen sink blocked up and, despite a couple of hours of working on it with Drano, a plunger, and a 25-foot snake, we had no joy.  So, in addition to the stress of school, my being away, and my impending surgery, I had to leave Sue to deal with a plumber sometime this week.  If you’re so inclined, please pray for her.  I may be living the life of my dreams, but much of it causes my dear wife stress.
 
Anyway, I expect my next update will be post-surgery.  Until then, God bless you!
 
Brad.
 
P.S.  I’ve always been jealous of people who get big offers to change flights.  I just had to turn down a $500 offer to change flights because the next one would take some hops and get me there too late for the start of the conference.  Why don’t I get an offer like that when I’ve got more time?!!