March 19, 2004
Hi everyone. Hope your week has gone well. This one will be short, I promise! Well, maybe not.
Chad had another follow-up with Dr. Salo on Wednesday. He is healing beautifully from the surgery and will be able to work next week. He's excited about that...all the while thankful that this time off has coincided with the conference tournaments. It's that time of year. ;)
A treatment schedule was agreed upon on Wednesday. We had been looking at 3 programs. The one here at CMC, an experimental program at Duke, and a program at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. Both the Duke and NIH programs include a vaccine. We have just been praying for guidance on which way to go. The Duke program ended last week, and Chad didn't have a specific marker in his blood they were looking for at NIH. So, CMC and Dr. Salo is it. Dr. Salo did speak at length with the oncologist at NIH and they agreed upon a program together. Plus, Dr. Salo is a strong Christian. Game, set, match.
Chad is still going to have radiation, but they decided to start that after the high-dose interferon (immunotherapy). Radiation, theoretically, helps keep the cancer from spreading. Interferon is designed to treat the cancer itself. Neither of these are effective on everyone, but nothing is. So, he'll begin the high dose interferon on Monday, the 29th. That will continue 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Radiation will follow, along with the low-dose interferon 3 times a week for 11 months. He will administer the low-dose interferon himself by needle. This is going to be a big waiting game (and patience has never been my thing). Pet scans will be done periodically to determine the cancer's growth. It will be a hard spring for him...the side effects of these treatments can be very tough.
So, again, I come to plead for your prayers. Not just periodic, but vigilant. I know some of you don't even know Chad...but you know and care for me. Some of you may not even believe in prayer, but I do. I promise, it doesn't hurt...but it can and will help. As I've told you before, God has graced me with a strange peace about this. I don't understand it, but I am thankful for it. Pray that this will continue for all of us. Pray for strength for our family. Pray for God's work to be done here. Pray for healing, and that these treatments he is about to begin will prove effective. Pray for all of these things specifically, and as often as you possibly can. I keep reminding myself that the greatest blessings come from the greatest strife.
Thanks again, I'll keep you informed. All my love...
I have had the hardest time sitting down to write this post. I have to get very still and quiet to get it done, and that has been a challenge. I intended to get it done all last week, but after Sunday's message at church I realized to a degree why I had been delayed.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades
Making the huge decision on where Chad would be receiving treatment was a difficult one for my folks. I suppose, at the heart of that concern, was a fear they would choose the "wrong one." Chad left the decision entirely up to my dad, and as you can see below, the options he had whittled the list down to easily excluded all but one. I found comfort in that at the time, but since have wondered, perhaps if we had done something differently, may he have lived?
Last week I went to a funeral of a man that I had never met. That happens occasionally when you work inside a church. I had helped the widow and his family, and done everything I could to make sure the day was exactly what they envisioned. In the process, I grown an affinity for the widow in particular. The gentlemen was an oncologist, and had himself died of cancer. He owned his own private practice here in Charlotte and, one particular time, the large healthcare system in town that he competed with was belittled. No big deal...just healthy competition really...but, that system he happened to belittle was the very system that treated my brother through his cancer. I wasn't at all mad...that's not what I want to get at. My point is this: for a brief moment I thought, "I wonder if Chad would be here today if this practice had seen to his care?"
There's the "What If" game, rearing it's ugly head again.
It took only a moment for me to gain perspective. You see, if it was God's will for Chad to go home...he was going home. It didn't matter where we took him, what doctors treated him, the medicines we gave him...it didn't matter. Now, I believe it was our responsibility to do all we could do save him, but at the end of my days, I don't believe I will face my Lord and hear Him say, "Too bad you all picked the wrong treatment program for Chad. He could have lived a long life if you had."
My pastor preached a mighty sermon this past Sunday on the verses in Revelation listed above, with particular emphasis on verse 18...He holds the keys to death...
Meditate upon that for a moment.
If He holds the keys to death, and He most certainly does if His inerrant words say He does, then I simply do not die until He says so. Does you understand the magnitude of this? Do you understand the freedom this gives me? Do you understand the comfort this brings me? It's not my call. It's not my decision. It's not anybody else's decision. You can seek to destroy me if you like, but I don't die until He says I die. Satan himself can seek to destroy me...but I don't go until my Lord gives the go ahead. I'm a daughter of The King.
I don't have to obsess over treatment options. We don't have to endure paralyzing fear over our safety. We don't have to worry ourselves sick over our cholesterol that, despite our best efforts, we just can't get down to a healthy level. We don't have to send our children out to play and live in the world with sick stomachs. I could go on! We don't have to worry that we could blow it, and cost ourselves or someone else their very lives. Does He call us to be responsible? Yes! Does he call us to live in fear and bondage over things we simply can't control? No! All of it...it's His call. He's got us.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. -John 3: 36
He holds the keys to death and Hades...
When I proclaimed Jesus as God's son and Risen Savior over my life, God's wrath and the keys of Hades, of Hell, were locked forever for me. When Chad walked the aisle of a tiny church in Livingston, TN, at the tender age of 8, to proclaim an acceptance of Jesus Christ, He did the very same. And no one...no one...can coerce my God to unlock those doors.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. -John 14:1-3
I'm safe with him. Chad is safe with him. You...you are safe with him as long as He is your Jesus.
He's my Jesus. I rest in that.
So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" -Hebrews 13:6