Life-Giving Cancer…

My apologies to anyone who has already read this post. I am currently in Canada and without internet access (wordpress allows me to future publish posts), plus too exhausted from toxic drugs to produce a post this week. I wrote this article for my high school alumni newsletter in January. It is a creative summary of my journey with cancer. To read the article in PDF format click here. It is on page 3.

I personally think its a bit boring because its about myself, so to read some more entertaining posts, I might suggest ‘…Husband of the Year‘ or ‘How to Join a Nudist Colony…‘. Nevertheless, here is this week’s post:

Life-Giving Cancer

“Looks like we need to go back in and cut it out, does Saturday night work for you?” asked my neurosurgeon as he flung my MRI films on the wall and nonchalantly asked this question. “That’s not possible,” I thought to myself, “I just had my head cut open three and a half months ago! Besides, that’s four days from now and I have a Fourth of July family reunion to attend!”Three years after my first craniotomy, grade IV brain cancer diagnosis, and subsequent radiation/chemotherapy treatments, I was at it again. Round two. Or maybe three… I’d lost track at that point. I still don’t even know how many “reoccurrences” I’ve technically had. Do I count the three brain surgeries, 15+ specialists, or 20+ seizures I’ve encountered over the last three and a half years? Do I factor in the five percent chance I had of making it to 25? Or do I simply count the number of times my wife or I freaked out because of all the bad news just about every MRI report brought in 2010?

Or maybe none of this really matters all that much. Maybe it hasn’t been so much about the process as it has the experience along the way. The experience that started with a few small seizures during college and distracted me from my grandeur goals of wealth and career prosperity. An experience that God had all planned out and even miraculously foretold through a dream given to my grandmother-in-law before I was ever diagnosed!

And finishing up college on chemo and radiation wasn’t the impossibility my doctors predicted it to be. Neither was finding a job with health insurance immediately after school so I wouldn’t have to postpone graduation or my marriage. God had different plans than my parents, wife, and even myself! Which is probably why Logan and I were given the opportunity to spend 2009 living in Maui, Branson, MO, then back home to Park City, UT for my job.

It was a needed break before the craziness that came with 2010. The wild ride that truly taught me to make the best decisions possible, but all from the passenger’s seat… Leave the driving up to someone who can see around the curves ahead, and then you can relax watching the perfectly straight road disappear out the rear view mirror.

It’s crazy to see how life has unfolded so differently than anything I could have imagined during my tender years at GCA. Crazy to see how God taught me to trust in Him during this formative time, and how that served as a refuge for the spiritual apathy that I, like so many of us, fell into as life moved on past high school. A refuge to fall back upon once I woke up to the shortness of life here on earth and the necessity of preparation versus accumulation.

I would never admit this while convulsing violently on the floor, vomiting from nausea, or while connected to a catheter in the ICU, but in my moments of peace I say thanks God. I say, I’m kinda lucky. Kinda fortunate to have had such an opportunity to grow.  Sure, my brain has grown with hundreds of cancer therapies and millions of unwanted cancer cells, but my heart has grown with a boundless love for the One who designed both these life-giving organs. You can’t not be thankful for challenges when the end result is a closer walk with God.

Growing with God in a satellite classroom involves a lot of trust. And learning to trust these last few years has required a hefty amount of open-mindedness that I do not naturally posses. I was re-reminded of my passenger seat position multiple times last year as I found myself forced into decisions that were never a part of my plan. You see, my plan was very similar to most people’s plans: fastest, easiest, cheapest, most-direct. No false-positive P.E.T scans, catastrophic MRIs, multiple surgeries, or thousands of dollars/hours spent on insurance, flights, and treatments.

Becoming open-minded for me has meant giving God a chance to do better than five percent, even if it involves doing stuff you’d normally scoff at. It’s meant making split-second decisions about having my head cut open or ingesting cytotoxic drugs. It’s also meant recognizing the flaws and limitations of the Western medical system I’d grown up around and becoming one of those “crazy natural people.” You-know the ones who believe in fruit/vegetable juicing, herbal cleanses, or electromagnetic biofeedback.

It seems to have paid off, especially the last few months, for a very important reason. My last MRI of 2010 showed a significant reduction in tumor size! God’s medical system seems to have finally tipped the scales in the battle I’m fighting against myself!

If you were to ask me about my experience with cancer these last few years, I would probably say it’s been absolutely terrifying, tremendously painful, and beyond grueling. However, if you were to ask me about my experience with God because of cancer these last few years, I would say it’s been exceedingly satisfying, incredibly intimate, and worth every one of those surgeries, specialists, and seizures.  And while I plan on avoiding a round four or five, I’m pretty sure my plan isn’t the driving force that will get me around the curves ahead.

*Continuing last week’s start, visit the life resource’s page to read Ellen G. White’s next segment on her JESUS INVITES US TO PRAY segment: …Whatever your anxieties and trials, spread out your case before the Lord”.

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One Response to “Life-Giving Cancer…”

  1. WOW!!! GREAT post again!!! i sit here reading this and i find myself saying….yes….exactly….perfect wording! our lives are God’s stories, not ours. To realize that is probably one of the biggest hurdles we face as Christians! I have epilepsy, nothing NEAR cancer. NOTHING! But I am reminded of it’s name often. I find myself stuck in these moments of why’s or feelings of wanting a different outcome or maybe I’ll go back to the Dr and things will be different or trying to find ways of not taking medication. My life is His story, I need to give in to Him and let Him work in my life in ways I NEVER EVER imagined!! Thank you again for taking time to write your feelings and putting into words what so many of think but are unable to articulate! AND for being such a positive servant of God!! Have a GREAT WEEK! I continue to pray for you and your wife and extended family!

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