Friday, June 6, 2008

Outlandishly gracious

Today, I saw my oncologist, Dr. Gilbert, and her nurse, Beverly, before going to my chemotherapy session. Dr. Gilbert was disappointed that my pain level had not decreased and the tumor had not shrunk at all after last week's infusion. Most patients who are chemotherapy naive see a quick response where both pain levels and tumor size are concerned. It is disheartening that my body did not respond as most do; however, it is still possible that I will begin to respond to my current regimen. Another treatment, therefore, was given as scheduled today.

I will see Dr. Gilbert again next Friday before my third scheduled chemo infusion. If, on exam, the tumor seems to have begun responding, we will continue the same regimen of chemo for a total of 9 weeks and then proceed to radiation and lower doses of concurrent chemo. If the tumor does not appear smaller next week, my chemo regimen will be changed to a much more potent cocktail. Of course, a more potent cocktail means a better chance of killing cancer cells, but also means more attack on healthy cells and increased side effects. Hair loss, which doesn't bother me, is one. The other is intense nausea and vomiting. For this reason, Dr. Gilbert would hospitalize me for about 4 days for the first round of the new cocktail so that she can administer drugs intravenously to help prevent the nausea and vomiting.

If we have to go with the new cocktail, I will also begin preparation for radiation therapy as soon as possible. A special mask has to be created, which I will wear during the treatments to help target the beams appropriately. Of course, the goal is to kill all the bad tissue and protect as much of the good tissue as possible. Radiation will be very rough since it involves the side of my tongue primarily. It is thought to be more tolerable when it only involves the back of the tongue or the very tip.

I want all of you to know that I remain positive and continue to place my trust in our outlandishly gracious and loving Father. He did, however, give me a very black and white, analytical mind. Because of that, I want to be straight with you. I can't expect you to pray as fervently as I would like if I fail to level with you. I know I posted recently that I have heard cure rates ranging from 40-80%, but realistically, my cure rate where earthly medical knowledge is concerned is probably more like 40%. I say that not to scare you or be dramatic, but to help you grasp the gravity of my illness, and in doing so, spark passionate prayers. See, I know the Father can heal me if He so chooses, but I do believe that He wants us to cry out to Him. I must confess, there are days when getting through hygiene details and meals and some communication on this blog take all my energy. So, while I am still praying and will be, I need you to pray in my stead. I know you have been, and my gratitude just continues to grow.

I really believe that God will hear us, and I will begin to respond to this current regimen. In fact, I am feeling better or as good tonight as I have at any point during this week. I believe God has already started making a difference through today's treatment, because of your bold requests on my behalf.

My brother reminded me today that God doesn't care about cure rate percentages. A dear friend reminded me that "really ugly cancer + infinite, relentlessly loving God = big miracle." They're both correct, of course.

There are many fun and positive things to share today, as well, but even though I feel better, my mind is tired and needs rest. I'll write about the good stuff tomorrow, God willing.

I love you all, but more importantly, Jesus Christ, the Creator and Savior of the world loves you. How 'bout that?

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." -Ephesians 3:17-19

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am praying, Daniel. As you were writing about the bare necessities of the day taking your energy, I am reminded that in every time of intense hurt (grief with death and family issues--especially my dad's sickness and death), God is so gracious to call his body to pray. It is like he knows we are beyond limping...you can almost feel him carrying you as others lift you up in prayer. When we have little energy and few words ourselves, He shows his extravagent faithfulness all the more. He is our Shepherd. I will have limited viewing of the computer next week as I will be out of town, but I will be praying daily for you, my friend.
Jen Pinkner

Mom2rayray&colten said...

It is good to know that you feel the least bit better... I tell you, I don't like you hurting and you are like part of me and when you hurt I hurt...
Your brother is right, percentages are nothing to the Power of the Big Man upstairs...
I'm sending another prayer up right now...
I love you.

XieXie said...

Shanle and I are praying, but we are gonna start praying harder. You know me--I want to fix it. What do you think about home remedies? Trust me on this; my mother-in-law has several good ones. She even has some drops that cure cancer. I have some in my cabinet right now. I can be there with them in like an hour. Ok, assuming you're probably not game for the home remedies, we'll just keep praying. Let me know if there is anything else we can do. If you suddenly get a craving for Knoxville food, I can puree it and bring it straight away. shay

Randy Smith said...

Daniel,
My family prays for you daily. Last night Connor prayed that you would be able to "talk again". We can't wait for you to take him for another tennis lesson! It goes without saying, but I think about you all the time and pray against the pain throughout the day.
Randy

TammyMom2Boyz said...

Daniel,
You continue to amaze me with your positive attitude and your constant strength for those around you! You are right. You have THE GREAT PHYSICIAN in your corner and statitistics do not have a place with HIM. I am thankful that you have the energy to post after your treatment and that you do feel some better. Keep watching those westerns! I found that I LOVE LUCY helped me thru many, many long days and nights!! TV Land is a great source for that!! You remain in each of our hearts and prayers.... Love from all of us... Tammy and boyz... (big and small)

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

So glad to hear you are feeling at least some better. Hope today finds you feeling even a litte more better. I have shared your illness with my family and we are all praying for you. You are constantly on my mind. Your positive attitude through all of this reminds me of Job. I sense that you are getting a little down with the fact that the cancer did not respond as well as we had all hoped. Don't loose your strength now, stay strong. Doug is right, percentage rates here on Earth mean nothing....God's will does. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Love ya, Shelia

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I am praying for you and hope that today is a better day filled with rest, no pain, nourishment, time with your loved ones...Your blog is so impressive, and your efforts have definetly sparked passionate prayers! Cure rates and man-made percentages do not matter when so many are praying for you!

Reanna Gillen

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I am praying for you! And I must say your faith is so very inspiring. Know that I'm praying for a good recovery and that we'll be able to take one of our "pictures" sooner rather than later :-)
Much love,
Cindy

Anonymous said...

Daniel-
You have my prayers and my love. Let us all pray without ceasing.

Love you Daniel,
Kerry

Ashlie said...

My husband and I have been praying for you often, Daniel. But, this post has made me even more determined to continually lift you up. Thank you for sharing the hard truth with us. The statistics are scary, but Jesus can make them null and void. You know our Lord likes a challenge, right? I'm praying right now...