Our visit to The James – Second Opinion Update…

Well, we had our second opinion visit at the James Cancer Hospital today. It was interesting coming out of the appointment and talking with Sandi about it. She was on could nine and I was basically in tears. Perspective is everything and I will explain. I will split this post into two parts.

Part I: The Good Stuff

1. I maintained my weight the last to weeks. MAJOR accomplishment for me. I am hovering around 156 pounds and holding steady.

2. The doctor told us that the chemo regimen that I am on is the chemo regimen I should be on. It was great to hear a second opinion from a doctor who is a/the top doctor at the James that is treating this type of cancer. He travels the globe speaking on gastro-intestinal cancer and has done much research on it. It is nice to know that I have been on the right track.

3. The doctor really discussed surgery. Sandi and I are all for it, although I am scared to death to have a major surgery like this. He wants us to meet with a top surgeon as soon as Tuesday, if I can get in. The surgeon he wants me to see is a surgeon that only deals with stage 4 cancer patients and has also pioneered a new in-surgery procedure called a chemo wash. We will learn much more about all of this when we meet with the surgeon. The basic of the chemo wash is that during surgery, the surgeon will wash my internal organs with chemo drugs. I’ll try to explain more in another post as soon as I learn more about this. This surgeon is the only one doing this procedure in the state of Ohio and surrounding states. Looks like the surgery may take place in the next four to six weeks.
It is great to see God open doors. Not only did I get to see the top colo-rectal doctor at the James, but I get to see the top surgeon as well. I also get to see these physicians in a very short time frame and didn’t have to wait three or four months.

Part II: The not so good stuff (aka, Stef’s human perspective)

WARNING: I am getting VERY real here. I am going to be open, honest and frank, just so you know.

OK, we asked the hard questions again, but I hate to hear the answers. My prognosis has not changed much. He is giving me a 50/50 chance to make it to two years. With the surgery and some aggressive chemo, maybe I get five to six years. I have to stop asking the questions, because I am tired of hearing the answer that I get to die. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good visit and we got some good news, great options and all that, but when you are living this and the doctors keep telling you that they will do everything to give me a few more years is just impossible to hear. I DON’T WANT TO DIE and that is basically what every physician is telling me. AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I mean, come on, what did I do to deserve this!! This is just too crazy for me to continue to try and wrap my head around. Told you I was going to be real.

After crying for a little while, I got my act back together enough to post tonight. Maybe I just slipped into a state of denial. Maybe the chemo one week, off chemo the next, routine was just that, a routine. Am I not taking this serious? Am I really in complete denial? We have not had the hard conversations with physicians for some time, so maybe this jarred me back to reality. Either way, it is hard to hear someone tell you that you only have years to live.

SUMMARY:

So, overall, it was a good visit. We did get some good news and I do like the aggressive nature of these doctors. I know I was a little real in this post, but don’t get me wrong, my faith in God is strong. I am human and this stuff really messes with your head. Prayer, scripture, and God’s grace are the only things that will get me through this. God is in control and I need to follow his lead.

So, pray for our meeting with the surgeon. Begin to pray that the surgery will be successful. Pray for my mental strength (I’m not losing my mind, but just hard to hear the hard answers). Thanks for reading and listening!!

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13 Responses

  1. Wow. What a lot for you to mentally process in such a short amount of time! It looks like you’re not facing a lot of decisions, more like a lot of opportunities, which helps.
    Bet you’d like to head back to Disney about now. 🙂 Would you settle for Homecoming? It’s October 5 – could end up being just before surgery. Just the thing to keep you mind off it. 🙂
    Praying for your whole family, for God’s strength, and His best for you all.

  2. Stef, I am praying for you and Sandi every day and will continue to do so. There are so many needs right now, this evening I have been thinking I could spend all day every day in prayer.

    We just returned from the hospital after a visit with a good friend who had to have surgery for colon cancer. Two weeks ago he was hiking fro miles and playing golf in the Rockies, Now he has cancer; third friend in the last year.

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to hear that you only have a few years; but I am praying for your complete healing. God is bigger than cancer,bigger than drs prognosis. And yet sometimes He says it is time to go home,, for reasons beyond our understanding.
    His ways are not our ways and “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His beloved”.
    Should He miraculously heal you, or call you home; either way you are His beloved son. He is faithful and will be with you through it all.
    Cry, scream, pray…
    His shoulders are big enough to handle whatever you feel at the time.
    We’re human; it’s ok to grieve and wonder why.
    And I’ll be praying that through it all the sweet presence and peace of the Lord Jesus envelops and comforts your soul.

    His abundant grace to you,

    Susan

  3. Brother I appreciate your honesty. I read this post late, late last night as I couldn’t sleep. When I finally did put my head on the pillow, I couldn’t help but think that medicine and technology are always advancing. We don’t know what tomorrows advances and medicine will bring. While they may give you a time frame, we serve a God that is on His throne. We are his beloved and he knows all of the time frames. He knows all of the advances in medicines, the cures and the future. I don’t know what all of that means, but I know that it was as clear as if it was spoken audibly to me last night.

    We continue to pray for you and your family each day. We love you guys. Please keep us updated.

  4. I admire your candor, Stef. Just because you have a strong faith does not mean you do not experience your humanity. I’d be crying, screaming, angry and questioning God’s plan myself. Who wouldn’t? You’ve got a lot of folks praying for you and it’s obvious you have a lot of people who love you and care for you and your family.

    Praying for you, Stef.

    David.

  5. Step I want you to know what an encouragment you are, your faith and trust in God is causing my faith to increase. I lift you up in prayer often and no matter what God will take you through this situation. Thanks for sharing this on your blog and know that you literally have ministry with your blog. Blessings my brother!!! Todd

  6. my friend..i read this myslef and couldn’t help but feel like crying also. I don’t know what to say other then…

    It’s ok to be scared and have doubts…

    you have a ton of people who can carry the weight of the faith…we are praying buddy

  7. Stef,
    If you are unfamilair with John Piper, I want to recommend his resources to you. Outside of the Bible and prevailing prayer, I can think of no greater resource to recommend to you.
    Piper just finished preaching at Wheaton College this series of sermons on suffering. I thought of you and prayed for you as I listened to them.
    Perhaps these and other things that he is saying will help you. His ministry has been very meaningful to me.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/805_wheaton_messages_on_suffering/

  8. All I can say is that the God we serve lives and trumps any doctor’s opinion specialist or not. A complete recovery is never off the table. We’ve all heard stories about people being given minimal time to live who lives years and years and years beyond that. That’s what I’ll keep praying for Stef.

  9. Oh Stef, I hate this Cancer thing. In a way I know where you are coming from because I have been through it so many times with family members. I’m crying for you and I ‘m crying and remembering them. I am also praying for you and them. Technology has advanced and this just could be the thing to heal you. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Hi Stef,

    Wow that’s a powerul post. We are all continuing to pray for your strength and for your family. Psalm 34: 17- 19:

    17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.

    18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

    19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
    but the LORD delivers him from them all;

  11. Stef, I have been praying for you and your family everyday, and I will continue to do so until you are completely cured. I do believe in miracles we see them everyday.

    I have faith that God will give the Physicians and Researchers the capability to find the cure for your disease and create the technology and medicines needed to cure your disease for you to beat this cancer and you will be completely well again. So never give up, always go that next step to find a better solution to beat your disease if you are not satisfied, just like you did with your second opinion. You are such a special person that so many people love and admire. If you or Sandy need anything at all please let me know.

    Praying for you always,
    Paula

  12. Praying for you bro! Thanks for keeping it real. God asks us to lean on others, so please do. See you soon.

  13. Stef, please know you and Sandi are in my thoughts and prayers everyday…

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