A Cancer Update and a Hallelujah
There was a window spanning December to March— from our daughter’s infantile spasms diagnosis to my testicular cancer diagnosis — where the whole “when it rains it floods and holy crap you really could use an ark right now, bro!” thing felt like it should be tattooed on my face. Because of this I have instinctively strayed as far away as possible from sharing good news for fear of spiking the football at the half-yard line. But good news is worth celebrating and that is (mostly) what this update is below . . .
First things first: our daughter is in excellent health! No seizure activity since she was put on a steroid regimen for treatment late last year. She is running, babbling, developing at a totally normal pace. Her neurologist thinks it was a random occurrence, that there are no other conditions that might’ve caused it and that the seizures subsided entirely without inflicting long-term damage on her brain. Hallelujah!
She says “no no no!” with her momma’s sass (finger wag included). She says “dad-da” and “mom-ma” like a pro and, for a baby born in a pandemic, she isn’t completely terrified of strangers. Big wins! I’m not trying to celebrate prematurely but … she might’ve gotten her good looks and outgoing personality from her mother. Holy smokes is she lucky. (She got her lack of patience from an unnamed parent who I will not call out here (but is not me); I think we can work on it, though.)
She is at an increased risk of developing seizure disorders later in life but we are thankful for normal development and know that she is one of the few who experience what she went through and is able to potentially lead a normal life. Again: Hallelujah!
An update on me — I finished chemotherapy in April. So I am almost four months (!) removed from treatment. Had really good lab work earlier in June where my tumor markers were in a normal range, suggesting that the chemo or the surgery (or both) did their job. Scans of my ab, pelvis and chest areas are set again in late September, the first since surgery.
The doctor said there were no concerning lymph nodes detected at my last appointment. However, we have detected a new mass on my arm since that visit. Could be scar tissue, a swollen vein, protein buildup or … something else. (Something else is the only thing I have in mind because this is where your mind goes after a surprise cancer diagnosis.) I have a CT scan later this week where we will hopefully learn more.
We’re praying for healing there and that my anxiety about it goes away. That the good bloodwork came a few days before this mass showed up could mean it is a big, tasty nothing-burger.
My friend Jonathan Tjarks, who is in his own cancer battle, has bracelets with the bible verse Matthew 6:25-34 on it that serves as a daily reminder for me to chill the heck out and quit worrying about this (and other things generally), which I continuously fail at . . . but I will share that because it is indeed relevant to me and worth sharing. (Tjarks also wrote about his journey here and his courage throughout the last few months have been an inspiration to me.)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
That’s it for now. We’re thankful for great friends and family who have shown us love throughout the last year. We’re thankful for relatively good health and supportive employers. And we remain hopeful — optimistic, even! — that we can ditch the ark for a more modern ride here soon.