What I Am Learning From My Cancer

Today I got the results my 4th CT scan . When I started down this road almost 3 years ago. November 17th 2006, I found out I had a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in my colon. Well it didn’t stay contained in the colon. It had attached itself to the abdominal wall, small intestine, another section of the large intestine and the bladder. December 4th, 2006 I had surgery to attempt to remove this beast. The surgeon was successful in removing the tumor along with a bladder resection and colon and small intestine resections. On December 7th, 2006 the pathology report showed that there was no cancer to be found in my system. Nothing in the margins, and 22 out of 22 lymph nodes completely clean. Since then, I had six months of intensive chemo. My oncologist termed that preventative. I have been since visiting my oncologist every three months. I was scheduled to do that for 5 years. I have been informed if my results come back like all previous results that I can be declared “cancer free” by the oncologist. That would be two years earlier than the best case scenario I was given in January 2007.

The results today showed a spot on my liver that has never been there before. They are not sure what it is. It could very well be nothing, or just a cyst. It could be a metastasis. So right now the course of action is to wait for a few months and retake a CT Scan. We will find that A) the spot is gone, B) the spot has not grown, or C) the spot is growing. If the spot is there, or if it’s growing, surgery is in play. Then we may have to look at treatment options again.

While yes, they found a spot ALL other labs, blood work and markers are “exceptional”. So what are we to make of this. Well, this journey has never been about me. This is not “Why me, why now.” Honestly why not me. It has always been about God and His glory.

Here are some lessons I am learning from having cancer. (The catalyst for this was something that John Piper wrote. I would encourage you to read it.)

  • I am learning that cancer is the best thing that has happened to me.
  • I am learning — and continue to learn — to rely on God for everything. Only God can continue to get me through this. We can only LIVESTRONG™ if we’re GODSTRONG™
  • I have begun the process of getting my affairs in order. No matter how long I live, it makes sense to know that my affairs are in — and remain — in order.
  • I am learning that dying is not a loss and that staying alive is not the ultimate goal.
  • I am learning that having cancer is a great way to develop deeper relationships with other people.
  • I am learning that this is a process and not a destination. Cancer will always be a part of me.
  • I am learning that sin is worse than cancer. Some of the things I have excused away as “just who I am” are sin.
  • I am an unkind jerk to many people including my wife and my boys. That needs to change. I am quite arrogant.
  • Having cancer has greatly humbled me, but I seek more humility.
  • I am learning that I don’t need to sweat the “small stuff”.
  • I am learning that it is better to influence others rather than simply inspiring them.
  • I am learning that I can be just like the Israelites of the Old Testament. I was given a miracle 3 years ago and the further away I get from that, I find I can forget the miracle.
  • I am learning that every day I wake and my feet touch the floor, it is a great day!
  • I am learning that God has a purpose for me, my wife and my boys with this journey that He’s placed us on. May we be faithful.
  • I have been given a platform to share what I believe and I am learning to use that.

“What’s the next step?”