The outpouring of love that we've received over the last half week has been tremendous. So many people are curious as to how I'm doing, my next step in recovery, and what you can do to help. Our community at State Street is large enough that I can't call everyone to give them updates, so I am going to attempt to use this blog to keep everyone involved. It will also serve as a journal that I will be able to look at during and after my treatment is over.
I have decided to make a frequently asked questions [F.A.Q.] blog at some questions that I've received lately. I will not be able to respond to every message on Facebook or email that I receive. But, I will try to keep everyone informed on here.
When did you start feeling poorly?
This is a bit tough question as I can't pinpoint an exact time. At the beginning of 2013, I started to get more fatigued and winded doing more regular tasks. I work 55-60 hours most weeks and thought it was just a sign of not taking much time off. I pushed on and medicated my fatigue with more caffeine. If you attend State Street, you know that it's common for me to be carrying around a cup of coffee or a can of energy drink. It got me through.
During our week at the LaPorte County Fair, I started feeling a bit under the weather; headache, coughing, etc. It progressively got worse and my wife encouraged me to go to the doctor to have a professional look at it. A week later, I finally went. The doctor found that I had pneumonia. The radiologist, however, saw something different. They found a tumor. We went from there to where we are today.
What exactly is wrong with you?
We cannot say for sure as the doctors would still like to confirm my illness by running other tests. Currently they feel comfortable saying that I have cancer and an auto-immune disorder. At the top of those lists, they believe the cancer is lymphoma. The auto-immune disorder is likely Grave's Disease. We will know for certain this week. However, the doctor's feel almost certain right now with their diagnosis.
What will treatment look like assuming it is lymphoma?
Because of the large tumor that I have and the location of the tumor, it will need to be killed with chemotherapy. We aren't sure when it will begin, but we'd like to start as soon as possible. Through the research that we've done, it looks like similar people with lymphoma have chemotherapy anywhere from 6-8 months.
What doctor will you see for the Graves' Disease?
Is Graves' Disease the worst name for a disease?
Probably. Unless they call my cancer "You're-Probably-Going-To-Die Sarcoma". That would likely be worse. Graves' Disease is named after someone. It's not going to put me in the grave.
Are you afraid?
Today? No. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I am only concerned with today, though.
How do you feel?
Not especially well. The auto-immune issue leaves me very tired and with a persistent cough. The cancer also leaves me tired. The doctors are trying to get my heart-rate to a more manageable level as it has been beating at too high of a pace. They prescribed my five different medicines when I left the hospital and one of my heart medicines effects my short-term memory. I think Ema told me that my short-term memory is really bad last night, but I don't remember. (kidding)
Will you still work?
Because of the nature of my job and the amount of people that I'm around, it will be difficult to work much while I am on chemotherapy. My immune system will be depleted and I will need to be careful at not catching a cold, flu, or infection which will be difficult with three children five years and younger. However, I am going to try to work as much as possible. I would like to preach as much as possible. We will look into different avenues to help me preach (recording the message early, being there in person, preaching the first message and not the second, etc.) Much of this will be determined by how I take to the chemotherapy.
How can you help?
Continue to pray for us. Don't abandon your convictions just because I have a bit of cancer. Trust that I will be fine. I will trust the same. The leaders at State Street will let you know if there is anything we need along the way, but we really just need prayers currently. They help sustain us.
If you have any other questions, I will try to answer them. This will serve as the place where I do the most updates during this season of my life. Thank you to all that are coming along for this journey. I'm glad you'll be with me.