We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and was able to recognize that even in dire circumstances there are things to be thankful for. Cancer is no exception as it has taught us lessons that have changed us in ways we never could have imagined. One of things we are most thankful for this year is our medical team. We are so blessed to have amazing medical care available to us right down the street and with a top hospital less than a mile away. We are in a perfect location to go through these years of cancer treatment without the hardship of having to travel to receive care.
We are also thankful that this part of our path may be coming to an end. A year ago we were living with the diagnosis of incurable stage four metastatic colon cancer with four tumors in Steve's lung. We were told that the only treatment option was to do hard chemo off and on for the rest of his life. Then, once the chemo stopped working...or his body got too worn out...they would try to make him comfortable until the inevitable. Not the best way to live...or die, for that matter. Fear was a big part of our life.
We then started seeing a new oncology Team headed up by Dr. Ghosh and Mindy. The first thing Dr. Ghosh impressed upon us was that fear is the enemy...not cancer. He even has a framed picture on his wall with a paraphrased version of Mathew 6:27, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Attitude is everything and focusing on the fear of what is to come was destroying us...especially me (Steve always has a peace about him that is both enviable and a bit annoying to those prone to panic...smile). So we began to change our perspective. Oncology visits stopped being things to fear with sleepless nights and uncontrolled anxiety. We started seeing treatment as a healing process...not just keeping danger at bay.
Then we were told that surgery (which we had been told would never be an option) was possible. Amazing! A few weeks ago, Steve had the radioablation done and instead of four tumors in his lung, he now has only one. Come December 12...that number will change to zero. Zero tumors. Zero. Can you believe it? Now, there is always the chance that there is more cancer in his body. Not to scare anyone, but we all have cells that could start to grow out of control...that is what cancer is...disorganized, fast growing cells. Up until now, only four tumors have been growing and it is believed that removing the last of them may remove...well, remove the cancer. No cancer means no chemo...at least not the hard core stuff. There may be more just to make sure nothing else grows, but the chemo he would do has only one side effect...the rash on his face and chest. Steve says that he'd happily live with that if it meant no cancer and being able to go back to work.
So there you have it. Within a year, we went from a discouraging and even devastating prognosis to one of hope, healing and health. Yes, the treatment changed, the options changed, but most of all our attitude changed. Fear damages our physical bodies...more than we realize. I truly believe that moving from fear to hope made a huge difference in Steve's health and my own.
I guess I have switched from a post about thankfulness to a post about hope, but they are connected...connected by faith. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) When we have faith that the things we hope for are certain, then we can be thankful for the gifts even before we receive them. I'm thankful for the path we've been on, thankful of what we have learned, thankful that walking through this has changed the way we see the world and people and thankful that it will come to an end. Steve may not receive complete healing on this earth, but there's an eternity out there that promises unending joy and peace. The good news is, it doesn't have to start when we die...we get to start it the moment we believe. Ask Jesus about it...he'll give you the details. (smile)