Here is what we know so far about my dad. I am going to choose to send out updates on my blog to help people be informed rather than sending out mass e-mails, phone calls, etc. There are just too many people to call, so I appreciate if you all could help us "spread the word" so that everyone knows how to pray.
Yesterday, we went to the specialist at St. Louis University Hospital. They completed a quick biopsy on the base of dad's tongue, and it came back positive for cancer. In the words of the doctor "this is not near as serious as prostate, colon, or lung cancer." However, the treatment options were as follows: we could do nothing, radiation and chemo and see what happens (with this option the radiation would kill his jaw bone and would have to be replaced...pretty bad idea), or surgery with minimal radiation therapy following the surgery. The latter is the option that we have chosen as a family. I say we, because it is up to mom and to dad but the rest of us stand behind their decision all of the way.
Dad is having a PET scan today to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the tongue/mouth area...the doctor doesn't believe so, but he will not consider treatment until he knows for sure. Second, dad must undergo some testing to determine if his body is fit for the 12-14 hour surgery that he is facing. He will loose 50% or more of his tongue. They will be doing tissue replacement from his leg...and perhaps some bone replacement. There is a 1/20 chance that the body will reject the tissue that is being replaced.
They will have to do a tracheotomy, he will have a feeding tube for a while. The doctor told us to prepare for a year, but he doesn't think that it should last over 7-10 days...just depending on his recovery.
Once he has been cleared for surgery, he will be scheduled. (I think that this will happen within 1-2 weeks.) We are hoping for sooner...and mom is convinced that it will happen next week.
Hmmm...well...this is not a road that I dreamed that I would be going down...but I know that my Redeemer lives...and I know that I have a great High Priest whose name is Jesus Christ and He shall supply sufficient grace in our time of need. (Hebrews 4).
I would like to encourage people reading this to consider two resources...first, an article written by John Piper. Oh how I wish that all of my family would read this article and see this cancer for what it is rather than look at this as something simply to defeat. I pray that my family my come to know Christ and be transformed by new life in Him! The article is entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer." It was written by John Piper when he was diagnosed in 2006.
Second, the book by the late Pastor/Teacher Rodney Stortz. Listening to Rodney's sermons over the years has greatly touched my life and has given me great insight in to God's Word. Rodney died of cancer a few years ago, but before he died, he wrote a book entitled "Diary of a Cancer." Both items I suggest for your to benefit your soul and understanding of God's Sovereign will in the lives of His people.
Oh how I pray that someone might look at this article and find not me rambling on, but that someone might think for just a second "why aren't these people absolutely angry and bitter about this?" I pray that others might be stunned at the grace of God and because of this cancer, they might know that apart from Christ they stand is God's judgement. After realizing this they might see and know how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Now, what is up with this title??? Well, I have to tell you...in the midst of all of the news of treatment, prognosis, possibility of death, etc., I saw my dad very serious and asked of the doctor a most interesting question. He looked at the doctor and said, "I have a question that I really need to ask you." I was thinking..."oh boy...here we go, this is where everyone is going to break down because we are going to talk about life support." Instead, Dad looked at the doctor and asked very seriously, "I just purchased two deer tags for the season coming in November, do you think that I ought to sell these?" The doctor looked at him and smiled, "If I were you, I would not sell those deer tags just yet, because I think that you will be ready for hunting by November."
In all things...Christ preeminent!