I want to thank you all for your prayers, good wishes, and loving service to my family and me. Kim and I have good news to report. I had a CT scan on Monday, and the treatment I’ve been receiving has been working. At this point, the only cancer that is visible on the CT scans (resolution > 5mm) is the primary tumor down in the lower plumbing (so to speak). And even that tumor shrunk a little. We seem to have gotten an early Christmas present.
OK, so this is great news. But I report it with a heavy heart, having heard about a couple of tragedies recently, which has made me less inclined to bring up the promising results from the clinical trial in which I’m participating in Nashville, TN.
I’m not a liberty to speak about these tragedies, but suffice to say they involve deaths to young people. And for some reason, its happening before Christmas seems to make it even sadder, though it doesn’t change the impact of the tragedy at all. We all know it will make Christmas difficult for these families for years to come.
When I first heard the news about the most recent tragedy (a deadly car accident), I couldn’t help feeling some numbness. Pity yes, but without a hopeful way to explain tragic events, it feels like our lives are often marked by the repeated acceptance of bad news and then a heads-down pressing-on. Like a migrating herd.
But this is no way to live. Numbness is godlessness, godlessness is hopelessness and hopelessness is deathly. We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15), not live numbed.
When I received the good news on Monday, I was hesitant to call it great news because that would be cause for celebration, and how can we celebrate while our friends and family are hurting? How can I celebrate when I know there is another test in the future, another result, which, if of the bad variety, might spoil the memories of the celebration?
I can’t lie and tell you that Christmas would have been just as merry had I heard that the drugs weren’t working. Had cancer continued to grow or even spread, I’d be dealing with anxiety and fear; the great news we received will “make our hearts light” as we spend time with family and friends. But this reveals the spiritual battle, doesn’t it? Is my happiness, hope and thankfulness dependent upon bi-weekly or bi-monthly test results?
Alas, my focus must remain on being thankful for the life that I have today. It probably isn’t what I would have chosen, but I can promise you that feeling it in constant threat makes it all the more rich because I’m constantly having to remind myself what I find most important and making this my home. I can’t help but think that this is more than my own personal condition, because tragedies remind us all that time is short and life is precious.
I may have become wary of celebrating news regarding my disease, but I appreciate the excited responses that I’ve received from friends and family this week regarding the scans. Even with a heavy heart for those that are hurting and the fear of the possibility that I might have to let you all down with bad news in the future, I again choose to let go of these things that I cannot control in order to celebrate time with friends and family, to cherish being loved and loving others.
And, yes, celebrating the Great News of an event that took place two thousand years ago that no bad news yet has convinced the world isn’t true.