I have lived through many health scares and God has brought me through all of them unscathed. My mother and my brother’s little 5-year-old boy both died from brain tumors. I began having intense headaches and two of my fingers went numb and I sought medical attention for it. After numerous tests including a CAT scan and MRI, I was diagnosed with having a malignant brain tumor and cancer much like my mother’s that was deemed to be inoperable. I asked how long I had to live, and the neurologist matter-of-factly said that he had a case like mine and the lady was dead in three days.
This ordeal went on for about three months during which I took numerous other tests including a spinal tap and more MRI’s. I was about 35 years old and was devastated. Who would take care of my young family? I had finally got my life straightened out and was enjoying my family and career – Why now? They say there are four stages that one goes through when facing a terminal diagnosis, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
I went through most of them though some were short lived such as denial. When I accepted the reality of my terminal diagnosis and left the denial stage, I began to ask, “Why me?” and at times became angry (many times at God). I did not try to bargain with God, I figured what’s the use. I spent the longest time in a state of depression. I wouldn’t get out of bed, though I felt fine most days, and all I wanted to do was sleep and feel sorry for myself. One day I wandered into my kid’s bedroom and saw their baseball gloves and bats and other things, and I just decided to enjoy every minute I had left. I accepted it. I got dressed and went to work and tried to live as normal a life as I could including going to church on Sundays. I spent time trying to setup my successful company for the “transition” to others and I made my funeral arrangements. I drew as close to God as I could.
Eventually I was transferred to the cancer clinic at Emory University. Soon thereafter their head radiologist called me. He asked if I was sitting down. I told him I was, and he said I have some news for you. I thought, What now? Then he exclaimed, “You don’t have cancer! The mass in your brain is brain fluid that has collected at the base of your brain. It is a rare condition with less than 5% of the world having it and the great news is that it is harmless”. After asking if he was sure and receiving a resounding yes! As one might imagine I was thrilled. It turns out my headaches and finger numbness were being caused by stress and muscles contracting in my neck and with medication and some rehab it soon disappeared.
Twenty years later I was diagnosed with stage-four liver failure due to Hepatitis C. The only treatment at the time was a deadly chemo called Interferon. I refused treatment. I was determined to live out my life with as much quality as I could without that poison destroying my body and being sick all the time. I changed my diet to inflict minimal additional damage to my liver and went ten years with it getting a little worse each year and then a miracle drug called Harvoni was developed and hit the market. I took one pill a day for three months and was completely cured. As you might imagine I was elated.
Many of you are familiar with my wife developing pulmonary embolisms in every quadrant of her lungs due to a blood clot caused by chemo for breast cancer. The doctor told me she was 20 minutes away from dying. Here we are five years later, and she is just as sassy and happy as she ever was . . .
Of course, not all folks experience the results we did. Many of my friends last year passed on to glory. We have all been appointed a time to die and the next go around with whatever malady might develop, might take me out. If that is God’s will, then I’m ready.
But just because you get a bad report from a doctor does not mean all is lost. I have come to believe that we should first and foremost seek the best available doctors for treatment. After all God put them on earth for that express purpose. Second, we should bend our knees and pray to almighty God for a good outcome.
Sometimes I think people can go overboard trying to live an extra few weeks or months. They wanted to amputate my mother-in-law’s leg when she was on her deathbed, but the prognosis was so bad that even with the operation she couldn’t have lived but a few weeks. We refused to allow it just like I refused to take Interferon. It is a personal decision and we do not know what we would do until faced with it.
My youngest son was diagnosed with prostate cancer this past Friday. The doctor said they caught it early but will not know if it has spread until after his surgery. He has several advantages going for him; he is young, caught it early, and has engaged one of the top doctors in the country and I am confident that his treatment will be executed by the best and God will do the rest. I have been praying for him without ceasing ever since I heard the diagnosis. I ask you to pray for him as well.
I’m not angry with God about cancer, I’m angry with Satan who is the root cause of it and other diseases, he delights in it along with strife, violence, grief, murder, lying, perversion, and so on. One thing that always stuck with me as I have gone through the many trials, such as multiple car crashes, motorcycle wrecks, drug overdoses, trampled by three horses and other near misses in my life and seen the trials of others as well, is that Jesus, at this very moment, is preparing a mansion for each of His followers. When He is ready, He will bring us home and we will live in paradise with Him and be free from the tormenting of Satan be it today or fifty years from now. There is hope for every Christian and if you have not accepted Him as your Savior, you need to do so today while there is yet time.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose . . .