You Have Power Over Cancer

You Really Do

It’s “stage-four cancer“, were the words my oncologist shared with me on February 16, 2011. 

Learning you have cancer is a life-altering experience. Hearing your cancer has returned is unimaginably disheartening. But when you find out your cancer has returned for a third time with a stage-four diagnosis, it is devastating….especially if you’re going to propose the next week.

Power Over Cancer

Ironically cancer brought us together in the first place. Shari and I knew each other casually, but when my Merkel cell cancer returned for a second time she was one of the first people to reach out to me.

Cancer Milestone

I have had March 3, 2015 circled on my calendar for almost four years. The date represents a cancer milestone for me, and an anniversary of a conversation which was filled with wisdom.

cancer-milestone-leverage-your-life-now

Photo credit: Victor Correia©

4 Months, 4 Years, or 40 Years

Milestone:

1. A stone functioning as a milespost.

2. A significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person, nation, etc.

Actually the significance of March 3, 2015 points back to a pivotal conversation which occurred four years earlier on March 3, 2011. On that day my fiancé and I were meeting with the Pastor who would marry us. Mike Teston asked us to share our stories and why we wanted to be married now rather than in the fall which was our original plan.

I shared how merkel cancer had returned for a third time with a stage-four diagnosis. Shari told Pastor Mike how she wanted to be with me through the radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery regardless of the outcome. In the two hours we were together, questions were asked and answers given, tears were shed, and prayers were prayed.  As we were saying goodbye Mike said,

Why Me cancer, Why Me?

why-me-cancer-leveraging-life

Photo Credit: donnareidland.com/

Recently a friend of mine shared with me an article written by former White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, prior to his untimely death from cancer. In his article Tony shared his thoughts concerning his diagnosis with a potential fatal disease and the obvious question…why me cancer, why me?

Sadly our “why me” questions most likely will not not be answered to our satisfaction until we find ourselves in Heaven. Theses unanswered questions usually lead us to a fork in the road where we either blame God or learn to trust God in the midst of our why me” circumstances.

I know in my three bouts with cancer I initially wallowed in the “why me” for quite some time, but eventually I was able to look past the diagnosis and place everything in God’s hands learning to trust God period in all things…even cancer.

Your journey, my journey may be unique, yet we share one thing in common…how do we answer the question:

What do you do when this is nothing you can do?

Well there is one thing we can do…we can journey together in community, supporting, caring, and praying for each other.

Leave a comment with your contact information at the bottom of the post to join the Leveraging Life community so we can journey together. This will offer all of us the opportunity to support one another and encourage each other to trust God period when we find ourselves in situations where questions are unanswered and anxiety is high.

unexpected-packages-leveraging-life

Cancer’s Unexpected Blessings

By: Tony Snow (1955 – 2008)

Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, in my case – cancer.”

Those of us with potentially fatal diseases – and there are millions in America today – find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence ‘What It All Means,’ scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the ‘why’ questions: Why me?

Cincinnati Bengals Show Class

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Most NFL prospects who are cut prior to making the 53 man roster consider this point in their life to be the lowest point in their athletic career. Yet Cincinnati Bengal Devon Still, is unlike any NFL prospect, as he was cut but now can focus his attention on his daughter, Leah, who has been battling Stage 4 pediatric cancer since June.

I completely understand where the Bengals were coming from when they cut me because I could not give football 100 percent right now, Still, 25, told ABC News.

It is Well With My Soul

Worship Wednesday

Image Hands Raised Worship

This post was almost titled Can’t Get A Break. Unfortunately a minor set back last week literally knocked my legs out from under me, physically and mentally. Fortunately, I heard the old classic, It is Well with My Soul, on the radio in the midst of my “pity party” which offered a shift in perspective and provided a better title for this blog post.

It Is Well With My Soul

Written by Horatio Spafford – Performed by Todd Fields

Here is a link to the story behind the hymn. I know for me after learning the story, I even in more awe of the powerful lyrics and the faith it took to pen them. Please also enjoy North Point Church Worship Leader Todd Field’s acoustic version of this inspiring hymn of Worship and Praise.

Milestones

I’m not sure if I should classify today as a milestone or an anniversary? Truth be told four months ago a conversation took place which caused me to circle this date on the calendar and I hoped I would reach this milestone.

milestones-leverage-your-life-now

iStockphoto © Victor Correia

4 months, 4 years, or 40 years

I always envisioned the day my fiance and I applied for our marriage license would be a fun day. Unfortunately March 3, 2011 was anything but fun as we had to squeeze in getting our marriage license between a series of doctor’s appointments. The last two weeks were a blur of activity as Shari and I learned my cancer I not only returned but had metastasized to the point where I was now categorized with Stage 4 merkel cell cancer. Our plans for a Fall wedding were radically changed with the cancer news and we found planning for our wedding which was only 21 days away. Sadly I never allowed myself to experience fun or joy this day, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, being angry, and I was looking for someone to blame…God!

Early Cancer Update

Let me start out with a quick cancer update my sister Molly prepared a few days ago that I never had a chance to share. Keep reading after her update to see what went on this weekend and will be going on tomorrow. 

Simpsons-blackboard-update

Hi everyone, 

Thought it was time for a cancer update on Tom. He got back the results today – out of the 25 or so lymph nodes that were taken out two showed Merkel Cell cancer – one was 6 centimeters and the other was over 5….which is considered quite large.

So what do we do next?

We spoke with several medical oncologists and found one we feel can handle this type of cancer. Because this cancer is so rare and doesn’t look like other cancers Tom’s received very different advice from three different oncologists on what the next step should be. Some say to do chemo and radiation and another says to only do radiation.

So first Tom has to heal for the next 5 weeks from the surgery before he can start treatment and he’s currently battling an infection so that needs to be taken care of.