Limbo (The Cancer Journals)

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, the first thoughts are, “Let’s get it out, now!” Sometimes that happens; more often it doesn’t work that quickly.

Before Dave’s final diagnosis of cancer, he had two biopsies and an MRI. Since Dave has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, he’s seen his urologist twice, a radiologist, had a bone scan, consulted with a second urologist, and he’s spoken to numerous friends and prayer warriors, not only about his diagnosis, but also about the best procedure to take care of his cancer.

His urologist, of course, wants to completely remove the prostate. Dave’s biopsy showed two different levels of cancer, one of which is fairly aggressive and lethal (doctor’s words). Those are concerning words, to say the least. If I’m honest, they strike total paralyzing fear in me. As a pastor family, Dave and I have ministered to families long enough to know what those two words can mean. And I don’t want them to mean the same for us.

Treatments have been discussed, researched, and then discussed again. Several options are really not options, unless they are last resorts.

Radiation is out, for the first steps of treatment. Radiation produces scar tissue, which tends to fuse organs together. This means that if radiation proved to ultimately not take care of the cancer, then because of the danger to the organs that manage to fuse themselves to the prostate, surgery no longer is an option. Too risky to the other organs.

Radiation “seeds” are out. Not well proven to be effective, and with his type of cancer… (man I hate those words!)

Partial removal of the organ is out. They could miss some of the bad cells during the partial removal (you can’t see cancer cells with the eye), which could cause a recurrence of the cancer, leading to more surgery.

Dave has actually scheduled his surgery for a prostatectomy for the end of August at the VA hospital. This would involve robotically removing the entire prostate. One night in the hospital, and he’s free to come back home. I’ll let you look up the side-effects—possibly long term or permanent—for yourself. This is not the first preference of the hubster, and I understand why.

Several of Dave’s friends suggested he look into the possibility of proton therapy. Proton therapy has been around since 1954 and approved by the FDA in 1988. It’s not a new procedure; neither is it experimental. There are several centers for treatment in the United States, but none currently in our state. (To learn more about proton therapy, visit their website at https://www.proton-therapy.org. All that we’ve read leaves us very hopeful.)

This is where the limbo begins. Dave made his initial contact with one of the centers last week. They took medical and insurance information and have scheduled a video consultation in the next week. What a LOOOOONG time to wait! I know, I know…in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that long. But when the man you love forever has cancer in his body—aggressive, lethal cancer—it seems like a very long wait.

This is Dave’s first choice of treatment, because proton therapy is non-invasive, has better long-term results and fewer side-effects. If approved, Dave and I will travel to one of the bordering states to a treatment center for more tests, consultations, and fittings for body molds. Then we get to come back home and wait for them to call and let us know they are ready to begin his treatment, which will last anywhere from four weeks to eight weeks, depending on the type of treatment they deem best for him. Please pray with us. A lot has to fall in place. But God…

The Limbo game has a song attached to it in which the singer asks, “How low can you go?” I’m here to tell you, when you are in limbo—when someone you love is in the waiting mode—your thoughts can take you pretty low. But God…

BUT GOD…is in total control (yes, I do believe this); has calmed our souls by the testimonies of others traveling this particular path; wakes me with His word in my heart to soothe my soul; loves us both, no matter the results of the treatment Dave receives. I trust in God completely. I know that whatever treatment Dave ultimately undergoes, God goes before us to pave the way and get us through whatever lies in our path.

So, the waiting continues. The hope continues. The trust continues. Everything in its time, right?

(Dave and I read a book by a man who had this treatment—Calming the Storm: A Christ-Follower’s Victory Over Cancer, by Don Denton. We were very encouraged by his story. The day after he completed eight weeks of therapy, he and his wife drove several hours back to their home. The next day they went hiking, and within a week he was back to regular, everyday activities with NO lingering side effects AND in complete remission. We find his story inspiring and hope-filled.)


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9 responses to “Limbo (The Cancer Journals)”

  1. Hoss Avatar
    Hoss

    I love both of you very much. We are praying for you and please let us know if there is anything we can do.

    1. Claudette Wood Avatar

      Thanks, buddy. We love you and will be sure to let you know.

  2. shelleykrick Avatar

    As Hoss said I love you both very much. I am praying for both of you and I know you and the family are praying as well. GOD will give you the right answer in his own time. I dislike the limbo game myself and know what it entails. I have to admit I am not good at waiting. However, when there is a big decision I have to make, GOD has not failed me, making me wait a long time. Usually his answer comes to me in my sleep and the next morning I have his answer. Please don’t forget I am praying for you two and you sure have plenty of prayer warriors.

    1. Claudette Wood Avatar

      Thank you, Shel. We love you, too, and know that you are praying for us. More than once, God has answered my prayers as I slept. I’m thankful HE never sleeps!

  3. Susan Koonts Avatar
    Susan Koonts

    While waiting, enjoy your time together. Make the most of each day….there may be twenty years left for you two. No matter how hard, find peace in this storm. And continue to share your journey. Someone out there may need to find the Prince of Peace and you two can point them in the right direction. Know people are praying for you two, it especially the doctors for wisdom. God is Able.

    1. Claudette Wood Avatar

      Thank you so much! It means a lot that you have shared your thoughts with me. I want to learn this lesson well–to live each day fully. Thank you for the reminder.

  4. oldinspector Avatar
    oldinspector

    We can related completely with the emotions and spiritual questioning you so beautifully expressed. Thanks for sharing. The responses from your friends have been full of wisdom. We love you. Myrl and Joyce

  5. Judy McMillia Avatar
    Judy McMillia

    Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. -Aeschylus
    I love y’all and wish to you did not have to go through this unimaginable situation. God Bless You

  6. George Campbell Avatar
    George Campbell

    CYBERKNIFE PROCEDURE USUALLY TAKES ABOUT FIVE DAYS TREATMENT WE STAYED WITH SOME FRIENDS IN ARLINGTON AND WENT TO THE TREATMENT CENTER DAILY. … MY WIFE AND I HAD A HARD TIME DURING THE RESEARCH AND WAITING TIME. EVERY DOCTOR HAS AN OPINION. I DID A LOT OF RESEARCH AND HAD TWO BIOPSIES. I HAVE HEARD FROM OTHER MEN THE SECOND BIOPSY WAS DIFFERENT. SOME WENT TO A NATUROPATH AND WAS CURED WITH HERBS. PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME. DO EVERY BIT OF RESEARCH POSSIBLE.

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