5 Years Ago (a story of cancer, remission, and learning to trust)
5 years ago on July 25th, 2007 Keith and I sat like two old people on Ender’s Island in Mystic and those infamous words came out of his mouth:
So, are we getting married, or what?!
I said yes and we both hobbled back to the car (I was awaiting surgery on my left ankle, had sprained my right ankle earlier that day, and Keith had just had surgery on his knee).
Just two days later (July 27th) as we were driving to the hospital for my bone scan appointment, Keith got a call from his doctor’s office that the reason for his painful oozing knee and swollen lymph nodes was Non-Hodgkin Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.
Thus began many trips to Dana Farber in Boston where he got in to see one of the top oncologists in the field. Four months of chemo and several weeks of radiation later, he was on the road to remission.
We continued to travel back and forth to Boston every six months for PET scans and follow-up visits. It’s 5 years later and he’s still cancer free.
“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
All of the above made for worlds of up and down emotions colliding as we spent the last two days in Boston for Dad’s appointments at Dana Farber (yet again in July). Walking in and around the same buildings that Keith and I had spent so much time in (this time without Keith) was oddly emotional and comforting. Moments of anxiety and fear mixed with the peace of knowing that I’ve been down this road before (and survived).
“The Lord himself will fight for you, you need only stay calm [be still].” Exodus 14:14
I anticipate that going back up for Dad’s surgery at the end of the week will only be more disorienting; Keith had his biopsy surgery in the same hospital! I am continuing to trust that Dad’s health is in God’s hands and that He has orchestrated the best medical care, just as He did for Keith.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
Keith posted a reflection on his CaringBridge site last week that I think sums up how we are feeling most succinctly:
Today marks 5 years since my lymphoma diagnosis and I must say: it’s amazing how time flies yet even more amazing how faithful God has been through it all. I continue in complete remission with only a little stiffness in my right knee serving as a reminder that yes, I was wounded by cancer but God healed me and made himself more real to me than I could have ever imagined..Becky and I are forever grateful for how you all have supported us over the past 5 years and how you continue to lift us and our families up in prayer. We are filled with joy as we wait for the birth of our firstborn son in October – he’s a priceless gift from God as we had no idea what effect (if any) chemotherapy would have on our chances at having kids. We look forward to sharing more with you as the time draws near.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23