Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Clean Report

This is Dr. Kirti Jain. I love this guy. The Lord has spared my life for four years after my being diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer, and He has chosen to use Dr. Jain in His plan.

Two weeks ago I had my periodic PET and CT scans at Dr. Jain's Ashland-Bellefonte Cancer Center. Friday, December 19th, was my followup appointment with the Doctor to get my test results. Upon hearing that I would have to wait two weeks to hear the results, several of my friends asked, "Doesn't it drive you crazy to have to wait that long to find out if any thing is wrong?" Well, four years ago it would have, but along this journey, God has certainly given me more patience than I have ever experienced before. He has given me a peace in understanding that everything is in His hands, and my responsibility is simply to strap in and take the ride.

It's been quite a ride at that!

Early on, many friends suggested that I consider pursuing treatment at the Mayo Clinic, The James Cancer Center in Columbus, or M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The Lord impressed upon my heart to ask for Dr. Jain. There are a number of excellent oncologists in the Tri State Area, but for some reason I felt drawn to Dr. Jain. Twenty years ago, I sat at the bedside of one of my church members as Dr. Jain broke the news to her and her family that the various treatments had failed to impact the malignancy. There was nothing else he could do. The compassion I sensed in this Indian physician made a tremendous impression on this pastor. I was impressed at the amount of time he spent with this patient and her family, and the empathy them.

Over the years of my ministry in Ashland, I had crossed paths with Dr. Jain a few times. Even though I didn't know him personally, I was impressed with his professionalism, and his medical credentials (he had been trained at New York's highly esteemed Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center). I was most impressed by his compassion for his patients. So, when they broke the news to me that the tumor in my colon had spread to my liver and numerous lymph nodes, I simply said, "Can I see Dr. Jain?"

Shortly after returning home from my colon surgery in December, 2004, a neighbor came by the house for a visit. The outlook was grim. "Stage four, incurable - hopefully manageable through treatments", I had been told. Chemotherapy treatments awaited, and the sobering odds for survival time held an average of 18-22 months. My neighbor (who was an unbeliever) was very upset.

"Why would God let this happen to you, when you spend your life working for Him?" he asked bitterly.

"Why not me?", I replied. "We're all terminal. None of us know the date, time, or circumstances, but our mortality is a fact. Since we don't know what tomorrow holds, it is comforting to know who holds tomorrow."

At that point, God gave me the words to say that set the tone for the future.

"I figure one of three outcomes is sure to happen", I told him. "Perhaps God will totally heal me of this disease. If he chooses to do so, I will give Him all the credit and praise." "If not", I continued, "He may chose to allow the doctors and health care professionals to use their skills to prolong my life for a while. In that case I will thank them for their help and give God the glory for the outcome. Failing that, God will take me home to be with Him, and I will be able to praise Him, face to face, for eternity, for He is certainly worthy!"
"I never thought of it that way" my neighbor said.

The news I received today was excellent. Blood work was good, and the scans were clear again. I am still in remission. Dr. Jain told me that only 30% of the patients in my circumstances survive for four years. He smiled and agreed with me when I verbally thanked God for His provision. I also firmly shook the doctor's hand and thanked him for the compassionate and professional way that he had treated me for the past four years.

God has used Dr. Jain and his staff at the Cancer Center to treat me wisely. Here is a photo of four of the nurses who were involved in my treatments and the two six month courses of chemotherapy. Crystal, Robyn, Christie, and Vada are the best! They became almost like family to me during that period of chemo treatments. Crystal has some health problems of her own and no longer works there regularly. Robyn has moved on to a large hospital in Atlanta, and Christie is the Supervising Oncology nurse at Bellefonte Hospital now. I still see Vada every month when I go in for my blood work and to have my medi-port flushed. I can never thank them enough for the kind professional way they went about doing what has to be a truly difficult job.

The whole staff at ABCC has been wonderful to me and Linda. I thank God that He has used them in His plan for my life. Of course, I have no way of knowing what the future holds, but I am glad I know the one who holds my future.

1 comment:

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