Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Special Birthday

Today is my grandson, Canon's, sixth birthday. Those of you who regularly read my blog know who Canon is, and you know how bravely he has faced the physical problems and numerous surgeries he has had over the past four years. He is a special little guy, and truly one of my heroes.

He and his family and friends in New Orleans had a big birthday party yesterday at Chuckie Cheese. We were blessed to have a little early birthday celebration for him here in Kentucky on Thanksgiving day while he and his family were here last week. We love to celebrate the birthdays of all four of our grandsons, because they are all so special to us. Canon's birthday, however, always holds a special meaning for me. That week back in 2004 is reminiscent of what Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".

Six years ago today, Linda was in New Orleans to be there for the birth of our 3rd grandson, and to help out a little when he and his mother were to come home from the hospital. It was also the day I was admitted to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital for tests to determine why I had mysteriously lost so much blood. When Linda learned I had been hospitalized, she flew back home the next day. The tests began the day she headed home.

I was praying that the endoscopy would indicate a bleeding ulcer. Now, that is not something that I would normally pray to have, but considering the other alternatives, that seemed to be one of the best options. No abnormalities were found through that test, and so, the colonoscopy was scheduled for the next day.

On that unpleasant procedure, Dr. Warrier "hit the jackpot". He explained to Linda that although we would have to wait for the pathology results for verification, that he was sure the large mass he found in my right ascending colon was malignant. He allowed that the tumor had most likely been growing there for more than two years. Had I done a colonoscopy at the age of 50 (when it is recommended) this could probably literally have been nipped in the bud.

So, things began moving quickly. Surgery was scheduled, and we learned that the cancer had escaped the colon wall and was in numerous lymph nodes, and "spread like grass seed" through out my liver.

"Stage four. Incurable." Sobering words.

We learned that the "average survival time" for people in my situation was 18 - 22 months (with treatments). Less time could be expected without treatments.

Well, the results are a long story. The next two years were a blur of surgical procedures, chemo therapy, CT and PET Scans, blood work, other procedures, and lots and lots of nausea and diarrhea.

I can't begin to tell the whole story here. In fact I am in the process of writing a book detailing the steps on my journey. (hope I can finish it soon, get it published, and sell you a copy!)

At any rate, for His reasons (known only to Him) God did not allow me to die as I was "supposed" to.

Six years later I am still here. Still seeing the oncologist on a regular basis. Getting blood work every month, CT scans periodically, PET scans twice per year. Dr. Jain is pleasantly surprised at the outcome so far, but he cautions us that I "will never be cancer free".

That may be so, but for now, remission is sweet, and I am happy to have it.

God has seen fit to give me the opportunity to see Canon celebrate six birthdays! Besides being a precious grandson, he is more than that to me. He is my marker. Every time I see his smiling face and hear his sweet voice say "I love you, Papaw", I realize anew how blessed I have been by God. Every birthday we celebrate, has a dual special significance to me.

Happy Birthday, Canon! I hope to help you celebrate many more.

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