Friday, June 8, 2012


Most of my friends already know. I suppose I ought to announce it on my Blog as well. I found out this week I have cancer.  ...Breast cancer. When I look in the mirror I don't say, "why me?" I say, "Only You."

It's like the Bogeyman out of nightmares, jumping up and down shouting "Booga, Booga, Booga! Scared you, huh?" With a stroke, my summer is GONE. Two weeks more of waiting, Three weeks of surgical recovery, weeks of chemo-therapy (FINALLY I'll be able to use my Tonto, "What we do next, Chemo Therapy?" line without guilt.) And I'll need a lot of physical therapy to restore the surgically removed muscle mass from under my arm. I'm not sure if we're talking three months, six months or a year. Funny thing is, I'm not scared. I fully expect to ride it out and emerge victorious.  

It is operable. In fact its a completely normal "ductile" type breast cancer. I am scheduled for surgery on June 20th. The one scary thing is, though we caught it early, it is already in one of my lymph nodes. Apparently with men, who have less breast tissue, cancer makes its way quickly into the lymphatic system. The surgery will include a "dissection" of all the lymph nodes under my right arm.  Hopefully that will stop the cancer from spreading.

I am facing this with optimism and hope, trusting in the Lord to carry me through. I have confidence in my surgeon and, as always with Kaiser, they move quick with the BIG things.

Karen is afraid I'll lose all my hair. She thinks I might look cool and tough as a cueball. I'm afraid my head is too lumpy to look cool. I'm old, fat, and diabetic: my hair is all I've got.

I've already had several opportunities to share my faith in Christ. When the doctor made the announcement--which he did with great gentleness--he was obviously prepared for fireworks because he had "backup" in the room with him, just in case. But Karen and I simply exchanged a glance, as if we both expected it, and began to ask questions... rational questions. I think this was a good testimony.

Yesterday, I Had lab work done. When I sat down I saw the young lab tech reading a phone text and crying. Wisely, I waited until AFTER she had drawn blood before speaking. I stood and said, "it does get better."
           "What does?" she asked.
           ..."if you say so." she sniffed.
          I opened the door, turned back and said-- gently, I hope -- "I have cancer, I say so."


Stephanie P. said...

I am so incredibly encouraged by your stance on this, the only one we should have when faced with such a huge obstacle thrown at us. I'm so glad that you are trusting the Father to get you through and immensely happy that God is already using this to get to people. I pray this will shake people up in the best way possible and soften some stubborn hearts in the process. I think it already is. I love you Dad and Jake and I are thinking of you constantly and praying for God's will to be done in this.

Larry Geiger said...

Awwwwwwwwww. That's a bummer. May the Lord bless you through this.

Don the Baptist said...

Thanks, Larry. He is.

Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

Don, I know we've only just met but I will be praying for you through this. My good friend Russ Kraines (also a stubborn Baptist, but a Northerner) just faced down lymphoma in Germany where he teaches MK's at Black Forest Academy. He blogged about his experience here
keeping a lymph journal as he went through treatment. Perhaps it can bolster you as you walk your own road. God bless, as He does.

Don the Baptist said...

Lori, how kind. I will check out his page. I also want to keep current with your blog. I found a lot of wisdom there today.

Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

Thank you, Don.

Edie Melson said...

Don, I'm so sorry to hear about this, but I'm anticipating the blessings that come through what God has planned. I'll be praying for you, and your family. You have an amazing outlook and that doesn't surprise me at all. Blessings my friend, Edie