Cancer is a Silent Disease (10/31/11)

Last October was a busy month for me. I had a conference in Seattle Washington the week of 10/10 and another conference in Las Vegas scheduled for the week of 10/24. And when I travel to conferences that means I usually need to find additional time to do the normal work as well. So, that month involved working extra hours, in addition to taking care of the house, attending Bryce’s football, etc. Then add Halloween in as well, and yes, this was a very busy month, and as it turned out, the scariest Halloween for me ever.

On 10/26, Wednesday evening, around 8 p.m., I decided to take a hot Jacuzzi bath after a long day at work. This was a sure way to relax and prepare for an evening’s rest. During the bath I noticed a lump on my right testicle. When I mentioned it to my beautiful and loving wife (smile), she made me promise to go and get it checked out.

So the next morning I called the doctor to fulfill my promise to Connie. To my surprise, the doctor’s office told me they had an opening and asked if I could it in. Within hours I was in the doctor’s office being seen by the doctor’s assistant. I guess I thought they may give me some anti-biotics or an inflammatory medication and I would be all set.

The doctor’s assistant acknowledged that there was something there and said it was probably just swelling. To be safe she wanted me to go for an ultrasound. I told her I was scheduled to travel the following week so I was hoping we could complete the tests soon. In compliance with my request the ultrasound was scheduled for the next day, Thursday, 10/25.

The doctor called me with the Ultrasound results and said I needed to go to an urologist to talk. He never mentioned the cancer word but the seriousness in his voice, and the fact that he was calling me after hours on his way home from work certainly raised this concern in my mind. He wanted me to see the urologist and acknowledged that I may need to reschedule my trip to Las Vegas if necessary.

Reluctantly I ended up rescheduling my trip to Las Vegas. I knew this may be serious, but I really discounted the possibility that it may be cancer. I talked about it with my nephew and he shared a similar story that turned out to be something that healed itself in time. I thought for sure that I was dealing with the same thing, not cancer.

The weekend came and went and the appointment with the urologist was on Halloween 10/31/11 at 3 p.m. on a Monday. The urologist did an exam and did not mince words. He flat out told me that he is 99% sure this is CANCER and that I needed to have the tumor removed as soon as possible.

Everything in me went numb as I absorbed his words. I didn’t know what to think or say. People who have cancer die? Will I die from this? Sure everyone dies, but I’m only 48 years old.  I really didn’t expect I’d die until 80 or 90.  Cancer certainly was not in my plans.

I agreed that we certainly should have the tumor removed and asked when he would like to do it. He asked me if we could do the surgery the next morning at 7 a.m. Wow, here it is 5 p.m. on a Monday and I’m going to go in for surgery on Tuesday, 11/1/11, instead of traveling to Las Vegas like I had originally planned.  And what about this Cancer? What did it mean? How am I going to deal with this?

On the way home, I was numb and shaken. I felt the biggest lump in my stomach. Suppressing tears was very hard to do… I didn’t know what to do… What would I tell my children? What would I tell my new wife of three years? She lost her first husband to cancer, how could I tell her that I have cancer?

I called my wife and my sister on the way home and told them the bad news; although, I don’t remember much about the conversation.

We would know more the next day — after the surgery was completed. Perhaps it really isn’t cancer, after all he said he was 99% sure; that means there is a 1% chance he is wrong.

Welcome to my blog

I apologize to anyone reading this blog in advance, for I am not really a blogger… I don’t really know what a good blogger is or what a skilled blogger does, so I will likely make a few mistakes as I stumble about using blogging media to tell you my story.  And for this I apologize…

The purpose of this blog is to share my fight against cancer with my family, friends, and colleagues. In addition to providing updates on the facts, I also will share my thoughts and emotions. So, if you indulge me in this venting, I am sure it will help me in this fight.

I hope that this blog will bring together all the people praying for me, gather us together in a virtual space. Wherever two or more are gathered together the LORD is present!

Anyone who is interested in following this story can follow along.  My initial posts will cover past time, and as soon as I catch up to today, I will continue to post real time, as life unfolds.

I hope my story may benefit others somehow; although I confess that I’m not sure exactly how.  Perhaps it may inspire someone to follow-up on a symptom and catch a problem sooner than they might have on their own?  Perhaps it will help someone gain insight into a fight for cancer and allow them to be a better supporter or friend.  In any event, I am looking for your help in shaping up this blog so it accomplishes this goal…  Please post your comments…

Of course, I don’t know the end of my story at this point, but I will start by writing the END anyway. So sorry to ruin the story but this story will end as follows.

By the Grace of God and the skilled hands of many doctors and surgeons, Philip is now NED (No Evidence of Disease) for five years, six years, seven, ten, fifteen…

I believe that our living LORD has the power to heal, and healing me or anyone from cancer would take but a blink of an eye. And if it is the LORD’s will, than the cancer that I’m facing will be defeated and I will live to serve the LORD for many more years on this earth. And if the LORD’s will is for me to come home to him, than I will go to serve and praise the LORD as his servant for eternity. Either way, we will ALL be alright.

So, the start of this story begins with the following prayer.

Jesus, no matter what, I pray that you give me the wisdom to know your will, the courage to choose your way, and the strength to serve you as you wish. Amen