Okay, so…this weekend marked an interesting anniversary for me. It was a year ago on Saturday, that Dr. Lawrence Einhorn came into Keith’s room at the IU hospital in Indianapolis and announced that the stem cell transplant had worked, and Keith was cancer-free. Here’s the entry from that day from my book, The Journey:
So, Keith had the CT scan at 9 am today. At 11 am I was out getting him some ice and saw Dr. Einhorn in the hall. That is unusual, as he usually isn’t on the unit except on Mondays. As I was going back to the room, I saw him coming toward Keith’s room, and my blood went a little cold. He came into the room, smiled, and said, “I’ve got good news for you. The CT scan came out completely normal!” We all cheered and jumped up and down (okay, I jumped up and down, Dr. Einhorn didn’t.) He said that the scan was so clear that Keith didn’t even need a followup PET scan, and that he could do follow up visits at home. He doesn’t need to see Keith back here for 6 months! Then I said, “So you are saying that it worked?” He smiled and said, “Yes, it did. I told you that the cure rate for this was 90%.” Keith said, “Yes but up til now I’ve fallen into that 10%!” Not this time, woo-hoo! We were thrilled that he came to tell us himself. To get that news from Dr. Einhorn was the best gift we could have received!
His counts are still low, but starting to move a little. His white count is at .5 (was at .3 yesterday). Since he didn’t take a big jump, it looks like he will be in the hospital through the weekend. We’ll get to watch the super bowl on the little hospital TV. That’s okay, though. The news from today certainly made up for that! Then SOMETIME next week we will be headed south! And we are ready!!
I have to tell you, there is no way in the world we could ever thank all of you for your prayers, emails and support. I am completely in awe of the number of people who are praying for Keith around the country and even around the world. We got a letter yesterday from a church in Gulfport, Mississippi. It was a letter from their prayer ministry letting us know that they had prayed for Keith last Wednesday night, and then had the signatures of all the people that prayed for him. I have no idea how they got Keith’s name or if we even know anyone at that church, but they took the time to pray for Keith, and that is so incredible. This particular segment of our journey has really taught me a lot about prayer.
This time around, the passages of scripture that I have clung to are Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 43:1-2. The other night I was reading the full 43rd chapter, and the last verse has been what I have carried with me the past few days: “Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” We are blessed and thankful.
I have often had people ask how I deal with the fact that Keith was pronounced “cured” by the medical community three times during his cancer journey. When I look back on it, I realize that it was those glimpses of hope that kept us moving through the rough, rough treatments. I think that’s what you do through any illness. You keep moving and trusting God as He lights up the next step.
However, I guess if I am honest, the mere fact that I remember this anniversary means that it bothers me a little. But when I look back on it, and the events that have transpired since then, I know that God was working all things together. At the time, all I could see was the illness and the potential healing. But God was at work doing other things, and one of those things has been in the works and came to fruition this past week.
One of the men that Keith met as he was going through treatment in Indy was a young man named Doug Franklin. Doug was going through the BEP chemo, and several days he and Keith were in the “chairs” together receiving the treatment. Doug’s cancer was similar to Keith’s, in that it started with a large abdominal mass. He was still facing the RPLND surgery that Keith had already had, so they talked a lot about that.
Then the conversation turned to their faith and ministry. Doug is an architect, and a volunteer youth minister at his church. He is responsible for organizing and planning the mission trips for their youth group every year. He and Keith talked about mission trips, Keith’s love of the Navajo people, and our Samoset Mission Center here in Bradenton.
Well, to shorten a long story, Doug is now cancer free, and is bringing a group of 40 students and adults this July to work in Samoset. It is amazing how God has worked out all of the details, and I believe that God is at work within the story to bring life change to a lot of students. It helps me make sense of all those difficult days last winter.
There are a lot of things going on in my life right now. I wish desperately that Keith was here to be a part of them all, but the one thing I know is that just as Is. 43 says, “No one can deliver out of my hand.” I am in God’s hand, and He is orchestrating the details of my life. It is a wonderful, safe place to be, and my goal is to keep my eyes on Him and keep walking through the doors that He is opening.
I love the book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. A recent entry said this: “I am with you and for you. You face nothing alone-nothing! When you feel anxious, you are focusing on the visible world and leaving me out of the picture. The remedy is simple: fix your eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.”
2 Corinthians 4 :18 says “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Keith was able to focus during those days of illness on the eternal things that God was doing. He did not focus on his circumstances, but looked for ways to serve God through them. Because he did, I believe a lot of lives will be affected for the kingdom this summer!
May we do the same…don’t focus on circumstances, but on the power and the love of our Father who is at work in you!
Blessings, my friends!