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  • Todd Graves

Change in Priorities...

Two weeks after being diagnosed I received results from the scans and my doctor confirmed that there had not been any evidence of the cancer spreading – hallelujah! However, he suggested that rather than surgery, radiation would be a better fit for me since I am a big guy. He also wanted to start me on a hormone therapy right away which I refused until I understood more about the disease… I would later regret that decision. My wife and I were both overwhelmed with everything and we decided that we wanted to get a second opinion at a larger medical facility. After some research, we contacted the Chief of Urology for Barnes Jewish/Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Following an initial meeting with the doctor I had been scheduled for an array of tests: 3T MRI, Pet scan, and Ultrasound.

In addition to the medical tests, I decided to change my eating habits; only eating organic fruits and vegetables along with fish and chicken. I completely eliminated sugars and coffee (at this point I was only drinking water and green tea). I also began to walk 4 to 6 miles per day. In a five-month time span I lost one hundred pounds, lowered my blood pressure, and my blood counts were looking very good. I was truly becoming a pretty healthy guy… except I still had cancer.

It is important that I reiterate that it is only due to God’s grace and mercy that He provided me the strength to get on this new spiritual/physical track, He is truly the God of second chances. The more time that was spent in His word and with the counsel of good friends I found myself getting stronger spiritually, emotionally and physically. Consistency and being intentional played a large role (as difficult as it was some days). For years I prayed and tried to change my priorities (in my own strength) but couldn’t seem to attain the self-discipline needed to make the changes. I could not do what needed to be done physically without the spiritual component. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For while bodily training is of some value godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”. I needed to put my relationship with God first in my life by seeking first His Kingdom, and His righteousness, then He will take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33).

That being said, I had to make a decision as to what treatment I was going to move forward with. After all the options were provided, I decided to go with surgery and have a radical prostatectomy at Barnes Jewish in St. Louis. The Chief of Urology felt that it was the best choice as none of the previous tests showed the disease did not metastasize — and tell you the truth, I wanted that cancerous tumor out of me as soon as possible. At this point my wife had felt God’s peace (Philippians 4:7) that the right decision was made and the treatment was finally in motion. Other than a glitch in some scheduling, surgery had been set for October 19, 2016.

This journey was not able to be fought by mere physical and mental changes. Without also the spiritual awakening, I believe I would be still be paralyzed by fear and despair. It took the spiritual change in my life to realize that God loved me, has a plan for me, and that He wants me to trust in Him…this gave me hope. As Psalm 16:11 says, “In His presence there is fullness of joy”. Where else would I want to be?

Surgery, did we get it all…?

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