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  • Todd Graves

Next Steps...

Surgery was finally behind us as we now waited to receive the results of the pathology report. When the call finally came, we did not hear what we had hoped and prayed to be able to hear… I had two positive margins (which means they could not cut far enough away from prostate cancerous tissue and left some cancerous tissue behind) and I also had 2 out of 16 lymph nodes they removed came back cancerous. The true test was going to be what the PSA was after surgery; it should be zero — it should be undetectable. However, even four weeks after surgery, my PSA was recorded at .91. The journey has just begun.

We allowed a couple of months for the PSA to come down, but it refused to drop to zero. It seemed as if it had already been determined that the next course of treatment would be hormone therapy followed by radiation to my pelvic area and lymph nodes in my lower to mid back five days a week for eight weeks. It would be an understatement to say that I was not looking forward to the next steps of treatment. Hormone therapy is such a nasty drug, but we felt that it was better to be aggressive now than to wait and give it a chance to grow stronger. One of my greatest struggles during this phase was trying to think rationally and logically. It did not take much to distract me or to take me to that place of worry. This is why I believe that it is crucial to stay in the presence of God and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). When we allow our focus to be shifted onto Christ, our adversities and challenges do not seem as big as they do when we try to deal with them on our own.

This post is going to serve as an update to fast forward the journey to where we are now. I am not skipping anything because it does not seem important, but because I am eager to share some of the wonderful things that God is currently doing with you!

During my time in radiation there was a number of complications, however, this phase ended in April 2017. The quest: to see if radiation had done its job. The test: if my PSA would finally be done to zero. The hormone therapy was also beginning to make a difference, causing very low testosterone, (I was tested at a 9 although the minimum should be at 250) I had a lot of joint pain, loss of bone density, fatigue, and weight gain… sounds great doesn’t it? The PSA number between April and June did not ever reach as low as zero, rather, they actually doubled when I tried to go off the hormone therapy for a month.

I was convicted again that I was putting my faith in the numbers, doctors, and machines instead of keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. God’s Word says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness then all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33). God knows what our needs are far before we do, He wants us to trust and seek Him and know that He is our sustainer through any difficult time.

When it became clear that not having hormone therapy was not an option, my urologist gave me a second shot on August 3, 2017. (These are six-month shots). While the second shot did bring my PSA down, it still did not reach zero like we expected. This caused us to begin questioning what the next steps should be. We decided that the next logical move would be to find a medical oncologist who could manage my treatments moving forward.

Although there is pain in my life, it has not given me a reason to complain and whine. God is just as in control of my life now as He was before the cancer was found. I had hoped that I would not have to start going to a medical oncologist because that made it even more real to me that the journey was not ready to end the way I am desperate for it to. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to, “Cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us.” That is a tough thing to do but it was and is the right thing to do... God you got this, I know you do.

So, the search for a cancer doctor had begun…

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