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  • Todd Graves

Keeping the Faith

There has been allot of anticipation for this second trip to the Mayo. The thought of having another primary cancer was crazy and a bit overwhelming, so I wanted to deal with this as soon as I could. At the same time this was an opportunity for God to show His continued faithfulness and His control of this health journey. It is easy to let your thoughts and emotions get “the best of you”. Philippians 4:6 reminds us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. If I am consumed with worry then I am not trusting HIm thus relying on my own strength to get me through this journey, I choose trusting in God for my hope is solely in Him.

For this trip my wife and I took our three youngest sons along which worked out well as they are homeschooled, and they could work on their school while we are at appointments and surgery. After a long eight hour drive we arrived in Rochester and at the hotel (you have to love those points) which would be our home for the next week. This hotel and their staff have been so gracious and accommodating we cannot say enough good things about them. We settled in quickly to get some rest as my appointments started first thing in the morning with blood work and consults with anesthesiology and urology. Everything went fairly well with anesthetist other than the EKG they gave me from a history of heart pain and palpitation. I was cleared for surgery which is always a relief especially with the importance of having this gland removed.

The same day we met with our urologist Dr. Kwon who suggested that I go off hormone therapy and allow the cancer to show itself, so we can target it more aggressively. The hormone therapy is not curative and all it does is slow the cancer growth so by letting it grow we can re-scan and then begin the appropriate therapy once we know the location. This in itself can be nerve racking as my PSA already jumped from .49 to .69 from January 12 – February 12th. Dr. Kwon wants me off the hormones for 4 months and then I will get the choline pet scan again to see what it detects. The positive part of is that I can get off the hormones for at least 4 months as Lupron is a nasty drug with awful side effects. This is a situation where it can be confusing and not make sense to come off all medications, so the cancer can grow, BUT I trust God first and I am confident in the God given wisdom of Dr. Kwon. There is comfort in the scriptures as Proverbs 3 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight paths”. Praise the Lord my job is to trust God and know that He will take care of the rest!!

The next day was my consult with the Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon which went very smoothly. He provided allot of information as to the surgery and possibility of side effects. One thing he shared was during surgery they will take one side of my thyroid and test the tumor, if it comes back cancer they will automatically take the other side but if it is benign they will leave the other half. As I woke up in the recovery I could hear them talking and confirming the tumor was benign (wonderful news!). After a couple hours in recovery they sent me to a room where I should have stayed for the night, but I felt healthy enough after surgery that they discharged me that same evening. God is and has always been my good shepherd and because of Him I am grateful for a successful surgery.

Well that should have taken care of everything…but wait there is more. As we were packing up to head home Friday morning I received a call from my surgeon and guess what? It was cancer. I was part of that 3% where the pathology got the initial results incorrect while I was in surgery. I could not believe my ears initially, but God was in no less control with this news then He was when we rejoiced about it being benign. Let’s read Psalm 27:1 shall we, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strongholda of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? My faith in God is not based on a change in the journey or emotions but it is based on faith and love and the surety that He is my Lord and my Savior and my protector. So, it does not really matter if the diagnosis changes or not for my hope and trust remains in Him.

That final Friday we were ushered into the endocrinologist to see what was next due to it being cancer. The news was wonderful and an opportunity for God to show Himself again in this surgery. The doctor said that based on my type of cancer they only needed to take one side as there was an abundance of good tissue around the tumor, so they were comfortable that it did not spread. If the surgeon heard that it was cancer while I was in surgery, he would have taken the reminder of unnecessarily. Now I have half of a thyroid that will hopefully compensate for the other half. As we wait on God he demonstrates His faithfulness to us, Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Amen what a promise!

What’s next? Blood tests to check and see how the thyroid is preforming as well as PSA tests to see how the numbers look. We are expecting them to increase as that is the new strategy.

Thank you all for taking time to read this blog, I know its long, but I wanted to catch everyone up to date. God Bless you all.

Next blog I want to talk about Billy Graham…..

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