by CJ Adkins
It’s the thought in the back of every cancer survivor’s mind.
What if it comes back?
None of us who have come through life threatening battles with cancer want to even think about going down that road again, but sometimes it happens. It appears it has happened to me – again.
As most of my friends know, I was diagnosed in December 2004 with Stage 4, “Incurable but hopefully manageable” Colon Cancer. After having surgery to remove 3 1/2 feet of my intestines, I went on a 6 month course of Chemotherapy to kill the tumors that were throughout my liver. A Radio Frequency Ablation burned out the last three and I had the joy of going into remission.
Five months later a routine followup CT scan revealed the cancer had returned in the liver and it was another 6 months of chemo for me. Since the end of that regimen I have remained in remission for nearly 12 years – having periodic scans along the way to keep an eye out for possible recurrence.
I have enjoyed relative good health until the last 8 months or so, when I experienced a 1-2-3-4 punch beginning just before last Christmas. Acute renal failure landed me in the hospital for treatment of that ailment in late December. While there, I tested positive for the Flu (even though I had taken my yearly Flu shot). On the heels of recovery from the Flu, I was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive skin cancer known as Merkle Cell Carcinoma on my forehead. Surgery at the James Cancer Center at the Ohio State University removed the tumor but tests revealed it had metastasized to one of the lymph nodes in my neck. So – 30 radiation treatments were prescribed, and I finished up on those in July. In the midst of all of that, I was found to have a partial tear in the retina of my right eye!
Needless to say, it’s been a tough few months. Nothing terrible, but just bumps in the road that we encounter if we hang around this planet long enough.
Beginning to bounce back from the complications caused by the radiation treatments, I have been looking forward to ramping up my ministry activities. Plans were in the works for a short term mission trip back to the Philippines and Linda and I have been looking forward to doing some things on our bucket lists. Then, Tuesday, after some routine tests at the local VA Medical Center showed some possible abnormality in my liver, a new CT scan was ordered.
The results indicated “multiple lesions throughout the liver, with characteristics consistent with metastatic Colon Cancer”.
So, to use the technical theological term, “Here we go again!”
Through the Veterans Choice Program, I am being referred back to the Ashland Bellefonte Cancer Center – the place that brought me through this disease twice before. I’m sure there will be more tests before any course of treatment will be discussed. So, we have taken a deep breath, shared the information with my church family, and face the future with total dependence on our Heavenly Father.
I write this today, not seeking attention or to ask for pity. This is one of those things that happens to us in this broken world. I do ask, however, for your prayers. I am blessed to have a multitude of Christian friends in the U.S. and Canada, and many more who are spread around the world in Europe, Asia and Africa. These are people who know how to get in touch with God. We often make intercession for one another, and this is one of those times.
Healing is not what I am seeking, as much as I am asking for the measure of Grace that only God can provide, to get us through these “bumps in the road” of life that we are bound to encounter. I ask you to pray for Linda, also as we walk down this road together again. Healing is naturally what I desire, but I know that my ultimate healing will take place when I one day enter the presence of the Lord. I don’t know what the immediate future holds for me, but I know the One who holds the future, and I’m sure He is going to use this new adventure for my good and for His Glory.